KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: On Government Spending, Congress Decides Not to Decide


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Congress is meant to finish its annual appropriations payments earlier than the beginning of the fiscal yr on Oct. 1. However it hardly ever does, and this yr isn’t any completely different, as lawmakers scramble to go a short-term funding invoice to allow them to delay closing choices till at the least December.

In the meantime, with an eye fixed to the midterms, Home Republicans put out a “Dedication to America,” which incorporates solely the vaguest guarantees associated to well being care. It’s yet one more demonstration that the one factor in well being care that unifies Republicans is their opposition to Democrats’ well being insurance policies. It’s notable that this newest Republican plan does not recommend repealing the Reasonably priced Care Act.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Victoria Knight of Axios.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • The short-term funding invoice to maintain the federal government open contains the five-year reauthorization of the FDA’s consumer charges, that are charged to drugmakers and assist pay the salaries of many FDA workers. Democrats had hoped so as to add provisions to that measure that might create rules on dietary dietary supplements, cosmetics, and lab assessments. The present authorization runs out Oct. 1, and Republicans insisted they might assist solely a clear invoice that didn’t have new authorities directives.
  • That authorities funding invoice additionally is not going to embrace President Joe Biden’s request for $20 billion to assist pay for extra covid-19 and monkeypox vaccines and testing. Democrats mentioned they needed to increase these applications, however Republicans balked and mentioned the administration nonetheless has not accounted for all of the earlier appropriations.
  • Biden’s touch upon “60 Minutes” suggesting that the covid pandemic “is over” damage administration efforts to influence Congress to go the additional covid funding.
  • Biden took a victory lap this week and touted successes on administration priorities for Medicare. Amongst them, he mentioned, was a discount in subsequent yr’s Half B premium, which typically covers beneficiaries’ outpatient bills. However that premium went down, primarily as a result of Medicare charged an excessive amount of in 2022.
  • Medicare premiums this yr noticed a dramatic improve as a result of officers anticipated that the federal well being program would see larger prices related to using Aduhelm, an costly medicine for some Alzheimer’s sufferers that obtained tentative approval in 2021 by the FDA. Medicare officers later mentioned they might cowl the drug just for sufferers who additionally enrolled in a scientific trial, and the expectations to be used of the drug plummeted.
  • Republican Home members’ proposed agenda pledged to reverse the Democrats’ determination this yr to permit Medicare to barter some drug costs. Though Democrats mentioned the availability would assist drive down prices, Republicans mentioned they don’t like the federal government interfering within the non-public market and concern that the measure would hamper innovation.

Additionally this week, Rovner interviews filmmaker Cynthia Lowen, whose new documentary, “Battleground,” explores how anti-abortion forces performed the lengthy sport to overturn Roe.

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

Julie Rovner: KHN’s “Britain’s Hard Lessons From Handing Elder Care Over to Private Equity,” by Christine Spolar

Alice Miranda Ollstein: KHN’s “Embedded Bias: How Medical Records Sow Discrimination,” by Darius Tahir

Rachel Cohrs: The New York Instances’ “Arbitration Has Come to Senior Living. You Don’t Have to Sign Up,” by Paula Span

Victoria Knight: Forbes’ “Mark Cuban Considering Leaving Shark Tank as He Bets His Legacy on Low-Cost Drugs,” by Jemima McEvoy 

Additionally talked about on this week’s episode:


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