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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Getting Down to Work at HHS



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As questions swirl about the covid vaccine made by AstraZeneca, public health experts are worried the confusion could create more doubts among people already hesitant to get a vaccine.


Meanwhile, the first Senate-confirmed officials are settling into their offices at the Department of Health and Human Services, starting with new Secretary Xavier Becerra, who was confirmed on a 50-49 vote. Becerra, at least at first, appears focused on the rollout of new benefits for the Affordable Care Act passed as part of the recent covid relief bill.

And with the big covid bill behind them, members of Congress are looking to their next big package, which could include another effort to address the high costs of prescription drugs.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Margot Sanger Katz of The New York Times, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

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


Julie Rovner: The New York Times’ “Bad News Bias,” by David Leonhardt

Margot Sanger-Katz: The Wall Street Journal’s “Hospitals Hide Pricing Data From Search Results,” by Tom McGinty, Anna Wilde Mathews and Melanie Evans

Anna Edney: Stat’s “What ‘Beans’ Taught Her Parents About Pediatric Cancer, the Need for Research, and Patient Advocacy,” by Meghana Keshavan

Sarah Karlin-Smith: KHN’s “In America, Covid Vaccine Eligibility Is a ‘Crazy Quilt’ of State Rules,” by Phil Galewitz

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySpotify, or Pocket Casts.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.



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