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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1:10pm

Tue January 17, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Listen Up, Walkers: Watch Out For Traffic When Wearing Headphones

Beware of tuning out while crossing the street.
iStockphoto.com

By now we all know that distracted driving can kill you. But a new study suggests that distracted walking can be pretty deadly, too.

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2:11pm

Thu January 12, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Biggest Bucks In Health Care Are Spent On A Very Few

A relatively small number of patients account for some of the biggest spending on health care.
Ricardo Reitmeyer iStockphoto.com

So you know how on Monday the federal government reported that the $2.6 trillion the nation spent on health care in 2010 translated into just over $8,400 per person?

Well, a different study just released by a separate federal agency shows that second number doesn't actually mean very much.

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10:01pm

Wed January 11, 2012

3:10pm

Mon January 9, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Weak Economy Curbs U.S. Health Spending

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 6:47 am

No, it's not quite going down. But health care spending in 2010 rose at the second-slowest rate in the last half-century.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that total health spending in the U.S. increased by 3.9 percent in 2010, just a notch above the slowest rate since the government started keeping track — 3.8 percent in 2009.

Overall, the U.S. spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010, or $8,402 per person. That's 17.9 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

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2:21pm

Mon January 9, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Diabetes' Economic Toll Goes Far Beyond Medical Bills

Sergey Lavrentev iStockphoto.com

By now most people have probably heard the dire predictions about how much the growing prevalence of diabetes will cost the U.S. health system in the coming years and decades.

But a new study from researchers at Yale suggests that the disease, which currently affects nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population, could have significant nonmedical costs to society as well.

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12:53pm

Thu January 5, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Feds: Standardizing Electronic Health Payments Could Save $4.5 Billion

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 1:03 pm

Here's a twist. You know how you keep hearing that the Affordable Care Act is doing little more than raising health care costs?

Well, the Obama administration says a new rule it's issuing under the law could result in a savings of as much as $4.5 billion over the next decade.

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10:01pm

Tue December 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Reversal On Health Mandate Came Late For Gingrich And Romney

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 11:20 am

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney chat after finishing a GOP debate in Sioux City, Iowa, earlier this month.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Opposition to the administration's overhaul of health care has almost become an article of faith with every Republican running for president.

Candidates promise to repeal the law and its less-than-popular requirement for most Americans to either have health insurance or to pay a penalty starting in 2014.

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2:12pm

Thu December 22, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Can't Rescue Congress On Fix For Doctors' Pay

Wendell Franks iStockphoto.com

Here we go again.

With official Washington trapped in partisan gridlock, doctors who treat Medicare patients are once again facing the prospect of a big cut in pay that almost no one supports.

And this time Medicare officials say they won't be hold onto the bills for longer than the usual 10-day processing time to wait for Congress to act. A 27 percent cut is set to take effect Jan. 1, unless Congress stops it.

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3:44pm

Fri December 16, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

States Would Get More Flexibility On 'Essential Benefits' Under Proposal

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:46 pm

It may or may not be a punt, but the Obama administration wants to let states play a bigger role in deciding what constitutes an "essential health benefits" package when it comes to health insurance.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued what it called a "bulletin" outlining a policy it hopes to impose. In other words, it's not even yet a formal regulation.

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12:12pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Wyden-Ryan Medicare Plan Shakes Up Politics More Than Policy

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, (left) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, present their plan for changing Medicare at the U.S. Capitol Thursday.
Tom Williams Roll Call/Getty Images

There's not much that's new in the Medicare proposal just unveiled by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

So why is it getting so much attention? One word. No, not plastics. Politics!

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3:00am

Thu December 8, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Women's Groups Outraged By Ruling On Morning-After Pill

Women's health advocates were quick to cry foul Wednesday when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the opinion of the Food and Drug Administration that the popular "morning after" emergency contraceptive "Plan B One Step" should be allowed to be sold without a prescription — and without age restrictions.

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11:10am

Wed December 7, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Teenage Girls Will Still Need A Prescription For 'Plan B'

In a surprising twist, the Obama administration has overruled the Food and Drug Administration and will not allow teenage girls to buy the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step without a prescription.

The decision punctuates one of the longest-running public health sagas in recent memory. The FDA had decided that a version of the morning-after emergency contraceptive pill could be sold without a prescription regardless of the age of the buyer.

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10:53am

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Morning-After Pill Won't Be Available Without Prescription To Younger Girls

The Food and Drug Administration will not be removing age restrictions for a morning-after birth control pill — a decision that's likely to prolong a fight that has raged for more than eight years.

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2:06pm

Mon December 5, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Young People Put Dent In Nursing Shortage

Lots of new nurses, like these graduating from New York University in 2009, are helping to fill openings.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

You know that shortage of nurses people have been warning about for about the last decade or two? Fuhgeddaboudit!

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4:08pm

Fri December 2, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Siri's Anti-Abortion Tendencies A Result Of Technology, Not Apple Conspiracy

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're out to get you.

That could be the motto this week for abortion rights groups that immediately sprang into battle mode when it was discovered that Siri, Apple's new artificially intelligent personal assistant, wasn't so, well, intelligent when it came to abortion.

It turns out, however, that it was all much ado about not so much.

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10:01pm

Thu December 1, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Catholic Groups Fight Contraceptive Rule, But Many Already Offer Coverage

New federal regulations require employers to provide no-cost prescription birth control as part of their health insurance plans.
Tim Matsui Getty Images

The Catholic Church says new federal regulations requiring employers to provide no-cost prescription birth control as part of their health insurance plans infringe on their religious liberty.

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12:55pm

Wed November 30, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Health Law's Popularity Rises ... Ever So Slightly

Can you say blip?

Apparently that's what last month's all-time low popularity numbers were for President Obama's health overhaul law, according to this month's tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Overall, the federal Affordable Care Act still remains slightly more unpopular (44 percent) than popular (37 percent), but that's down from last month's 51-34 split.

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4:28pm

Tue November 29, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

GOP Governors Hedge Bets On Health Insurance Exchanges

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is among several GOP governors accepting grant money to set up health insurance exchanges while also challenging the health overhaul law in court.
Dave Martin AP

Obama administration officials have announced another round of grants to states to help build the insurance marketplaces, called "exchanges," that will help individuals and small businesses buy health insurances beginning in 2014.

But the real news is who's getting the $220 million. Nine of the 13 states in this round of grants are headed by GOP governors.

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10:01pm

Mon November 28, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Mitt Romney's Evolution On Abortion

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been labeled a flip-flopper. And when it comes to abortion, the former governor of Massachusetts appears to have changed his position from being in favor of abortion rights to being opposed.

But now some people are asking if Romney ever supported abortion rights at all? Backers of abortion rights don't think so.

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2:34pm

Fri November 18, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Gingrich's History On Health Care Gets An Exam

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 1:54 pm

At a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas last month, Newt Gingrich got zinged by rival Mitt Romney for coming up with idea of an individual insurance mandate.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Republican Newt Gingrich's presidential stock is rising in the polls. And his newfound popularity is also bringing new scrutiny to what he's been up to since he stepped down as Speaker of the House in 1998.

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