U.S. Congress

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Roe v. Wade on the Rocks

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Judging by oral arguments this week, the Supreme Court appears ready to uphold a Mississippi law barring most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — and possibly …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Big Biden Budget Bill Passes the House

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” social spending bill passed the House last week, but the legislation faces a new and different set of hurdles in the …

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Becerra Says Surprise Billing Rules Force Doctors Who Overcharge to Accept Fair Prices

Overpriced doctors and other medical providers who can’t charge a reasonable rate for their services could be put out of business when new rules against surprise medical bills take effect in January, and that’s a good thing, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told KHN, in defending the regulations. The proposed rules represent the …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Boosting Confusion

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. With covid caseloads rising across much of the country, several governors and mayors are unilaterally expanding access to booster shots, getting out ahead of federal health officials. …

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Public Opinion Is Unified on Lowering Prescription Drug Prices. Why Are Leaders Settling for Less?

Democrats and Republicans are crystal clear in polls that they want government to be allowed to negotiate down high drug prices. Americans pay nearly three times as much for drugs as patients in dozens of other countries. In the past two years, numerous Democratic candidates — including President Joe Biden — have campaigned on enacting …

Public Opinion Is Unified on Lowering Prescription Drug Prices. Why Are Leaders Settling for Less? Read More »

Congressional Doctors Lead Bipartisan Revolt Over Policy on Surprise Medical Bills

The detente that allowed Congress to pass a law curbing surprise medical bills has disintegrated, with a bipartisan group of 152 lawmakers assailing the administration’s plan to regulate the law and medical providers warning of grim consequences for underserved patients. For years, people have faced these massive, unexpected bills when they get treatment from hospitals …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Why Health Care Is So Expensive, Chapter $22K

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Congress appears to be making progress on its huge social spending bill, but even if it passes the House as planned the week of Nov. 15, it’s …

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Democrats Plan to Expand Medicare Hearing Benefits. What Can Consumers Expect?

President Joe Biden’s mammoth domestic spending bill would add hearing benefits to the traditional Medicare program — one of three major new benefits Democrats had sought. The Biden administration appears to have fallen short of its ambition to expand dental and vision along with hearing benefits. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressives have long …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Compromise Is Coming — Maybe

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Democrats on Capitol Hill hope they are nearing the finish line in their months-long quest to enact President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda. After briefly dropping from …

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Uninsured in South Would Win Big in Democrats’ Plan, but Hospitals Fear Funding Loss

At least 2.2 million low-income adults — nearly all in Texas and the Southeast — would be eligible for government-funded health insurance under the Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending and climate change plan. That’s the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act but have been left uninsured because they …

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Democrats’ Plans to Expand Medicare Benefits Put Pinch on Advantage Plans’ Funding

“Did you think we wouldn’t notice?” an older woman says, speaking into the camera. “You thought you could sneak this through?” an older man later adds. Others warn that Washington is “messing with” their Medicare Advantage health coverage and trying to raise their premiums. But the television ad, paid for by Better Medicare Alliance, a …

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Pharma Campaign Cash Delivered to Key Lawmakers With Surgical Precision

The Biden administration and Congress are embroiled in high-stakes haggling over what urgent priorities will make it into the ever-shrinking social spending bill. But for the pharmaceutical industry there is one agenda: Heading off Medicare drug price negotiation, which it considers an existential threat to its business model. The siren call to contain rising drug …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Dems Agree to Agree, But Not on What to Agree On

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Negotiations over what to include in — and cut from — the domestic spending package on Capitol Hill are reportedly making progress, but so far all Democrats …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Politics of Vaccine Mandates

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Should covid vaccines be mandated? The answer to that question has become predictably partisan, as with almost everything else associated with the pandemic. Even as the federal …

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Surprise-Billing Rule ‘Puts a Thumb on the Scale’ to Keep Arbitrated Costs in Check

Patients are months away from not having to worry about most surprise medical bills — those extra costs that can amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars when people are unknowingly treated by an out-of-network doctor or hospital. What’s not clear is whether the changes in law made by the No Surprises Act — which …

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The Public Backs Medicare Rx Price Negotiation Even After Hearing Both Sides’ Views

As Congress debates cutting prescription drug costs, a poll released Tuesday found the vast majority of adults — regardless of their political party or age — support letting the federal government negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and those in private health insurance plans. The argument that pharmaceutical companies need to charge high prices to …

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From Sewers to Golf Courses, Cities See Green With New Federal Covid Relief Dollars

Duluth, Minnesota, is hiring a social worker to help people with addiction and mental health problems. Pueblo, Colorado, started paying homeless residents to clean city streets. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida — in Palm Beach County, home to 160 golf courses — is building a new golf course. These are among the thousands of ways cities …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Abortion Politics Front and Center

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Abortion, an issue that has mostly been simmering under the surface lately, is taking center stage in fights at the Supreme Court, in Congress and in the …

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What the Stalemate on Capitol Hill Means for Your Drug Prices

As President Joe Biden’s government overhaul stalls in Congress, tensions are mounting over what changes ― if any ― could come for Americans at the pharmacy counter. The proposals in flux range from tinkering with tax credits to far-reaching changes in federal payments systems. Pressure is building to contain costs that have skyrocketed over the …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Health Agenda Still on Hold

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. Democrats on Capitol Hill missed their deadline to finish two huge bills that constitute the bulk of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, but negotiations continue over expansions to major health programs, as well as ways to rein in prescription drug costs. Meanwhile, the Biden …

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As Democrats Bicker Over Massive Spending Plan, Here’s What’s at Stake for Medicaid

Hours after the Supreme Court in 2012 narrowly upheld the Affordable Care Act but rejected making Medicaid expansion mandatory for states, Obama administration officials laughed when asked whether that would pose a problem. In a White House briefing, top advisers to President Barack Obama told reporters states would be foolish to turn away billions in …

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Death in Dallas: One Family’s Experience in the Medicaid Gap

For years, Millicent McKinnon of Dallas went without health insurance. She was one of roughly 1 million Texans who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid in the state but too little to buy their own insurance. That is, until she died in 2019. She was 64 and had been unable to find consistent care …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Autumn of Democrats’ Discontent

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Democrats in Congress and the White House are feverishly negotiating to pass as much of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda as they can agree on, even as …

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The Checkup Is in the Mail? Soliciting Letter Carriers to Help Deliver Health Care

Two of America’s toughest problems can be tempered with one solution. The baby boom generation is graying, creating an ever-larger population of older people, many isolated, whose needs the nation is ill equipped to meet or even monitor. Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service has gone $160 billion into debt, in part as digital communications have …

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Democrats Roll the Dice on Sweeping Abortion Rights Bill — Again

A newly conservative Supreme Court agreed to hear a case most assumed it would use to overrule the 1973 landmark abortion-rights ruling, Roe v. Wade. And Democrats on Capitol Hill, convinced the issue would play to their political favor, vowed to bring up legislation that would write abortion protections into federal law. “We’ll debate it. …

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Public Health Experts ‘Flabbergasted’ That Biden Still Hasn’t Picked an FDA Chief

President Joe Biden’s failure to name someone to lead the Food and Drug Administration, more than 10 months after the election, has flummoxed public health experts who say it’s baffling for the agency to be without a permanent leader during a national health crisis. The pandemic has taxed the FDA, an 18,000-person agency whose chiefs …

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Congress Cites KHN Investigation in Probe of National Academies

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is requesting a ream of documents from the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, spurred by a recent KHN investigation that revealed deep ties between pharmaceutical companies and two members of a committee that took a pharma-friendly stance in a recent report on drug waste. The …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Much Ado About Drug Prices

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Congressional Democrats are finding it harder to actually write legislation to lower drug prices than it is to make promises about it. But the drug price provisions of the $3.5 trillion social-spending bill …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Future of Public Health

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Click here for a transcript of the episode. The covid-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on public health, a key part of the health care system that …

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Telehealth’s Limits: Battle Over State Lines and Licensing Threatens Patients’ Options

If you live in one state, does it matter that the doctor treating you online is in another? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and the ability to conduct certain virtual appointments may be nearing an end. Televisits for medical care took off during the worst days of the pandemic, quickly becoming commonplace. Most states and …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccine Approval Moves the Needle on Covid

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Food and Drug Administration gave full approval this week to the covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, which will henceforth be known as “Comirnaty.” It is …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Booster Time

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. As covid-19 cases in the U.S. continue to rise, the Biden administration is countering with new strategies. The latest efforts include preparing for vaccine boosters starting this …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Senate Acts

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Senate has set the stage for a busy fall that will include debate on a broad array of health issues, such as prescription drug prices, Medicare …

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Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Services So Many Seniors Need?

Sorry, Joe Namath. Despite what you keep saying in those TV ads, under Medicare, seniors are not “entitled to eliminate copays and get dental care, dentures, eyeglasses, prescription drug coverage, in-home aides, unlimited transportation and home-delivered meals, all at no additional cost.” But if Democratic lawmakers in Congress have their say, seniors could soon be …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Blues

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The U.S. is experiencing another surge of covid-19, particularly in Southern states where vaccination rates are generally lower than in other regions. But partisan fights rage on …

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2+2=? Senate Uses Murky Math as It Shelves Drug Pricing Rule to Fund Infrastructure

The Senate’s release of its bipartisan infrastructure plan signals that lawmakers are poised to throw former President Donald Trump’s belated bid to lower Medicare drug prices under the bus — not to mention trains, bridges, tunnels and broadband connections. That’s because the massive spending bill is the first of two likely to at least delay …

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At Urgent Care, He Got 5 Stitches and a Big Surprise: A Plastic Surgeon’s Bill for $1,040

It was a Sunday morning in late November when Bryan Keller hopped on a bike for a routine ride to pick up his groceries, cruising with ease in a relatively empty New York City. The surprises came fast and hard: a fall that sent his head into the pavement and left him bleeding profusely and …

At Urgent Care, He Got 5 Stitches and a Big Surprise: A Plastic Surgeon’s Bill for $1,040 Read More »

Sign-Up Window for Free COBRA Coverage for Many Laid-Off Workers Closes This Week

After being laid off from her job as a systems analyst for a specialty chemicals company in December, Gabriela de Pompignan opted to hang on to her former employer’s insurance coverage under the federal law known as COBRA. Typically, laid-off workers pick up the total cost of premiums under COBRA, but her company paid roughly …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The resurgence of covid cases in the U.S. — largely attributable to the much more contagious delta variant — has given policymakers the jitters. The Biden administration …

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Sen. Wyden: $3.5T Budget May Have to Trim but It Can Set a Path to ‘Ambitious Goals’

Exactly what American health care will look like if Democrats can pass their $3.5 trillion spending plan is unclear, but the senator negotiating its health-related provisions hopes what emerges will be dramatic: the first complete health care system for older Americans and significantly reduced costs for everyone else. “We are setting very, very ambitious goals,” …

Sen. Wyden: $3.5T Budget May Have to Trim but It Can Set a Path to ‘Ambitious Goals’ Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Here Comes Reconciliation

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The expansion of health benefits is a major piece of the tentative budget deal reached this week by Democrats in Congress. They plan to press ahead — …

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As Congress Wrestles With Plans to Expand Medicare, Becerra Says Any One Will Do

The Biden administration will support whatever expansions to Medicare Congress is willing to make, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Tuesday. Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working on plans both to add benefits to the health program for seniors and to lower its eligibility age from 65 to 60. But the efforts …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Becerra Urges Congress to Expand Medicare, Address Rx Prices

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Biden administration stands ready to work with Congress to address drug prices and expand Medicare, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a wide-ranging …

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Drugmakers’ Spending on Stock, Dividends and Executive Pay Exceeds Research, Democrats Say

The largest drug companies are far more interested in enriching themselves and investors than in developing new drugs, according to a House committee report released Thursday that argues the industry can afford to charge Medicare less for prescriptions. The report by the House Oversight and Reform Committee says that contrary to pharmaceutical industry arguments that …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Un-Trumping the ACA

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Biden administration this week proposed a series of changes aimed at boosting insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, undoing changes made by the Trump administration …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The ACA Lives

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. For the third time in nine years, the Affordable Care Act has survived a constitutional challenge at the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled …

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Expanding Insurance Coverage Is Top Priority for New Medicare-Medicaid Chief

The new head of the federal agency that oversees health benefits for nearly 150 million Americans and $1 trillion in federal spending said in one of her first interviews that her top priorities will be broadening insurance coverage and ensuring health equity. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. “We’ve seen through the …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Return of the Public Option

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The “public option” is back — both in Washington, D.C., and the states. President Joe Biden as a candidate supported the idea of a government-run or heavily regulated insurance …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Roe v. Wade on the Ropes

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case next term that could result in a significant modification or overturn of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide. At issue is a Mississippi law that would ban the procedure after 15 weeks of …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The high cost of prescription drugs is a top health issue for the public and politicians, but concerns raised by a group of moderate Democrats threaten to derail a bill being pushed by House Democratic leaders. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the …

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Democrats Disagree About How to Spend Potential Prescription Drug Windfall

One of the few surprises in President Joe Biden’s social safety-net proposal, the American Families Plan, was something that didn’t make it into the final version: any mention of reining in the price of prescription drugs. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The American Families Plan, the second part of Biden’s expansive …

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Covered California Says Health Insurance Just Got Too Cheap to Ignore

If you are uninsured because health coverage seemed too expensive the last time you looked, it’s time to look again. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. A new federal law could make it a whole lot cheaper to buy your own insurance if you don’t get coverage through an employer or a …

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Two Unmatched-Doctor Advocacy Groups Are Tied to Anti-Immigrant Organizations

In their last year of medical school, fourth-year students get matched to a hospital where they will serve their residency. This story also ran on The Daily Beast. It can be republished for free. The annual rite of passage is called the National Resident Matching Program. To the students, it’s simply the Match. Except not …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 100 Days of Health Policy

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. It’s been a busy 100 days for the Biden administration on health policy. The promise Joe Biden made as president-elect to get 100 million covid vaccinations in arms was doubled, healthcare.gov reopened to those without insurance, and steps were taken to undo a raft of …

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A ‘Dose of Hope’? Fact-Checking President Joe Biden’s First Speech to Congress

In his first speech before Congress, President Joe Biden argued it was time to turn the coronavirus pandemic into a historic opportunity to expand government for the benefit of a wider range of Americans, urging investments in jobs, climate change, child care, infrastructure and more.  Biden said that taxes should be increased on corporations and …

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Evaluating President Joe Biden’s First 100 Days in Office

In the first 100 days, new presidents try to turn campaign promises into quick legislative victories, defuse lingering crises, set themselves apart from their predecessor and set a leadership tone for the next four years — all while avoiding blunders that could destroy their momentum. This story ran in partnership with PolitiFact. It can be republished …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Picking Up the Pace of Undoing Trump Policies

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The Biden administration is speeding up the pace of efforts to undo Trump administration health policies. The two most recent: overturning a ban on fetal tissue research funded by the National Institutes of Health and canceling a last-minute extension of a Medicaid waiver for Texas. …

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Expertos en salud pública temen que los fondos desaparezcan cuando termine la pandemia

En respuesta a la pandemia de covid-19, el Congreso ha invertido decenas de miles de millones de dólares en los departamentos de salud pública estatales y locales, pagando por máscaras, rastreadores de contactos y campañas educativas para persuadir a las personas de que se vacunen. Sus funcionarios, que han manejado presupuestos famélicos durante años, están …

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Public Health Experts Worry About Boom-Bust Cycle of Support

Congress has poured tens of billions of dollars into state and local public health departments in response to the covid-19 pandemic, paying for masks, contact tracers and education campaigns to persuade people to get vaccinated. This story also ran on The Associated Press. It can be republished for free. Public health officials who have juggled …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Planning for Round Two

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Congress is out of session, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from planning their next round of health legislation. Together with President Joe Biden, they are looking at a broad array of possibilities, from allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices to adding more benefits to the …

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In His Continued Sparring With Fauci, Sen. Rand Paul Oversimplified the Science

“Sorry Dr Fauci and other fearmongers, new study shows vaccines and naturally acquired immunity DO effectively neutralize COVID variants. Good news for everyone but bureaucrats and petty tyrants!” — Sen. Rand Paul in a tweet, March 21, 2021 That Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky often disagrees with infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is well known. …

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Military Exposed to Toxic Fumes From Burn Pits Set to Get Bipartisan Boost

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Friday planned to roll out what could be the most ambitious attempt ever tried to treat American war fighters poisoned in deployments overseas. The bipartisan bill, modeled on both Agent Orange legislation and the 9/11 health act, aims to help unknown thousands of veterans who got sick after being exposed …

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Democrats Could Undo Trump Policies Faster, But They’re Not. Why?

Undoing many of the policies of his predecessor is one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities. In early February, Biden even got a little defensive about all the executive actions he was taking in his first days in office to halt policies set by President Donald Trump. “I’m not making new law,” he said Feb. …

Democrats Could Undo Trump Policies Faster, But They’re Not. Why? Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Getting Down to Work at HHS

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. As questions swirl about the covid vaccine made by AstraZeneca, public health experts are worried the confusion could create more doubts among people already hesitant to get a vaccine. Meanwhile, the first Senate-confirmed officials are settling into their offices at the Department of Health and …

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Democrats Eye Medicare Negotiations to Lower Drug Prices

Democrats, newly in control of Congress and the White House, are united behind an idea that Republican lawmakers and major drugmakers fiercely oppose: empowering the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the prices of brand-name drugs covered by Medicare. This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. But they …

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Listen: Crooked Media and KHN Deliver Diagnosis on Pandemic Relief and ACA

On this week’s episode of “America Dissected,” podcast host Dr. Abdul El-Sayed spoke with KHN correspondent Emmarie Huetteman about the pandemic aid package designed to give millions of people relief from expensive health care premiums. Huetteman, who wrote about the plan, explained it could throw a lifeline to lower- and middle-income Americans who have fallen …

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Doctors Found Jet Fuel in Veteran’s Lungs. He Can’t Get Full Benefits.

The lungs Bill Thompson was born with told a gruesome, harrowing and unmistakable tale to Dr. Anthony Szema when he analyzed them and found the black spots, scarring, partially combusted jet fuel and metal inside. This story also ran on The Daily Beast. It can be republished for free. The retired Army staff sergeant had …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: ACA Packs More Benefits — And More Confusion

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The covid relief bill signed by President Joe Biden a week ago includes billions of dollars in new health benefits for consumers. But those benefits may be hard for people to take advantage of because of the interaction with the income tax system and the …

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Analysis: The Trump Health Care Policies That Deserve to Stick Around

President Joe Biden’s goal of providing health care for more Americans advanced this week with his signing of an economic stimulus package that includes subsidies for health insurance premiums and new incentives for states to expand Medicaid, as well as the potential confirmation of Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services. This story …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Expanding the ACA in an Unpredicted Way

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. For the first time since its enactment in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is slated for major benefit expansions, courtesy of the covid relief bill approved by Congress this week. But the changes are only temporary, so the measure also tees up a fight to …

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Indocumentados, esenciales pero excluidos del apoyo financiero por la pandemia

El hijo de Ana, de 9 años, fue el primero en presentar síntomas de covid en marzo pasado. Poco después, la inmigrante indocumentada de 37 años y sus otros tres hijos, incluyendo una con asma, tuvieron dificultades para respirar. Durante las tres semanas siguientes, la familia luchó contra la enfermedad en aislamiento, mientras amigos y …

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Pandemic Aid Package Includes Relief From High Premiums

This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. As President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief package steams through Congress, Democrats have hitched a ride for a top health care priority: strengthening the Affordable Care Act with some of the most significant changes to insurance affordability in more than a decade. The bill …

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Without a Pandemic Safety Net, Immigrants Living in US Illegally Fall Through the Cracks

Ana’s 9-year-old son was the first in the family to come down with symptoms that looked like covid-19 last March. Soon after, the 37-year-old unauthorized immigrant and three of her other children, including a daughter with asthma, struggled to breathe. This story also ran on Time. It can be republished for free. For the next …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Good and Not-So-Good News on Covid

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. There’s good news and bad news on covid-19 this week. On the one hand, several million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine authorized by the FDA for emergency use are already going into the arms of people around the nation. And the Biden …

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Becerra Has Long Backed Single-Payer. That Doesn’t Mean It Will Happen if He’s HHS Secretary.

“Becerra supports Bernie’s government takeover of your health care, eliminating your employer-provided coverage.” — TV ad funded by Cotton for Senate, Feb. 22 This story was produced in partnership with PolitiFact. It can be republished for free. A digital ad running in Georgia and New Hampshire says Xavier Becerra, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Health and …

Becerra Has Long Backed Single-Payer. That Doesn’t Mean It Will Happen if He’s HHS Secretary. Read More »

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Staffing Up at HHS

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. More than a month into President Joe Biden’s term, nominees to fill some of the top posts at the Department of Health and Human Services are finally getting confirmation hearings in the Senate, starting with the nominee for secretary, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Barring …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Open Enrollment, One More Time

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. An estimated 9 million Americans eligible for free or reduced premium health insurance under the Affordable Care Act have a second chance to sign up for 2021 coverage, since the Biden administration reopened enrollment on healthcare.gov and states that run their own marketplaces followed suit. …

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Why Biden Has a Chance to Cut Deals With Red State Holdouts on Medicaid

President Joe Biden has an unexpected opening to cut deals with red states to expand Medicaid, raising the prospect that the new administration could extend health protections to millions of uninsured Americans and reach a goal that has eluded Democrats for a decade. The opportunity emerges as the covid-19 pandemic saps state budgets and strains …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: All About Budget Reconciliation

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Joe Biden has said he still wants a bipartisan bill to provide the next round of covid relief. But in case that doesn’t happen, House committees this week got down to work on a budget reconciliation bill that could pass the Senate with a …

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Hard Bargain: Biden and Congress Agree on Basic Relief, but Chasms Remain on Covid Plan

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. President Joe Biden and a group of Republicans agreed this week on how much Congress should spend on vaccine distribution, covid-19 testing and other health investments that public health officials say are desperately needed to fight the pandemic. But agreement on those popular programs, which make …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Long Road to Unwinding Trump Health Policies

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Thursday was “health day” in President Joe Biden’s sprint to launch his presidency, and he signed two executive orders addressing health coverage and women’s reproductive rights. The orders will reopen enrollment under the Affordable Care Act from February to May and reverse the so-called Mexico …

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4 Vital Health Issues — Not Tied to Covid — That Congress Addressed in Massive Spending Bill

This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. Late last month, before President Joe Biden took office and proposed his pandemic relief plan, Congress passed a nearly 5,600-page legislative package that provided some pandemic relief along with its more general allocations to fund the government in 2021. While the $900 billion that lawmakers included for …

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Remdesivir, Given to Half of Hospitalized Covid Patients in U.S., Is Big Win for Gilead — Boosted by Taxpayers

It was the end of April — just as the U.S. confirmed its millionth covid-19 case and 50,000 deaths — when White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announced “highly significant” news about a drug called remdesivir. That was surprising because the antiviral drug, owned by Gilead Sciences and developed with investment from the federal government, …

Remdesivir, Given to Half of Hospitalized Covid Patients in U.S., Is Big Win for Gilead — Boosted by Taxpayers Read More »

Health Issues Carried Weight on the Campaign Trail. What Could Biden Do in His First 100 Days?

Joe Biden ran on an expansive health care platform during his 2020 presidential campaign, with a broad array of promises such as adding a government-sponsored health plan to the Affordable Care Act and lowering prescription drug prices. Perhaps most significantly, he pledged to get control of the covid pandemic that claimed more than 400,000 American lives …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Biden Health Agenda

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Joe Biden wasted no time getting down to work. Among the raft of executive orders he signed on Inauguration Day were several aimed at curtailing the covid crisis, including one requiring mask-wearing by federal employees and anyone on federal property for the next 100 …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: On Capitol Hill, Actions Have Consequences

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The reverberations from the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump continue. A broad array of business groups, including many from the health industry, are halting contributions to Republicans in the House and Senate who voted against certifying the …

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Aunque controlen el Senado, demócratas necesitarán apoyo republicano en temas clave de salud

Ante la pandemia, los demócratas han abogado por ayudas más generosas, más presión sobre las farmacéuticas para que bajen los precios y más atención al racismo sistémico en la atención de salud. El 20 de enero, con el control del Senado y la Cámara de Representantes, tendrán el poder de elegir qué propuestas de salud …

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Even With Senate Control, Democrats Will Need Buy-In From GOP on Key Health Priorities

Use Our Content It can be republished for free. Democrats have argued for more generous pandemic relief, more pressure on drugmakers to lower prices and more attention to systemic racism in health care. On Jan. 20, with control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, they’ll have the power to choose which health care …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Georgia Turns the Senate Blue

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Surprise Democratic victories in Georgia’s two runoff elections this week will give Democrats control of the Senate, which means they will be in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time since 2010. Although the narrow majorities in the …

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Seniors Face Crushing Drug Costs as Congress Stalls on Capping Medicare Out-Of-Pockets

This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free. Sharon Clark is able to get her life-sustaining cancer drug, Pomalyst — priced at more than $18,000 for a 28-day supply — only because of the generosity of patient assistance foundations. Clark, 57, a former insurance agent who lives in Bixby, Oklahoma, had …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 2020 in Review — It Wasn’t All COVID

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. COVID-19 was the dominant — but not the only — health policy story of 2020. In this special year-in-review episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast, panelists look back at some of the biggest non-coronavirus stories. Those included Supreme Court cases on the Affordable Care …

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Surprise! Congress Takes Steps to Curb Unexpected Medical Bills

Most Americans tell pollsters they’re worried about being able to afford an unexpected medical bill. Late Monday, Congress passed a bill to allay some of those fears. The measure is included in a nearly 5,600-page package providing coronavirus economic relief and government funding for the rest of the fiscal year. Specifically, the legislation addresses those …

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Democrats Are Running Hard on Health Care in Georgia’s Senate Runoffs. Republicans? Not So Much.

This story is from a reporting partnership that includes WABE, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free. Vice President Mike Pence was the clear celebrity draw at a Nov. 20 campaign event for Georgia’s two incumbent U.S. senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Both Republicans are fighting to keep their seats against two …

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KHN on the Air This Week

KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed how the COVID-19 backlash undermines public health on Newsy on Thursday. Click here to watch Weber on Newsy Read “Pandemic Backlash Jeopardizes Public Health Powers, Leaders” by California Healthline senior correspondent Anna Maria Barry-Jester, KHN data reporter Hannah Recht, Michelle R. Smith of The Associated Press and Weber California …

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Pandemic-Related Paid Sick Days and Leave to Expire Dec. 31 — With No Extension in Sight

Like tens of millions of other parents nationwide, Jonathan and Sara Sadowski struggle to assist their four children, ages 5 to 11, with their online schooling at home. In addition, their eldest child, who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, needs special care. So to help the kids and keep them safe — …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: All I Want for Christmas Is a COVID Relief Bill

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Congress appears to be inching ever closer to agreement on a long-delayed COVID-19 relief bill, which would extend unemployment insurance and other emergency programs set to expire in the next several days. That bill, however, apparently will not include the top-priority items for both political …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccines Coming Soon but COVID Relief Bill Still Stalled

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The first vaccine to protect against COVID-19 could be approved in the U.S. within days, but legislation to help fund its distribution remains mired in Congress. And President-elect Joe Biden has tapped California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his secretary of Health and Human Services. …

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Senate Republicans Throw the Brakes on Timing for Becerra Hearings

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. Senate Republicans are signaling they will delay considering President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, threatening to slow the Biden administration’s response to the pandemic that has killed more than 283,000 Americans. On Monday, Republican spokespeople for the committees responsible …

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Biden Wins, but His Health Agenda Dims With GOP Likely to Hold Senate

Former Vice President Joe Biden secured the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House on Saturday, major news organizations projected,  after election officials in a handful of swing states spent days in round-the-clock counting of millions of mail-in ballots and early votes. The Democrat’s victory came after the latest tallies showed him taking …

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Change Is in the Air

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. Assuming former Vice President Joe Biden becomes President-elect Joe Biden and Republicans retain control of the Senate, the health agenda could be very different from what Democrats campaigned on. A GOP Senate is unlikely to want to pursue many of Biden’s agenda items, including expanding …

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Longtime Health Advocate Donna Shalala Loses House Reelection Race

Rep. Donna E. Shalala of Florida, the first-term Democratic member of Congress and former Health and Human Services secretary in the Clinton administration, lost her campaign for reelection Tuesday. Shalala’s loss to Maria Elvira Salazar — a Republican and former television journalist who compared Democratic policy proposals to leftist oppression in countries like Cuba while …

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‘It’s Science, Stupid’: A School Subject Emerges as a Hot-Button Political Issue

At the top of Dr. Hiral Tipirneni’s to-do list if she wins her congressional race: work with other elected officials to encourage mask mandates and to beef up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. Those choices are backed up by science, said Tipirneni, an emergency room physician running for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District. On the campaign …

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Democrats Link GOP Challengers to Trump’s COVID Record, Efforts to Undo Obamacare

In a tweet to his 78,000 followers Sunday, U.S. Rep. Harley Rouda, a Democrat from Orange County, California, described his Republican opponent Michelle Steel’s attendance at an indoor fundraiser without a mask as “sickening.” Democratic U.S. Rep. Gil Cisneros also blasted his Republican opponent, Young Kim, on Twitter for attending the “superspreader fundraiser,” calling it …

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Biden’s Big Health Agenda Won’t Be Easy to Achieve

If Joe Biden wins the presidency in November, health is likely to play a high-profile role in his agenda. Just probably not in the way he or anyone else might have predicted. Barring something truly unforeseen, it’s fairly certain that on Jan. 20 the U.S. will still be in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic …

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Outnumbered on High Court Nomination, Democrats Campaign for a Different Vote

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee know that, barring something unexpected, they lack the votes to block President Donald Trump from installing his third justice in four years on the Supreme Court and creating a 6-3 conservative majority. They also know that, in a normal year, by mid-October Congress would be out of session and …

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Old Drug Turned ‘Cash Cow’ as Company Pumped Price to $40K a Vial, Emails Show

For a dad whose infant son was afflicted with a rare seizure disorder, a drug invented in 1952 was indispensable for his boy. It was also indispensable to executives at the pharmaceutical firm that acquired the drug in 2014 — not because it was a cure, but because it was a “cash cow,” according to …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Replay: What’s at Stake When High Court Hears ACA Case

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. The “What the Health?” panelists are taking a break for two weeks. But since the Supreme Court recently scheduled arguments in the case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it seemed like a good opportunity to replay an episode from March, when the …

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Politics Slows Flow of US Pandemic Relief Funds to Public Health Agencies

As the coronavirus began to spread through Minneapolis this spring, Health Commissioner Gretchen Musicant tore up her budget to find funds to combat the crisis. Money for test kits. Money to administer tests. Money to hire contact tracers. Yet even more money for a service that helps tracers communicate with residents in dozens of languages. …

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COVID Data Failures Create Pressure for Public Health System Overhaul

After terrorists slammed a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11, ambulances rushed scores of the injured to community hospitals, but only three of the patients were taken to specialized trauma wards. The reason: The hospitals and ambulances had no real-time information-sharing system. Nineteen years later, there is still no national data network that enables the …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Kamala Harris on Health

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. California Sen. Kamala Harris, the newly named running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, doesn’t have a lot of background in health policy. But that’s unlikely to prevent Republicans from using her on-again, off-again support for “Medicare for All” against her in the …

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Pandemic’s Bumps and Backlash Shape Montana Race Poised to Steer US Senate

MISSOULA, Mont. — Bradshaw Sumners watched throughout February as COVID-19 hot spots developed in major American cities, waiting to see when the coronavirus pandemic would manifest in Montana. When it finally did, life for the Livingston resident and father of two changed dramatically. His daughters, 8 and 4 years old, were suddenly home from school. …

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Republicans in COVID Disarray

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump’s pivot to a more serious view of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t last long. This week, he was again touting hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has not been shown to work against the virus. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans continue to struggle to …

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Must-Reads of the Week From Lauren Olsen

Hiya! I’m Lauren Olsen, your new Newsletter Editor. That’s right — the totally official, no more fill-ins, always-here-for-you Newsletter Editor. As the replacement for editor extraordinaire Brianna Labuskes, I’m here to tackle all your health news needs. Why yes, you’re right — a pandemic is a heck of a time to take over this job. …

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Trump Twists on Virus Response

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump — who has spent the past six months trying to play down the coronavirus pandemic — seems to have pivoted. In back-to-back briefings on July 21 and 22, Trump cautioned that the U.S. is in a dangerous place vis-a-vis the pandemic. He …

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Next Showdown in Congress: Protecting Workers vs. Protecting Employers in the Pandemic

Congressional leaders are squaring off over the next pandemic relief bill in a debate over whom Congress should step up to protect: front-line workers seeking more safeguards from the ravages of COVID-19 or beleaguered employers seeking relief from lawsuits. Democrats want to enact an emergency standard meant to bolster access to protective gear for health …

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