Julie Rovner KFF Health News @jrovner
Julie Rovner is chief Washington correspondent and host of KFF Health News’ weekly health policy news podcast “What Is Health?” A leading expert on health policy issues, Julie is the author of the critically acclaimed reference book Health Care Politics and Policy from A to Z, now in its third edition.
Based on the results of the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, the 2024 presidential election appears more likely than ever to be a repeat of the 2020 presidential election: Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. Health is becoming a critical issue.
Trump has again vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is more popular than it was in 2017 when Republicans failed to convene Congress to vote to repeal it. Biden is doubling down on support for contraception and abortion rights.
Both are expected to highlight efforts to control prescription drug costs.
This week’s panelists include KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner, Politico’s Alice Miranda Ollstein, Bloomberg News’ Anna Edney and CQ Roll Call’s Jessie Hellmann.
Highlights from this week’s episode include:
- Trump performs strongly in New Hampshire Republican primary. But Biden himself may be gaining momentum from an unexpected source: A pharmaceutical industry lawsuit challenging his administration’s plan to negotiate Medicare price negotiations could draw attention to Biden’s efforts to combat rising prescription drug prices, a concern for many voters. It’s a major wallet issue.
- Biden’s drug pricing efforts also include using the government’s so-called drug step-in authority, which could allow the government to lower the prices of certain drugs — it’s not yet clear which ones. Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called on his committee to subpoena the CEOs of two drugmakers, the latest example of lawmakers calling Big Pharma executives to Congress to hold them accountable for high prices. .
- More than a year after the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, abortion opponents gathered in Washington, D.C., for a March for Life rally and now hope to continue advancing their priorities under a future conservative presidency.
- One avenue abortion opponents are focused on is the 19th-century Comstock Act, which would have banned not only the mailing of abortion pills to patients but also the mailing of abortion pills to clinics and medical facilities. Considering that more than half of all abortions nationwide currently involve the use of the abortion pill, this amounts to a fairly sweeping ban.
- State lawmakers continue to push for stricter abortion laws specifically targeting the care of minors, with a specific exception for rape. The ongoing quest to screen access to the procedure, amid public reservations reflected in polls and ballot initiatives, underscores that, at least for some abortion opponents, fetuses are viewed as an oppressed minority whose rights should not Affected by majority vote.
Also this week, Rovner interviews Sarah Somers, legal director of the National Health Law Project, about the potential consequences for federal health programs if the Supreme Court overturns the 40-year-old precedent established in this case. Influence Chevron United States v. Natural Resources Defense Council.
Plus, for “extra points,” the panelists suggested health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:
Julie Rovner: Health Affairs’ “‘Housing First’ increases psychiatric care office visits and prescriptions while reducing emergency visits,” by Devlin Hanson and Sarah Gillespie.
Alice Miranda Olstein: Stat’s “The White House Has a Pharmacy — And It’s Chaos, A New Investigation Finds,” by Brittany Trang.
Anna Edney: “What does it mean for scientists to listen to their patients?” by Rachel Bedard, The New Yorker.
Jesse Herman: “Congenital syphilis — an ancient scourge — killed eight babies in North Carolina last year,” by Jennifer Fernandez from NC Health News.
Also mentioned in this week’s podcast:
“Drug company attacks on Medicare drug price negotiations could benefit Biden,” by John Wilkerson, Stat.
- Francis Ying Audio Producer
- Edited by Emmalee Hutman
This article is reprinted from khn.org, a national newsroom specializing in in-depth journalism on health issues and one of KFF’s core operating programs – an independent source of health policy research, polling and news.