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Health Affairs Pathways explores the avenues and alleyways of the health care system through a variety of storytelling – from investigative journalism and health policy explainers to long-form interviews. Unique series are created by fellows at Health Affairs Podcast Fellowship Program, designed to support early to mid-stage professionals pursue an audio project, tell a unique health care story, and highlight voices that may not be heard otherwise. Join the Health Affairs Podcast Fellows on ...
 
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Welcome to Health Affairs Pathways, which explores the avenues and alleyways of the health care system through a variety of storytelling – from investigative journalism and health policy explainers to long-form interviews. Our first season is a six-part series from Lalita Abhyankar, a physician and storyteller based in San Francisco, CA. Her series…
 
With the Omicron coronavirus rapidly spreading through the United States, many are reassessing their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the CDC revised its guidelines for quarantine and isolation periods (which was met with mixed reactions). Workers, organizations, and schools are all trying to navigate this period of uncertainty as infec…
 
While COVID-19 shallowed many headlines in the health care space, a lot of movement was made in various health policy areas, including prescription drug pricing. On today's episode of Health Affairs This Week, Rachel Sachs, the Treiman Professor of Law at the Washington University in St. Louis, joins the program with Health Affairs Forefront Editor…
 
This week, Health Affairs released the annual national health care spending data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Using data from 2020, the first data which relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report found health spending reached a record high in 2020. But Health Affairs had some of its own news this week as well. We are…
 
With 2021 about to be in the rearview mirror, Health Affairs' Jessica Bylander and Ellen Bayer gather on Health Affairs This Week to quickly chat about some of the biggest developments in health policy for the year. Looking back, they talk about the Biden administration's health agenda - which includes a focus on health equity and innovation - as w…
 
The first Omicron COVID-19 variant case was confirmed in the state of California this week. But there is a lot we don't know about this new COVID-19 variant. On today's episode of Health Affairs This Week, Health Affairs' Leslie Erdelack and Rob Lott discuss what's known (and not known) about the new variant, global health inequity, and how the HIV…
 
Since its inception, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has faced legal challenges. With the law on the books for more than 10 years, the measure is still facing litigation. Cases currently pending before the Supreme Court include Section 1557, the ACA’s primary nondiscrimination provision. The court is still considering to take on additional cases agai…
 
Last week, a lot of the coverage regarding the U.S. off-year election cycle focused on the victory of Republican Glenn Youngkin in Virginia. But there were a number of amendments throughout state elections that focused on public health initiatives. Listen to Health Affairs' Jessica Bylander and Jeff Byers review some of the public health ballot mea…
 
Health spending currently accounts for nearly 18% of the US' Gross Domestic Product. If the nation spends so much on health care - about $11,500 per person in the US - then are we getting a good value in return for that spending? Last week, Health Affairs launched a newsletter for our Considering Health Spending initiative to bring readers a forum …
 
Ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a special report on climate change and health. The organization proposed a set of recommendations for the global health community to act on the climate crisis. Drawing from the research and insights from Health Affairs' Cl…
 
Last week, it was reported that President Joe Biden is considering Robert Califf to lead the Food and Drug Administration. The appointment, which has yet to been made official, comes as a mid-November deadline to appoint an FDA Commissioner looms. Currently, the acting commissioner for the agency is Janet Woodcock. On Health Affairs This Week, Seni…
 
The downstream effects of exclusionary, low-density residential zoning on health and health equity should make scholars and policy makers focus on reforming zoning to make housing more plentiful and affordable in healthy neighborhoods. Michael Lens, associate professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy and associate faculty director of the Lewis …
 
In October, Health Affairs published an issue dedicated to perinatal mental health. There has long been an awareness of the harm associated with perinatal depression and mood disorders. Perinatal depression and mood disorders occur in the context of social, economic, and other health conditions that affect the well-being of birthing people, familie…
 
This week was a busy week on Capitol Hill but on today's episode of Health Affairs This Week, Senior Editors Leslie Erdelack and Jessica Bylander look into recent pharmaceutical and drug pricing news. In one story, Walgreens is investing more into hospital specialty pharmacies to broaden their reach. “Today, around 25 percent of hospitals in the US…
 
Child birth in the US is expensive. One of the largest payers for childbirth in the US is Medicaid, covering 43% of US births in 2018. New mothers with pregnancy-related insurance coverage via Medicaid can lose their insurance coverage 60 days after the birth of their child. But policy makers are looking to change that and expand postpartum Medicai…
 
Earlier this week, the White House released its "path out of the pandemic," which notes the FDA is currently evaluating a COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 12. A major pillar in the plan is to reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans by using regulatory powers to increase Americans covered by vaccination requirements. For example, t…
 
In January 2021, Health Affairs posted an announcement regarding its new Health Equity Project. Since then, Health Affairs has been ramping up its efforts to advance equity in scholarly publishing and health services research. Last month, the organization announced the members of the Health Affairs' Health Equity Advisory Board. This week, the Heal…
 
This week in Health Affairs Today, Georgetown University faculty member and Health Affairs Contributing Editor Katie Keith shared her "back-to-school" reading list with subscribers. In part to talk about her reading picks for the future health policy leaders of tomorrow, Katie joins Health Affairs Senior Editor Chris Fleming on Health Affairs This …
 
This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Pfizer full approval for its COVID-19 vaccine. Schools around the country also started to reopen for the 2021-2022 school year. With schools reopening and the Delta variant of COVID-19 flaring up across the US, many are bringing up the pros and cons of mask mandates in schools in addition to…
 
This week, the Biden administration updated its Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The analysis led to an increase in the average SNAP benefit which is set to increase in October. The cost adjustment, according to the Biden administration, is the first update since the plan was f…
 
This week, the US Senate approved the sweeping Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan. The bill includes a $39 billion investment in public transit to report aging infrastructure across the US. Public transportation in the US is an important aspect of American Life, including health care. Health Affairs recently published a Health Policy Brief on the conne…
 
Last week, President Joe Biden and his administration released more detail on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. While a lot of focus has been given to provisions, such as the $66 billion investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago, there are many areas which will affect the health care sector. Health …
 
This week has seen considerable movement in the effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic from the federal level. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask guidance, recommending that fully vaccinated individuals wear mask indoors in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates to reduce the spread of COVID-19. At …
 
In July, Health Affairs published an issue dedicated to borders, immigrants, and health. A public health crisis is unfolding along and inside the US-Mexico border. Immigrants arriving at the US border are likely to have experienced political, economic, or interpersonal violence prior to their arrival, leading to unmet mental health and physical hea…
 
Last week, the Biden Administration unveiled a sweeping executive order, focused on promoting competition in the US economy. With Lina Khan as the new chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission, the administration is looking to increase its antitrust focus and potentially break up monopolies. The new executive order contains 72 provisions, giving …
 
Last week, the Biden administration issued an interim final rule to implement critical components of the No Surprises Act (NSA). Building on the Affordable Care Act, the NSA includes new patient protections against surprise medical bills. About one in five insured adults had an unexpected medical bill from an out-of-network provider, according to a…
 
President Joe Biden has been making negotiations to get his massive infrastructure plan over the finish line. Some funding related to health care that was originally in the plan ended up on the cutting room floor. In particular, $400 billion in federal Medicaid funding for home and community-based long term care services were removed from the plan.…
 
Tech giants like Apple and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, have been trying to push into health care for some time now. But pursuing health care as a business is hard. Recent news of Google reorganizing its health team and Apple struggling to create primary care services illuminate how difficult it can be for companies - even those with dee…
 
June is shaping to be a busy month in the health policy space. Two major events happened this week alone. First, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) survived its latest legal challenge in the Supreme Court. After facing many court challenges, the 2010 policy is still the law of the land. Also, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) sent a repo…
 
This week, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm (aducanumab) to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease using an accelerated approval pathway. The drug was approved on June 7, 2021, and the decision was quick to spark controversy. At least two members of a panel of outside advisors to the FDA from Mayo Clinic and Washington Universi…
 
President Joe Biden included the public health insurance option, commonly referred to as the "public option," as a major pillar of his health care platform during the 2020 presidential campaign. To date, the public option hasn't been included in the discourse for the Biden administration. Instead the administration has focused on supporting the Aff…
 
Last week, Representative Katie Porter took AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez to task on drug pricing during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing. Porter highlighted the CEO's high salary while pointing to increases in drug prices in the pharmaceutical industry. The narrative casts pharmaceutical companies as villains but it's more complicated …
 
Last week, the CDC updated its guidance on mask-wearing in public for individuals that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The agency stated, "if you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic." That means fully vaccinated individuals can wear masks indoors or outdoors if they choose to. Unsurprisingly, th…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the telehealth landscape. Many physicians and patients had their first experience with a telehealth visit as lockdown measures limited in-person physician offices. Many questions remain whether the telehealth explosion is a flash-in-the-pan success or if it will have long-lasting changes in patient visit behaviors. He…
 
Last month, the Biden administration unveiled the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which includes $45 billion to enrich federal nutrition programs for families and children. The plan builds on the expansion of the Pandemic-EBT program from March 2021. Research has shown that summer EBT programs decrease food insecurity among children but some …
 
Aggressive policing, or aggressive order maintenance policing, is prevalent throughout the US, negatively affecting the health of those exposed to it. Dr. Hedwig Lee, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, along with colleagues Michael Esposito and Savannah Larimore discuss these effects in a new Health Affairs Policy Brief. The brief i…
 
Last week, members of the Subcommittee on Health sent the US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra a letter, urging the agency to enforce compliance for the Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule, which went into effect on January 2021. The rules requires hospitals to make available to the public a machine-readable list for all stan…
 
This week, Microsoft announced a $19-billion deal to acquire Nuance Communications, a health tech firm. It's one of the many recent merger and acquisition deals in the health care space. On today's episode of Health Affairs This Week, Jeff Byers puts on his ex-reporter hat and joins Jessica Bylander to discuss the Nuance-Microsoft deal and review a…
 
In this National Public Health Week episode, Health Affairs' Leslie Erdelack and Vabren Watts discuss the latest federal effort to address the opioid crisis. This week, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency. These declarations expire every 90 days, and the agenc…
 
It's Infrastructure Week and H.R. 3, a far-reaching piece of legislation which contains a series of drug-pricing reforms, is back. At the end of 2019, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3 but partisan disagreements prevented the bill from becoming law. Now, elements of H.R. 3 are back on the table as the Biden administration prepares its $2 t…
 
March is Women's History Month. On today's Health Affairs This Week, Vabren Watts and Jessica Bylander give thanks and recognition to the women who have contributed important research and insights to the Health Affairs community. For example, Sara Rosenbaum from the George Washington University School of Public Health and colleagues published a pie…
 
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, some are hesitant to receive the shot if and when their number is called. It's upon the government and health care industry to connect targeted messaging and information to groups of individuals expressing hesitancy through trusted resources. On today's episode of Health Affairs This Week, Leslie Erdelack …
 
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Thursday March 11, 2021. A lot of news has covered the inclusion of the $1,400 stimulus check, but there is a lot in the bill concerning health and health care policy. For example, the American Rescue Plan offers financial incentives to states that have yet to expand Medicaid. I…
 
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in the U.S. Of note, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized a new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for emergency use. But vaccine equity is still a concern as President Joe Biden promised a COVID-19 vaccine for "every adult in America" by the end of May 2021. Health Affairs' Jessica Bylander and Rob Lott…
 
According to survey company Civiqs, 51% of Americans plan on taking a COVID-19 vaccine if and when it becomes available. As the U.S. exceeds 500,000 deaths related to COVID-19, the Biden administration is working to deploy more than 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as well as combat vaccine hesitancy. On Health Affairs This Week, Leslie Erdelack …
 
The minimum wage hasn't been raised since its last adjustment in 2009. Now, as the federal government is drafting a COVID-19 stimulus package, it looks that gradually raising the minimum wage is on the table to be included. This week, President Joe Biden stated he supported raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. But what are the health im…
 
Early this week, Representatives Lauren Underwood, Alma Adams, Cory Booker, and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus announced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. The piece of legislation builds on existing maternal health legislation and seeks to mitigate racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes. Health Affairs …
 
Last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to help strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Health Affairs editors Chris Fleming and Rob Lott join special guest and Health Affairs' rapid response health reform expert Katie Keith to discuss what's in it and what could be implied from the new executive order. Chris, Rob, and Kat…
 
This week President Joe Biden released his vision for advancing racial equity. On the same day, Health Affairs released details of its new Health Equity project. To spotlight the organization's approach to the topic and project, Health Affairs published two blogs to outline the program's details. Editor-In-Chief Alan Weil outlined his view on racis…
 
This week, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. With a new administration comes a new staff alongside new agendas. Biden has already made history by appointing Rachel Levine, an openly transgender woman, as assistant secretary of health at HHS. Health Affairs' Leslie Erdelack and Vabren Watts welcome the new administra…
 
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