KHN’s ‘What the Well being?’: Paging the HHS Secretary

Well being and Human Companies Secretary Xavier Becerra is changing into a goal for each Democrats and Republicans over what they name a scarcity of coordination of covid efforts inside his division. However on the identical time, officers from the Biden administration have made it clear from the beginning that the covid marketing campaign could be orchestrated by the White Home, so it is not clear whether or not the secretary was imagined to play a significant position.

In the meantime, as covid instances decline, covid-weary politicians and the general public are pushing to ease the most recent spherical of restrictions. However these with compromised immune programs and different disabilities concern they may pay the worth.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Instances, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • The criticism seeping out about Becerra may sign frustration within the administration and on Capitol Hill that the nation continues to be topic to so many pandemic-driven restraints and the general public is in search of options.
  • Nonetheless, it seems that congressional Republicans — in the event that they win a majority later this yr within the midterm elections — may use this challenge to press their competition that the administration has not been efficient sufficient within the battle towards covid.
  • The nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to go the FDA seems to be languishing within the Senate. Some Democrats are involved that when he labored there earlier than he wasn’t attuned to the rising risks of the opioid epidemic, whereas others object to his ties to business. Republicans, whom the administration was relying on to assist push the nomination by, are below strain to withstand from their allies within the anti-abortion motion who cost that Califf will enable extra flexibility for ladies searching for remedy abortions.
  • The Division of Labor, armed with new enforcement authority, is investigating 30 medical health insurance plans for failing to abide by the necessities for insurance coverage protection parity for psychological well being. Congress has been attempting to require equal remedy for psychological and bodily well being because the mid-Nineteen Nineties, however to this point it stays extra of an aspiration.
  • A federal appeals courtroom has allowed to face, at the very least for now, a Tennessee legislation that bans abortions primarily based on intercourse, race, or a Down syndrome analysis. An appeals courtroom panel had briefly halted the legislation, however the full appeals courtroom overturned that call and mentioned it could wait to see what the Supreme Court docket decides this yr in a Mississippi case that would change the landmark Roe v. Wade determination making abortion authorized all through the nation.
  • Some specialists have steered that the choice years in the past by medical doctors to maneuver most abortions out of their places of work and into specialised clinics has made the clinics a straightforward goal and given teams against the process a bonus of their struggle. That may be countered by the growing use of abortion tablets that medical doctors can prescribe for ladies.
  • California lawmakers searching for to arrange a state-funded well being system, typically known as a single-payer system, this week conceded they did not have the votes to maneuver ahead. The proposal was massively costly and it could have had two main exemptions: individuals on Medicare and people lined by massive firms which have plans regulated by the federal authorities.

Additionally this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Noam N. Levey, who reported and wrote the most recent KHN-NPR “Invoice of the Month” episode a few very massive invoice for a really small quantity of medical care. When you have an outrageous medical invoice you’d prefer 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: The Washington Submit’s “Researchers Are Asking Why Some International locations Had been Higher Ready for Covid. One Stunning Reply: Belief,” by Adam Taylor

Alice Miranda Ollstein: Politico’s “Subsequent Large Well being Disaster: 15M Folks May Lose Medicaid When Pandemic Ends,” by Megan Messerly

Margot Sanger-Katz: KHN’s “Faxes and Snail Mail: Will Pandemic-Period Flaws Unleash Improved Well being Expertise?” by Bram Sable-Smith

Rachel Cohrs: Stat’s “How a A long time-Previous Database Grew to become a Massively Worthwhile File on the Well being of 270 Million Individuals,” by Casey Ross

Additionally mentioned on this week’s podcast:

The New York Instances’ “In Drugs, a Lack of Braveness Has Helped Put Roe in Jeopardy,” by Eyal Press

The New York Instances’ “On Abortion Regulation, the U.S. Is Uncommon. With out Roe, It Would Be, Too,” by Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz

The New York Instances Journal’s “The New Abortion Suppliers,” by Emily Bazelon

Mom Jones’ “Determined Sufferers Are Shelling Out Hundreds for a Lengthy Covid Treatment. Is It for Actual?” by Kiera Butler




Kaiser Health NewsThis text was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Household Basis. Kaiser Well being Information, an editorially unbiased information service, is a program of the Kaiser Household Basis, a nonpartisan well being care coverage analysis group unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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