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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1:55pm

Tue November 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

The Pill: Not Just For Pregnancy Prevention

iStockphoto.com

Well, here's another twist in the debate over whether birth control is an essential health benefit. More than 1.5 million American women use birth control pills for reasons other than preventing pregnancy, a new analysis finds.

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8:57am

Mon November 14, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Supreme Court To Decide Constitutionality Of Health Law

Coming soon to the Supreme Court: Is the federal health overhaul constitutional?
dbking Flickr

Who didn't see this coming?

The Supreme Court has added a case challenging the constitutionality of the provision of last year's health overhaul requiring nearly every American to have health insurance beginning in the year 2014 to the list of cases it will hear this term.

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3:12pm

Wed November 9, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

'Personhood' Divides Anti-Abortion Groups

Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 2:50 pm

Wife Deborah Bryant waits as Mississippi Governor-elect Phil Bryant thanks a supporter Tuesday at a victory party. Bryant supported a controversial amendment to the state's constitution on "personhood."
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Voters in Mississippi were expected to make it the first state to confer protected legal status to fertilized human eggs Tuesday. Instead, they made it the second state to reject a so-called personhood amendment to its constitution.

One possible reason is that the effort divides even those who consider themselves against abortion.

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2:08am

Wed November 9, 2011
Politics

Personhood Amendment Rejected By Miss. Voters

Originally published on Thu November 10, 2011 6:44 am

Adam and Debbie Browne tried to drum up support Tuesday for a proposed 'personhood' amendment to the Mississippi state constitution that was ultimately rejected by voters.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Mississippi voters on Tuesday rejected an amendment to their state constitution that would have declared that life begins at fertilization.

The result was somewhat unexpected: As recently as a few weeks ago, the so-called personhood amendment was considered almost certain to pass. Voters in Colorado have twice rejected similar amendments to declare that life begins legally at fertilization, in 2008 and 2010. But Mississippi, with its far more conservative bent, was considered much friendlier territory.

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10:01pm

Sun November 6, 2011
Health Care

Raising Medicare Age Could Lead To Higher Costs

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 1:37 pm

Congress' so-called deficit reduction "supercommittee" is down to the final weeks of deliberations in its efforts to come up with $1.2 trillion in budget savings. And one proposal that keeps cropping up is the idea of raising the eligibility age for Medicare.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney became just the latest to propose it in his speech to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation on Friday.

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3:43pm

Wed November 2, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Religious Groups Want Relief From Birth Control Mandate

Faith-based health providers got a chance to vent about new federal rules that require them to offer prescription contraceptives as part of their health insurance plans at a House subcommittee hearing today. They also proposed some changes.

But backers of the rules say the revisions sought by opponents would render the requirement meaningless.

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12:24pm

Tue November 1, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Exhibitors Strut Offbeat Wares At Public Health Confab

If you have a soft spot for internal organs, then you'll love these plush hearts, ovaries and intestines.

Julie Rovner NPR

At the heart of every convention worth its salt is the exhibit hall. But only at the American Public Health Association annual meeting can you find a plush heart for sale. Along with stuffed spleens, brains and uteruses.

And you know the game where you guess how many candies are in a jar and win something cool? Well, at the APHA meeting, the anti-tobacco American Legacy Foundation is giving away a new Kindle, if you can guess how many cigarette butts are in a huge jar.

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7:59am

Fri October 28, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Democrats Lose Enthusiasm For Health Law

Sure, it's just one poll of many, but October marks a crummy month for sentiment about the federal Affordable Care Act.

For the first time since President Obama signed it into law in March 2010, more than half of those polled — 51 percent — told researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation they had an unfavorable view of the measure overhauling health care. Only 34 percent said they viewed the law favorably, a post-passage low.

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10:45am

Thu October 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

A Tweak To Health Law Would Eliminate Medicaid For Some

Should the middle class be eligible for Medicaid?

The health program, funded jointly by the feds and the states, was devised to cover the poor. But if a provision in last year's health law isn't changed that could be the case for people with pretty healthy incomes.

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1:22pm

Tue October 25, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Employers May Not Rush To Drop Health Coverage After All

Despite claims to the contrary, a insightful economic analysis suggests that it wouldn't be in most employers' business interests to stop providing health insurance when the main coverage provisions of the federal health overhaul kick in.

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3:20am

Mon October 24, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Enrollment Comes Sooner This Year

The open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries is under way earlier this year — one of many upcoming changes.

Anne de Haas iStockphoto.com

If you're a senior on Medicare — or an adult child responsible for a senior on Medicare — here's something you should know: The annual "open enrollment" period for joining or changing prescription drug or private health plans is already under way.

"It's much earlier this year. It started on Oct. 15, and it's going to stop on Dec. 7," says Nancy Metcalf, a senior editor and health expert at Consumer Reports. "So you have your window right now."

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3:42pm

Fri October 14, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Administration Drops Long-Term Care Provision Of Overhaul

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 9:52 am

The late Sen. Edward Kennedy, a champion for the CLASS Act, gets a standing ovation as he arrives at the closing session of a White House forum on health care overhaul in early March 2009.

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

After a 19-month review, the Obama administration has concluded that it can't implement the CLASS Act, the community-based long-term care program that was the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's most heartfelt contribution to the Affordable Care Act.

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6:51am

Fri October 7, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

To Keep Required Insurance Affordable, Start With Price

It may not be the sexiest piece of last year's health overhaul law, but it's one that has given small businesses and insurers a lot of heartburn. What exactly should be required when it comes to benefits?

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1:06pm

Wed October 5, 2011
The Salt

East Coast Pumpkin Shortage Won't Dent The Canned Kind

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 7:45 pm

Melissa Forsyth NPR

With Halloween rapidly approaching, you've probably heard about the shortage of pumpkins along the East Coast caused by the flooding rains of Hurricane Irene.

But while you may have troubling finding just the right shape or the right price for your jack o'lantern this year, there's good news for those looking ahead to the pies and cakes of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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3:26pm

Fri September 30, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

On Anniversary Of Funding Ban, Even Allowed Abortions Often Go Unpaid For

Today marks 35 years since Congress first passed what's come to be known as the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal abortion funding.

While the actual language of the rider to the annual funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services has changed considerably over the years, since 2003 it has allowed federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is endangered by the pregnancy.

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2:24am

Wed September 28, 2011
Life In Retirement: The Not-So-Golden Years

Boomers 'Delusion' About Health In Retirement

Originally published on Wed September 28, 2011 12:11 pm

Seniors at the Greenspring Village Retirement Community in Springfield, Va., play Wii bowling.
Julie Rovner/NPR

Most baby boomers say they're planning on an active and healthy retirement, according to a new poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. And, in a switch from earlier years, more than two-thirds recognize the threat of long-term care expenses to their financial futures.

But some experts worry that when it comes to their health, boomers are still woefully unprepared — or worse, in denial.

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10:56am

Tue September 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Employer Survey Shows Big Jump In Health Insurance Premiums

iStockphoto.com

There was good news and bad news in this year's annual survey of employer health benefits by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.

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9:58am

Wed September 21, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

How You Might Turn Your Health Cost Story Into A Little Cash

iStockphoto.com

Well, there's at least one good thing about the country's inability to control health costs. If you can write a compelling essay about a problem, you could win a thousand bucks.

Not to be outdone by health care inflation itself, this year's contest sponsored by the nonprofit group Costs of Care is awarding four prizes, up from two last year.

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1:37pm

Mon September 19, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

To Cut Deficit, Obama Takes A Scalpel To Health Programs

President Barack Obama describes his plan to reduce the deficit in remarks delivered Monday in the White House Rose Garden.
Susan Walsh AP

President Obama's plan to cut the deficit doesn't exactly spare Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health programs. But he also doesn't propose the sweeping sorts of changes envisioned by House Republicans earlier this year.

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12:26pm

Tue September 13, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

The Churn Behind The Stable Rate For The Uninsured

At first glance, today's report from the U.S. Census Bureau on the number of Americans without health insurance in 2010 looks, well, a little dull. About 16.3 percent of people in the country were without health insurance, which "was not statistically different from the rate in 2009," the report points out.

But dig a little deeper and there's plenty of action.

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