Julie Rovner

Julie Rovner is a health policy correspondent for NPR specializing in the politics of health care.

Reporting on all aspects of health policy and politics, Rovner covers the White House, Capitol Hill, the Department of Health and Human Services in addition to issues around the country. She served as NPR's lead correspondent covering the passage and implementation of the 2010 health overhaul bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

A noted expert on health policy issues, Rovner is the author of a critically-praised reference book Health Care Politics and Policy A-Z. Rovner is also co-author of the book Managed Care Strategies 1997, and has contributed to several other books, including two chapters in Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy, edited by political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann.

In 2005, Rovner was awarded the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress for her coverage of the passage of the Medicare prescription drug law and its aftermath.

Rovner has appeared on television on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, C-Span, MSNBC, and NOW with Bill Moyers. Her articles have appeared in dozens of national newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, USA Today, Modern Maturity, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Prior to NPR, Rovner covered health and human services for the Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, specializing in health care financing, abortion, welfare, and disability issues. Later she covered health reform for the Medical News Network, an interactive daily television news service for physicians, and provided analysis and commentary on the health reform debates in Congress for NPR. She has been a regular contributor to the British medical journal The Lancet. Her columns on patients' rights for the magazine Business and Health won her a share of the 1999 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award.

An honors graduate, Rovner has a degree in political science from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

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1:22pm

Mon August 3, 2015
Shots - Health News

Calls To Cut Off Planned Parenthood Are Nothing New

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 3:16 pm

Protesters rally on the steps of the Texas state capitol on July 28 to condemn the use of fetal tissue for medical research.
Eric Gay AP

Republican calls to defund Planned Parenthood over its alleged handling of fetal tissue for research are louder than ever. But they are just the latest in a decades-long drive to halt federal support for the group.

This round aims squarely at the collection of fetal tissue, an issue that had been mostly settled — with broad bipartisan support — in the early 1990s. Among those who voted then to allow federal funding for fetal tissue research was now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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2:56pm

Thu July 23, 2015
Shots - Health News

Administration Prods States To Scrutinize Insurers' Rate Hikes

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 8:29 am

akindo iStockphoto

There's a battle brewing behind the scenes to keep health plans affordable for consumers. The Obama administration weighed in this week, sending letters to insurance regulators in every state and Washington, D.C., that ask them to take a closer look at rate requests before granting them.

Under the Affordable Care Act, state agencies largely retain the right to regulate premiums. So far only a handful have finalized premiums for the coming year, for which enrollment begins in November.

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10:52am

Wed July 8, 2015
Shots - Health News

Women Are Saving Money Thanks To Expanded Birth Control Coverage

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 7:13 am

Birth control used to be a big part of young women's out-of-pocket health costs.
iStockphoto

Women are saving a lot of money as a result of a health law requirement that insurance cover most forms of prescription contraceptives with no additional out-of-pocket costs, a study finds. But the amount of those savings and the speed with which the savings accrued surprised researchers.

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10:00am

Fri June 12, 2015
Shots - Health News

The Uninsured Rate Is Low, But Proving It's The Lowest Ever Is Tricky

"Nearly 1 in 3 uninsured Americans have already been covered — more than 16 million people -– driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level ever," President Obama told a cheering crowd at the Catholic Health Association's annual conference Tuesday.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Almost no one disputes that the implementation of the federal health law has helped Americans who were previously uninsured gain coverage. But exactly how much has the uninsured rate dropped?

A whole lot, says President Obama.

"Nearly 1 in 3 uninsured Americans have already been covered — more than 16 million people -– driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level ever," he told a cheering crowd at the Catholic Health Association's annual conference Tuesday. "Ever," he added for emphasis.

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10:49am

Mon June 8, 2015
Shots - Health News

5 Questions Answered On The Legal Challenge To Obamacare Subsidies

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 3:09 pm

People protesting against the Affordable Care Act rallied outside the Supreme Court in March, before arguments in the second major challenge to the law.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

By the end of June, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on King v. Burwell, a case challenging the validity of the federal tax subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance if they don't get coverage through an employer. If the court rules against the Obama administration, those subsidies could be cut off for people in about three dozen states using HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange website.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the case.

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4:45pm

Wed May 27, 2015
Shots - Health News

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 12:04 pm

Dr. David Muller, dean of medical education at Mount Sinai, believes that including in each medical school class some students who have a strong background in the humanities makes traditional science students better doctors, too.
Cindy Carpien for NPR

You can't tell by looking which students at Mount Sinai's school of medicine in New York City were traditional pre-meds as undergraduates and which weren't. And that's exactly the point.

Most of the class majored in biology or chemistry, crammed for the medical college admission test and got flawless grades and scores.

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11:08am

Thu April 30, 2015
Shots - Health News

Health Plans Often Fail To Provide Free Coverage For Women's Health

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:31 pm

After the conversation about contraception, will there be a copay?
Garo/Phanie Science Source

Many women were thrilled when the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, because it required insurance companies to cover a broad array of women's health services without any out-of-pocket costs.

Five years later, however, the requirement isn't being enforced, according to two new studies. Health insurance plans around the country are failing to provide many of those legally mandated services including birth control and cancer screenings.

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3:56pm

Thu April 9, 2015
Shots - Health News

Medical Schools Reboot For 21st Century

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:27 pm

Dr. Raj Mangrulkar and medical student Jesse Burk-Rafel at the University of Michigan Medical School. Good communication skills, teamwork and adaptability will help doctors thrive through swift changes in medical science, Mangrulkar says.
Leisa Thompson Courtesy of University of Michigan Medical School

Medicine has changed a lot in the past 100 years. But medical training hasn't — until now. Spurred by the need to train a different type of doctor, some top medical schools around the U.S. are tearing up the textbooks and starting from scratch.

Most medical schools still operate under a model pioneered in the early 1900s by an educator named Abraham Flexner.

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11:01am

Tue March 24, 2015
Shots - Health News

Even In Nursing, Men Earn More Than Women

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 4:52 pm

If he's a nurse anesthetist, he could be making $17,290 a year more than his female counterparts.
iStockphoto

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to 1. But men still earn more, a new study finds.

Even after controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, males in nursing outearned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals.

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2:33pm

Mon March 16, 2015
Shots - Health News

Obamacare Cut The Ranks Of The Uninsured By A Third

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 9:20 am

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month. It's a reduction in the ranks of the uninsured the the Department of Health and Human Services called historic.

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