AKK turns 14 years old – KFF Health News

The guest

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law 14 years ago this week, and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra joined KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner on “What Health?” podcast to discuss its accomplishments so far — and the challenges that remain for the health law.

Meanwhile, Congress appears on its way to finally finalizing the fiscal 2024 spending bills, including funding for HHS — without many of the reproductive or gender health care restrictions that Republicans had sought.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KFF Health News, Mary Agnes Carey of KFF Health News, Tami Luhby of CNN and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico.

Among the details of this week’s episode:

  • The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week in a case that could decide whether the abortion pill mifepristone will remain readily accessible. The case itself is about national restrictions rather than an outright ban. But depending on how the court rules, it could have far-reaching results — for example, preventing people from getting the pills through the mail and limiting how far into pregnancy the treatment can be used.
  • The issue is about more than abortion. Drug companies and medical groups are concerned about the precedent it would set for courts to substitute their judgment for that of the FDA regarding drug approvals.
  • Ballot questions about abortion are in play in several states. The total number ultimately depends on the success of citizen-led efforts to collect signatures to win a seat. Such efforts face opposition from anti-abortion groups and elected officials who don’t want the questions to reach the ballot box. Their fear, based on precedent, is that abortion protections tend to pass.
  • The Biden administration issued an executive order this week to improve women’s health research across the federal government. It has multiple components, including provisions aimed at increasing research into diseases and illnesses related to postmenopausal women. It also aims to increase the number of women participating in clinical trials.
  • This week in medical misinformation: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Murthy vs. Missouri. At issue is whether Biden administration officials overstepped their authority when they asked companies like Meta, Google and X to remove or downgrade content flagged as disinformation about Covid-19.

Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest health policy stories they read this week that they think you should read, too:

Julie Rovner: “Arizona lawmaker tells her abortion story to show ‘reality’ of restrictions” The Washington Post, by Praveena Somasundaram. (Full speech here.)

Alice Miranda Ollstein: CNN “Why Your Doctor’s Office Is Spamming You With Appointment Reminders,” by Nathaniel Meyersohn.

Tami Luhby: KFF Health News “Georgia’s Medicaid job demand costing taxpayers millions despite low enrollment,” by Andy Miller and Renuka Rayasam.

Mary Agnes Carey: The New York Times’ “When Medicaid Comes After the Family Home,” by Paula Span, and “PA State Medicaid Offices Target Homes of Dead People to Recover Their Health Care Costs,” by Amanda Seitz.

Also mentioned in this week’s podcast:


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