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.

Additionally, Rovner is a contributing editor for National Journal Daily, a publication covering Capitol Hill.

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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1:59pm

Fri May 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

State Battles Over Abortion And Family Planning Heat Up

The national debate on abortion continues on a high boil in several states.

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4:10pm

Thu May 26, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Memo to GOP: Cutting Medicaid Is Unpopular, Too

Not that there was much doubt left, but Tuesday's uphill victory by Democrat Kathy Hochul in a special election in a New York congressional district long dominated by the GOP has made it pretty clear that the budget blueprint approved by House Republicans last month, which would effectively privatize Medicare, isn't so popular with lots of actual voters.

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10:38am

Thu May 19, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Who Pays For Unintended Pregnancies?

Stewart Schwartz of Laurel, Md., attends a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood on Capitol Hill on April 7, 2011.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

While some states and the federal government debate whether to halt funding of Planned Parenthood and other providers of family planning services, a new study finds that the cost of unintended pregnancies is large, and much of the bill — about $11 billion per year — goes to government programs and ultimately taxpayers.

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3:00pm

Fri May 13, 2011
Health

Looking At The Facts Of Romney's Health Care Speech

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is trying to solve his unusual health care problem. His signature on a 2006 Massachusetts law that looks an awful lot like the federal health law most Republicans now want to repeal. Thursday, the likely presidential candidate gave a speech in Michigan that tried to draw distinctions between a law he says he still supports and the federal law he doesn't.

6:34pm

Thu May 12, 2011

4:33pm

Wed May 11, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

You Really Are Paying A Lot More For Health Care

Ricardo Reitmeyer iStockphoto.com

OK, health care is expensive. And the costs keep going up.

But the latest report from the green-eyeshade experts at Milliman does include a few surprises about what is — and isn't — driving those costs higher.

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12:01am

Wed May 11, 2011
Health Care

Appeals Court Hears Challenges To Health Care Law

A three-judge panel in Richmond, Va., heard Tuesday oral arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of the nation's landmark health care law.

It marked the first time any of the dozens of lawsuits filed against last year's law have reached the appellate level, and brings the measure a step closer to what most predict will be a legal showdown that will only end at the Supreme Court sometime in 2012.

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3:11pm

Thu May 5, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Shuffle For House Republicans?

After two weeks of House Republicans getting hammered over their vote for a fiscal 2012 budget that would effectively privatize Medicare, it didn't seem all the surprising that some party leaders would signal that they were backing away from the plan.

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12:01am

Thu May 5, 2011
Politics

Plan Would Trade Medicaid Funds For Flexibility

Most of the debate about the budget plan passed by House Republicans last month centers on the dramatic changes it would make to the Medicare health program for seniors. But the proposal calls for potentially even bigger changes to the Medicaid program for the poor.

Medicaid actually covers more people than Medicare. In 2010, according to the most recent estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services, Medicaid covered 53.9 million people, compared to Medicare's 47.3 million.

Medicaid's patients are also among the most vulnerable in society.

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12:58pm

Wed May 4, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

House Moves Ahead With Bill To Bar Tax Subsidies For Abortion

The GOP-led House of Representatives is set to approve one of its top bills today. And the title let's you know right up front what's on the line.

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12:01am

Wed May 4, 2011
Health Care

Remaking Medicare: Saving Money Or Shifting Costs?

There's no debating that the budget blueprint passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month would make major changes to the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.

What Republicans and Democrats don't agree on, however, is whether those changes would actually save money or just shift costs now paid by the government to Medicare patients.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who as chairman of the House Budget Committee wrote the plan that passed that chamber, says his plan would help bring down costs.

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6:43pm

Tue May 3, 2011
Politics

House Votes To Cut Funds For Key Part Of Health Law

The Republican-led House approved Tuesday another bill aimed at defunding parts of last year's huge health care overhaul, but the measure doesn't stand much of a chance in the Democratic-led Senate.

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12:00pm

Thu April 28, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Emergency Room Doctors Say Health Law Will Make ER Crowding Worse

Hospital emergency rooms, the theory goes, get overcrowded because people without health insurance have no place else to go.

But that's not the view of the doctors who staff those emergency departments.

The real problem, according to a new survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians, isn't caused by people who don't have insurance — it's caused by people who do, but still can't find a doctor to treat them.

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4:18pm

Wed April 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Where Is The Public On Medicare? Depends How You Ask The Question

Depending on which side of the debate you're on, you can point to a poll right now that shows support for making major changes to the Medicare program, and one that shows major opposition.

How come? Mostly because the questions used different wording.

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4:00am

Tue April 26, 2011
Law

Supreme Court Won't Expedite Health Care Challenge

The Supreme Court won't fast-track a challenge to the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law. The challenge was filed by the state of Virginia and its attorney general. The case will be heard in the appeals courts instead — though it still could reach the high court before the 2012 elections.

1:54pm

Wed April 13, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Want To Play Spin The Budget?

As the critical votes near in the House and Senate on the spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the year, both Republicans and Democrats are still frantically trying to cast the compromise reached last Friday in a favorable light.

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12:01am

Wed April 13, 2011
Health Care

Planned Parenthood Makes Abortion Foes See Red

A lot of people were surprised when House Republicans' desire to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood very nearly caused the shutdown of the federal government last week.

But those who have watched the abortion debate over a long period of time were not surprised.

Despite the successes members of the anti-abortion movement have had over the years in restricting the procedure, "Planned Parenthood remains the thorn in their side," says Deana Rohlinger, associate professor of sociology at Florida State University.

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6:40pm

Tue April 12, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

New Proposal Aims To Cut Down On Hospital Infections

Finally, something health-related that everyone can agree on.

Well, almost everyone.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday pledged "up to $1 billion" for a new "Partnership for Patients." The initiative aims to reduce preventable hospital infections and patient readmissions after they have been discharged.

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6:04pm

Fri April 8, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Are Abortion Issues Blocking A Deal On The Budget?

So are abortion-related policy add-ons really preventing Democrats and Republicans from reaching a deal on a spending bill to keep the government running past midnight Friday?

It depends who you ask.

Democrats say absolutely. "Mr. President, the Republicans want to shut down our nation's government because they want to make it harder for women to get the health services they need," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

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6:22pm

Wed April 6, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Budget Office: GOP Medicare Plan Could Lead To Rationing

Remember all those allegations from Republicans that the Affordable Care Act would inevitably lead to health care rationing? It turns out the same might be true of the House GOP budget plan for Medicare.

At least that's the conclusion of the Congressional Budget Office.

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4:20pm

Wed April 6, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Brief Federal Shutdown Wouldn't Faze Medicare Or Medicaid

If the current budget standoff on Capitol Hill leads to a shutdown of the federal government on Friday, recipients of the Medicare and Medicaid health programs won't have to worry. At least not for a while.

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12:01am

Wed March 23, 2011
Health Care

As Health Law Turns 1, Debate Far From Settled

Wednesday marks a year since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.

But in those ensuing 12 months, the debate has barely missed a beat.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats have continued to sing the measure's praises.

"With this landmark law, we made health insurance and health care a right, not a privilege, for all Americans," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, "by extending coverage to 32 million more Americans."

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