Latest KFF Health News Stories
Democrats in Congress and the states are devising strategies to expand health coverage — through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and a “public option.” But progress remains halting, at best. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington may have to agree on how to control prescription drug prices if they wish to finance their coverage initiatives. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote last month’s KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a very expensive sleep study.
The federal approval of a controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease has reignited the debate over drug prices and the way the Food and Drug Administration makes decisions. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden seeks to gain goodwill overseas as he announces the U.S. will provide 500 million doses of covid vaccine to international health efforts. Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. And to mark the podcast’s 200th episode, the panelists discuss what has surprised them most and least over the past four years.
Safety-net clinics especially are bracing for how the drugmaker’s policy shift could reduce their budgets and hamstring their ability to provide care to an at-risk population.
The agency is to decide by June 7 whether to greenlight Biogen’s drug aducanumab, despite a near-unanimous rejection of the product by an FDA advisory committee of outside experts in November. Some scientists at the agency have endorsed the drug, though.
Republicans, Democrats and the public at large agree that prices for prescription drugs are too high. But no one seems to know how to fix it. Vanderbilt University drug price researcher Stacie Dusetzina explains the basics of why drugs cost so much and why it’s hard to do something about it. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss the prospects for policy changes.
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances.
Federal officials asked a court to dismiss a suit by drugmakers over the policy enacted by the Trump administration that would allow states to bring in cheaper prescription medications from Canada. The filing said the lawsuit was moot because it’s unclear when or if the FDA would approve any state’s importation plan.
Incapaz de fijar los precios o cambiar las protecciones de las patentes, el estado considera medidas legislativas y administrativas para reducir los gastos de bolsillo delos consumidores.
Colorado is one of many states resolved not to wait for federal action to reduce drug costs. Its legislature is considering several ways to lower costs for consumers and the state.
Democratic leaders in Congress have vowed to pass legislation to address high prescription drug prices this year, but some moderates in their own party appear to be balking. Meanwhile, younger teens are now eligible for a covid-19 vaccine and the Biden administration reinstated anti-discrimination policy for LGBTQ people in health care. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
After a year of uncharacteristically being on the same page when it comes to health care, Democratic lawmakers are at loggerheads about what to do next. Most agree the time is ripe to tackle high drug prices. But they divide over whether to take savings from that to move to a ‘Medicare for All’ insurance system, enhance the current Medicare program or strengthen benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
It’s 100 days into Joe Biden’s presidency and a surprisingly large number of health policies have been announced. But health is notably absent from the administration’s $1.8 trillion spending plan for American families, making it unclear how much more will get done this year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosens its mask-wearing recommendations for those who have been vaccinated, but the new rules are confusing. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.
A misguided federal program called the Unapproved Drugs Initiative, which put the FDA’s stamp of approval on old drugs, led to higher prices. It’s scrapped. So now what?
The ink is barely dry on the recent covid relief bill, but Democrats in Congress and President Joe Biden are wasting no time gearing up for their next big legislative package. Meanwhile, predictions of more states expanding Medicaid have proved premature. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Weber, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.
In his campaign, President Joe Biden promised to undo policies, particularly health policies, implemented by former President Donald Trump. Yet, despite immense executive power, reversing four years of action takes time and resources.
After a bruising confirmation process, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services this week. The Senate also confirmed the nominations of former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to return to the post he held in the Obama administration, and former Pennsylvania health secretary Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health. Levine is the first openly transgender person to receive Senate confirmation. Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl around the AstraZeneca covid vaccine, which some public health experts worry will create more hesitancy toward other vaccines.
Progressive and conservative Democratic lawmakers, as well as President Joe Biden, are in favor of authorizing federal officials to negotiate with drugmakers over what Medicare pays for at least some of the most expensive brand-name drugs and to base those prices on the drugs’ clinical benefits. Such a measure could put Republicans in the uncomfortable position of opposing an idea that most voters from both parties generally support.
The measures would impose taxes on increases in the price of drugs that don’t reflect improved clinical value and set the rates paid by state-run and commercial health plans to a benchmark based on prices in Canada.
As president, Donald Trump encouraged states to bring in drugs from Canada, where prices are cheaper. It’s not clear if the new administration will follow suit.
With U.S. cases skyrocketing, demand for Gilead’s dark horse antiviral is only growing. Biden appointees propose potential legal tactics to tamp down the price for patients.