Tagged Multimedia

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: We Answer Your Questions


Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.


This week, KHN’s “What the Health?” panelists answered questions submitted by listeners.

Among the topics covered were drug prices, how other countries provide and pay for health insurance and whether Congress might repeal the “Cadillac tax” on generous health plans.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Caitlin Owens of Axios.

Among questions the panel addressed:

  • Why [does] the health care debate in the U.S. seem to be focused on “Medicare for All” or strengthening the ACA, but no one is suggesting a universal multipayer system with price controls, as in France or Germany?
  • Can you please explain the policies that prevent the majority of Medicare patients from using third-party and manufacturers’ coupons for medications?
  • I know that you all talked about the update on the Cadillac tax, but I was wondering, what are the reasons why there is bipartisan support to repeal it?

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too:

Julie Rovner: The Washington Post’s “Illness Is One of Many New Factors to Count Against Immigrants Seeking U.S. Residency,” by Paige Winfield Cunningham

Anna Edney: Bloomberg News’ “Trump’s Canada Drug Import Plan Can’t Happen Without Big Pharma,” by Natalie Obiko Pearson and Simran Jagdev

Alice Miranda Ollstein: The Appeal’s “Ohio Governor Wants to Detain Fewer Mentally Ill People Before Trial,” by Kira Lerner

Caitlin Owens: JAMA Internal Medicine’s “Assessment of Out-of-Network Billing for Privately Insured Patients Receiving Care in In-Network Hospitals,” by Eric Sun, Michelle Mello and Jasmin Moshfegh

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySpotify, or Pocket Casts.

Watch: Defining The Debate On Health Care Coverage Options

Public opinion polls show strong support for efforts to expand health coverage to more Americans.

But the list of proposals is long and the phrases used to describe them are often sloppy sloganeering.

Let us help you cut through the confusion.


Universal Coverage
Universal coverage means everyone has health insurance. Universal coverage can be provided by the government or a private company or some combination.


Single-Payer

In a single-payer system, the government pays all medical bills and sets prices for medical procedures. Canada has a single-payer system.


Socialized Medicine

Single-payer is not the same as socialized medicine, where the government owns the hospitals and clinics and employs the staffs. Great Britain’s National Health Service is an almost fully socialized health system.


Public Option

A public option is a plan sponsored by the government that individuals may purchase. Private insurance plans would remain and the public option plan would compete with them for customers.


'Medicare For All'

Medicare is the government program that insures 60 million people, most age 65 and older. It’s very popular.

Medicare, however, does not have very generous benefits compared with most private insurance plans. For example, you need separate insurance for prescription drugs and there is no limit on out-of-pocket costs.

Backers of “Medicare for All” proposals want to expand current Medicare to the entire population and enhance the benefits, too.

Medicare for All plans would minimize the current role of private insurance plans and some would eliminate them entirely.


Medicare For More

Some people would like to expand Medicare gradually. This is sometimes called “Medicare for More.” It might simply lower the eligibility age to 55 or 50. Or it could begin by adding children and gradually move the eligibility age up until everyone is covered.


Medicare Buy-In

Another variation would keep the current Medicare coverage but let people who are not now eligible purchase it. These Medicare buy-in proposals might allow people ages 50 to 64 to opt in. Or Medicare might be available for purchase to those who don’t get insurance at their job.

All these plans will cost the government — that is, taxpayers — more. How much more, well, that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Gun Violence And The Politics Of Public Health


Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.


Three mass shootings in eight days have refocused the nation’s attention on the problem of gun violence — and restarted the long-running debate over guns as a public health issue.

Although Congress is on its summer break, before lawmakers left Washington they passed a two-year budget deal to make it easier to fund health programs — but it also cements funding restrictions like the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal abortion funding.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • Mass shootings — like the weekend recent violence in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and the earlier attack at the Gilroy, Calif., garlic festival — prompt calls from officials for more screening and treatment options for mental illness. However, experts — who generally support more mental health services — say it’s not clear extra services would reduce these episodes.
  • Among measures invoked by Republicans in response to the shootings is implementing red-flag laws, which would allow officials and family members to get authorities to temporarily take guns away from people having a mental health crisis. Seventeen states have such laws, and initial research suggests they help reduce suicides.
  • Before leaving town last week for its August recess, the Senate passed a two-year budget deal. It would solidify policy riders such as the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of government funds for abortions except in limited circumstances, such as to save a mother’s life. The new budget would also remove spending caps that could have caused significant cuts in health programs like the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Canadian officials have raised concerns about the Trump administration’s announcement that it might approve a pilot program allowing states to import drugs from Canada, where they are much cheaper than in the U.S. Canadians say they are worried about the U.S. draining their drug supply.
  • The administration’s change in rules about abortion counseling, as outlined in the federal reproductive health program, Title X, has left some health centers that are bowing out with a problem: Contraceptive supplies they bought under Title X can’t be used. They are looking to the federal government for guidance on what they should do with those supplies.

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too:

Julie Rovner: The Washington Post’s “2020 Democrats Are Fighting Over Universal Health Care Details. Voters May Not Want That,” by Paige Winfield Cunningham

Mary Agnes Carey: The Washington Post’s “Proponents of Stricter Gun Control Face a Reality Check in the Senate,” by Paul Kane

Alice Miranda Ollstein: Governing’s “America Has a Health-Care Crisis — in Prisons,” by Alan Greenblatt

Margot Sanger-Katz: Balloon Juice blog’s “The Upcoming Strange Politics of the ACA,” by David Anderson

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySpotify, or Pocket Casts.

Watch: What Happened To That $500K Dialysis Bill

After Sovereign Valentine suffered kidney failure, he got a $540,842 bill for 14 weeks of out-of-network dialysis care. Here, he and his wife, Dr. Jessica Valentine, described their experience. Their Bill of the Month story was told by KHN, NPR and CBS.