The State of the Union Is … Busy


The Host

Julie Rovner
KFF Well being Information


Learn Julie’s tales.

Julie Rovner is chief Washington correspondent and host of KFF Well being Information’ weekly well being coverage information podcast, “What the Well being?” A famous professional on well being coverage points, Julie is the creator of the critically praised reference e-book “Well being Care Politics and Coverage A to Z,” now in its third version.

President Joe Biden is working to put out his well being agenda for a second time period, at the same time as Congress races to complete its overdue spending payments for the fiscal yr that started final October.

In the meantime, Alabama lawmakers attempt to reopen the state’s fertility clinics over the protests of abortion opponents, and pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens announce they’re prepared to start federally regulated gross sales of the abortion capsule mifepristone.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KFF Well being Information, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Name.


Sarah Karlin-Smith
Pink Sheet


Learn Sarah’s tales.

Alice Miranda Ollstein


Learn Alice’s tales.

Sandhya Raman
CQ Roll Name


Learn Sandhya’s tales.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Lawmakers in Washington are finishing work on the primary batch of spending payments to avert a authorities shutdown. The package deal features a bare-bones well being invoice, leaving out sure bipartisan proposals which have been within the works on drug costs and pandemic preparedness. Docs do get some reduction within the invoice from Medicare cuts that took impact in January, however the pay cuts are usually not canceled.
  • The White Home is floating proposals on drug costs that embody increasing Medicare negotiations to extra medicine; making use of negotiated costs earlier available in the market life of medication; and capping out-of-pocket most drug funds at $2,000 for all sufferers, not simply seniors. At the very least among the concepts have been proposed earlier than and couldn’t clear even a Democratic-controlled Congress. However additionally they sustain strain on the pharmaceutical business because it challenges the federal government in courtroom — and as Election Day nears.
  • Many in public well being are expressing frustration after the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention softened its covid-19 isolation steering. The change factors to the necessity for a nationwide dialogue about societal help for finest practices in public well being — particularly by increasing entry to paid depart and youngster care.
  • In the meantime, CVS and Walgreens introduced their pharmacies will distribute the abortion capsule mifepristone, and enthusiasm is waning for the primary over-the-counter contraception capsule amid questions on how sufferers pays its higher-than-anticipated checklist value of $20 per thirty days.
  • Alabama’s governor signed a regulation defending entry to in vitro fertilization, granting suppliers immunity from the state Supreme Courtroom’s latest “embryonic personhood” determination. However with opposition from conservative teams, is the brand new regulation additionally sure for the Alabama Supreme Courtroom?

Additionally this week, Rovner interviews White Home home coverage adviser Neera Tanden about Biden’s well being agenda.

Plus, for “further credit score” the panelists recommend well being coverage tales they learn this week that they suppose you need to learn, too:

Julie Rovner: NPR’s “How States Giving Rights to Fetuses Might Set Up a Nationwide Case on Abortion,” by Regan McCarthy.

Sarah Karlin-Smith: Stat’s  “The Conflict on Restoration,” by Lev Facher.

Alice Miranda Ollstein: KFF Well being Information’ “Why Even Public Well being Consultants Have Restricted Perception Into Stopping Gun Violence in America,” by Christine Spolar.

Sandhya Raman: The Journal’s “‘My Son Is Not There Anymore’: How Younger Folks With Psychosis Are Falling By the Cracks,” by Órla Ryan.

Additionally talked about on this week’s podcast:


Francis Ying
Audio producer

Emmarie Huetteman

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