“What is health?” from KHN: Manchin strikes a deal

The Democrats’ recurring budget bill is apparently back, and it’s bigger than expected. In a surprise move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) to broaden the scope of the limited health care bill that was headed for the floor of the Senate to also include climate change and some tax increases for corporations and some wealthy Americans.

But the measure is still only a fraction of what President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders had hoped for and does not include such important health priorities as new Medicare benefits or expanding eligibility for insurance for people in states that have not chosen to expand the Medicaid program. .

Meanwhile, the Biden administration reinstated anti-discrimination health care protections for LGBTQ+ people that the Trump administration rolled back, while the Affordable Care Act returned to court in Texas, this time to hear a case challenging the Health Act’s requirement for preventative benefits.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner from KHN, Joanne Kenen from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith from Pink Sheet and Alice Miranda Ollstein from Politico.

Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Wednesday night’s blockbuster announcement that Manchin had changed his mind and was ready to back a broader party-line bill to fund some of the president’s top priorities showed no major changes to the agreed-upon health arrangements. earlier. Manchin previously said he would sign the Senate Democrats’ plan to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and retain premium subsidy improvements for health policies purchased in affordable health care markets.

  • The outline of the new Senate legislation, however, would extend those bonus improvements by three years, a year longer than what Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previously agreed to. . This means that the renewal of these grants will not become an issue in the 2024 campaign.
  • Several expensive health items that progressives had sought in this legislation were left out, including new funding for home health care and a popular provision to reduce consumer out-of-pocket costs for insulin. A separate bill would do that, but it ran into hurdles in the Senate.
  • The adoption of the bill is not assured. First, the Senate parliamentarian must confirm that his provisions are authorized under complicated rules that allow the Senate to pass spending and tax measures without the threat of a buccaneer. As part of that process, all 50 senators in the Democratic caucus must support the bill and the vice president is expected to cast the deciding vote. It is not yet clear if all senators are on board or if they can all be present for a vote next week. Several, including Manchin and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), announced they had covid and were in self-isolation.
  • Biden has recovered from his covid infection, according to the White House doctor. During his recovery, he was careful to show that he was still working and doing quite well. And he was keen to point out that the federal efforts he helped lead to make more vaccine and treatment options readily available would also help others ward off an infection.
  • Some critics, however, have suggested that Biden’s message about working while recovering sends the wrong signal that patients should be encouraged to rest and recover.
  • A new KFF survey has found that 4 in 10 parents of children under 5 say they will not get their children vaccinated against covid. It seems to be a byproduct of parents assuming the disease isn’t as threatening to toddlers, their confusion about vaccine studies, and their long wait for a vaccine.
  • In a surprising twist, it appears that Congress could pass a bill enshrining the right to same-sex marriage but not be able to pass a bill guaranteeing a woman’s right to contraception. The birth control bill passed the House but ran into a hurdle in the Senate. Conservatives are concerned about complaints from anti-abortion groups that believe certain forms of birth control cause abortion.
  • A Texas federal judge who has previously ruled against parts of the ACA is presiding over a challenge to the law’s provision that ensures policyholders have no out-of-pocket for preventive care. The case could go to the Supreme Court, which rejected other efforts to undermine the ACA. But the center of power has shifted within the court, so it’s unclear how the judges might view the case.

Also this week, Rovner interviews Dr. Celine Gounder, infectious disease physician, KFF senior fellow, and KHN’s public health editor, about the ongoing monkeypox outbreak in the United States and the rest of the world. world.

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week that they think you should also read:

Julie Rovner: NPR “Because of Texas abortion law, her desired pregnancy became a medical nightmare”, by Carrie Feibel

Alice Miranda Ollstein: The Hill’s “Top FDA Tobacco Official Parting for Philip Morris Job”, by Nathaniel Weixel

Joanne Kenen: Science “Spots on a field? A neuroscience image sleuth finds signs of fabrication in dozens of Alzheimer’s papers, threatening a reigning theory of the disease”, by Charles Piller

Sarah Karlin-Smith: “Drugmakers are slow to prove fast-track drugs really work” from NPR, by Sydney Lupkin




This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy research organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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