KHN’s ‘What the Well being?’: Manchin Blows Up Biden’s ‘Construct Again Higher’

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) dashed the hopes of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats for passage of the large “Construct Again Higher” invoice earlier than the top of the 12 months, when he introduced his opposition to the measure in an interview on “Fox Information Sunday.” Democrats nonetheless hope to salvage a minimum of some items of the invoice, however the effort will drag into the 2022 midterm election 12 months.

In the meantime, the omicron variant is spreading exponentially across the U.S., probably threatening the power of the nation’s well being care system to are inclined to sufferers with illnesses apart from covid.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Faculty of Public Well being, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Regardless of the shock implosion of Senate Democrats’ negotiations on the Construct Again Higher Act, which might fund Biden’s local weather and social spending plans, many individuals assume Democrats will be capable of push out a much less bold plan in 2022. Manchin has stated he would settle for a proposal that retains the federal enhancements to premium subsidies for Reasonably priced Care Act market plans, which in any other case would run out after 2022.
  • Nonetheless, paring again lots of the different packages which have been promised may result in a bitter debate between progressives and moderates within the get together.
  • Manchin has additionally urged that he would love the package deal to incorporate methods to battle excessive drug costs.
  • Some Democrats are urging Biden to attempt to use his government energy to carry down drug costs in Medicare. However that would show tough. Present legislation doesn’t permit Medicare to barter drug costs — a brand new legislation can be required to alter that. The administration would possibly, nevertheless, attempt smaller, pilot tasks to affect Medicare drug pricing.
  • Because the covid variant omicron spreads shortly by means of the nation, already-overwhelmed hospitals and officers say they could not be capable of deal with new surges. Plus, there are issues that as a result of omicron is a lot extra transmissible, important hospital staff — already in brief provide — could also be in danger for extra infections.
  • The characterization of omicron as extra gentle than the delta variant is problematic. The info is just not but clear that it’s much less of a risk to individuals — it is perhaps gentle, however that doesn’t imply it doesn’t trigger sickness or make individuals sick. Those that are vaccinated could keep away from hospitalizations, however they nonetheless could face days of being sick at house and lacking work.
  • The maker of Aduhelm, a drug authorized this 12 months for the therapy of some Alzheimer’s circumstances, introduced that it’s reducing the price of the drug in half to about $28,000 a 12 months. But huge questions stay in regards to the effectiveness and security of the drug, and Medicare has not but determined whether or not it is going to cowl it. That call is anticipated subsequent month.
  • 2021 was a giant 12 months in well being coverage, other than covid. The panelists choose their selections for essentially the most under-covered tales of the 12 months, and essentially the most notable unsung heroes, amongst others.

Additionally this week, Rovner interviews Ceci Connolly, president and CEO of the Alliance of Group Well being Plans, in regards to the perilous state of the nation’s well being care system.

Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists advocate their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume it is best to learn too:

Julie Rovner: KHN’s “Crash Course: Injured Sufferers Who Signal ‘Letters of Safety’ Might Face Large Medical Payments and Dangers,” by Fred Schulte

Rachel Cohrs: NBC’s “‘Get That Cash!’ Dermatologist Says Affected person Care Suffered After Personal Fairness-Backed Agency Purchased Her Follow,” by Gretchen Morgenson

Joanne Kenen: ProPublica’s “This Scientist Created a Fast Take a look at Simply Weeks Into the Pandemic. Right here’s Why You Nonetheless Can’t Get It,” by Lydia DePillis

Sarah Karlin-Smith: The Atlantic’s “I Canceled My Birthday Social gathering Due to Omicron,” by Ed Yong

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And subscribe to KHN’s What the Well being? on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you take heed to podcasts.

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