KHN’s ‘What is Health?’: Closing the Covid Vaccine for ‘The Littles’


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In the United States, children under the age of 5 are the only population that is not eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, but this may change as a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommends approval for that group.

In Capitol Hill, meanwhile, senators are fighting to write a legal agreement over the weekend on gun control and mental health, and the Supreme Court has ruled out some administrative cuts in hospitals under the Medicare program.

This week’s panelists are KHN’s Julie Rovner, The 19’s Shefali Luthra, Pink Sheet’s Sarah Carlin-Smith and CQ Roll Call’s Sandhya Raman.

In this week’s episode Takeway:

  • Vaccines will soon be available for even the youngest Americans, immersed in the confusion surrounding vaccine and infectious diseases. While some people find it easy to understand how science changes regularly, others feel that they have been frustrated or even betrayed by changes in the strength of the vaccine and advice on how to avoid getting sick. This makes messaging extremely difficult. For example, at a very young age eligible for shots, parents need to realize that, even when vaccinated, their young children can still be infected with covid. Their immunizations are less likely to cause serious illness or require hospitalization.
  • The Supreme Court this week ruled in a complex case involving a drug discount program known as 340B. This stems from the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce some payments to hospitals under the program. The court ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services did not have the power to make cuts. But the court did not, as some predicted, try to undermine “Chevron honor”, a legal doctrine that effectively allows executive branch departments to explain how federal law is enforced. The court did not mention Chevron directly in the ruling, but said it was awaiting a decision on another case involving the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The situation with the pending gun package in Congress is getting more and more complicated. For example, it is described as a gun bill, but it is a mental health bill: a key element is funding for behavioral health community clinics. But that provision makes the measurement more expensive and requires a cost-offset. Negotiations could escalate rapidly, which has made the July 4 deadline quite challenging.
  • Abortion rates are on the rise, according to a recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, which surveyed abortion service providers for four decades. The reason for the increase is not clear. However, there is a possibility that more states are allowing Medicaid programs to cover abortions, and the cuts in the federal family planning program, Title X, under the Trump administration could lead to more unintended pregnancies and, consequently, more abortions.
  • Most likely states will take steps to limit illegal or abortion Rowe vs. Wade In turn, low-income parents are less likely to be offered social programs, including tax credits, health insurance, and paid parental leave.
  • Legislation for renewing expired user fees that helps the FDA pay for drug and device reviews is rapidly making its way through Congress, in contrast to every other legal priority. In the Senate, however, the bill is attracting controversial add-ons, such as language to facilitate the importation of cheap prescription drugs from Canada and other developed countries. This may slow down the progress of its re-approval. In general, though, the bill is not the “Christmas tree” of the amendment that it was considered in the past.

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

Julie Rovner: Statistics “The FTC says this is becoming more difficult on hospital integration. Antitrust experts are not buying it, ”they say

Shefali Luthra: Politico’s “Brace for Michigan Abortion Providers Ban – Or a Surge,” by Alice Miranda Olstein

Sarah Carlin-Smith: The Washington Post’s “Do you agree?” Doctor check-in software collects your health data, ”said Geoffrey A. By Fowler

Evening Raman: KHN’s “Race is often used as a medical shorthand for how the bodies work. Some doctors want to change that, “said Roy Ellen Beechel and Cara Anthony

Also discussed in this week’s podcast:


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