Podcasts

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.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': 2023 Is a Wrap

2023 was another busy year in health care. As the covid-19 pandemic waned, policymakers looked anew at long-standing obstacles to obtaining and paying for care in the nation’s health care system. Meanwhile, abortion has continued to be an issue in much of the nation, as states respond to the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning the constitutional right to the procedure. This week, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and wrap up the year in health. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News’ Jordan Rau about his joint KFF Health News-New York Times series “Dying Broke.”

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Abortion and SCOTUS, Together Again

The Supreme Court agreed this week to hear its first major case on abortion since overturning Roe v. Wade — one that could restrict the availability of the abortion pill mifepristone, even in states where abortion remains legal. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers in the House and Senate finally moved to renew health programs that expired in October — but it’s likely too late to finish the job in 2023. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Riley Griffin of Bloomberg News, 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 Jen Golbeck, a University of Maryland professor and social media superstar, about her new book, “The Purest Bond,” which lays out the science of the human-canine relationship.

An Arm and a Leg: When Hospitals Sue Patients (Part 1)

Some hospitals sue patients over unpaid medical bills. But is this even an effective way for hospitals to recoup lost revenue? On this episode of “An Arm and a Leg,” host Dan Weissmann speaks with medical-debt experts to explore a different solution.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Democrats See Opportunity in GOP Threats to Repeal Health Law 

Sensing that Republicans are walking into a political minefield by threatening once again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Biden administration is looking to capitalize by rolling out a series of initiatives aimed at high drug prices and other consequences of “corporate greed in health care.” Meanwhile, the Supreme Court hears a case that could determine when and how much victims of the opioid crisis can collect from Purdue Pharma, the drug company that lied about how addictive its drug, OxyContin, really was. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Rachana Pradhan of KFF Health News join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Dan Weissmann of KFF Health News’ sister podcast, “An Arm and a Leg,” about his investigation into hospitals suing their patients over unpaid bills.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Trump Puts Obamacare Repeal Back on Agenda

Although Republicans have never united behind a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, 2024 GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said this week he wants to put the issue back on the national agenda. That delights Democrats, who have won at least two elections partly by defending the now-popular health law. Meanwhile, the Texas Supreme Court takes up a case brought by women who say their pregnancy complications further endangered their health due to the vagueness of Texas’ near-total ban on abortions. Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Victoria Knight of Axios News join KFF Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News’ Rachana Pradhan, who reported and wrote the latest “Bill of the Month” feature.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': Congress Kicks the (Budget) Can Down the Road. Again.

Congress narrowly avoided a federal government shutdown for the second time in six weeks, as Democrats came to the rescue of divided House Republicans over annual spending bills that were supposed to be finished by Oct. 1. But the brinksmanship is likely to repeat itself early in 2024, when the next temporary spending patches expire. Meanwhile, a pair of investigations unveiled this week demonstrate how difficult it still is for seniors to get needed long-term and rehabilitation care. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KFF Health News' 'What the Health?': A Very Good Night for Abortion Rights Backers

Abortion rights backers won major victories in at least five states in the 2023 off-year elections Nov. 7, proving the staying power of abortion as a political issue in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health finally has a new director, after Democrats temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s nominee over a mostly unrelated fight about prescription drug prices. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News’ Julie Appleby, who reported and wrote the latest “Bill of the Month” feature.