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KFF Health News’ ‘What the Health?’: Trump Puts Obamacare Repeal Back on Agenda

The Host Julie Rovner KFF Health News @jrovner Read Julie's stories. Julie Rovner is chief Washington correspondent and host of KFF Health News weekly health policy news podcast, What the Health? A noted expert on health policy issues, Julie is the author of the critically praised reference book Health Care Politics and Policy A to Z, now in its third edition.

Former president and current 2024 Republican front-runner Donald Trump is aiming to put a repeal of the Affordable Care Act back on the political agenda, much to the delight of Democrats, who point to the health laws growing popularity.

Meanwhile, in Texas, the all-Republican state Supreme Court this week took up a lawsuit filed by more than two dozen women who said their lives were endangered when they experienced pregnancy complications due to the vague wording of the states near-total abortion ban.

This weeks panelists are Julie Rovner of KFF Health News, Joanne Kenen of Johns Hopkins University and Politico Magazine, Victoria Knight of Axios, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet. Panelists Joanne Kenen Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico @JoanneKenen Read Joanne's stories Victoria Knight Axios @victoriaregisk Read Victoria's stories Sarah Karlin-Smith Pink Sheet @SarahKarlin Read Sarah's stories

Among the takeaways from this weeks episode: The FDA recently approved another promising weight loss drug, offering another option to meet the huge demand for such drugs that promise notable health benefits. But Medicare and private insurers remain wary of paying the tab for these very expensive drugs. Speaking of expensive drugs, the courts are weighing in on the use of so-called copay accumulators offered by drug companies and others to reduce the cost of pricey pharmaceuticals for patients. The latest ruling called the federal governments rules on the subject inconsistent and tied the use of copay accumulators to the availability of cheaper, generic alternatives. Congress will revisit government spending in January, but that isnt soon enough to address the end-of-the-year policy changes for some health programs, such as pending cuts to Medicare payments for doctors. This Week in Medical Misinformation highlights a guide by the staff of Stat to help lay people decipher whether clinical study results truly represent a breakthrough or not.

Also this week, Rovner interviews KFF Health News Rachana Pradhan, who reported and wrote the latest Bill of the Month feature, about a woman who visited a hospital lab for basic prenatal tests and ended up owing almost $2,400. If you have an outrageous or baffling medical bill youd like to share with us, you can do that here.

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

Julie Rovner: KFF Health News Medicaid Unwinding Makes Other Public Assistance Harder to Get, by Katheryn Houghton, Rachana Pradhan, and Samantha Liss.

Joanne Kenen: KFF Health News She Once Advised the President on Aging Issues. Now, Shes Battling Serious Disability and Depression, by Judith Graham.  

Victoria Knight: Business Insiders Washingtons Secret Weapon Is a Beloved Gen Z Energy Drink With More Caffeine Than God, by Lauren Vespoli.

Sarah Karlin-Smith: ProPublicas Insurance Executives Refused to Pay for the Cancer Treatment That Could Have Saved Him. This Is How They Did It, by Maya Miller and Robin Fields.

Also mentioned in this weeks episode: KFF Health News Progressive and Anti-Abortion? New Group Plays Fast and Loose to Make Points, by Darius Tahir. ProPublicas Some Republicans Were Willing to Compromise on Abortion Ban Exceptions. Activists Made Sure They Didnt, by Kavitha Surana. Credits Zach Dyer Audio producer Emmarie Huetteman Editor

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