Tagged Podcast

Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Whiplash

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this week agreed on a bill they say could help stabilize the struggling health insurance exchanges. But despite the compromises made by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), it’s still unclear whether Congress can pass the measure, particularly in time for the 2018 open enrollment that begins Nov. 1.

President Donald Trump, who in the past week has taken multiple positions on whether he supports or opposes the bipartisan efforts, is not helping the effort.

In this episode of “What The Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, and Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo discuss these issues, as well as the fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, whose funding authorization expired on Oct. 1.

The Senate compromise would appear to be a win-win: Democrats restore Obamacare markets’ stability and Republicans help bring down premium prices. But politics keep getting in the way.

The panelists agreed that the bipartisan bill faces a perilous path to passage, with Republicans in both the House and Senate loath to vote for something that could be seen as shoring up the health law they promised voters they would repeal. Even if it appears “really, really dead,” proposals often come back to life in health care. Keep an eye on end of the year congressional compromises.

But it also seems that Trump’s cutoff last week of subsidies that reimburse insurers for discounts they provide to lower-income enrollees has had less of an impact than many predicted. In some states, insurance regulators had insurers file two separate sets of rates, including a higher one in case the president stopped the payments. In other states, insurers are letting states file new rates, even though the deadline for that has technically passed.

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

Julie Rovner: The Washington Post’s “The Drug Industry’s Triumph Over the DEA,” by Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein.

Joanne Kenen: The Pacific Standard’s “Doctor and Advocate: One Surgeon’s Global Fight For The Rights Of Rape Survivors,” by Fabiola Ortiz and Megan Clement.

Margot Sanger-Katz: Vox.com’s “Dark chocolate is now a health food. Here’s how that happened,” by Julia Belluz.

Alice Ollstein: Bloomberg News’ “The Health Plans Trump Backs Have a Long History of Disputes,” by Erik Larson and Zachary Tracer.

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcher or Google Play.

Categories: Repeal And Replace Watch, The Health Law

Tags: , ,

Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Let’s Blow It All Up

With Congress having given up on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, at least for now, President Trump stepped in to try to make some changes himself.

On Thursday he signed an executive order aimed at making insurance cheaper for some people, but in ways that could make it more expensive for others.

And late Thursday night the White House announced it would no longer pay insurance companies money they are owed for providing discounts to policyholders who earn less than 250 percent of poverty. Those “cost-sharing reductions” have been the subject of a long-running lawsuit filed by the U.S. House of Representatives against the Obama Administration.

In this episode of “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Sarah Kliff of Vox.com, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News discuss these issues, as well as the recent rules making it easier for employers with religious or moral objections to stop offering birth control as part of their employee health plans.

Among their observations:

  • More than half of people buying insurance through the federal health law’s marketplaces get the cost-sharing subsidies. But they will still get the subsidies–it’s their insurance companies that will feel the pain.
  • Consumers should carefully consider any insurance options that come out of the president’s earlier announcement Thursday to expand the types of policies available. Some of them may not offer the kinds of protection that consumers have come to expect after the passage of the federal health law.
  • And the administration’s effort to offer more exemptions to employers who do not want to offer birth control at no cost to women is unlikely to lead to a lot of companies reinstating copayments, but some may cut back on the number of contraceptive options they cover.

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

Julie Rovner: Statnews.com’s “An old-school pharmacy hand-delivers drugs to Congress, a little-known perk for the powerful,” by Erin Mershon; and Statnews.com’s, “The pharmacists to Congress has something to say about that Alzheimer’s remark,” by Erin Mershon.

Sarah Kliff: Vox.com’s podcast, “The Impact,” hosted by Sarah Kliff.

Margot Sanger-Katz: “The Constitution Finally Takes Precedence over Obamacare,” by Chris Jacobs.

Julie Appleby: Vox.com’s “Everything that’s been reported about deaths in Puerto Rico is at odds with the official count,” by Eliza Barclay and Alexia Fernandez Campbell; and Vice.com’s “Not Even Hospitals in Puerto Rico Know How Many People Have Died,” by Alexa Liautaud.

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcher or Google Play.

Categories: Insurance, Multimedia, The Health Law

Tags: ,

Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Let’s Blow It All Up

With Congress having given up on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, at least for now, President Trump stepped in to try to make some changes himself.

On Thursday he signed an executive order aimed at making insurance cheaper for some people, but in ways that could make it more expensive for others.

And late Thursday night the White House announced it would no longer pay insurance companies money they are owed for providing discounts to policyholders who earn less than 250 percent of poverty. Those “cost-sharing reductions” have been the subject of a long-running lawsuit filed by the U.S. House of Representatives against the Obama Administration.

In this episode of “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Sarah Kliff of Vox.com, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News discuss these issues, as well as the recent rules making it easier for employers with religious or moral objections to stop offering birth control as part of their employee health plans.

Among their observations:

  • More than half of people buying insurance through the federal health law’s marketplaces get the cost-sharing subsidies. But they will still get the subsidies–it’s their insurance companies that will feel the pain.
  • Consumers should carefully consider any insurance options that come out of the president’s earlier announcement Thursday to expand the types of policies available. Some of them may not offer the kinds of protection that consumers have come to expect after the passage of the federal health law.
  • And the administration’s effort to offer more exemptions to employers who do not want to offer birth control at no cost to women is unlikely to lead to a lot of companies reinstating copayments, but some may cut back on the number of contraceptive options they cover.

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

Julie Rovner: Statnews.com’s “An old-school pharmacy hand-delivers drugs to Congress, a little-known perk for the powerful,” by Erin Mershon; and Statnews.com’s, “The pharmacists to Congress has something to say about that Alzheimer’s remark,” by Erin Mershon.

Sarah Kliff: Vox.com’s podcast, “The Impact,” hosted by Sarah Kliff.

Margot Sanger-Katz: “The Constitution Finally Takes Precedence over Obamacare,” by Chris Jacobs.

Julie Appleby: Vox.com’s “Everything that’s been reported about deaths in Puerto Rico is at odds with the official count,” by Eliza Barclay and Alexia Fernandez Campbell; and Vice.com’s “Not Even Hospitals in Puerto Rico Know How Many People Have Died,” by Alexa Liautaud.

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcher or Google Play.

Categories: Insurance, Multimedia, The Health Law

Tags: ,