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Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Reading The Tea Leaves In Blue Wave’s Wake

This week, “What the Health?” panelists focus on, amongst different issues, how the House Democrats’ management battle might have an effect on the congressional well being coverage agenda.

The panelists are Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Ollstein of Politico and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News.

As the post-election mud settles on Capitol Hill, the Democrats — quickly to be in charge of the House of Representatives — have begun the method of selecting their management crew. How this shakes out could have lots to do with how well being coverage agenda takes form within the decrease chamber.

House Democrats nominated Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to retake the speaker’s gavel, however she nonetheless must win over extra of her colleagues to safe the speaker submit in January.

But all of the motion this week wasn’t targeted on Congress. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb unveiled a proposed overhaul of the FDA’s decades-old medical gadget approval course of, and the Trump administration introduced proposals it mentioned would cut back Medicare prescription drug prices. Critics worry these modifications might imply that some folks with persistent ailments like AIDS or most cancers may not have entry to the medicine they want.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

House Democrats nominated Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to retake the speaker’s gavel this week together with the remainder of its management slate, Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. This is barely step one, although. The management positions won’t be stuffed formally till January, when they’re voted on by the complete House. Although Pelosi continues to be wrangling for the help wanted to earn her the required 218 votes, most insiders anticipate the Democrat’s management crew to look a lot because it did the final time Democrats dominated the House chamber in 2010, when the Affordable Care Act turned legislation. That means the House will possible be laser-focused on the required steps to guard the ACA. There may additionally be hearings on single-payer medical health insurance — an idea that’s more and more gaining curiosity and help inside the caucus, and particularly amongst a few of its latest members. In the background, the Texas lawsuit that might overturn the ACA’s protections for folks with preexisting circumstances continues to be pending. That determination might come any day. Keep in thoughts, although, that regardless of the court docket guidelines, it’s more likely to be appealed instantly and transfer up the authorized ladder. And, within the interim, House Democrats should transfer ahead with laws to strengthen these ACA safeguards. Such a measure might get some GOP help as a result of many Republicans in search of re-election this yr mentioned they needed to make sure that sufferers with preexisting medical circumstances wouldn’t lose protection. The FDA unveiled a proposed overhaul of its decades-old medical gadget approval system. Among its provisions, the plan contains steps to make sure that new medical units mirror present security and effectiveness options. Critics of the present system say it has did not detect issues with some implants — like hip replacements that failed prematurely or surgical mesh that has been linked to ache and bleeding. The modifications, if accepted, might take years to implement and a few would possibly require congressional approval. The Trump administration proposed a collection of modifications to scale back the variety of pharmaceuticals that each one Medicare drug plans should cowl. The proposal focuses on medicine in six “protected classes” and includes drugs resembling antidepressants, antipsychotic medicines, most cancers medicine and antiretrovirals to deal with HIV/AIDS. Administration officers have mentioned the proposal might lower prices for Medicare, however affected person advocacy teams say it might cut back sufferers’ entry for much-needed therapies. The proposed modifications wouldn’t happen till 2020, and Congress might intervene to cease them.

Also this week, Julie Rovner interviews KHN senior correspondent Jay Hancock, who investigated and wrote the newest “Bill of the Month” function for Kaiser Health News and NPR. It’s a few single mom from Ohio who acquired a wrongful invoice for her a number of sclerosis remedy. You can learn the story here.

If you have got a medical invoice you prefer to NPR and KHN to analyze, you possibly can submit it here.

Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume you must learn too:

Mary Agnes Carey: The New York Times’ “This City’s Overdose Deaths Have Plunged. Can Others Learn From It?” by Abby Goodnough

Margot Sanger-Katz: NPR’s “Rethinking Bed Rest for Pregnancy,” by Alison Kodjak

Anna Edney: The Washington Post’s “Overdoses, Bedsores, Broken Bones: What Happened When a Private-Equity Firm Sought to Care for Society’s Most Vulnerable,” by Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating

Alice Ollstein: Wired.com’s “The Science Is Clear: Dirty Farm Water Is Making Us Sick,” by Elizabeth Shogren and Susie Neilson

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcher or Google Play.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nationwide well being coverage information service. It is an editorially unbiased program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which isn’t affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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