Podcasts

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Arizona Turns Back the Clock on Abortion Access

A week after the Florida Supreme Court said the state could enforce an abortion ban passed in 2023, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that state could enforce a near-total ban passed in 1864 — over a half-century before Arizona became a state. The move further scrambled the abortion issue for Republicans and posed an immediate quandary for former President Donald Trump, who has been seeking an elusive middle ground in the polarized debate. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs Zhang of Stat, and Rachel Roubein of The Washington Post join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these stories and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News’ Molly Castle Work, who reported and wrote the latest KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature, about an air-ambulance ride for an infant with RSV that his insurer deemed not medically necessary.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Florida Limits Abortion — For Now

The Florida Supreme Court handed down dual abortion rulings this week. One said voters will be allowed to decide in November whether to create a state right to abortion. The other ruling, though, allows a 15-week ban to take effect immediately — before an even more sweeping, six-week ban replaces it in May. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is doubling down on his administration’s health care accomplishments as he kicks off his general election campaign. Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins University schools of nursing and public health, and Tami Luhby of CNN join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these stories and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews health care analyst Jeff Goldsmith about the growing size and influence of UnitedHealth Group in the wake of the Change Healthcare hack.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': The Supreme Court and the Abortion Pill

The Supreme Court this week heard its first abortion case since overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, about an appeals court ruling that would dramatically restrict the availability of the abortion pill mifepristone. But while it seems likely that this case could be dismissed on a technicality, abortion opponents have more challenges in the pipeline. Meanwhile, health issues are heating up on the campaign trail, as Republicans continue to take aim at Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act — all things Democrats are delighted to defend. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Lauren Weber of The Washington Post join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News’ Tony Leys, who wrote a KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about Medicare and a very expensive air-ambulance ride. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week they think you should read, too.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': The ACA Turns 14

Saturday marks the 14th anniversary of the still somewhat embattled Affordable Care Act. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra joins host Julie Rovner to discuss the accomplishments of the health law — and the challenges it still faces. Also this week, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Mary Agnes Carey of KFF Health News join Rovner to discuss what should be the final funding bill for HHS for fiscal 2024, next week’s Supreme Court oral arguments in a case challenging abortion medication, and more. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week they think you should read, too.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Maybe It’s a Health Care Election After All

Health care wasn’t expected to be a major theme for this year’s elections. But as President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump secured their respective party nominations this week, the future of both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act appears to be up for debate. Meanwhile, the cyberattack of the UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Change Healthcare continues to do damage to the companies’ finances with no quick end in sight. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Kelly Henning of Bloomberg Philanthropies about a new, four-part documentary series on the history of public health, “The Invisible Shield.” Plus, for “extra credit” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.

The State of the Union Is … Busy

At last, Congress is getting half of its annual spending bills across the finish line, albeit five months after the start of the fiscal year. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden delivers his annual State of the Union address, an over-the-counter birth control pill is (finally) available, and controversy erupts over new public health guidelines for covid-19 isolation. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Neera Tanden, the White House domestic policy adviser, about Biden’s health agenda. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Alabama’s IVF Ruling Still Making Waves

Lawmakers in Congress and state legislatures are scrambling to react to the ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that frozen embryos created for in vitro fertilization are legally children. Abortion opponents are divided among themselves, with some supporting full “personhood” for fertilized eggs, while others support IVF as a moral way to have children. Rachel Cohrs of Stat, Riley Griffin of Bloomberg News, and Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins University schools of nursing and public health and Politico Magazine join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews University of Pittsburgh law professor Greer Donley, who explains how a 150-year-old anti-vice law that’s still on the books could be used to ban abortion nationwide. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Alabama Court Rules Embryos Are Children. What Now?

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court has determined that embryos created for in vitro fertilization procedures are legally people. The decision has touched off massive confusion about potential ramifications, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham has paused its IVF program. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to endorse a national 16-week abortion ban, while his former administration officials are planning further reproductive health restrictions for a possible second term. Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, Rachana Pradhan of KFF Health News, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Biden Wins Early Court Test for Medicare Drug Negotiations

A federal district court judge dismissed a lawsuit attempting to invalidate the Biden administration’s Medicare prescription-drug price negotiation program. But the suit turned on a technicality, and several more court challenges are in the pipeline. Meanwhile, health policy pops up in Super Bowl ads, as Congress approaches yet another funding deadline. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week they think you should read, too.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': To End School Shootings, Activists Consider a New Culprit: Parents

For the first time, a jury has convicted a parent of a school shooter of charges related to the child’s crime, finding a mother in Michigan guilty of involuntary manslaughter and possibly opening a new legal avenue for gun control advocates. Meanwhile, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case challenging the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone, a medical publisher has retracted some of the journal studies that lower-court judges relied on in their decisions. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Rachana Pradhan of KFF Health News join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': The Struggle Over Who Gets the Last Word

As science skepticism pervades politics, the Supreme Court will soon consider two cases that seek to define the power of “experts.” Meanwhile, abortion opponents are laying out plans for how Donald Trump, if reelected as president, could effectively curtail abortion even in states where it remains legal. Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Samantha Liss, who reported and wrote the latest KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about a husband and wife who got billed for preventive care that should have been fully covered.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Health Enters the Presidential Race

New Hampshire voters have spoken, and it seems increasingly clear that this November’s election will pit President Joe Biden against former President Donald Trump. Both appear to be making health a key part of their campaigns, with Trump vowing (again) to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Biden stressing his support for contraception and abortion rights. Meanwhile, both candidates will try to highlight efforts to rein in prescription drug prices. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Jessie Hellmann of CQ Roll Call join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Sarah Somers of the National Health Law Program about the potential consequences for the health care system if the Supreme Court overturns a key precedent attempting to balance executive vs. judicial power.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': The Supreme Court vs. the Bureaucracy

The Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in a case that could radically alter the way federal agencies — including the Department of Health and Human Services — administer laws passed by Congress. A decision in the case is expected this spring or summer. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is struggling over whether to ban menthol cigarettes — a move that could improve public health but also alienate Black voters, the biggest menthol users. Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine, Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Darius Tahir, who reported and wrote the latest KFF Health News-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about a lengthy fight over a bill for a quick telehealth visit.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': All About the (Government) Funding

With days to go until a large chunk of the federal government runs out of money needed to keep it operating, Congress is still struggling to find a compromise spending plan. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court agreed to hear — this year — a case that pits federal requirements for emergency treatment against state abortion bans. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Tami Luhby of CNN join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews American Medical Association President Jesse Ehrenfeld about the choppy waters facing the nation’s physicians in 2024.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': New Year, Same Abortion Debate

Some Supreme Court justices were wrong if they assumed overturning “Roe v. Wade” would settle the abortion issue before the high court. At least two cases are awaiting consideration, and more are in the legal pipeline. Meanwhile, Congress once again has only days until the next temporary spending bill runs out, with no budget deal in sight. Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, Shefali Luthra of The 19th, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, about how public health can regain public trust.