Negotiations on the health parts of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda are getting serious but have yet to produce a deal every Democrat can support. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration remains without a nominated leader but manages to take the first steps toward approving over-the-counter hearing aids. Joanne Kenen of Politico and Johns Hopkins, Tami Luhby of CNN and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too.
Congress is back in session with a short time to finish a long to-do list, including keeping the government operating and paying its bills. Hanging in the balance is President Joe Biden’s entire domestic agenda, including major changes proposed for Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the new Texas abortion law that bans the procedure early in pregnancy is prompting action in Washington. 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. Also, Rovner interviews former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb about his new book on the covid-19 pandemic.
Democrats have hit a snag in their effort to compile a $3.5 trillion social-spending bill this fall — moderates are resisting support for Medicare drug price negotiation provisions that would pay for many of the measure’s health benefit improvements. Meanwhile, the new abortion restrictions in Texas have moved the divisive issue back to the political front burner. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interview’s KHN’s Phil Galewitz about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment, about two similar jaw surgeries with very different price tags.
A 2017 law designed to help lower the cost of hearing aids mandated that federal officials set rules for a new class of devices consumers could buy without needing to see an audiologist. But those regulations are still on hold.
State health officials say the federal government will likely reject any work or community engagement requirements, which were key to Republican lawmakers agreeing to extend the program that insures 100,000 low-income Montana adults.
Federal workers will be required to verify they've been vaccinated against the coronavirus or else face mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing and other new rules.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that Texas will build a border wall along the state’s boundary with Mexico but gave no details on where or when.
Some environmental advocates have said that because we are barreling toward catastrophe, Biden should invoke emergency authority to address climate change. This step would be bold — quite possibly bolder than Biden is willing to be — and it would carry major rewards and risks.
TRUMP on Biden: "He gets up and he says, we’re not fracking. We’re not fracking. He was fracking. For six months he was fracking. He was raising his -- his very thin hand and he was fracking. And now all of a sudden he’s not fracking. ... It’s ridiculous. He said he’s not fracking." — Thursday to Fox News.