A health-heavy State of the Union

The host- Julie Rovner KHN

Well being care was a recurring theme all through President Joe Biden’s 2023 State of the Union handle on Capitol Hill this week. He took a victory lap on current accomplishments like capping prescription drug prices for seniors on Medicare. He urged Congress to do extra, together with making everlasting the boosted insurance coverage premium subsidies added to the Inexpensive Care Act throughout the pandemic. And he sparred with Republicans within the viewers — who jeered and referred to as him a liar — over GOP proposals that will lower Medicare and Social Safety.

In the meantime, abortion rights advocates and opponents are anxiously awaiting a federal court docket determination out of Texas that might lead to a nationwide ban on mifepristone, one in all two medication utilized in remedy abortion.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.


Rachel Cohrs Stat Information @rachelcohrs Learn Rachel’s tales Sarah Karlin-Smith Pink Sheet @SarahKarlin Learn Sarah’s tales Alice Miranda Ollstein Politico @AliceOllstein Learn Alice’s tales

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

President Joe Biden’s State of the Union handle emphasised current victories towards excessive well being care prices, like Medicare protection caps on insulin and out-of-pocket caps on prescription drug spending. Biden’s energetic, casual alternate with lawmakers over potential cuts to Medicare and Social Safety appeared to steal the present, although the political battle over reducing prices in these entitlement applications is rooted in a key query: What constitutes a “lower”?

Biden’s requires bipartisanship to increase well being applications like pandemic-era subsidies for Inexpensive Care Act well being plans are anticipated to conflict with conservative calls for to slash federal authorities spending. And final 12 months’s Senate fights show that typically the opposition comes from inside the Democratic Occasion.

Whereas some abortion advocates praised Biden for vowing to veto a federal abortion ban, others felt he didn’t discuss sufficient in regards to the looming challenges to abortion entry within the courts. A choice is anticipated quickly in a Texas court docket case difficult the longer term use of mifepristone. The Trump-appointed choose’s determination might ban the drug nationwide, which means it could be barred even in states the place abortion continues to be authorized.

The FDA is on the heart of the abortion capsule case, which challenges its approval of the drug a long time in the past and will set a precedent for authorized challenges to the approval of different medication. In different FDA information, the company not too long ago modified coverage to permit homosexual males to donate blood; introduced new meals security management in response to the newborn components disaster; and kicked again to Congress a query of how one can regulate CBD, or cannabidiol, merchandise.

In drug pricing, the top-selling pharmaceutical, Humira, will quickly attain the top of its patent, which is able to provide a telling take a look at how competitors influences the value of biosimilars — and the issues that stay for lawmakers to resolve.

Additionally this week, Rovner interviews Kate Baicker of the College of Chicago a couple of new paper offering a doable center floor within the effort to ascertain common medical insurance protection within the U.S.

Plus, for “additional credit score,” the panelists recommend well being coverage tales they learn this week they assume it’s best to learn, too:

Julie Rovner: The New York Instances’ “Do not Let Republican ‘Decide Customers’ Thwart the Will of Voters,” by Stephen I. Vladeck

Alice Miranda Ollstein: Politico’s “Mpox Is Simmering South of the Border, Threatening a Resurgence,” by Carmen Paun

Sarah Karlin-Smith: KHN’s “Selections by CVS and Optum Panicked 1000’s of Their Sickest Sufferers,” by Arthur Allen

Rachel Cohrs: ProPublica’s “UnitedHealthcare Tried to Deny Protection to a Chronically Ailing Affected person. He Fought Again, Exposing the Insurer’s Interior Workings,” by David Armstrong, Patrick Rucker, and Maya Miller

Additionally talked about on this week’s podcast: