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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

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With covid cases on the upswing again around the country, partisan division remains over how to address the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration proposes bigger penalties for hospitals that fail to make their prices public as required. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite stories of the week they think you should read, too.

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 100 Days of Health Policy

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It’s 100 days into Joe Biden’s presidency and a surprisingly large number of health policies have been announced. But health is notably absent from the administration’s $1.8 trillion spending plan for American families, making it unclear how much more will get done this year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosens its mask-wearing recommendations for those who have been vaccinated, but the new rules are confusing. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Open Enrollment, One More Time

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Keeping a campaign promise, President Joe Biden has reopened enrollment for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act on healthcare.gov — and states that run their own health insurance marketplaces followed suit. At the same time, the Biden administration is moving to revoke the Trump administration’s permission for states to impose work requirements for some adults on the Medicaid health insurance program. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews medical student Inam Sakinah, president of the new group Future Doctors in Politics.

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Updates to safety labelling for benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like drugs

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OTTAWA – Benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like prescription drugs (commonly referred to as “Z-drugs)—commonly used to treat sleep and anxiety disorders, certain seizure disorders, and to help relax muscles or relieve muscle pain—can lead to problematic use and substance use disorder. To help mitigate these risks, Health Canada is asking manufacturers to update their safety warnings to include more prominent and consistent messaging for patients and healthcare professionals.

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Non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine are not recommended for use in people under 18 years of age

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OTTAWA – The Government of Canada is committed to informing Canadians about the risks of health products that contain opioids. As a result, Health Canada is advising Canadians that people under 18 years of age should not use non-prescription pain relief products containing codeine. Non-prescription codeine-containing pain relief products were previously not recommended for children and youth under 12 years of age.

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The Hidden Deaths Of The COVID Pandemic

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Counting deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic is easier said than done. Without widespread testing, officials must sort through presumed COVID deaths and those who died with infections rather than from them. Then there are the indirect deaths of people who died from circumstances created by the pandemic.