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Republicans have all but abandoned the Affordable Care Act as a campaign cudgel, judging from their national convention, at least. Meanwhile, career scientists at the federal government’s preeminent health agencies — the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health — are all coming under increasing political pressure as the pandemic drags on. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Elizabeth Lawrence about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.

We’re off this week, but the Affordable Care Act is in the news, as the GOP holds its virtual convention and the Supreme Court recently scheduled arguments in a case challenging the law. So we’re reposting our ACA 10th anniversary episode from March. For this special episode of “What the Health?” host Julie Rovner interviews Kathleen Sebelius, who was President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services when the law was passed. Then Rovner, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN discuss the law’s history, impact and prospects for the future.

Congress has allocated trillions of dollars to ease the coronavirus crisis. A joint KHN and AP investigation finds that many communities with big outbreaks have spent little of that federal money on local public health departments for work such as testing and contact tracing. Others, like Minnesota, were slow to do so. Bureaucracy has bogged things down, politics have crept into the process, and understaffed departments have struggled to take time away from critical needs to navigate the red tape required to justify asking for more money.

The Democratic presidential ticket is complete, with Joe Biden’s selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Health has not been a major issue for Harris, whose career priority has been the criminal justice system. But expect Republicans to pounce on her on-again, off-again support for “Medicare for All.” Meanwhile, with Congress still in a stalemate over another round of COVID-19 relief, President Donald Trump is trying to use his executive power to do what lawmakers have not — with mixed success. Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

President Donald Trump’s sobering view of COVID-19 didn’t last long – this week, he was back to pushing hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been shown not to work in treating the virus. Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill are still scrambling to agree among themselves and with the White House on the next coronavirus relief bill, as both a moratorium on evictions and extra unemployment payments expire. And the debate over drug prices, which was going to be one of the biggest health issues of this election year, makes a brief appearance. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Markian Hawryluk, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” story about a surprise bill from a surprise surgical assistant.