KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Washington’s gradual churn
  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

In the wake of three high-profile mass shootings in lower than a month, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have renewed negotiations over laws that might stem gun violence. But even those that are attempting to achieve an settlement on the long-divisive concern acknowledge that discovering consensus stays an unlimited job.

Meanwhile, Congress is operating out of time to determine whether or not to increase the present further subsidies for individuals shopping for their very own medical insurance beneath the Affordable Care Act. States and insurers are actually setting charges for 2023; within the absence of congressional motion, these much-higher premiums would change into public proper earlier than the midterm elections.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat.

Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Medicare officers had been beneath stress from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to decrease beneficiaries’ premiums after they jumped 12% this yr due to expectations that the federal well being plan for seniors could be hit with excessive payments for masking an costly new medication to deal with some circumstances of Alzheimer’s illness. When Medicare opted to restrict protection of that medicine, Aduhelm, over issues about its security and effectiveness, the premium improve appeared prone to be lowered. But officers stated final week that they would not make the adjustment till subsequent yr’s premiums.
  • That determination seems to have been made as a result of a midyear change in premiums has not been tried earlier than and will show administratively advanced.
  • Although Medicare prices and advantages are sometimes politically salient points, this huge premium improve didn’t generate a lot criticism. That could also be as a result of the common Social Security fee additionally elevated considerably this yr, which helped cowl the value hike.
  • Negotiations amongst senators on doable measures to tamp down gun violence are hitting subjects which have eluded approval after previous mass shootings, resulting in issues that this effort may simply crumble, too. The talks usually are not relating a lot of the controversial steps that gun management advocates usually need, however negotiators additionally could also be prepared to debate greater than what many gun-rights advocates have felt comfy with prior to now. So far, Republicans and Democrats concerned within the talks each seem engaged in looking for a path ahead, however the effort is delicate and nobody is predicting but the way it will finish.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who on the finish of final yr walked away from negotiations on President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” laws, signaled final week that curbing drug value will increase, part of that package deal, stays a key concern of his. That can also sign that negotiations on a extra restricted legislative package deal could also be shifting ahead.
  • Democrats are additionally beneath stress to maneuver rapidly in the event that they wish to lengthen the premium subsidies for plans bought on the ACA insurance coverage marketplaces. Those bigger subsidies are set to run out on the finish of the yr, however state regulators are already working to set costs for the 2023 plans and a few of these calculations rely upon estimates of how many individuals will enroll.
  • As the newest covid-19 variant triggers a brand new surge, one group of Americans stands out as unprotected: kids beneath age 5. The frustration amongst mother and father is rising, though federal regulators are requests from drugmakers to authorize vaccines. Those vaccines, nonetheless, are for an older model of the virus and will have restricted effectiveness in opposition to present variants.
  • In response to a leaked draft opinion suggesting that the Supreme Court is getting ready to overturn the constitutional protections for abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade determination, some native prosecutors have introduced they might not convey prison circumstances in opposition to well being care professionals offering abortions. But that’s unlikely to be of a lot assist to native clinics or medical doctors, who’re anticipated to cease offering such care if they may face prison costs.

Also this week, Rovner interviews Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote the newest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode a few too-common downside that sufferers getting colonoscopies face after they attempt to entry no-cost preventive care beneath the ACA. If you will have an outrageous medical invoice you wish to share with us, you are able to do that right here.

Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume it is best to learn, too:

Julie Rovner: NPR Throughline’s “Before Roe: The Physicians’ Crusade,” by Rund Abdelfatah, Ramtin Arablouei, Julie Caine, Laine Kaplan-Levenson, Lawrence Wu, Victor Yvellez, Casey Miner, Yolanda Sangweni, Anya Steinberg, and Deborah George

Rachel Cohrs: The Wall Street Journal’s “Baby-Formula Shortage Worsened by Drop in Breast-Feeding Rates,” by Jennifer Maloney

Margot Sanger-Katz: The Washington Post’s “Opinion: Breastfeeding Isn’t ‘Free.’ Here’s What It Cost Me,” by Alyssa Rosenberg

Sandhya Raman: News From the States’ “From Skepticism to Insurance Denials, Long COVID Patients Face More Than Only Health Challenges,” by Annmarie Timmins

Also mentioned on this week’s podcast:

Politico Pro’s “Health Agency Starts Environmental Justice Initiative,” by Sarah Owermohle

Stat’s “There May Be a Backdoor Way for Hospitals to Get Paid for Uninsured Covid-19 Care,” by Rachel Cohrs

This article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially unbiased information service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan well being care coverage analysis group unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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