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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12:01am

Wed September 7, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Conservatives Step Up Attacks On Public Funding For Birth Control

survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found two-thirds of respondents were in favor of the new requirement for insurance plans to offer prescription birth control without a copay or deductible." href="/post/conservatives-step-attacks-public-funding-birth-control" class="noexit lightbox">
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found two-thirds of respondents were in favor of the new requirement for insurance plans to offer prescription birth control without a copay or deductible.
Hamiza Bakirci iStockphoto.com

It used to be that opposition to publicly funded birth control was linked to abortion.

Either the birth control in question allegedly caused abortion, or the organization providing the birth control (read: Planned Parenthood) also performed abortions. But that's changing.

These days, more and more voices are opposing the provision of birth control for its own sake.

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4:28pm

Mon August 29, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Uninsured Largely Unaware Of Benefits Coming From Overhaul

When it comes to last year's Affordable Care Act, there's not much people agree on. Except, says Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman, this one thing: "It really does help the uninsured; 32 million uninsured people will get coverage."

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5:38pm

Wed August 24, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Unwed Women Living With Partners Risk More Unplanned Pregnancies

Vicente Barcelo Varona iStockphoto.com

OK, so your mom was right.

It turns out that moving in with that special someone without getting married first puts you at very high risk for an unplanned pregnancy.

That's one of the key findings of a new report from the Guttmacher Institute.

The report found that overall, "the United States did not make progress toward its goal of reducing unintended pregnancy between 2001 and 2006." In fact, the rate was 49 percent in 2006, virtually unchanged from 48 percent in 2001.

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6:08pm

Tue August 23, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Trying Bundled Payments To Save Money, Improve Care

iStockphoto.com

For all those who say there's nothing in the Affordable Care Act that could reduce health care spending, this one's for you.

Medicare officials have unveiled the latest initiative to spring from last year's overhaul, and it's one some health economists have been lusting after for years: Bundling payments so that hospitals, doctors, and even post-hospital caregivers all have the same financial incentive to both work together and provide cost-effective care.

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12:33pm

Wed August 3, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Do Hospitalists Cost More Than They Save?

Chances are, if you're admitted to the hospital, the doctor in charge of your care won't be your own. He or she will be a hospitalist, a relatively new type of specialist whose sole job is to oversee the care of hospitalized patients.

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7:42pm

Tue August 2, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare, Medicaid Advocates Cast Wary Eye On Budget Deal

Medicare and Medicaid have so far dodged the budget knives wielded by the GOP. But those who depend on the programs know that their luck may soon be running out, thanks to the budget deal signed by President Obama on Tuesday.

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1:19pm

Mon August 1, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Feds Order Insurers To Cover Birth Control Free Of Charge To Women

Before long, almost all insurers will have to cover birth control pills at no charge to women.
iStockphoto.com

Even though the decision was widely expected, there's no denying the news is still a pretty big deal. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services adopted in full the women's health recommendations issued two weeks ago by the independent Institute of Medicine.

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5:37pm

Thu July 28, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Abortion-Rights Group Faults Republican Presidential Field

OK, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. But the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America says that none of the declared Republican candidates for president — nor any of those thought to be waiting in the wings — would pass muster with voters who support a woman's right to choose.

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9:46am

Thu July 28, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Overhaul Law To Boost Health Spending, Barely

iStockphoto.com

A fresh analysis of the nation's health spending suggests that over the next 10 years, the Democrats' Affordable Care Act will boost the number of people with health insurance by about 30 million, while health costs overall will rise by only one-tenth of a percentage point more than they would have if the law hadn't passed.

Let me repeat: one-tenth of a percentage point!

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4:34pm

Wed July 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Stem-Cell Research Funding

Human embryonic stem cells like these have stirred quite a legal controversy.
Nissim Benvenisty PLoS/Wikimedia Commons

It was almost exactly a year ago that Chief Judge Royce Lamberth for the U.S. District Court in Washington shocked scientists by temporarily shutting down funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

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3:29pm

Fri July 22, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

History Shows Medicare Can Be Cut While Sparing Beneficiaries

Lately you'd think President Obama was threatening to push Granny off the cliff.

That's pretty much been the reaction of liberal Democrats to even the hint that the president might consider reductions in spending for Medicare as part of a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

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5:45pm

Tue July 19, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medical Panel Recommends No-Cost Birth Control

Health insurance plans may soon have to offer prescription contraception at no upfront cost to women.
iStockphoto.com

Will all health insurance plans soon have to offer all FDA-approved forms of prescription contraception at no upfront cost to women? They will if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius accepts the recommendations released today from an expert panel of the Institute of Medicine.

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5:15pm

Mon July 18, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Birth Control Without Copays Could Become Mandatory

iStockphoto.com

Is there nothing in last year's Affordable Care Act that people won't fight over?

The latest battle is set to come to a head Wednesday, when the independent Institute of Medicine is expected to make recommendations about preventive health care services for women. And one service that's drawing a lot of the attentions is contraception.

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12:23pm

Thu July 14, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Restrictions On Abortion Multiply This Year

Guttmacher Institute

As predicted by those on both sides of the contentious abortion battle, states in the first half of this year have enacted a record 162 new laws or changes to existing laws that affect reproductive health, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute.

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12:01am

Tue July 12, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Payment Board Draws Brickbats

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming is one of many lawmakers who opposes the the new Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

One thing both Democrats and Republicans agree on is that they can't solve the deficit problem without slowing the growth of the massive Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.

But here's an irony. Republicans and a growing number of Democrats also seem to agree that they don't like the one aspect of last year's Affordable Care Act that actually would effectively reduce Medicare spending.

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12:01am

Thu July 7, 2011
Health Care

Medicaid Makes 'Big Difference' In Lives, Study Finds

As high-level budget talks drag on in Washington, the Medicaid program for the poor remains a prime candidate for cuts. In recent months, Republicans have criticized Medicaid for badly serving its target population. But a new study — the first of its kind in nearly four decades — finds that Medicaid is making a bigger impact than even some of its supporters may have realized.

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4:56pm

Fri July 1, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Health Insurance Brokers Win A Round

iStockphoto.com

Score one for the health insurance brokers in their fight to avoid going the way of buggy-whip manufacturers.

A task force of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners voted Thursday to endorse legislation that would effectively spare their commissions from being counted as administrative costs.

And consumer groups aren't happy about it.

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6:17pm

Thu June 30, 2011
Health Care

How Much Do States Really Spend On Medicaid?

Residents listen during a public hearing on Florida's new Medicaid overhaul, in Miami Gardens, Fla., on June 16. The overhaul, championed by Gov. Rick Scott as an attempt to save the state money, still needs federal approval.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

July 1 is traditionally the day many new state laws take effect. This year it's also the day the spigot officially turns off for $90 billion that Washington has been funneling to the states since 2009 to help them cope with the ballooning costs of the Medicaid program for the poor.

You don't have to look very far to find a governor complaining about the high cost of Medicaid or what it's doing to his or her state's budget.

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4:00pm

Wed June 29, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Health Overhaul Law

The first of three U.S. Appeals courts has now weighed in on the constitutionality of law year's health overhaul, and the news couldn't have been much better for backers of the Affordable Care Act.

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11:13am

Fri June 24, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

AMA Speaks Up On Comparative Effectiveness

My, how they've changed.

Not all that long ago, doctors seemed pretty much united by their antipathy toward being told by outsiders how to practice medicine — particularly by the government.

That bond helped fuel the American Medical Association's bitter opposition to several efforts to overhaul the U.S. health care system in the 1930s and 1940s and to the original effort to pass Medicare in the 1960s.

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12:01am

Thu June 23, 2011
Health

GOP Hopefuls Divided Over Anti-Abortion Pledge

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Aurora, Colorado on June 20. Romney is one of two presidential hopefuls who has not signed a hard-line anti-abortion pledge.
John Moore Getty Images

For the first time in memory, every Republican candidate running for president in 2012 proclaims him or herself to be anti-abortion. But just how anti-abortion are they?

Marjorie Dannenfelser wanted to find out. So Dannenfelser, the head of the Susan B. Anthony List — a group founded to elect anti-abortion candidates — created "The Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge," and asked every Republican presidential candidate to sign it.

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6:42pm

Mon June 20, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

McKinsey Stands By Contested Health Insurance Survey

"We stand by the integrity and methodology of the survey," McKinsey says.
Michael McCloskey iStockphoto.com

Under fire from Democrats in Congress, consulting firm McKinsey and Company today released its methodology for a controversial survey that found as many as 30 percent of employers might drop health insurance after the new health law takes effect in 2014. But the hot water McKinsey's in doesn't seem to be cooling off.

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5:15pm

Fri June 17, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

McKinsey Health Insurance Survey Raises Ruckus, Questions

iStockphoto.com

The influential consulting firm McKinsey & Company caused quite a stir when it published an article last week predicting that nearly a third of employers "will definitely or probably stop offering" health insurance to their workers after 2014.

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9:29am

Thu June 16, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Pressure On Planned Parenthood Grows, As Another State Cuts Funding

And then there were three.

The North Carolina Legislature overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue Wednesday, approving a state budget that bans public funds from going to Planned Parenthood.

That makes North Carolina the third state in a month to move toward restrictions on government funding of the reproductive services group.

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12:51pm

Wed June 15, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Outpatient Medical Errors May Surpass Those In Hospitals

Nearly $1.3 billion was paid in malpractice claims for outpatient events in 2009.
Mark Winfrey (EyeMark) iStockphoto.com

It's been a dozen years since the Institute of Medicine shocked the public by estimating that as many as 98,000 people were dying annually because of medical mistakes in the nation's hospitals.

But results from a study published in this week's JAMA suggest that outpatient care may be just as hazardous to your health.

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12:01am

Tue June 14, 2011
Health Care

Democrats Revive Medicare As Political Weapon

Just how powerful is Medicare as a political weapon? So powerful that for the past two election cycles it's been a favorite cudgel for both Republicans and Democrats.

And the election of Democrat Kathy Hochul to fill a traditionally GOP seat in upstate New York in May is just the latest demonstration.

Hochul and the national Democratic party ran a campaign based on large part on the House Republican Budget passed in April that would essential privatize the government program for the elderly and disabled. And their campaign worked.

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11:33am

Thu June 9, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Poll: Generation Y Is Divided On Abortion, Like Their Parents

Members of Bound 4 Life, a group opposed to abortion rights, pray in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in early 2006.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Millennials, Generation Y, echo boomers. Whatever you want to call them, the generation of young people born after the 1970s ended is known as a socially tolerant and politically liberal bunch.

But a new poll out today finds that abortion is not one of the issues on which the children are more liberal than their parents.

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5:30pm

Mon June 6, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

People In Mass. Like Their Health Law, But Reservations On Mandate Persist

iStockphoto.com

A new poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts residents support the continuation of that state's landmark universal health insurance law passed in 2006, even though support for its central feature, a requirement for most residents to have health insurance, remains more evenly divided.

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3:23pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Health Care

Abortion Foes Push To Redefine Personhood

Originally published on Wed June 1, 2011 7:01 pm

After a sperm fertilizes an egg, cells divide in a stage called a blastocyst. Doctors say pregnancy doesn't start until the blastocyst implants into the woman's uterus.
iStockphoto.com

Last year's GOP takeover of the U.S. House and statehouses across the country has dramatically changed the shape of the nation's abortion debate. It has also given a boost to an even more far-reaching effort: the push to legally redefine when life itself begins.

The question being raised in legal terms is: When does someone become a person?

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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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