Julie Rovner

Julie Rovner is a health policy correspondent for NPR specializing in the politics of health care.

Reporting on all aspects of health policy and politics, Rovner covers the White House, Capitol Hill, the Department of Health and Human Services in addition to issues around the country. She served as NPR's lead correspondent covering the passage and implementation of the 2010 health overhaul bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

A noted expert on health policy issues, Rovner is the author of a critically-praised reference book Health Care Politics and Policy A-Z. Rovner is also co-author of the book Managed Care Strategies 1997, and has contributed to several other books, including two chapters in Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy, edited by political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann.

In 2005, Rovner was awarded the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress for her coverage of the passage of the Medicare prescription drug law and its aftermath.

Rovner has appeared on television on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, C-Span, MSNBC, and NOW with Bill Moyers. Her articles have appeared in dozens of national newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, USA Today, Modern Maturity, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Prior to NPR, Rovner covered health and human services for the Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, specializing in health care financing, abortion, welfare, and disability issues. Later she covered health reform for the Medical News Network, an interactive daily television news service for physicians, and provided analysis and commentary on the health reform debates in Congress for NPR. She has been a regular contributor to the British medical journal The Lancet. Her columns on patients' rights for the magazine Business and Health won her a share of the 1999 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award.

An honors graduate, Rovner has a degree in political science from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

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Shots - Health News
5:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

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Shots - Health News
3:50 am
Tue December 4, 2012

The (Huge And Rarely Discussed) Health Insurance Tax Break

The largest tax break in the federal code doesn't appear on the forms the average person fills out each year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:56 am

What's the largest tax break in the federal tax code?

If you said the mortgage interest deduction, you'd be wrong. The break for charitable giving? Nope. How about capital gains, or state and local taxes? No, and no.

Believe it or not, dollar for dollar, the most tax revenue the federal government forgoes every year is from not taxing the value of health insurance that employers provide their workers.

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Shots - Health News
5:00 am
Thu November 29, 2012

The Hidden Costs Of Raising The Medicare Age

Keith Gresham, 65, lines up four medications he takes at his home in Detroit in 2011. The self-employed painter was without health insurance for about a decade and was happy to finally turn 65 last year so he could qualify for Medicare.
Patricia Beck MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 9:18 am

Whenever the discussion turns to saving money in Medicare, the idea of raising the eligibility age often comes up.

"I don't think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC's This Week last Sunday. "Let it float up another year or so over the next 30 years, adjust Medicare from 65 to 67."

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Shots - Health News
7:11 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Prescribe 'Morning After' Pill For Teens Before They Need It, Doctors Say

Currently, you need a doctor's prescription to purchase emergency contraception, such as Plan B, if you are under 17.
AP

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 6:46 pm

The nation's largest group of pediatricians is urging its members to write prescriptions in advance to enable teenagers to have fast access to the so-called morning-after birth control pill.

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Shots - Health News
3:28 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Administration Lays Down Rules For Future Health Insurance

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

You've got questions about the health law? The Obama administration has some answers. Finally.

Now that the Supreme Court has found the Affordable Care Act constitutional and the president's re-election made clear that big chunks of the law will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, the administration is finally releasing rules of the road that states and insurance companies have been clamoring for.

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Shots - Health News
5:38 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Health Exchange Activity Heats Up As Deadline Is Extended

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman announced Thursday that his state will choose the federal health insurance exchange program.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 7:45 pm

There's nothing quite like a deadline to focus the mind. Even a deadline that's not quite real.

Friday was originally the day that states were supposed to not only tell the federal government whether they planned to run their own health exchanges but also how they planned to do it.

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Shots - Health News
6:07 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Health Care Cuts Are Coming. Here's Where Liberals Say You Can Slice

Two new studies and a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement all have the potential to change dollar signs as lawmakers address the impending fiscal cliff.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 9:12 pm

A liberal think-tank closely allied with the Obama administration is proposing a health care spending plan it says could save hundreds of billions of dollars in entitlement spending without hurting middle- and low-income patients.

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Health Care
5:29 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Liberal Group Proposes Reduced Medicare Spending

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:46 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

As the White House and Congress debate taxes and entitlement reform, an influential liberal think-tank is offering what appears to be an olive branch. It comes at a time when many Democrats are trying to protect entitlements, such as Medicare. At the same time, Republicans say those entitlements are too expensive in their present form.

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Affordable Care Act
3:34 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Explained: What Health Insurance Exchanges Might Look Like In Florida

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said last week the state could design its own health insurance exchange required under President Obama's health care law. But resistance in the Republican-controlled General Assembly may cause the state to hand that power off to the federal government.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 1:33 pm

Last week's election may have settled the fate of the federal Affordable Care Act, but its implementation after months of uncertainty has caught many of the players unprepared.

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Shots - Health News
3:25 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Obamacare Is Here To Stay, But In What Form?

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signs a bill in June 2011 to pave the way for a health insurance exchange in the state.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:46 am

President Obama's re-election and the retention of a Democratic majority in the Senate means the likelihood of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act has receded.

So what now?

"The law is here and we should at this point expect it to still be here Jan. 1, 2014," says Alan Weil, executive director of the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy.

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Shots - Health News
3:32 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Why Abortion Has Become Such A Prominent Campaign Issue

Women use wordplay to protest Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's position on women's health care outside the Hyatt Regency, where Romney was scheduled to attend a fundraiser, on March 22 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:25 am

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Politics And Health Care
9:40 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Romney's Baffling Claim About Medicare Pay Cuts For Doctors

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney makes his case about Medicare during a briefing in South Carolina in August.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 10:19 pm

Health care in general — and Medicare, in particular — have been big parts of this year's presidential campaign.

But over the last couple of weeks, Republican Mitt Romney has been making a new claim that doesn't quite clear the accuracy bar.

It has to do with $716 billion in Medicare reductions over 10 years included in the federal health law, the Affordable Care Act. And it's become a standard part of Romney's stump speech.

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Shots - Health News
11:13 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Could Romney Repeal The Health Law? It Wouldn't Be Easy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the Supreme Court ruling on health care in Washington on June 28.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 1:41 pm

You can barely listen to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney make a speech or give an interview without hearing some variation of this vow:

"On Day 1 of my administration, I'll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. And then I'll go about getting it repealed," he told Newsmax TV in September 2011.

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NPR Story
5:33 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Can Mitt Romney Really Repeal Obamacare?

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 11:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And let's move back to the presidential campaign. Mitt Romney has been criticized for being on many sides of many issues, but there's one where he's been pretty consistent: He wants to repeal the federal health care law. The question is: Can Romney actually keep that promise?

Here's NPR's Julie Rovner.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: You can barely listen to Mitt Romney make a speech or give an interview without hearing some variation of this vow...

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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Shots - Health News
4:17 am
Fri October 26, 2012

President Embraces 'Obamacare'; What Would Romney Do?

During a campaign speech at Veterans Memorial Park in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 18, President Obama once again embraced the term "Obamacare" while discussing the Affordable Care Act.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 12:22 pm

It's hard to find an issue on which President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney disagree more than health care.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act is considered President Obama's signature legislative achievement, as well as something Romney has vowed to repeal.

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