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POLITICO's Pulse Check

POLITICO's podcast on health policy and politics. With Dan Diamond.
POLITICO's Pulse Check

Description

Weekly conversations with some of the most interesting and influential people in health care, hosted by POLITICO Pulse author Dan Diamond.

Link: soundcloud.com/politico-pulsecheck

Categories

News & Politics

Episodes

Rep. Pramila Jayapal and the fight for 'Medicare for All'

Dec 5, 2018 00:28:15

Description:

The leader of the House's Medicare for All Caucus defends the idea and explains her ambitious plans for 2019.

Roundup: The lame-duck Congress, plus new drug pricing plans

Nov 29, 2018 00:23:56

Description:

A "staring contest" between two Republican senators seems to be holding up progress on a pair of health care measures in the lame-duck session of Congress. Plus, CMS proposes changes to Medicare Part D in the hopes of curtailing the cost of certain drugs.

Dan Barber wants you to stop throwing away food

Nov 15, 2018 00:24:34

Description:

Dan Diamond talks nutrition and food policy with chef Dan Barber.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb

Nov 9, 2018 00:50:08

Description:

The FDA commissioner explains why he's cracking down on e-cigarettes, how he views science in the Trump administration and the reaction to his infamous "almonds don't lactate" line, and much more.

Midterms recap: What happens now

Nov 7, 2018 00:27:21

Description:

POLITICO health reporters highlight key winners — and notable losers — and explain what to watch in Congress and the states in the coming months.

How to watch health care in the election

Nov 1, 2018 00:40:19

Description:

POLITICO reporters break down dozens of key races, review notable ballot measures and reveal what they're watching on Election Day.

Meet the woman leading the nation's war on addiction

Oct 25, 2018 00:29:15

Description:

Nora Volkow is America's top scientist on addiction. And she's worried that by focusing on the opioid crisis, we're missing a chance to fight what caused it in the first place.

Peter Orszag and news roundup

Oct 17, 2018 00:44:51

Description:

He helped craft the Affordable Care Act. Now he assembles health care mega-mergers on Wall Street. Peter Orszag on his career, in his own words.

Why one nurse is running for Congress

Oct 10, 2018 00:33:57

Description:

The midterm elections are about health care — especially for one former HHS staffer mounting a challenge for Congress.

Sponsored content: Setting the record straight on Medicaid

Oct 4, 2018 00:27:02

Description:

90 percent of Americans think Medicaid is important to our health care system. That is, once they understand what it is and who it covers.

Pulse Check at Work: Health coach

Sep 27, 2018 00:38:51

Description:

Imagine having a coach who helps you eat better and live healthier. Now meet two people who do just that.

Pulse Check at Work: Data scientist

Sep 20, 2018 00:42:07

Description:

Meet the analysts who are plucking insights from health care's growing pool of data.

Pulse Check at Work: Radiologist

Sep 13, 2018 00:42:03

Description:

Overseas doctors are cheaper. Artificial intelligence could eventually be smarter. Patient safety concerns have multiplied. Are American radiologists' days numbered?

Pulse Check at Work: Home health aide

Sep 6, 2018 00:40:42

Description:

Home health aide is one of the fastest-growing jobs in America – and the first job in our month-long series that will explain how different health care workers fit into the broader health policy picture.

Brett Kavanaugh, ACA court hearings take center stage

Sep 3, 2018 00:19:38

Description:

What POLITICO reporters are watching as Congress comes back and Obamacare oral arguments get underway.

The lawyers trying to prove Trump sabotaged the ACA

Aug 29, 2018 00:28:45

Description:

These lawyers say that President Trump sabotaged the Affordable Care Act — and that they can prove his moves are illegal.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

Aug 23, 2018 00:28:52

Description:

"I think rural health care is on life support...[and] we need to redesign all of that." Sen. Heidi Heitkamp talks about delivering health care in North Dakota — and answers questions on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation vote, Medicaid work requirements and what she's discussed with CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

Defending vaccines, with Paul Offit

Aug 15, 2018 00:39:18

Description:

"I've been physically harassed. I've been sued as a way of getting me to shut up. I've had three death threats the FBI deemed credible... But doing the right thing isn't an easy thing."

Don Rucker wants to set health data free

Aug 8, 2018 00:42:58

Description:

The national coordinator for health IT says it's past time to empower patients to get their data.

Trump's steady march to remake the ACA, with Lanhee Chen

Aug 1, 2018 00:44:00

Description:

The Trump administration just undermined the Affordable Care Act — again. A prominent conservative makes the argument for why it's a good thing.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Jul 25, 2018 00:50:32

Description:

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the former HHS secretary and current American University president, reflects on her work in the Obama administration, the fate of the Affordable Care Act and her new challenges in higher ed.

The abortion fight, from then to now

Jul 19, 2018 00:28:04

Description:

Forty-five years after Roe v. Wade. Twenty-six years after Planned Parenthood v. Casey. POLITICO reporters trace the battle over abortion in America — how we got here and what's next.

MD Anderson's Ron DePinho on fighting brain cancer

Jul 13, 2018 00:22:46

Description:

Ron DePinho, a famed researcher who led MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the moonshot cancer initiative, whether curing cancer is realistic and why he stepped down as hospital president.

What Brett Kavanaugh means for health care

Jul 11, 2018 00:36:05

Description:

POLITICO reporters discuss Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court and why the looming confirmation fight will be framed around health care.

Roundup: HHS and the migrant crisis, the ACA and bonus Atul Gawande Q&A

Jul 6, 2018 00:48:07

Description:

Atul Gawande shares his thoughts on long-term care and health reform. POLITICO reporters discuss the latest news on HHS' response to the migrant crisis and the Affordable Care Act.

Roundup: The courts, Congress and the migrant crisis with Bob Carey

Jun 27, 2018 00:50:40

Description:

Bob Carey, who ran the HHS refugee office during the Obama administration, debunks myths about the migrant crisis. POLITICO reporters analyze the latest Supreme Court decisions and Congress' rush to pass opioid legislation.

Bonus: Andy Slavitt and Cindy Gillespie on immigration, Medicaid, the elections and more

Jun 22, 2018 00:59:20

Description:

Live from the Aspen Ideas Festival’s “Spotlight Health,” ex-Obama official Andy Slavitt and Arkansas health chief Cindy Gillespie address how HHS should quickly reunify separated families, look for common ground on Medicaid work requirements and debate the future of the ACA.

The fall of Theranos, with 'Bad Blood' author John Carreyrou

Jun 20, 2018 00:51:57

Description:

John Carreyrou, the Wall Street Journal reporter who exposed fraud at Theranos, explains when he knew he had the story, how so many other journalists missed it, what happened when Elizabeth Holmes asked Rupert Murdoch to kill his investigation and answers listener-submitted questions.

The rise of JUUL, with Tevi Troy

Jun 13, 2018 00:38:03

Description:

Why a top government health official decided to go work for an e-cigarette company.

Sen. Bill Cassidy

Jun 6, 2018 00:42:44

Description:

Sen. Bill Cassidy discusses his new package of health care ideas, Republicans' push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and whether he regrets his experience with Jimmy Kimmel.

Is Trump winning the war on abortion?

May 24, 2018 00:40:11

Description:

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of Susan B. Anthony List and a top adviser to President Donald Trump on abortion issues, explains her support for Trump and her organization's agenda ahead of the midterms. POLITICO reporters discuss the Trump administration's moves to limit access to abortion, including recent changes to the Title X program.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar

May 17, 2018 00:20:45

Description:

HHS Secretary Alex Azar sits down with POLITICO to discuss the Trump administration's new drug pricing plan.

Trump's drug plan, explained

May 17, 2018 00:44:22

Description:

POLITICO reporters discuss Trump' long-awaited drug plan, and a key Obama appointee shares lessons from the last administration's largely failed fight to lower drug prices.

Building a better safety net with Veenu Aulakh

May 10, 2018 00:21:17

Description:

Dan travels to Oakland, Calif., to talk to an innovator trying to help America's most vulnerable patients.

Talking Walmart, UnitedHealth, Amazon and more with John Gorman

May 3, 2018 00:31:51

Description:

A health care industry expert breaks down the Trump administration's latest insurance moves and the big deals looming in the private sector.

Why Obama's Datapalooza is still thriving under Trump

Apr 25, 2018 00:32:06

Description:

The organizer of this week's Health Datapalooza — a conference launched by the by the Obama administration and hosted by Academy Health — discusses the state of data and research under the Trump administration.

Meet America’s next top insurance lobbyist

Apr 19, 2018 00:41:34

Description:

The incoming leader of America’s Health Insurance Plans discusses how he’ll set the agenda, whether AHIP has lost influence and what the Trump administration is doing to the nation’s insurance markets.

The (possible) Medicaid expansion next door

Apr 12, 2018 00:25:38

Description:

If Virginia expands Medicaid, more than 300,000 uninsured residents could get covered. A top state Democrat explains the path ahead.

The new watchdogs trying to hold Trump accountable

Apr 6, 2018 00:30:52

Description:

Meet the newest transparency groups digging into the administration.

‘Every first responder is also a survivor’: Puerto Rico, six months later

Mar 29, 2018 00:29:32

Description:

POLITICO looks at the health challenges still facing Puerto Rico, six months after the devastating hurricane hit — and after the national spotlight largely moved on.

Inside the White House with Paul Winfree

Mar 22, 2018 00:41:20

Description:

Paul Winfree, who spent last year as a top policy adviser to President Donald Trump, explains how the White House approached the ACA repeal fight and what it was like to work inside this administration.

Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson

Mar 14, 2018 00:29:00

Description:

Tommy Thompson, who ran HHS in the George W. Bush administration, sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss his tenure, his advice to his protege (and current HHS secretary) Alex Azar, his post-government work in the private sector and his views on the Trump-era political environment.

How the industry (and this ex-Obama official) is reacting to Alex Azar's remarks

Mar 8, 2018 00:49:12

Description:

Karen Murphy, who's leading innovation efforts at Geisinger Health System and also served as an Obama administration official and Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, reacts to HHS Secretary Alex Azar's remarks on value-based care. POLITICO reporters discuss the Trump administration's ongoing approach to Medicaid, the latest developments on opioids and HHS' media strategy.

Why Seattle's health director is suing HHS

Mar 1, 2018 00:39:57

Description:

Patty Hayes, who oversees public health for 2 million people in Seattle and King County, says that a recent Trump administration decision is recklessly putting public health at risk.

Religious freedom in health care and news roundup

Feb 23, 2018 00:56:52

Description:

Rachel Laser, the new head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, explains why her organization is concerned by the Trump administration's rhetoric and policy moves. In a roundtable, POLITICO reporters discuss the latest changes to Obamacare, how the HHS shake-up is playing out and which state is most "important" in health care.

Sam Quinones, author of 'Dreamland'

Feb 16, 2018 00:38:27

Description:

Sam Quinones, the author of "Dreamland," discusses the nation's opioid crisis, how he wrote his award-winning book and where health leaders should go from here.

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigns and Amazon-JPM-Berkshire Hathaway ramp up

Feb 1, 2018 00:36:17

Description:

POLITICO reporters who broke the story about now-former CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald reveal details of their reporting about her financial conflicts and the implications of her resignation. The Advisory Board's Rob Lazerow discusses the announcement by Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway that the three companies are moving into health care.

The Alex Azar era begins and Providence St. Joseph CEO Rod Hochman

Jan 25, 2018 00:52:50

Description:

POLITICO reporters analyze what's next as Alex Azar takes the reins at HHS, and in an interview, Providence St. Joseph Health CEO Rod Hochman discusses hospital system strategy.

Karen DeSalvo and mini-news roundup

Jan 22, 2018 00:29:56

Description:

Karen DeSalvo, a top HHS official in the Obama administration, reflects on her time in government, how HHS has changed under Trump and some of the public health issues shaping the nation. POLITICO's Dan Diamond runs through several health care stories that got overshadowed by Congress' shutdown fight.

Live from JPM: Venture capitalist Bob Kocher

Jan 12, 2018 00:42:26

Description:

In a conversation recorded at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, venture capitalist Bob Kocher discusses how he makes investments, what he looks for in entrepreneurs and whether the Trump administration is helping or hurting health care business. POLITICO reporters discuss takeaways from JPM and the big health care issues looming in California.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb

Jan 4, 2018 00:47:56

Description:

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb discusses his agency's work, why he took the job and what lies ahead in 2018. In a panel discussion, POLITICO reporters analyze Gottlieb's comments and discuss the looming issues facing FDA.

BONUS: Ady Barkan, activist and ALS patient

Dec 19, 2017 00:20:21

Description:

Ady Barkan, an activist with ALS who memorably confronted Sen. Jeff Flake, discusses his high-profile career in advocacy and why he's fighting so hard against Republicans' tax bill.

Roundup: ACA enrollment, Doug Jones and Tina Smith

Dec 14, 2017 00:40:04

Description:

POLITICO's Paul Demko and Dan Diamond discuss their latest reporting on Obamacare and what recent political developments — with Alabama's Doug Jones and Minnesota's Tina Smith poised to join the Senate —  will mean for health care. The University of Minnesota’s Sarah Gollust explains her research on ACA-related advertising, enrollment and the media.

Roundup: Budget battles and mega-mergers

Dec 9, 2017 00:29:48

Description:

POLITICO reporters look at Congress' progress on a year-end spending bill and Republicans' tax package, and economist Craig Garthwaite explains the Aetna-CVS deal and other major health care mergers from the week.

Roundup: Taxes, CHIP, the fate of HHS and fake news

Dec 2, 2017 00:45:29

Description:

POLITICO's Jennifer Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn discuss their reporting on the GOP tax package, CHIP funding, the possible next HHS secretary and other stories from the week, conservative health care analyst Chris Jacobs critiques Republicans' tax legislation and the party's health care efforts, and Dan Diamond discusses the erroneous reports about Kellyanne Conway being named "opioids czar."

Jeff Goldsmith on predicting health care's future

Nov 23, 2017 00:34:54

Description:

“William Gibson is the guy who said, ‘The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.’ That’s the fun part [of my job] — you can look at a whole range of stuff … is this something that’s going to emerge from the slough of despond, and how long is it going to take?”

Roundup: Taxes and Mayo Clinic, ACA myths and Uwe

Nov 18, 2017 00:51:31

Description:

POLITICO's Paul Demko and Sarah Karlin-Smith discuss the latest developments in the GOP tax fight, HHS nomination and other stories from the week, Dartmouth professor Brendan Nyhan explains his research into lies and myths about the ACA and health care, and Dan Diamond reflects on the passing of Uwe Reinhardt.

Sen. Michael Bennet on Medicare-X, making policy and more, plus ACA open enrollment with Josh Peck

Nov 9, 2017 00:49:18

Description:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) walks through his Medicare-X bill, what he'll ask the next HHS secretary and how he reacted to Tuesday night's victories by Democrats. In a bonus, Josh Peck of Get America Covered talks about ACA open enrollment.

Atul Gawande on Washington, writing and what really matters

Nov 2, 2017 00:52:31

Description:

"If I can leave behind a series of things that help reshape how we think about what happens at the end of your life, and what we really think about health care rights or where we're going with costs ... that's my shot, as long as I can do that." Atul Gawande doesn't really need an introduction — but if PULSE CHECK were to provide one, it would highlight his work as a New Yorker writer, researcher, best-selling author, surgeon and founder of two non-profits. (Among other responsibilities) Atul sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss how he manages his schedule (starts at the 2:05 mark), his book "Being Mortal" and how he thinks its lessons have resonated (5:50), his perspective on politics and public health (11:20), his early career as a Hill staffer and Clinton-era appointee at HHS (18:00), whether he'd ever take a job in D.C. again (26:00) and his writing process (28:00). Plus, stick around to hear Atul answer PULSE CHECK listener questions, which starts at the 40:20 mark. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com. Stories and book referenced on the podcast: Atul's 2015 book, "Being Mortal": https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JCW0BCY/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 Atul's 2009 story, "The Cost Conundrum": https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/06/01/the-cost-conundrum Atul's 2009 story, "Hellhole": https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/03/30/hellhole

Aaron Carroll on his path to the New York Times' front page

Oct 29, 2017 00:30:38

Description:

Aaron Carroll is making a play to be America’s doctor, or at least the physician we need to bust medical myths. The pediatrician from Indianapolis is a best-selling author of medical advice books, a featured writer in the New York Times, and even a YouTube celebrity, with more than 250,000 subscribers to his channel. So how did he do it? In a bonus episode of PULSE CHECK, Aaron joins POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to discuss his path from blogger to New York Times contributor (Starts at the 1:35 mark), his critical analysis of Medicare-for-all proposals (11:20), his view as an Indiana-based doctor of that state’s health reforms, led by Mike Pence and Seema Verma (15:50), why Congress is failing on CHIP and what policies they should pursue (20:35), Aaron’s mythbusting on what you should, and shouldn’t eat(23:00) and more. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. Stories and podcasts referenced on the podcast:  PULSE CHECK’s interview with Austin Frakt, Aaron’s writing partner: https://soundcloud.com/politico-pulsecheck/news-roundup-and-austin-frakt Aaron and Austin’s New York Times interactive tournament of the best health care systems in the world: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/18/upshot/best-health-care-system-country-bracket.html?_r=0 Aaron discussing his new book, THE BAD FOOD BIBLE: HOW AND WHY TO EAT SINFULLY: https://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/healthcare-triage-the-bad-food-bible/

N.C. HHS Secretary Mandy Cohen and news roundup

Oct 27, 2017 00:46:35

Description:

North Carolina has been ground zero for some of 2017’s fiercest policy and political battles, including a legal fight between the Democratic governor and GOP legislature over Medicaid expansion. Enter Mandy Cohen, the state’s new HHS secretary, who says she’s a pragmatist and is focused on building bipartisan consensus for public health issues like the opioid epidemic. Cohen, who was a top CMS official in the Obama administration, joined POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to discuss what a state-level HHS secretary does (starts at the 1:45 mark), how she balances a state's pull-push relationship with the federal government (9:00), how her boss’s fight for Medicaid expansion has and hasn’t affected her job (12:40), where she sees opportunity for bipartisan public health successes (19:00), where North Carolina stands ahead of ACA open enrollment (26:30), and how she built her career to become a state HHS secretary before she turned 40 years old (30:45). Then after the break, POLITICO’s Paul Demko joins Dan to discuss Obamacare’s looming open enrollment and what he learned from his reporting trip to Iowa, where only one insurer is left in the state’s ACA individual insurance market. (Starts at the 35:20 mark.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. Stories referenced on the podcast: The Associated Press on N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to expand Medicaid: https://apnews.com/a3e84ad54369413cbb262f958adc8545 Paul’s story on how Iowa became “an Obamacare horror story”: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/23/iowa-obamacare-aca-markets-215736

Oscar Health CEO Mario Schlosser

Oct 20, 2017 00:31:12

Description:

The Washington conversation has been focused on the fate of the ACA and whether insurers are planning to stick around. So for this episode of PULSE CHECK, we took the conversation outside the Beltway to hear from Mario Schlosser, CEO of Oscar Health — the insurance startup that’s gotten a lot of buzz and is heading into more Obamacare markets this year. Mario caught up with POLITICO’s Dan Diamond last month to discuss Oscar's evolving strategy (starts at the 2:00 mark), why Oscar is moving into new Obamacare markets (8:05), the company's much-hyped founding story (16:00) and some of the unwanted attention on Oscar, including the insurer's ties to Jared Kushner (26:10). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson

Oct 8, 2017 00:35:34

Description:

Every shortlist of health care power players includes Bernard J. Tyson, head of Kaiser Permanente. (Modern Healthcare this summer ranked him the fourth most influential person, after Sens. Collins, McCain and Murkowski.) So how does this prominent figure see the industry, and what's he telling Congress? Bernard caught up with POLITICO’s Dan Diamond last week to discuss the whirlwind around ACA repeal and what he wants to see fixed (starts at the 1:50 mark), whether insurers can come back to Obamacare markets (9:00), his own career path and whether it's replicable today (23:30), KP's role as an employer and community anchor (29:00), and the future of his organization (33:30). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Oct 1, 2017 00:26:55

Description:

The political fights over U.S. health policy often pale next to the world's health care challenges — and Sue Desmond-Hellmann would know. The doctor-turned-CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is on the front lines of the global public health battle, as her organization tackles challenges like eradicating polio and preventing maternal and newborn deaths. Sue caught up with POLITICO’s Dan Diamond last week to discuss if the Trump administration’s putting global progress at risk (starts at the 2:45 mark), the Gates Foundation’s work around the globe, the public health priorities that are being overlooked, and the role of philanthropy in solving the world’s crises. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and news roundup

Sep 23, 2017 00:40:36

Description:

Here’s how fast things are moving in health care: Mike Leavitt, who ran HHS under President George W. Bush, came to Washington 10 days ago to testify about the need for bipartisan health reforms — and since that day, when he sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond, the Senate’s bipartisan health push has collapsed and the GOP’s latest Obamacare repeal bill is on life support. Although the conversation is slightly dated, the former HHS secretary is a must-listen voice on health care issues, and he shares his perspective on possible health reforms (starts at the 16:30 mark), his pessimism on Medicare-for-all (22:00), his concerns about the Affordable Care Act (25:15) and his post-government work as head of Leavitt Partners (32:30). But first, POLITICO’s Rachana Pradhan and Jennifer Haberkorn join PULSE CHECK to break down the wild week in health care (starts at the 2:15 mark) and Rachana and Dan’s reporting about HHS Secretary Tom Price’s charter jets — an investigation that made this podcast so delayed (starts at 8:55 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com. Stories referenced on the podcast: Jen's story with colleagues on Sen. John McCain's decision to oppose ACA repeal again: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/22/mccain-to-oppose-graham-cassidy-likely-sinking-obamacare-repeal-243028?lo=ap_a1 Dan and Rachana’s investigation into Tom Price's use of charter planes: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/19/tom-price-chartered-planes-flights-242908 Rachana and Dan's follow-up on Price's 24 charter flights since May: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/21/tom-price-private-charter-plane-flights-242989

NARAL's Ilyse Hogue on abortion rights, Medicare-for-all and where Democrats go next

Sep 14, 2017 00:34:33

Description:

Progressives have spent 2017 rethinking, regrouping and — in some cases — re-litigating what it means to be a Democrat after last year's shocking presidential loss. And two health care issues, abortion rights and single-payer, have been at the center of this year's party debates. One person leading those conversations is Ilyse Hogue, head of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to explain the mission of her pro-abortion advocacy organization (starts at the 2:00 mark), whether Donald Trump has actually been a boon to progressives (7:20), how anti-abortion Republicans are targeting the judiciary (14:20), whether Democrats should only vote for candidates who support abortion rights and Medicare-for-all (17:20), her own career path (25:00) and why she talked about her own abortion on national TV at the Democratic National Convention (29:25). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

The politics of hospital spending and news roundup

Sep 9, 2017 00:45:31

Description:

PULSE CHECK is back from August recess with a closer look at how health care politics and policy can influence spending — and sometimes not for the better. But first, Jen Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn rejoin PULSE CHECK to discuss the competing approaches to Obamacare in the Senate, whether either plan has a chance at succeeding, and if the GOP still wants to fight to repeal the law (starts at the 1:23 mark). After the break, Yale economist Zack Cooper discusses his team's first-of-its-kind work into the connection between politics, hospital behavior and health care spending, and how one last-minute addition to a major piece of Medicare legislation boosted hospital payments — and politicians' campaign contributions (starts at the 22:30 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and news roundup

Aug 24, 2017 00:36:00

Description:

Kathleen Sebelius, the former HHS secretary who oversaw the rollout of Obamacare, is worried that HHS’s current leaders are steering the ACA the wrong direction. "They have done a lot to sabotage the health care law," Sebelius told POLITICO’s Dan Diamond. The former HHS secretary shares her thoughts on the current administration’s strategy, what she thinks HHS should be prioritizing and what’s been overlooked because of the intense focus on the ACA. (Starts at 22:00) But first, POLITICO’s Rachana Pradhan and Paul Demko join PULSE CHECK to discuss the emerging bipartisan efforts in the Senate to stabilize the ACA, the disconnect between President Trump’s comments and the Trump administration’s actions on health care and what’s on tap when Congress returns in September (starts at 1:35 mark) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. Stories referenced on the podcast: Rachana’s story on how the Trump administration is spending millions to prop up Obamacare: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/13/trump-millions-save-obamacare-241549 Paul’s story on how the ACA survived the threat of “bare counties”: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/20/obamacare-insurers-county-health-plans-241803

Andy Slavitt on what's next for health care - and him

Aug 10, 2017 00:47:37

Description:

Andy Slavitt has been busy: Since leaving office in January, the man who ran Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA has mounted a whirlwind defense of Obamacare, holding town halls coast to coast and being ever-present on social media. And in a repeat podcast appearance, Slavitt rejoins POLITICO's Dan Diamond to explain his strategy — and what this year has been like as his profile exploded. Andy discusses how he morphed from Obama administration official to the ACA's most visible advocate (starts at the 3:00 mark), the bipartisan solutions he thinks are necessary in health care (6:30), what he thinks HHS will do and why he thinks his criticism of the GOP is fair (12:00), whether he'd ever run for office (25:00), if he still needs the media as someone with 100,000-plus Twitter followers (34:30), and what he's learned about communications strategy since leaving office (42:20). Note: This conversation was recorded in late July, a few days before the Senate GOP health bill failed on the floor. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Nicholas Bagley on Trump’s legal threat to Obamacare and news roundup

Aug 3, 2017 00:45:40

Description:

The central fight over the ACA has (for now) moved from Congress to the White House, where President Donald Trump is debating whether to yank key payments for insurers. But some senators are hinting that a bipartisan compromise on Obamacare is coming — as long as Trump doesn’t blow up their efforts, that is. First, POLITICO’s Jennifer Haberkorn and Paul Demko join Dan Diamond to talk about what's next in the Senate, the legal case that gives Trump the power to nix the payments, and what it was like to watch the dramatic vote early Friday morning. (Starts at 1:30.) Then after the break, Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor who’s a leading voice on the ACA's legal issues, explains the theory behind the current case, what happens in the courts if Trump yanks the payments, and the series of legal attacks on Obamacare over the years. (Starts at the 22:45 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. Stories referenced on the podcast: Jen’s story on how the GOP got stuck on repeal: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/31/republicans-obamacare-repeal-241152 Paul’s story on Trump’s looming decision on ACA payments: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/31/obamacare-payments-insurers-trump-decision-241171

Ben Wikler: ‘The Resistance’ isn’t futile

Jul 27, 2017 00:34:36

Description:

The Senate GOP is pushing forward with plans to roll back all or part of the Affordable Care Act, threatening insurance coverage for millions of Americans. A devastating moment for progressives? Not at all, says Ben Wikler, the Washington director for MoveOn.org, who argues that the drawn-out fight to repeal the ACA has turned into a major win. Wikler joined PULSE CHECK to talk about activism in the Trump era, how “the Resistance” in 2017 compares to the Tea Party in 2009 and how he’s thinking about the health care fight and what lies ahead. (Starts at the 9:25 mark.) But first: POLITICO deputy health care editor Jason Millman joined Dan Diamond to talk about the latest developments in the Senate and the “skinny repeal” plan now under consideration. (Starts at the 2:00 mark.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. NOTE: Dan will be at Politicon.com in California this weekend for a live-taping of POLITICO’s Nerdcast podcast and to moderate a panel on health care. Stories referenced on the podcast: The Senate’s push to repeal the ACA: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/26/obamacare-repeal-republicans-minimum-240982 John McCain’s attack on the GOP: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/25/john-mccain-obamacare-repeal-240946 The so-called "skinny repeal": http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/25/mitch-mcconnell-skinny-obamacare-repeal-240943

NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett and Chicago health commissioner Julie Morita

Jul 20, 2017 00:44:48

Description:

The nation heard from President Donald Trump on Wednesday, who again urged Republicans to repeal the ACA. Congress continues to loudly battle over the law, and governors have spoken out too. But one voice that’s been largely ignored: Local health leaders. And on this episode of PULSE CHECK, two big city health commissioners — New York City commissioner Mary Bassett and Chicago commissioner Julie Morita — join POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to explain how Republicans’ plan would hit their cities, why they prioritize "health" over "health care" and how they're addressing persistent social inequality. They also walk through what it’s like to be a city health commissioner — a role that both describe as their dream job. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. NOTE: Dan will be at Politicon.com next week for a live-taping of POLITICO’s Nerdcast podcast and to moderate a panel on health care. Stories referenced on the podcast: How the Cleveland Clinic gets healthier while its neighborhood stays sick: http://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obamacare-cleveland-clinic-non-profit-hospital-taxes/ How hospitals got richer off Obamacare: http://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obamacare-non-profit-hospital-taxes/

Dead bill walking?

Jul 15, 2017 00:45:02

Description:

Meet the new bill — mostly the same as the old bill. Senate Republicans released their revised health care legislation this week, and while Sen. Ted Cruz is now firmly onboard, many moderate senators remain publicly uncommitted. And it's possible the bill could fail — again — next week. A team of POLITICO reporters break down what happened and what's next. First, Jen Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn rejoin PULSE CHECK to discuss what's in the new bill, the frenzied push to win over enough holdouts to simply bring it to the floor and their reporting on which senators to watch (starts at the 1:50 mark). Then after the break, Paul Demko and Sarah Karlin-Smith drill down on implications for the health care industry and recap the mostly overlooked developments for the fate of Obamacare's insurance markets and changes to drug payments (starts at the 23:30 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Does the GOP bill pass this month? It's '50-50'

Jul 11, 2017 00:33:24

Description:

Even Republican senators say their health care bill is "dead." But their effort to repeal and replace the ACA is far from over — and the GOP is preparing to unveil a revised bill and sprint to pass it across July. POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn and Jennifer Haberkorn join Dan Diamond to discuss where Republicans stand after their rough recess (starts at the 1:30 mark), Adam’s reporting trip to cover holdout Sen. Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia (10:30), the role of Donald Trump in selling the bill (13:40), how the next few weeks could shake out (18:30) and a few stories that are flying below the radar (26:15). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. Read Adam's story on Capito: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/09/capito-gop-senator-opposes-health-bill-240311 Read Jen's story on recess: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/07/gop-health-plan-home-districts-misgivings-240306 Read DD's PULSE on what's next: http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/politico-pulse/2017/07/10/with-original-bill-dead-gop-begins-sprint-to-sell-new-one-221235

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove on what he's telling his senator, and news roundup

Jun 30, 2017 00:41:34

Description:

Republicans' health care push continues to grip the Capitol and keep the industry on high alert. On this episode of PULSE CHECK, we review how that effort is unfolding in D.C. but also in Ohio, in a sit-down interview with one of America's most powerful health care leaders. First, POLITICO's Jen Haberkorn joins Dan Diamond to discuss her reporting on the latest twists and turns in the GOP health care push (starts at the 1:45 mark). Then Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the heart surgeon who runs the Cleveland Clinic, talks about why he turned down both the Obama and Trump administration's overtures about being VA Secretary, what he's telling Ohio Sen. Rob Portman about Republicans' health bill and his view on the health care industry's challenges (starts at the 12:45 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

The turning points to watch this week

Jun 27, 2017 00:28:31

Description:

It's a big week in health care, and POLITICO's reporters are here to help you sort through it. In a bonus episode of PULSE CHECK, senior reporter Jennifer Haberkorn joined Dan Diamond to discuss what to expect this week (starts at the 1:40 mark), the procedural hurdles that Republicans need to jump through (3:30), other possible turning points (14:30), a rundown of where key GOP senators stand (16:30), and media coverage of the health care debate (23:30). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Neera Tanden: GOP bill is 'moral outrage,' but Democrats will triumph in the end

Jun 23, 2017 00:39:43

Description:

The Senate health bill is here, and Neera Tanden is furious. Neera's a major figure in Democratic politics: She's the head of the liberal Center for American Progress, a former Obama administration staffer — and someone who was heavily favored to be HHS Secretary in a prospective Clinton administration. Neera joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss Republicans' health care process (starts at the 1:40 mark), their proposed changes to Medicaid (6:00), how she thinks it will play in upcoming elections (12:30), what the Clinton administration would've done on health care (19:40), what it was like having her email hacked (22:45), what it's like to run an organization like CAP today (27:00), her advice to young activists (30:00), and if it's a setback for progressives if the bill passes (36:30). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

She's a Medicaid expert. He's the ex-CEO of Apple. Here's how they see the GOP bill.

Jun 15, 2017 00:51:44

Description:

President Donald Trump reportedly bashed the House health bill as “mean, mean, mean." But will the Senate's version be any better? And what do experts want senators to know as they finalize their bill? On this episode of PULSE CHECK, Dan Diamond talks with two people with very different perspectives — and significant concerns — as changes to the health system loom in Congress. First, Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation sits down (starts at the 2:25 mark) to talk about Kaiser’s latest polling on Republicans’ health care efforts and how possible Medicaid cuts could hurt Trump's voters. Then after the break, John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple and Pepsi and now a health care investor and executive, talks about his own meetings with Republicans on the Hill this week and his thoughts on how dramatic changes could complicate the business of health care. (Starts at 30:46.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

How the Senate's 'illusion of momentum' might give them the real thing

Jun 8, 2017 00:37:51

Description:

The Senate is driving forward on its health care bill, with a vote looming as soon as late June — even though it's still not clear what's in the bill or if they'll have the votes. How should you think about the Senate's push? Rodney Whitlock — who was health care adviser to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley — joins POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss the dynamics of the Senate and what's at stake in the health care fight. Meanwhile: there’s a lot more to health care than the ACA and AHCA. And after the break, Niall Brennan — the former chief data officer for Medicare and Medicaid and the new head of the Health Care Cost Institute — discusses the biggest spending problems in health care and whether we can trust the data that the Trump administration is publishing. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Jonathan Bush on what everyone gets wrong about health care

Jun 1, 2017 00:44:44

Description:

There aren’t many health care executives like Jonathan Bush — the outspoken CEO of Athenahealth, a health IT company. (Frankly, there aren’t many executives like Bush anywhere; he seems to ruffle feathers with every interview.) Bush sat down with POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to discuss the health IT landscape, what Washington gets wrong about the industry and why — despite his famous political family — he chose to focus on health care and feels free to say basically anything. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

‘Only 23 million more uninsured’

May 27, 2017 00:42:27

Description:

Republicans’ health care legislation continues to lurch forward, with the Congressional Budget Office this week again predicting the bill will lead to 20-million-plus more uninsured in a decade. On this episode of PULSE CHECK, we discuss how the CBO score is playing in Washington and what’s ahead for the unpopular bill. First, POLITICO’s Jen Haberkorn and Paul Demko discuss their reporting from Capitol Hill, address the latest reports about the health of Obamacare and share how the Senate is approaching its efforts. (Starts at 1:45.) Then, Matt Fiedler of the Brookings Institution — and the former chief economist of the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers — shares his analysis of the GOP bill and why he thinks the most recent changes made it worse. (Starts at 27:10.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

POLITICO editor Carrie Budoff Brown on covering Trumpcare, Obamacare and this crazy news moment

May 19, 2017 00:31:49

Description:

How does a major media outlet decide how much to cover Republicans’ health bill when Russia’s the talk of the town? Carrie Budoff Brown would know — she’s the editor of POLITICO and was one of the top reporters covering the health care debate in 2009-2010. Carrie joined Dan Diamond on PULSE CHECK to discuss how the current health care fight compares to Democrats’ battles eight years ago, where Republicans’ health bill ranks as a media priority, what it’s like leading a newsroom in the Trump era, and what she’s learned from hosting her own podcast, WOMEN RULE. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! (And check out WOMEN RULE, too!) Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Jon Favreau and Rick Wilson on bad bills and worse messaging

May 11, 2017 00:51:11

Description:

The Affordable Care Act has polled poorly for years — but Republicans’ health bill is polling even worse. What does it mean for the GOP to have such an unpopular bill, and how can progressives take advantage of it? On this PULSE CHECK, you’ll hear from two experts in political messaging and strategy. First, Jon Favreau, who was the chief speechwriter for President Obama and is a cofounder of Crooked Media, a new liberal political media network, sits down with POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to talk about setting Affordable Care Act strategy, Republicans’ struggles to craft a health bill of their own, and how his views on media have changed since starting a media company. (Starts at the 1:50 mark.) Then after the break, Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist who helped attack the Affordable Care Act, explains why Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions protections are the “nuclear bomb” against critics of the law, why he's no fan of Republicans' current health care strategy, and how the GOP is risking the party’s political future by pushing a bad bill. (Starts at the 38:50 mark.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

What's next for the GOP health bill, and Mario Molina on his surprise firing

May 6, 2017 00:53:04

Description:

The Republican plan to repeal Obamacare has made it through the House. What are its chances in the Senate, and what's the ripple effect for the industry? That's the focus of this week's PULSE CHECK, with a mix of news analysis and a guest who may have lost his job because of his pro-Obamacare advocacy. First, POLITICO's Jen Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn join Dan Diamond to discuss their reporting about the American Health Care Act and what lies ahead in the Senate (Starts at the 1:30 mark.) Then Mario Molina, the former head of Molina Healthcare who was fired this week, joins PULSE CHECK to discuss his surprising exit, his view on the Republican health bill and why he doesn't regret speaking out in support of Obamacare (Starts at 35:30). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Unpacking the GOP's health strategy with Ceci Connolly and Cynthia Cox

Apr 28, 2017 00:51:15

Description:

Republicans' health bill is back, and so is the PULSE CHECK podcast. There’s a lot up in the air as of Thursday — the White House wants a quick vote on the bill before the president’s first 100 days are up, but the House GOP appears to lack the votes. Meanwhile, President Trump is still threatening to stop paying crucial subsidies, which could lead to health insurers pulling out of the Affordable Care Act altogether. First, Ceci Connolly, the former Washington Post health reporter who’s now head of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, joins POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to explain how her health plan members are reacting to the tumult in D.C. Then after the break, Cynthia Cox of the Kaiser Family Foundation goes deeper on the Obamacare subsidies – known as cost-sharing reductions — and the state of the Affordable Care Act exchanges. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

How Obamacare marketplaces are dealing with the zombie repeal bill

Apr 13, 2017 00:35:06

Description:

Republicans remain divided on the future of their stalled repeal effort, and President Donald Trump is signaling he’s not ready to give up the fight just yet. In the meantime, Obamacare insurance marketplaces are facing tight deadlines ahead the next enrollment season. Starting this month, insurers in some states will have to start filing 2018 rates amid uncertainty about whether Congress will replace the health care law or if the Trump administration will really let Obamacare fail. Mila Kofman, head of the Obamacare exchange in Washington, D.C., explains what this uncertainty means for the insurance marketplaces as they plan for the next enrollment season.

News roundup and Austin Frakt on how to become a nationally known health care expert

Apr 7, 2017 00:48:54

Description:

There's a lot of fuss around the House GOP's health care plan — but how real is it? POLITICO's Paul Demko talks with Dan Diamond about Republicans' latest push and whether there's any "there" there. (Starts at the 1:30 mark.) Then after the break, Austin Frakt — a well-known health care economist, blogger and New York Times "Upshot" contributor — joins PULSE CHECK to discuss the state of health care research and how to build a career in the public eye (starts at the 14:10 mark.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com. Note: Dan is headed off on a reporting project, but Jason Millman will guest host on PULSE CHECK next week.

Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Charlie Dent on what's next for health care

Mar 31, 2017 00:41:54

Description:

Conservatives are feuding with the White House over health care. House Speaker Paul Ryan is warning President Trump against doing a deal with Democrats. If there's a path to health reform, it may run through moderate Republicans — and on this PULSE CHECK, you’re going to hear from two of the most prominent in Congress. First, Rep. Charlie Dent — a leader of the center-right Tuesday Group — joins to discuss last week's collapse of House Republican efforts to repeal the ACA, why he thinks a bipartisan deal is so important, and what it was like to get yelled at by the president. (Starts at the 1:45 mark.) Then Sen. Susan Collins joins PULSE CHECK to discuss "the shrinking center" on Capitol Hill, the path where health reform could go, and why she thinks her bill with Sen. Bill Cassidy is the right compromise for right now. (Starts at 20:20). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Bonus roundup: The short life and quick death of AHCA

Mar 27, 2017 00:53:31

Description:

Obamacare repeal is dead — so long live Obamacare? POLITICO’s Paul Demko and Rachana Pradhan rejoin Dan Diamond to discuss the collapse of Republicans’ health bill, their reporting from the week, and where the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act goes from here. First, they marvel and recap the week that was (starts at the 7:30 mark),then talk about what’s next for the GOP (34:45), and run through a quick lightning round (47:15) in the final bonus episode of the short-lived American Health Care Act-era. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Zeke Emanuel on talking with Trump: 'This is an appalling bill'

Mar 23, 2017 00:24:34

Description:

Zeke Emanuel got his third meeting with President Donald Trump this week — and Emanuel said he delivered his trademark "straight talk" to Trump as the GOP prepares to vote on the American Health Care Act. “Any rational person has to be worried about this bill,” Emanuel told POLITICO’s Dan Diamond about the GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare. “It’s unacceptable.” Emanuel joined PULSE CHECK to answer questions about his meetings with Trump, discuss his own experiences helping craft the Affordable Care Act, explain why he’s so worried moving about health care moving forward, and even talk a bit about his famous brothers. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

News roundup: The GOP health bill and where Congress stands

Mar 21, 2017 00:19:33

Description:

Speaker Paul Ryan is vowing that the House on Thursday will pass the American Health Care Act, Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. In a bonus episode, POLITICO's Rachana Pradhan and Paul Demko joined Dan Diamond to discuss the state of play around Republicans’ health bill, its chances of passage and their recent reporting on Medicaid issues and the insurance industry. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com. And keep your ears peeled: A full episode of PULSE CHECK will be posted at the regular time this week.

Rep. Joe Kennedy on fighting for the ACA — even if it takes all night

Mar 16, 2017 00:33:58

Description:

For four years, Rep. Joe Kennedy III has sought a deliberately low profile as a relatively young member of Congress with a famous last name. But after an epic 27-hour markup last week — and tens of millions of views on social media later — Kennedy has quickly emerged as a national face of resistance to Republicans' health bill and a rising Democrat to watch. Kennedy joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss what it was like to spend 27 hours straight arguing in Congress over health care (starts at the 1:45 mark), the key takeaways from his comments (8:00), whether Democrats' all-night resistance actually accomplished anything (14:30), his famous last name (18:45), the future of the Democratic party (25:00), and more. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

AHA’s Rick Pollack and ALEC’s Lisa Nelson on the GOP reform bill

Mar 9, 2017 00:42:56

Description:

The Republican health care bill has landed — and largely with a thud. Two heavy hitters join POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to explain what they like (and don’t) about the GOP effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. First, Rick Pollack, head of the American Hospital Association, joins PULSE CHECK to discuss why the powerful lobbying group has come out strongly against the Republican health plan, why he’s also concerned about the travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries and how hospitals have performed under Obamacare. (Starts at the 1:40 mark.) Then after the break, Lisa Nelson, who leads the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC — a powerful conservative organization that played a key role in resisting the Affordable Care Act — explains why she endorsed Republicans’ decision to move forward on repeal, if not necessarily the details of their plan, and why she thinks the ACA has been so bad for the nation. (Starts at the 23:00 mark.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Obamacare: Where two insiders think the GOP goes from here

Mar 2, 2017 01:00:30

Description:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night exhorted Congress to immediately repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, getting multiple standing ovations. Just one problem: Republicans still don’t have a clear blueprint to do it. On this episode of PULSE CHECK, we look at the state of Obamacare repeal, with the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican party feuding over next steps. As of now, the party doesn't have the votes to move forward. First, Tevi Troy of the American Health Policy Institute — a former White House staffer and HHS deputy secretary under President George W. Bush — joins Dan Diamond to explain the strategy and power behind Trump’s speech, assess the administration’s progress after 40 days, and discuss whether Trump is the right president to take a 3 a.m. emergency phone call. (Starts at the 1:45 mark.) Then after the break, Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, explains why he’s thrilled that Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz are making a stand against the House GOP’s repeal bill, which reforms that he wants to see in an ACA replacement, and how he views the Democrat-led town hall protests last week — a tactic that FreedomWorks helped pioneer for Republicans in 2009. (Starts at the 30:50 mark.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

News roundup: Town halls, Trump's speech and where the ACA repeal fight stands

Feb 28, 2017 00:25:33

Description:

Liberal activists celebrated last week's raucous town halls — but did the pro-ACA chants actually change any Republican lawmakers' minds? What's in Speaker Paul Ryan's plan to repeal and replace the health law? And where does President Donald Trump's promise to strike down Obamacare actually stand? In a bonus episode, POLITICO's Jennifer Haberkorn and Paul Demko joined Dan Diamond to discuss their reporting from Iowa and Tennessee town halls, what's next for Trump's push and Paul's scoop from Friday — getting a first look at the House's ACA repeal bill. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com. And keep your ears peeled: A full episode of PULSE CHECK will be posted at the regular time this week.

She raised the price of EpiPen. He says he wants to bring drug prices down.

Feb 23, 2017 00:37:37

Description:

One of the biggest controversies in health care: The price of the EpiPen, which soared from $57 in 2007 to more than $300 last year. Critics said Mylan's steady price hikes were a sign of corporate greed. But Mylan CEO Heather Bresch — who appears on this week's PULSE CHECK — argues her decisions were motivated by bigger problems in the health care system. Bresch joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to defend her side of the EpiPen pricing controversy, discuss the role of middlemen in U.S. drug pricing, and explain why she wants her experience to be a way to expose the deeper problems with the drug industry (starts at the 1:30 mark). Then after the break, Mark Merritt, the head of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, joined to share his diagnosis for high drug prices, argue why pharmacy benefit managers are more than just middlemen, and reveal what it was like testifying in front of Congress with Martin Shkreli (starts at the 13:30 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Running CMS: What it's like, and what Seema Verma may do

Feb 16, 2017 00:49:54

Description:

Seema Verma isn't a household name in health care — but she's about to be. President Donald Trump's pick to run CMS has been a health policy consultant for multiple Republican governors, including then-Gov. Mike Pence in Indiana, and she's facing her Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday. So what's waiting for Verma, and what would her likely confirmation mean for the health care industry? We talked to two people who would know. First, Tom Scully — the irascible health care lawyer and investor who ran CMS under President George W. Bush — joins PULSE CHECK to discuss leading the agency, why one of his first decisions was to change the name to "CMS," the advice he's given Verma and what he thinks she needs to do to be successful (starts at the 1:40 mark). Then after the break, Joan Alker — the executive director of Georgetown's Center for Children and Families — talks with POLITICO's Dan Diamond about Republicans' plans to reform Medicaid, what Verma's track record suggests she'll pursue if confirmed and the impact on the social safety net (starts at the 29:25 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

PhRMA's Stephen Ubl on drug prices, lab coats (not hoodies), and talking with Trump

Feb 9, 2017 00:38:46

Description:

President Donald Trump says the drug industry is "getting away with murder" — but Stephen Ubl, the nation's top pharma lobbyist, says his industry's life-saving work has been overshadowed by a few bad actors. Ubl joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to share his thoughts on drug prices, his recent meeting with Trump, PhRMA's top priorities, and why Martin Shkreli and other controversial figures don't tell the whole story about the industry. (Starts at the 1:45 mark.) Then after the break, POLITICO's pharma reporter Sarah Karlin-Smith discusses her reporting on drug price reform. (Starts at 28:00.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Harvard's global health leader on making America even greater

Feb 3, 2017 00:39:51

Description:

President Donald Trump has talked about putting 'America First.' Who better to weigh in on the implications for global health than Ashish Jha, who leads Harvard's Global Health Institute and is a leader in U.S. health care research too. Jha joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss his work on global health issues (starts at the 1:30 mark), his deep concerns about Trump's immigration ban and his own immigrant experience (5:00), how he juggles multiple roles as a professor, researcher and clinician (11:30), his research into gender and physician performance (17:30), ProPublica's surgeon scorecard (21:30), why he helped resurrect a climate change conference that CDC cancelled (30:30), and more. Also: Stay tuned for the lightning round that starts at 34:10. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

News roundup: Week 1 of the Trump administration

Jan 28, 2017 00:23:56

Description:

One week ago, Donald Trump was inaugurated as president — and within hours, he was making moves to weaken the Affordable Care Act. After a frenetic week of news, POLITICO's Jen Haberkorn joins Dan Diamond for an impromptu podcast to discuss President Trump's order and statements on the ACA, the state of the GOP's push to repeal and replace the law, how HHS Secretary-designate Tom Price's nomination is faring and other major stories shaping health care. *Note: Podcast was recorded before Friday night's POLITICO scoop that the Trump administration would allow HHS to run some outreach for the Affordable Care Act after all . We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Stock trades and Senate attacks: Where Tom Price's nomination goes from here

Jan 18, 2017 00:35:51

Description:

Rep. Tom Price — Donald Trump’s pick to run HHS — needs to undergo a pair of Senate hearings before being confirmed. But he’s under attack from Democrats, after a series of stories linking Price’s stock trades to legislation that he’s written. As of Tuesday afternoon, Price’s initial hearing on Wednesday is still on. One reason why the timing matters: Trump has said that he won’t release his health reform plan until Price is confirmed. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), who co-authored the STOCK Act — which led to Price’s stock disclosures — first joins PULSE CHECK to talk about ethical issues in Congress, why she wants the SEC to investigate Price, and why she’s seeing a wave of support for Obamacare (starts at the 2:45 mark). Then after the break, Rodney Whitlock — who served as GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley’s health policy director — explains what to expect in a confirmation hearing, what lawmakers need to do to avoid Price’s fate, and where he thinks Republicans go from here (starts at 17:30). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Begun, the Trump health agenda has

Jan 13, 2017 00:37:14

Description:

Obamacare repeal, drug price reform — and vaccine investigations? President-elect Donald Trump has pushed all three health care priorities this week, and Senate Republicans just advanced his agenda by voting to begin striking down the Affordable Care Act. First, POLITICO's pharma reporter Sarah Karlin-Smith joins Dan Diamond (starts at the 2:15 mark) to explain Republicans' early-morning vote on Thursday, discuss why Democrats voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' proposal to import drugs from Canada, and walk through what Trump's attack on the pharma industry could mean. Then, Arthur Allen — POLITICO's eHealth editor and author of "Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver" — joins Dan (starts at 23:55) to discuss Trump's emerging plan to investigate vaccine safety and why it could be a disaster for public health. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

News roundup: Obamacare update (and what we've missed while focusing on it)

Jan 10, 2017 00:37:02

Description:

The Obamacare repeal battle is THE story in health care, but it's not the only one. On a special edition of PULSE CHECK, five POLITICO health care reporters talk about what they're seeing ahead for the Affordable Care Act, and also drill down on other recent industry news. First, Pro's Jen Haberkorn and Rachana Pradhan (starts at the 2:15 mark) join Dan Diamond to discuss whether GOP plans to repeal Obamacare remain realistic, North Carolina's last-ditch push for Medicaid expansion, and who they're watching this frantic week. After the break, Pro's Paul Demko and Sarah Karlin-Smith (starts at 23:15) offer updates on the court battle over insurer mega-mergers, what the Cures Act could do for the pharma sector, and whether the health care industry will benefit or suffer under the Trump administration. *Note: Podcast was recorded before Monday night's moves in Congress to slow down Obamacare repeal efforts. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

One man is trying to repeal Obamacare. The other is trying to save it.

Jan 6, 2017 00:41:13

Description:

One man is trying to repeal Obamacare. The other is trying to save it. As Congress returns and the health reform battle begins, this week's PULSE CHECK features two key figures on opposite sides of the Affordable Care Act. First, Rep. Phil Roe joins POLITICO's Dan Diamond (starts at the 1:40 mark) to explain his new ACA replacement proposal, which is backed by the Republican Study Committee, why he thinks Obamacare is in a "death spiral," and what he knows as a doctor who spent decades treating patients in rural Tennessee. After the break, Leslie Dach — a former top HHS official and the head of Protect Our Care, a new coalition of advocacy groups — talks about the plan to defend Obamacare (starts at the 24:30 mark), how they're judging success, and why he thinks Republicans are in "disarray." He's joined by Meaghan Smith, a former HHS official now at SKDknickerbocker. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Steve Case: Trump's win was 'wake-up call' for health care investors

Dec 22, 2016 00:44:27

Description:

Steve Case made his fortune by founding AOL. A decade ago, he took a shot at fixing health care's problems with Revolution Health, a massively hyped startup. Now he's looking at health care as an investor and believes the 2016 election showed why those investments should be distributed around the country — and not just in Silicon Valley and the East Coast. Case joined PULSE CHECK to discuss how a billionaire businessman looks at health care and politics (1:55), how he thinks venture capitalists should approach the space (8:00), why he poured $100 million-plus dollars into a health care startup (13:00), his take on Donald Trump's election and the implications (25:30), how an AOL founder sees the rise of fake news (34:00), and more. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Meet the doctors who endorsed Tom Price — and the ones who call him a 'radical'

Dec 9, 2016 00:39:21

Description:

Seven years ago, the nation's biggest health care associations endorsed Obamacare. Now they're throwing their support behind Rep. Tom Price, who President-elect Donald Trump picked to run HHS — and lead the effort to take Obamacare apart. What does it mean to be an advocacy organization in the Trump era, and how do those groups pick their battles? First, AAMC's Atul Grover joins PULSE CHECK (starts at the 2:20 mark) to explain what an advocacy organization does, why his organization endorsed Price, and why they're still committed to fighting for coverage expansion. After the break, Manan Trivedi (24:10) explains why the National Physicians Alliance, a smaller association, is deeply opposed to Tom Price and Trump's planned health reforms. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app. Have questions, suggestions or feedback — especially given the political changes? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Trump loves him. But is Price right for health care?

Dec 2, 2016 00:48:25

Description:

Rep. Tom Price is President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services, the trillion-dollar cabinet agency that oversees Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and much more. But is Price ready to take on the enormous job — and what will he find when he gets there? A former HHS Secretary nominee and a well-regarded policy analyst break down what comes next. First, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle joins PULSE CHECK (starts at the 2:30 mark) to discuss what it was like to be nominated to run HHS, how the White House and other officials work together to craft health reform and why he thinks Democrats should find ways to work with Trump, not resist him. Then, Stuart Butler of the Brookings Institution joins PULSE CHECK (starts at the 23:20 mark) to go deep on Tom Price's policies, explain how they could change Obamacare and game out what Republicans will do next on health reform. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app. Have questions, suggestions or feedback — especially given the political changes? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Sketching out Trumpcare and saving Obamacare

Nov 23, 2016 00:45:31

Description:

It's a moment of change in Washington. In January, Democrats will be out of the White House for the first time in eight years, and Republicans will have a free hand to enact their agenda. So this episode of PULSE CHECK is about influence: specifically, who's in position to influence that agenda — and what that means for health care. First, Ed Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation — which is playing a key role in shaping the Trump transition — joins POLITICO's Dan Diamond (starts at the 2:20 mark) to discuss his think tank's approach to health care, how Obamacare should be repealed and which conservative ideas should inform the ACA's replacement. Then, Henry Waxman joins the podcast (starts at the 25:10 mark) to share his perspective as a longtime liberal lawmaker-turned-lobbyist, how congressional Democrats should work with the Trump administration and what worries him about Republicans' looming health care reforms. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app. Have questions, suggestions or feedback — especially given the political changes? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

The Trump era: Where health care goes from here

Nov 18, 2016 00:56:49

Description:

President-elect Donald Trump wants to strike down Obamacare, and the GOP-led Congress is eager to do it. But what are the realistic next steps, when will they happen, and what shouldn’t be overlooked? Two leading conservative thinkers — including the author of an Obamacare replacement plan — explain Republicans' options and point to clues on what will happen next. First, Doug Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum joined PULSE CHECK (starts at the 2:55 mark) to discuss what it’s like to lose a presidential election, what an Obamacare repeal-and-replace strategy could look like, and how he thinks Trump could govern. Then, Avik Roy of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity joined PULSE CHECK (starts at the 28:45 mark) to talk about his dramatic year where he publicly broke with the Republican party, why he’s written his own Obamacare replacement plan, and what we shouldn’t overlook about Trump’s health policy. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app. Have questions, suggestions or feedback — especially given the political changes? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Obamacare is now endangered. But it's not dead yet.

Nov 10, 2016 00:45:32

Description:

Donald Trump's historic victory will lead to sweeping changes in America's politics and policy. That may start with health care: Trump has repeatedly pledged to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. And he's got a GOP-led Congress to help him do it. But two influential figures — on opposite sides of the political spectrum — say the president-elect's rhetoric is about to collide with harsh reality: Rolling back the law isn't going to be easy. First, AEI's James Capretta joined PULSE CHECK (starts at the 1:35 mark) to discuss his reaction to Trump's policy-light campaign and stunning victory, why he's an advocate of Speaker Paul Ryan's repeal-and-replace plan — which is expected to be Trump's blueprint — and why he thinks the Affordable Care Act isn't totally going away. Then, Families USA's Ron Pollack joined PULSE CHECK (starts at the 23:30 mark) to explain why he's declaring "total war" to keep Obamacare alive, why he thinks Gov. Matt Bevin's failure to completely roll back the ACA in Kentucky is a promising sign, and what happens to pro-Obamacare organizations like Enroll America. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app. Have questions, suggestions or feedback — especially given the political changes? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy: How 'America's Doctor' sees opioids, gun violence and more

Nov 3, 2016 00:50:32

Description:

Vivek Murthy isn't your grandfather's Surgeon General. He's young, he's social media-savvy, and he's constantly breaking new ground — whether sending 2 million-plus letters to clinicians in an unprecedented appeal to stop prescribing opioids or partnering with Fitbit to get Americans moving. But for some critics, that's not enough — and they wonder if we need a Surgeon General at all. Murthy joined POLITICO's "Pulse Check" podcast to discuss the role of the Surgeon General (starts at the 2:20 mark), why he's focused on getting Americans walking (10:10 mark), how he sees the nation's opioid problem (15:00), how he picks his priorities (24:00) and whether he thinks the Surgeon General can truly be independent on issues like gun violence (30:30). Also: Stay tuned for the lightning round that starts at 38:10. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Harvard's Bob Blendon on what polling tells us about Obamacare and the election

Oct 28, 2016 00:51:57

Description:

Twelve days before the election, and more than six years after it passed, Obamacare remains one of the most divisive issues in American politics. But why are voters so far apart, and where do opinions on health reform *really* stand? Harvard's Bob Blendon has the answers. Blendon, one of the most influential figures in public polling, is now working with POLITICO on a series of polls about health care, politics and more. He joined the "Pulse Check" podcast — along with POLITICO's Executive Editor for Health Joanne Kenen —  to discuss takeaways from the latest POLITICO-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll (starts at the 4:10 mark), why drug prices have emerged as a potential bipartisan reform (11:40), how voters rank certain health care priorities and why abortion is the ultimate "litmus test" issue (17:00), how polling has changed over time and why Brexit went wrong (26:50), and how much we should trust polling data at all (38:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 46:00. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Andy Slavitt on MACRA, Minnesota and more

Oct 19, 2016 00:53:02

Description:

Andy Slavitt is one of the most influential people in health care. He's also one of the busiest: The head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a long to-do list — and just 93 days left to do it. Back on PULSE CHECK by popular demand, Slavitt talks about Medicare's landmark physician payment law, which was finalized on Friday (starts at the 5:00 mark), Obamacare open enrollment (20:50), the concern over rising ACA rates in his home state of Minnesota and elsewhere (26:15), President Obama and other Democrats' push for the public option (29:45), the fight over Medicare's innovation center and the Part B demo (31:45), and how he feels watching the election, given that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be choosing his successor (42:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 47:15. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

How a doctor-turned-venture capitalist finds health care's investing opportunities

Oct 13, 2016 00:46:31

Description:

Bijan Salehizadeh enrolled at Columbia Medical School with the goal of becoming a hotshot cardiac surgeon. Just a few years later, he'd traded the operating room for the boardrooms of venture capital, where he became known as one of Silicon Valley's smartest health care investors. Now the managing director of Arlington, Va.-based NaviMed Capital — the rare "V.C. in D.C." — Bijan joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss how he fell into this career and how investors evaluate opportunities (starts at the 2:10 mark), how he got pitched by a young Elizabeth Holmes, founder of a then-fledgling Theranos (10:30), whether digital health is delivering on its promise (25:00), and more. Also: Check out the lightning round that start at 41:35. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Health Affairs editor Alan Weil on shaping the policy debate

Oct 5, 2016 00:44:48

Description:

Health Affairs is one of the most important platforms in health care. No health policy journal gets cited more often — just ask Chief Justice John Roberts, who referenced it when issuing his pivotal Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. And no journal has done more to chronicle the industry’s transformation, with a steady stream of blog posts, podcasts, and events that supplement its traditional peer-reviewed research. On this episode of PULSE CHECK, editor Alan Weil explains how it all comes together. Weil discusses how his career began as a 30-year-old in charge of a state Medicaid program (starts at the 2:15 mark), the importance of a “continuum of evidence” when making health policy (8:50), how he edits Health Affairs and decides what makes it in (15:45), how Health Affairs has become a bigger platform (28:00), and what he thinks of President Obama and other politicians publishing in academic journals (35:30). Also: Check out the abbreviated lightning round that starts at 38:15. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

The White House drug czar on fighting addictions — including his own

Sep 29, 2016 00:37:05

Description:

More than 47,000 people died from opioid-related causes in 2014. More deaths than from gun violence. More deaths than from car crashes. And the top job of fighting opioid abuse — of setting the nation's drug policy — is on the shoulders of this week's guest, Michael Botticelli. Botticelli joined POLITICO's "Pulse Check" podcast to discuss how he approaches drug policy (starts at the 2:20 mark), who’s to blame for the opioid epidemic (7:10 mark), how the White House is working to combat the nation’s heroin and opioid problems (14:00), the connection between the aggressive war on drugs and unrest in black communities today (20:18) and how he thinks about addictions like craving exercise, sex and gambling (25:40). Also: Check out the combo lightning round and crowd-sourced questions that start at 30:20. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Anne Filipic warns Obamacare doom-and-gloom can be self-fulfilling

Sep 22, 2016 00:48:00

Description:

Obamacare rates are going up 25 percent and insurers are dropping out. It's been a rough few months for the law — and pundits' doom-and-gloom predictions are only making Anne Filipic's job harder. Filipic is president of Enroll America, the non-profit group dedicated to boosting Obamacare enrollment, and she says that the reality on the ground is much more positive than the picture painted in D.C. And Filipic, who was then-Sen. Barack Obama's Iowa field manager in 2007, talks about how her team is again approaching Nov. 1 open enrollment like a national political campaign. Filipic joined POLITICO's "Pulse Check" podcast to discuss how she's thinking about Obamacare's looming open enrollment (starts at the 2:35 mark), whether she's worried about the future of the law (13:30 mark), how she shifted from White House official to health care leader (21:15), what Donald Trump means, and doesn't mean, for Obamacare (28:30) and how becoming a mom has changed her relationship with her work (35:20). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 39:10. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Aneesh Chopra on why health care's data revolution has arrived

Sep 16, 2016 00:58:35

Description:

Aneesh Chopra has a lot of titles. He was the nation's first Chief Technology Officer, under President Obama. He's been a venture capitalist, a consultant, an entrepreneur and an author. And according to David Axelrod, Chopra is an evangelist for the power of “digitizing information” — especially in health care. Chopra joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to reminisce about what they learned at the Advisory Board (starts at the 2:30 mark), why Chopra left the private sector to go work for Tim Kaine (8:15), what he did as the White House’s first CTO and his perspective on Obamacare (14:30), why he’s so bullish on the power of health data (23:30), why he thinks the government is leading the way (32:30), and what Silicon Valley can do in health care (40:15). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 51:10. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Obamacare’s CEO on what’s next after Aetna’s exits

Aug 18, 2016 00:32:10

Description:

Insurers like Aetna are dropping out. Rate requests are on the rise. It’s been a messy few weeks for Obamacare — and it’s Kevin Counihan’s job to clean it up. After Obamacare's exchanges sputtered to launch in 2013, Counihan was hired as marketplace CEO to make sure that a management mistake like that never happened again. But with major players like Aetna and UnitedHealth mostly walking away, and the remaining insurers asking for 24% rate hikes on average, Counihan's facing the biggest challenges of his tenure. Counihan sketches out his job as Obamacare’s marketplace CEO (starts at the 3:00 mark), explains how he’s thinking about the turnover in the market and why Aetna’s exit from 11 states is business as usual (4:30), who’s poised to win on the exchanges (9:45), how HHS is working to plug gaps as Aetna and other insurers walk away from markets (12:45), whether it matters if large insurers participate at all (19:00), how he’s approaching customers who are loath to purchase coverage (25:00), and why he’s not sweating Donald Trump getting rid of Obamacare (29:30). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Marilyn Tavenner on implementing Obamacare — and then lobbying to change it

Aug 11, 2016 00:50:51

Description:

At the start of 2015, Marilyn Tavenner held one of the most important jobs in health care: Implementing Obamacare, as the head of CMS. Six months later, she'd swapped it for a completely different major role: Lobbying to change Obamacare, as the head of America's Health Insurance Plans. It's an unusual career shift, and it's given Tavenner — a long-time government official turned top lobbyist — a rare perspective on the changes unfolding in the industry. Tavenner talks about her early career as a nurse (2:20), her experience working for Tim Kaine in Virginia (5:30), the bumpy launch of Healthcare.gov and what Steven Brill's book gets wrong (9:45), what she'd have done differently as head of CMS and what she thinks of her successor Andy Slavitt (14:25), how she's doing on her top priorities and the reasons behind her unusual move from CMS to AHIP (17:50), the state of the health insurance industry (26:30), and what she sees ahead for Obamacare, Donald Trump, and more in 2016 (33:15). Plus: POLITICO's Paul Demko joins Dan to discuss his reporting on the health insurance industry. (39:50) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Lanhee Chen on coming to terms with the rise of Trump

Jul 20, 2016 00:50:06

Description:

As a top adviser to the Rubio campaign, Lanhee Chen fought Donald Trump's stampede through the primaries. Now he's coming to terms with the movement reshaping the Republican party — but that doesn't mean he's happy about it. Chen joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss his growing career as a TV pundit (starts at the 1:50 mark), what he learned as the policy director of the 2012 Romney-Ryan campaign (6:15), what a Romney presidency would've looked like (15:00), why the Rubio campaign failed and Trump won the nomination (18:00), where the GOP really stands on health care (24:15), his thoughts on Obamacare (32:15), and perceptions of a wonk gap between conservatives and liberals (38:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 44:00. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Kate Baicker on busting Obamacare myths

Jul 14, 2016 00:55:00

Description:

The politics of health care are messy. Obamacare is haunted by myths. And that's why Harvard's Kate Baicker — a former White House economist and one of the nation's most acclaimed researchers — is so focused on using evidence, not anecdotes, to shape America's health policies. Baicker talks about building a career in research (starts at the 1:55 minute mark), her pioneering work with the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment (8:45), what she thinks of Obamacare’s cost controls and President Obama’s pitch for a public option (24:30), whether the ACA did enough to bend the cost curve (34:00), and what beltway pundits get wrong about health policy (41:30). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 46:10. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Sen. Lamar Alexander on why the next president needs to make a deal on Obamacare

Jun 30, 2016 00:34:02

Description:

Lamar Alexander is one of the most consequential legislators in Washington. The Tennessee Republican leads the Senate HELP committee — arguably the most important congressional committee for health care right now — and he's working to pass major bills on mental health, opioids and biomedical innovation and more. Sen. Alexander joined POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to discuss how his education background informs his perspective on health care(starts at the 2:40 mark), where several major pieces of health care legislation stand (9:45), why we need more funding for NIH (12:30), his thoughts on Obamacare (22:30), and what he learned from running for president and how he thinks about this year's race (29:45). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

What the GOP health plan really means, with Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Jun 23, 2016 00:43:50

Description:

House Republicans say they finally have a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — six years after the Affordable Care Act passed. And Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who wrote Sen. John McCain’s health plan in 2008 and now runs the American Action Forum, insists we need to take it seriously. Holtz-Eakin joined POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to make the case for the GOP’s white paper (starts at the 3:00 mark), what conservative policy wonks want to change about taxing health insurance (8:50), how he grades Republicans’ signature health care ideas (13:00), why he’s pessimistic about the Affordable Care Act (19:45), how he thinks a potential President Donald Trump would use the plan (27:20), and what he learned from writing the 2008 McCain campaign’s health plan (30:45). Plus: Don’t miss the lightning round at 39:30. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Why the Part B fight is roiling Washington

Jun 17, 2016 00:58:28

Description:

Medicare's planned Part B pilot is either a necessary fix to a broken drug payment system — or the first step to President Donald Trump dismantling the Affordable Care Act. It all depends whom you ask. And this week, we asked Peter Bach and Ted Okon — a high-profile proponent and opponent of Medicare's pilot, respectively — to make their case. Bach joined Dan Diamond to discuss why drug spending has become such a huge problem (starts at the 2:00 mark), why Medicare's trying to change how it pays doctors for drugs (6:00), and how he defends the pilot against charges that it's an over-reach (14:15). Okon joined Dan to explain his criticism of Medicare's pilot (25:20), why he thinks the Part B demo is a dangerous over-reach (34:50), and why oncologists are especially vulnerable to payment changes (43:00). Plus: POLITICO's Sarah Karlin-Smith and Brett Norman join Dan to referee the Part B fight and predict what happens next. (49:17) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Peter Hotez on how Zika is America's next disaster

Jun 9, 2016 00:40:48

Description:

Peter Hotez has fought hookworm in Africa, demystified Ebola fears in America, and worked to eradicate many other infectious diseases over his storied thirty-year career. Now the Houston-based public health leader is confronting Zika — and he's worried that the Gulf Coast is in line for a financial and human disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Hotez joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss how poverty is making the world sick (starts at the 1:45 mark), how the United States is partially to blame for creating the West's mosquito problem (6:15), why he's concerned about Zika and partisan politics hurting public health (10:20), how the cost of Zika will rival a natural disaster (16:10), and why he's getting worried about an explosion of disease in Europe. (26:45) In a bonus, POLITICO's Paul Demko — who covers the health insurance beat — explains the latest news about Obamacare rate hikes and how it's playing on the campaign trail (31:30). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Karen DeSalvo on how data will transform health care

Jun 2, 2016 00:47:15

Description:

Growing up, Karen DeSalvo never planned to have one of the nation’s most important health care jobs. Now she has two of them. As National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, she’s the White House’s point person on digitizing health care — and as acting Assistant Secretary for Health, she also helps guide the nation's public health strategy. Dr. DeSalvo joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss how she’s shaped by her upbringing (starts at the 1:20 mark), her perspective as New Orleans health commissioner post-Katrina (4:20), how she balances her two big jobs (15:45), the nation’s progress on digital records (20:00), and why white life expectancy has declined (32:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 42:00. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Tom Frieden on Zika's unprecedented threat

May 26, 2016 00:36:20

Description:

The nation's top infectious disease doctor doesn't scare easy. But Tom Frieden — the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — is deeply worried about the rise of Zika virus, which is spreading across the Americas and causing birth defects in babies. And he's shocked that Congress, which has refused to fund the White House's emergency Zika request, doesn't share his concern. Dr. Frieden joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to explain how he thinks about global disease threats (starts at the 2:00 mark), why Zika is posing an unprecedented threat (4:30) and why CDC desperately needs funding to fight the ongoing outbreak (8:50), what's behind the nation's opioid epidemic (17:20), and whether Americans' public health is really getting better (21:30) Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 24:50. In a bonus, POLITICO's Nancy Cook — who's been tracking health care issues on the 2016 campaign trail — explains why Republican candidates for Congress are starting to talk about the opioid epidemic, and what we know about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's health plans (28:40).

Ron Klain on why we beat Ebola — but are losing on Zika

May 19, 2016 00:50:36

Description:

Only a few people know what it's like to lead the White House's response to a public health crisis. Ron Klain is one of them. He was chosen in 2014 by President Obama to steer the U.S. effort to fight Ebola, just when it looked like the outbreak was about to spiral out of control. Ron joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to explain how he became the U.S. Ebola "czar" (starts at the 2:00 mark), why he thinks the nation is losing the current fight against Zika (8:25), why a travel ban was a "horrible idea" for Ebola and would be "pointless" for Zika (17:00), why he wouldn't cancel Brazil's Olympics yet (23:00), how he'd design a new federal agency to fight the next public health emergency (24:30), and how fighting Ebola compares to his experiences in the Bush v. Gore recount, the Clarence Thomas hearings, and other high-profile Washington battles (32:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 36:45. In a bonus, POLITICO's Jen Haberkorn — who's been covering the Zika funding fight on the Hill — offers details on the latest funding packages and why Congress is dawdling (41:00). Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Chip Kahn on Harry, Louise – and Hillary

May 12, 2016 00:51:39

Description:

Pick a health care battle in D.C. over the past three decades. Chip Kahn's been at the center of it — first as a top insurance lobbyist, then as a key Capitol Hill staffer, and now as the head of the Federation of American Hospitals. Chip sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to talk about how he shaped the infamous "Harry and Louise" ad campaign (starts at the 3:10 mark), what it takes to be an effective Washington lobbyist (11:00), how the hospital industry is evolving amid reforms (16:00), whether bipartisan health policymaking is doomed (23:00), if supporting Obamacare hurt him among Republicans and his perspective on Medicare's controversial Part B demo (30:00), and how he sees the 2016 election for health care (37:45) Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 44:45. Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Farzad Mostashari on how government really works

May 5, 2016 00:52:03

Description:

Farzad Mostashari has been on the frontlines of health care's biggest stories — from New York City's war on smoking to the Obama administration's $30 billion push for electronic health records. Now he's the CEO of Aledade, a fast-growing company that blends digital and population health and riding the wave of Obamacare startups. Farzad sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss his beginnings in public health (starts at the 2:20 mark), his move to become the nation's leader on health IT (8:55), his thoughts on the Meaningful Use program (15:00), what it's like to be a government regulator (20:30), why he started Aledade (28:00), whether MACRA is a boon for the industry (34:00), if independent doctors are endangered and how new Medicare pilots will help (41:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 48:00.

Andy Slavitt on how CMS will win doctors' hearts and minds

Apr 28, 2016 00:59:08

Description:

Where's health care headed? No one knows better than Andy Slavitt, who runs Medicare and Medicaid — the nearly $1 trillion gorilla that shapes the industry — and who runs point on implementing Obamacare. Andy sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to explain what it's like to lead one of the government's biggest agencies (starts at the 2:00 mark), how he got into health care and his efforts to demystify CMS (5:45), what it was like to be a contractor on the failed Obamacare exchange launch (18:00), how a Republican president could pick his successor (26:45), his thoughts on payment reform pilots (31:00), UnitedHealthcare pulling out of the ACA exchanges (39:00), why rising drug prices could be the top issue for Andy's successor (43:00), and how CMS lost the hearts and minds of doctors — and how the new physician payment rule, called MACRA, is going to get them back. (46:45) Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 54:45. Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Coming soon: POLITICO's Pulse Check

Apr 26, 2016 00:01:24

Description:

Introducing POLITICO's new health policy and politics podcast — Pulse Check, hosted by Dan Diamond! Subscribe to this feed for the latest updates.