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President Joe Biden is wasting no time getting to work. On his first day in office, Biden signed a series of executive orders addressing the covid pandemic, promising more to come. But even with Democrats taking the barest majority in the Senate, the new president’s ambitious proposals on covid and other health issues could be in for a rough ride. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too.

Several large business groups, including health industry organizations, are cutting off contributions to Republicans who voted against the certification of Joe Biden’s election even after riots shut down the Capitol on Jan. 6. Meanwhile, the outgoing Trump administration not only approved a Medicaid block grant for Tennessee, but also made it difficult for the incoming Biden administration to undo. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Victoria Knight about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

With a majority too small to eliminate the filibuster, Democrats will not have enough votes in the Senate to pass many of their plans without Republicans and will also have only a razor-thin majority in the House. This combination could doom many Democratic health care proposals, like offering Americans a government-sponsored public insurance option, and complicate efforts to pass further pandemic relief.

Democratic victories in two runoff elections in Georgia will give Democrats control of the Senate starting Jan. 20, which means they will be in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time since 2010. Meanwhile, covid continues to run rampant while vaccine distribution lags. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Congress seems on the verge of finishing a long-delayed COVID-19 relief bill, which will reportedly include neither of the things each party wanted most — for Republicans, liability protections; for Democrats, funding for states and localities. That bill is likely to be tied to a package to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year and, possibly, include a fix for “surprise” medical bills that patients receive when they inadvertently receive care outside their insurance network. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner talks to Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health, about the future of employer-provided health insurance.