GOP Home Opens With Abortion Agenda

The Host

Julie Rovner


Learn Julie’s tales.

Julie Rovner is Chief Washington Correspondent and host of KHN’s weekly well being coverage information podcast, “What the Well being?” A famous professional on well being coverage points, Julie is the creator of the critically praised reference e-book “Well being Care Politics and Coverage A-Z,” now in its third version.

Having spent its whole first week selecting a speaker, the Republican-led U.S. Home lastly acquired all the way down to legislative enterprise, together with passing two payments backed by anti-abortion teams. Neither is more likely to grow to be regulation, as a result of they received’t go the Senate nor be signed by President Joe Biden. However the transfer highlights how abortion is bound to stay a high-visibility challenge within the nation’s capital.

In the meantime, as open enrollment for the Inexpensive Care Act nears its Jan. 15 shut, a document variety of individuals have signed up, benefiting from renewed subsidies and different assist with medical prices.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Instances, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.


Sarah Karlin-Smith
Pink Sheet


Read Sarah’s stories

Alice Miranda Ollstein


Read Alice’s stories

Margot Sanger-Katz
The New York Instances


Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • The Home now has a speaker after 15 rounds of full-chamber roll name votes. That paved the way in which for members to be sworn in, committee assignments to be made, and new committee chairs to be named. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Jason Smith (R-Mo.) might be taking the helm of main well being committees.
  • McMorris Rodgers will lead the Home Power and Commerce Committee; Smith would be the chairman of Methods and Means. Not like McMorris Rodgers, Smith has little background in well being points and has principally targeted on tax points in his public speaking factors. However Medicare is more likely to be on the agenda, which would require the enter of the chairs of each committees.
  • One factor is definite: The brand new GOP-controlled Home will do a whole lot of investigations. Republicans have already reconstituted a committee to research covid-19, though, in contrast to the Democrats’ panel, this one is more likely to spend time looking for the origin of the virus and observe the place federal {dollars} might have been misspent.
  • The Home this week started contemplating a collection of abortion-related payments — “assertion” or “messaging” payments — which might be unlikely to see the sunshine of day within the Senate. Nonetheless, some within the caucus query the knowledge of holding votes on points like these that might make their extra average members extra weak. To this point, payments have had principally unanimous help from the GOP. Divisions usually tend to emerge on subjects like a nationwide abortion ban. In the meantime, the Title X program, which pays for issues like contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections, is turning into a sizzling matter on the state degree and in some lawsuits. A case in Texas would limit contraception availability for minors by way of this program.
  • It’s more and more clear that abortion drugs are going to grow to be a fair larger a part of the abortion debate. On one hand, the FDA has relaxed among the danger analysis and mitigation methods (REMS) from the prescribing guidelines surrounding abortion drugs. The FDA places these additional restrictions or safeguards in place for sure medication so as to add extra safety. Some advocates say these drugs merely don’t convey that degree or danger.
  • Anti-abortion teams are planning protests in early February at massive pharmacies equivalent to CVS and Walgreens to attempt to get them to stroll again plans to distribute abortion drugs in states the place they’re authorized.
  • A rising variety of states are pressuring the Division of Well being and Human Providers to permit them to import cheaper prescribed drugs from Canada — or, extra precisely, importing Canada’s value controls. Whereas this has lengthy been a bipartisan challenge, it has additionally lengthy been controversial. Officers on the FDA stay involved about breaking the closed provide chain between medication being manufactured and delivered to permitted U.S. consumers. The coverage is fashionable, nonetheless, as a result of it guarantees decrease costs on at the least some medication.
  • Additionally within the information from the FDA: The company granted accelerated approval for Leqembi for the remedy of Alzheimer’s illness. Leqembi is one other costly drug that seems to work, but in addition carries large dangers. Nonetheless, it’s usually considered as an enchancment over the much more controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm. Nonetheless to be decided is whether or not Medicare — which gives insurance coverage to most individuals with Alzheimer’s — will cowl the drug.
  • Because the Inexpensive Care Act enrolls a document variety of People, it’s notable that repealing the regulation has not been talked about as a precedence for the brand new GOP majority within the Home. Somewhat, the highest well being challenge is more likely to be find out how to scale back the value of Medicare and different well being “entitlement” applications.

Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists advocate their favourite well being coverage tales of the week that they assume you must learn, too:

Julie Rovner: The Washington Submit’s “Social Security Denies Disability Benefits Based on List With Jobs From 1977,” by Lisa Rein

Margot Sanger-Katz: Roll Name’s “Providers Say Medicare Advantage Hinders New Methadone Benefit,” by Jessie Hellmann

Alice Miranda Ollstein: The New York Instances’ “Grant Wahl Was a Loving Husband. I Will Always Protect His Legacy.” By Céline Gounder

Sarah Karlin-Smith: KHN’s “Hospitals’ Use of Volunteer Workers Runs Danger of Skirting Labor Legal guidelines, Specialists Say,” by Lauren Sausser

Additionally talked about on this week’s podcast:


Francis Ying
Audio Producer

Stephanie Stapleton

To listen to all our podcasts, click on right here.

And subscribe to KHN’s What the Well being? on SpotifyApple PodcastsStitcherPocket Casts, or wherever you take heed to podcasts.

KHN (Kaiser Well being Information) is a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points. Along with Coverage Evaluation and Polling, KHN is among the three main working applications at KFF (Kaiser Household Basis). KFF is an endowed nonprofit group offering info on well being points to the nation.


This story may be republished totally free (particulars).

We encourage organizations to republish our content material, freed from cost. Right here’s what we ask:

You will need to credit score us as the unique writer, with a hyperlink to our web site. If doable, please embrace the unique creator(s) and “Kaiser Well being Information” within the byline. Please protect the hyperlinks within the story.

It’s vital to notice, not every thing on is on the market for republishing. If a narrative is labeled “All Rights Reserved,” we can not grant permission to republish that merchandise.

Have questions? Tell us at [email protected]

Open chat
Thank you for contacting us, more info please chat.