KHN’s ‘What Health?’: Taking a Shot at Gun Control

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The House has passed a series of bills to reduce the availability of weapons of aggression to minors and other measures to reduce gun violence, but talks in the Senate have yet to make any progress on what has been a stalemate in the legislature for years.

Meanwhile, as inflation remains a top issue for voters, the Federal Trade Commission is examining the practices of pharmaceutical benefit managers and hospitals to maintain price competition that has inflated the U.S. health care system.

This week’s panelists include KHN’s Julie Rovner, Politician Alice Miranda Ollstein, Bloomberg News ’Anna Edney, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Public and Political Health Joanne Kenen.

This week’s episode includes:

  • Senators are gathering to try to find compromise measures on gun safety to clear a filibuster that could get at least 10 Republican votes. The question for the people is to settle for something that has been reduced enough for Democrats to get GOP votes ready. If not, this could be another example of arms security negotiations.
  • It seems that the Biden administration’s efforts to bring in baby formula from other countries are helping to provide for families in despair. Some data analysis suggests that the country is emerging from a peak of scarcity. But that doesn’t dampen frustration with the delay in tackling shortages and pollution problems in a major U.S. formula maker in Michigan that forced the FDA to close. The plant will reopen this week, but it will take several weeks for the formula to be reached on store shelves.
  • Democratic lawmakers fear the Supreme Court will back down Roe v. Wade The decision, which guaranteed the right to abortion, calls on the Biden administration to take steps to help reduce the impact. But even if the president gave executive orders, their effects would be limited. That is to be overturned by a court Roe deer the rules of abortion would be left primarily to the states.
  • Opponents of abortion are already talking about the next goal, suggesting that they would rather have a national ban on abortion. But that creates a messaging problem, as abortion has been a state issue for years.
  • Employers have begun to feel pressure on the issue, and several companies have said they will offer benefits to help workers perform abortions outside the state if their state bans the procedure. For many employees, however, abortion is a private decision; employers may not want to know that they are considering one. Consumers who want to know more about the business policy that business initiatives address can also act.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will look into pharmaceutical benefit managers, facilitators who negotiate medication prices for health plans. Critics have argued that consolidation between health plans and PBMs could help drive up prices. The commission also sued to block several mergers in hospitals, arguing that they could harm competition and raise prices.
  • Congress remains at an impasse ahead of a bill to fund federal efforts to prepare for another rise in the covid pandemic. Democrats have expressed concern that the new variants will have adequate vaccination and testing resources in the fall if the cases increase the number of cases, but Republicans have said other federal funds could be used.

Also this week, Rovner interviewed Cori Uccello about the latest report from the board of directors of Medicare at the American Academy of Actuaries and why politicians should act before the program runs out of money.

In addition, for added credit, panel members also recommend stories of their favorite health policies that they think you should read:

Julie Rovner: KHN’s “Misinformation Clouds America’s Most Popular Emergency Contraceptives,” by Sarah Varney

Alice Miranda Ollstein: “How many Covid deaths are acceptable? Some Biden officials tried to guess,” said Rachael Levy.

Anna Edney: On the 19th, “Florida could be a critical access point for abortion, but the battle for the state is just beginning,” said Shefali Luthra.

Joanne Kenen: Trace’s “In 2019, Congress committed billions to the study of gun violence. The results are almost here,” by Chip Brownlee

This week’s podcast was also discussed:

Robert B. George and Josh Craddock at Washington Post

Neil Jay Sehgal, Dahai Yue, Elle Pope, Ren Hao Wang, and Dylan H. Roby’s “Covid-19 Mortality and County-Level Partisan Divide in the Association.”

The Bloomberg Act “requires companies to revise their abortion coverage by balancing their ankles,” according to Sara Hansard.

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