KHN’s ‘What the Well being?’: 100 Days of Well being Coverage


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It’s been a busy 100 days for the Biden administration on well being coverage. The promise Joe Biden made as president-elect to get 100 million covid vaccinations in arms was doubled, healthcare.gov reopened to these with out insurance coverage, and steps had been taken to undo a raft of well being insurance policies applied by President Donald Trump. The covid aid invoice handed by Congress in March additionally boosted subsidies for many who purchase their very own protection and offered incentives for the 12 states which have but to broaden their Medicaid applications below the ACA.

However these actions might show the excessive level for well being coverage this yr. Administration officers initially promised that well being can be a significant a part of the president’s $1.8 trillion American Households Plan, however main modifications, significantly these addressing prescription drug prices, had been nowhere to be seen when the plan was unveiled Wednesday.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Name and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet

Listed here are some takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • Among the many Trump administration well being insurance policies the Biden administration has moved to reverse are these on ladies’s reproductive well being and Medicaid work necessities. Some consultants counsel that Democratic officers pushed ahead on this with good velocity as a result of the previous administration’s well being insurance policies had been simpler to disentangle than its guidelines on surroundings, the place Biden additionally needs to make modifications.
  • Democratic lawmakers had appeared keen to make use of Biden’s household plan to broaden Medicare or drive down prescription drug costs. It probably alerts that whereas well being care is a key subject for Democrats on Capitol Hill, it’s not as large a precedence within the White Home. Biden, who did point out these insurance policies favored by progressive lawmakers in his speech to Congress on Wednesday, appears to be placing his emphasis on strengthening the Reasonably priced Care Act.
  • Proper now, the pharmaceutical business is scoring excessive with voters and politicians due to the successes of the covid vaccines. So, getting Senate approval of a invoice to permit Medicare to barter drug costs is prone to be tough. These odds get even harder with out strain from the White Home.
  • Biden can also have shied away from the drug pricing initiative in his formal plan for serving to households as a result of he was involved that it may divide the Democratic caucus and imperil the general initiative.
  • The administration is gearing as much as present India with assist to battle the pandemic. Public well being officers level out that though the vaccination effort within the U.S. goes nicely, it’s crucial to tamp down the virus in different international locations so variants that might evade the vaccines don’t develop. Nonetheless, there may be already a debate about how a lot U.S. vaccine to ship overseas earlier than authorities decide vaccinate youngsters right here.
  • Federal well being officers have lifted the pause on utilizing the Johnson & Johnson covid vaccine, however that call has been controversial and a few scientists query whether or not there was sufficient research or it was the correct transfer.
  • The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention loosened its mask-wearing suggestions for individuals who have been vaccinated, however the brand new guidelines are complicated and even sparked some jokes amongst late-night TV comedians.
  • Because the vaccination efforts within the U.S. achieve steam, curiosity is rising amongst individuals with long-term instances of covid-19. A listening to on Capitol Hill this week checked out a number of the points, corresponding to what types of disabilities these sufferers face and what office lodging are vital.
  • The Nationwide Institutes of Well being is starting main research of “lengthy covid” and its myriad signs. Though well being officers don’t but have a transparent definition of lengthy covid, they’re usually not dismissing sufferers’ complaints in regards to the dysfunction. That differs from some mysterious illnesses prior to now.
  • The Biden administration has loosened the principles governing who can prescribe the drug buprenorphine, a controversial however efficient therapy for opioid dependancy. The coverage eliminates a coaching requirement and seeks to permit medical professionals apart from docs to prescribe the drug. However hurdles to its use stay, main some to query how far more extensively the drug will probably be used because of the brand new coverage.

Additionally this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the most recent KHN-NPR “Invoice of the Month” characteristic — in regards to the intersection between automotive insurance coverage and medical health insurance. If in case you have an outrageous medical invoice you’d prefer to share with us, you are able to do it right here.

Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they suppose you must learn too:

Julie Rovner: This American Life’s “The Herd,” by Ira Glass, Anna Maria Barry-Jester and David Kestenbaum. Additionally, KHN’s “We’re Coming for You’: For Public Well being Officers, a 12 months of Threats and Menace,” by Anna Maria Barry-Jester.

Joanne Kenen: The New Yorker’s “How Vaccine Hesitancy Is Driving Breakthrough Infections in Nursing Houses,” by Masha Gessen.

Mary Ellen McIntire: CQ Roll Name’s “FEMA’s Duties Pit COVID-19 Vaccinations In opposition to Hurricane Prep,” by Emily Kopp.

Sarah Karlin-Smith: The Pink Sheet’s “Conflicts Galore: Upcoming Accelerated Approval Most cancers Panel Contains Many Trade Relationships,” by Sarah Karlin-Smith.


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