KHN’s ‘What’s up?’: Biden calls pandemic ‘over’


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President Joe Biden’s declaration in a national interview that the Covid-19 pandemic is “over” has complicated his own administration’s efforts to get Congress to provide more funding for treatments and vaccines, and to give the public a And be pushed forward to get a booster.

Meanwhile, concerns about medical inflation returning for the first time in a decade are helping to drive up insurance premiums, and private companies are scrambling to claim their share of health care costs.

This week’s panelists are KHN’s Julie Rauner, Bloomberg News’ Anna Edney, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico’s Joan Cannon, and KHN’s Lauren Weber.

Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Biden’s comment on “60 Minutes” that the pandemic is over — even though Covid is still a problem — highlights the difficulty in communicating to the public how to transition from a public health crisis to a public health problem. .
  • Much of the country may agree with the president, as evidenced by fewer people regularly using face masks and a decrease in the number of trade restrictions related to Covid. But several hundred people are still dying every day, a higher number often overlooked.
  • Insurance premiums appear to be on the rise this fall, although medical spending has not been rising as fast as other parts of the economy in recent months. The increase may reflect insurers’ concerns that, emerging from the Covid crisis, consumers will seek more medical services.
  • One aspect of the health business that is driving up costs is increased investment by private equity firms, which are expanding their reach beyond emergency room doctors and a few other specialties to a broader range of medical services, including gastroenterology and pathology. Eyes
  • Another concern for the future of health spending is the trend toward consolidation in health care. Recent developments on this front include Amazon’s announcement that it is moving into primary care with its purchase of One Medical and CVS’s decision to buy home healthcare company Signify Health.
  • Abortion policies continue to make news in various states. West Virginia passed a law banning nearly all abortions. Several Republican Utah lawmakers sent cease-and-desist letters to abortion providers in their state. And Puerto Rico has a new political party campaigning on the issue of trying to block the commonwealth’s free abortion law.
  • While Democrats hope the abortion issue will swing more voters their way in the midterm elections, it’s unclear whether overall support for abortion will be a deciding issue for voters in more conservative states. Any changes will be made.

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

Julie Roner: The Anchorage Daily News’ “Many Alaska pharmacies are understaffed, leading to frequent dropouts and patient turnover,” by Annie Berman

Joan Cannon: Capital B’s “Medical Experts Dismiss Black Women’s Pain. The consequences are dire,” by Margo Snipe

Anna Edney: The Guardian’s “Outrage over ‘forever chemicals’ spewing toxic sewage sludge across US states,” by Tom Perkins

Lauren Weber: KHN’s “Doctors rush to use Supreme Court ruling to avoid opioid charges,” by Brett Kellman

Also mentioned in this week’s episode:

  • KHN’s “Private equity sees billions in eye care as firms target more profitable procedures,” by Lauren Weber
  • The New York Times’ “‘Disaster Mode’: Emergency Rooms Across Canada Close Amid Crisis,” by Vajusa Isai
  • JAMA Network Open’s “Prevalence and Risk Factors for Medical Debt and Consequent Changes in the Social Determinants of Health in the United States,” by Drs. David U. Himmelstein, Samuel L. Dickman, Danny McCormick, et al.
  • In the New England Journal of Medicine’s “Disclosure of Medical Bills After Sexual Assault,” Dr. Samuel L. Dickman, Dr. Gracie Himmelstein, Dr. David U. Himmelstein, Katherine Strandberg, Alicia McGregor, Dr. Danny McCormick, and Drs. Steffy Woolhandler
  • The Salt Lake Tribune’s “Utah GOP Rep. Birkeland, Lisenby Says His Threat To Abortion Providers Was Just His ‘Opinion,’ ‘Not Legal Document,'” by Emily Anderson Stern.
  • The New York Times’ “Abortion Helps Reshape Puerto Rico Politics, Gives Conservatives a Head Start,” by Patricia Mazzee

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