KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Changing of the Guard


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The approaching Congress will look totally different from the present one: Whereas Democrats narrowly saved management of the U.S. Senate, Republicans gained a majority within the Home. Whereas their majority is small, it is going to seemingly be sufficient to dam any additional objects on President Joe Biden’s agenda.

In the meantime, the present, lame-duck Congress nonetheless has loads of objects on its to-do record, together with conserving the federal government open and averting a scheduled 4% lower in funds to well being suppliers.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being and Politico, Victoria Knight of Axios, and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • With Democrats holding the Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is predicted to be the subsequent chairman of the Committee of Well being, Training, Labor, and Pensions. In that position he would be capable of set a extra progressive agenda, although he couldn’t push adjustments to Medicare, which isn’t underneath the committee’s jurisdiction. Sen. Invoice Cassidy (R-La.), a physician who labored on shock billing laws, is in line to turn into HELP’s prime Republican.
  • Republicans clinched management of the Home of Representatives and have nominated Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to be speaker, although he’ll have to beat tensions over weaker-than-expected midterm outcomes. Whereas there are possibilities to show bipartisanship, like on telehealth regulation, the occasion will be capable of push again in opposition to the Democratic-controlled Senate and White Home. Look ahead to investigations into the Biden administration and Republican refusals to fund the federal government and lift the debt ceiling.
  • Within the states, Oregon voters accepted a constitutional modification that establishes a person proper to well being care, although it doesn’t give the state the power to spend cash to make sure that proper. It stays to be seen what the change means, though it presumably opens the door for residents to sue the state over well being care affordability.
  • A liberal group, the Equity Mission, was behind a wave of profitable poll measures final week, capitalizing on the hole between voters and Republican lawmakers on points like abortion and Medicaid growth. Each events have discovered success in utilizing poll initiatives to attract voters to the polls throughout non-presidential election years, and this 12 months Democratic election officers like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan seem to have benefited from such measures.
  • Congress is staring down a busy lame-duck session, with must-dos together with funding the federal government and averting long-scheduled cuts to Medicare funds. Pandemic preparedness and maternal well being laws are additionally on the record of potentialities. President Biden continues to be pushing for more cash for covid-19 reduction as current pandemic funds run out, although Republicans are unlikely to budge of their opposition.
  • Codification of abortion rights seems unlikely for now. Neither occasion seems to have the help to move nationwide protections or nationwide restrictions, although appropriations fights are anticipated over a number of current insurance policies, together with these affecting incarcerated ladies and Indigenous ladies. In the meantime, the U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops elected two hard-line opponents this week, and the courts are scrutinizing state bans in Georgia and Kentucky, as Florida talks about rising restrictions there.
  • The Cleveland Clinic has instituted a coverage of charging sufferers’ insurance coverage $50 to reply any message despatched to suppliers by means of its on-line portal that takes greater than 5 minutes of their time to answer. Insurance coverage corporations are more likely to push again, however look ahead to the coverage to unfold to different suppliers.
  • A yearlong KHN challenge on personal fairness possession in well being care wrapped this week with reporting displaying personal fairness has poured almost $1 trillion into 8,000 well being care transactions in simply the previous decade. However weak reporting necessities imply the federal authorities is commonly not reviewing these transactions for potential antitrust violations.

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: The Philadelphia Inquirer’s “Spice Containers Are the Most Contaminated Surface in Your Kitchen,” by Sarah Gantz

Alice Miranda Ollstein: ProPublica’s “We Need to Defend This Law”: Inside an Anti-Abortion Meeting With Tennessee’s GOP Lawmakers,” by Kavitha Surana 

Victoria Knight: The Each day Beast’s “COVID-Denying Medical Group Implodes Over Founder’s Extravagant Spending,” by Will Sommer

Joanne Kenen: The Pink Sheet’s “Califf’s Covid Twitter Communications Reveal Knowledge Gaps Partially of FDA’s Own Making,” by Sarah Karlin-Smith

Additionally talked about on this week’s episode:

Axios’ “Nonprofit Scores With Progressive Health Ballot Measures in Red States,” by Sabrina Moreno

Cleveland.com’s “Some Electronic Messages to Cleveland Clinic Healthcare Providers Could Cost $50,” by Julie Washington

KHN’s “Sick Profit: Investigating Private Equity’s Stealthy Takeover of Health Care Across Cities and Specialties” by Fred Schulte

To listen to all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to KHN’s What the Well being? on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you take heed to podcasts.

KHN (Kaiser Well being Information) is a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points. Along with Coverage Evaluation and Polling, KHN is among the three main working applications at KFF (Kaiser Household Basis). KFF is an endowed nonprofit group offering info on well being points to the nation.

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