KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: It’s Scandal Week

President Donald Trump this week issued a prescription drug pricing order unlikely to lower drug prices, and he contradicted comments by his director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the need for mask-wearing and predictions for vaccine availability. Meanwhile, scandals erupted at the CDC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration. And the number of people without health insurance grew in 2019, reported the Census Bureau, even while the economy soared. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Lack of Antigen Test Reporting Leaves Country ‘Blind to the Pandemic’

A KHN review found more than 20 states either don’t count or have incomplete data on the use of COVID-19 antigen tests, leaving the public in the dark about the true scope of the pandemic.

HHS Plan to Improve Rural Health Focuses on Better Broadband, Telehealth Services

The proposal details a wide-ranging agenda to remedy the gaps in health care and myriad challenges in rural America. In addition to more telehealth options, it includes shifts in hospital payments and expanded funding for school-based mental health programs.

COVID Data Failures Create Pressure for Public Health System Overhaul

Poor information-sharing between hospitals and public health agencies has hurt the response to the pandemic. Some health care systems and IT companies are making inroads, but an overhaul would cost billions.

Could Labs That Test Livestock Ease COVID Testing Backlog for People? Well … Maybe.

Experts say aid from certain veterinary labs could relieve some of the pressure on commercial and hospital-based labs to lessen the current delays in COVID-19 testing and results, but it is unlikely to be a game changer.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Trump Administration’s War on Fauci

Case counts for COVID-19 are rising in nearly every state, yet a major campaign by the Trump administration this past week was an attempt to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, a trusted voice in public health. Meanwhile, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s surprise decision to protect abortion rights, there’s been a flurry of activity on reproductive health issues in lower federal courts. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Erin Mershon of Stat News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.

Azar Says Federal Law Had Preexisting Conditions Covered Before ACA. Not So Much.

This appears to be an overstatement.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: The Pandemic Shifts; The Politics, Not So Much

While federal and state officials continue to wrangle over coronavirus testing, the population testing positive is skewing younger. Meanwhile, the Trump administration wins a round in court over its requirements for hospitals to publicly reveal their prices, and the fight over the fate of the Affordable Care Act heats up once again. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews former Obama administration health aide Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who has written a new book comparing international health systems.

What’s the Latest on Prescription Drug Proposals from the Trump Administration, Congress, and the Biden Campaign?

This slideshow explains the similarities and differences among major proposals to lower prescription drug costs introduced by the Trump Administration, members of Congress, and the Biden campaign.

Federal Help Falters As Nursing Homes Run Short Of Protective Equipment

More than 3,000 nursing homes reported less than a week’s worth of supplies, and 653 said they had run out entirely at some point. Stopgap FEMA equipment has not reached many facilities, and packages that have arrived have fallen short of promises.

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