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President Donald Trump says he “saved” popular protections for preexisting conditions, even though his administration is in court asking them to be struck down. Meanwhile, Democrats who want to run against Trump in the fall continue to argue among themselves over health issues. And Kansas may become the next state to expand Medicaid. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Shefali Luthra of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.

A group of Democratic state attorneys general are betting the Supreme Court will take up the case and overturn a federal appeals court ruling in time for the 2020 elections. In other high-court news, most Republicans in Congress are asking the justices to use a Louisiana law to overturn the landmark abortion-rights ruling, Roe v. Wade. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal and Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Rovner also interviews NPR’s Richard Harris, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature.

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, author of the book “Crooked,” says chronic low back pain is not a medical condition. Nonetheless, that complaint sends millions of Americans down a path of expensive imaging tests, ongoing therapies and invasive surgery — all with limited effectiveness for many patients. In a conversation with “An Arm and a Leg” podcast host Dan Weissmann, Ramin shares her journey of back pain and recovery.

Every country provides and pays for health care differently. Yet surveys show the U.S. health system covers fewer people and costs more than the systems of most other industrialized countries. Are there international systems that the U.S. could emulate or borrow from? On this special episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” host Julie Rovner interviews international health experts Gerard Anderson of Johns Hopkins and Christopher Pope of the Manhattan Institute.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans has agreed with a lower court that a key piece of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. But it is sending the case back to the lower-court judge to decide how much of the rest of the law can stand. Also, Congress is leaving town after finishing work on a major spending bill that includes many changes to health policy. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.

The House passed legislation that would give federal workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave. The measure appears headed for passage in the Senate, and President Donald Trump has promised to sign the measure into law. Meanwhile, House and Senate lawmakers have a tentative deal on surprise medical bills, but don’t count on a compromise just yet. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Emmarie Huetteman of Kaiser Health News join guest host Mary Agnes Carey of KHN to discuss this and more. And for “extra credit,” the panelists offer their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

The annual accounting of national health spending is out. And the 2018 health bill for the U.S. was $3.6 trillion, consuming nearly a fifth of the nation’s economy. Meanwhile, Congress is nearing the end of the year without having finished either its annual spending bills or several other high-priority health items. Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Markian Hawryluk about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month.”