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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Shots - Health Blog
5:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Women's Groups Outraged By Ruling On Morning-After Pill

Women's health advocates were quick to cry foul Wednesday when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the opinion of the Food and Drug Administration that the popular "morning after" emergency contraceptive "Plan B One Step" should be allowed to be sold without a prescription — and without age restrictions.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:10 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Teenage Girls Will Still Need A Prescription For 'Plan B'

In a surprising twist, the Obama administration has overruled the Food and Drug Administration and will not allow teenage girls to buy the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step without a prescription.

The decision punctuates one of the longest-running public health sagas in recent memory. The FDA had decided that a version of the morning-after emergency contraceptive pill could be sold without a prescription regardless of the age of the buyer.

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The Two-Way
12:53 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Morning-After Pill Won't Be Available Without Prescription To Younger Girls

The Food and Drug Administration will not be removing age restrictions for a morning-after birth control pill — a decision that's likely to prolong a fight that has raged for more than eight years.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:06 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Young People Put Dent In Nursing Shortage

Lots of new nurses, like these graduating from New York University in 2009, are helping to fill openings.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

You know that shortage of nurses people have been warning about for about the last decade or two? Fuhgeddaboudit!

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Shots - Health Blog
6:08 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Siri's Anti-Abortion Tendencies A Result Of Technology, Not Apple Conspiracy

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're out to get you.

That could be the motto this week for abortion rights groups that immediately sprang into battle mode when it was discovered that Siri, Apple's new artificially intelligent personal assistant, wasn't so, well, intelligent when it came to abortion.

It turns out, however, that it was all much ado about not so much.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Catholic Groups Fight Contraceptive Rule, But Many Already Offer Coverage

New federal regulations require employers to provide no-cost prescription birth control as part of their health insurance plans.
Tim Matsui Getty Images

The Catholic Church says new federal regulations requiring employers to provide no-cost prescription birth control as part of their health insurance plans infringe on their religious liberty.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:55 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Health Law's Popularity Rises ... Ever So Slightly

Can you say blip?

Apparently that's what last month's all-time low popularity numbers were for President Obama's health overhaul law, according to this month's tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Overall, the federal Affordable Care Act still remains slightly more unpopular (44 percent) than popular (37 percent), but that's down from last month's 51-34 split.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:28 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

GOP Governors Hedge Bets On Health Insurance Exchanges

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is among several GOP governors accepting grant money to set up health insurance exchanges while also challenging the health overhaul law in court.
Dave Martin AP

Obama administration officials have announced another round of grants to states to help build the insurance marketplaces, called "exchanges," that will help individuals and small businesses buy health insurances beginning in 2014.

But the real news is who's getting the $220 million. Nine of the 13 states in this round of grants are headed by GOP governors.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Tue November 29, 2011

Mitt Romney's Evolution On Abortion

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been labeled a flip-flopper. And when it comes to abortion, the former governor of Massachusetts appears to have changed his position from being in favor of abortion rights to being opposed.

But now some people are asking if Romney ever supported abortion rights at all? Backers of abortion rights don't think so.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:34 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Gingrich's History On Health Care Gets An Exam

At a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas last month, Newt Gingrich got zinged by rival Mitt Romney for coming up with idea of an individual insurance mandate.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 3:54 pm

Republican Newt Gingrich's presidential stock is rising in the polls. And his newfound popularity is also bringing new scrutiny to what he's been up to since he stepped down as Speaker of the House in 1998.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:55 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

The Pill: Not Just For Pregnancy Prevention

iStockphoto.com

Well, here's another twist in the debate over whether birth control is an essential health benefit. More than 1.5 million American women use birth control pills for reasons other than preventing pregnancy, a new analysis finds.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:57 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Supreme Court To Decide Constitutionality of Health Law

Coming soon to the Supreme Court: Is the federal health overhaul constitutional?
dbking Flickr

Who didn't see this coming?

The Supreme Court has added a case challenging the constitutionality of the provision of last year's health overhaul requiring nearly every American to have health insurance beginning in the year 2014 to the list of cases it will hear this term.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:12 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

'Personhood' Divides Anti-Abortion Groups

Wife Deborah Bryant waits as Mississippi Governor-elect Phil Bryant thanks a supporter Tuesday at a victory party. Bryant supported a controversial amendment to the state's constitution on "personhood."
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 4:50 pm

Voters in Mississippi were expected to make it the first state to confer protected legal status to fertilized human eggs Tuesday. Instead, they made it the second state to reject a so-called personhood amendment to its constitution.

One possible reason is that the effort divides even those who consider themselves against abortion.

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Politics
4:08 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Personhood Amendment Rejected By Miss. Voters

Adam and Debbie Browne tried to drum up support Tuesday for a proposed 'personhood' amendment to the Mississippi state constitution that was ultimately rejected by voters.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Thu November 10, 2011 8:44 am

Mississippi voters on Tuesday rejected an amendment to their state constitution that would have declared that life begins at fertilization.

The result was somewhat unexpected: As recently as a few weeks ago, the so-called personhood amendment was considered almost certain to pass. Voters in Colorado have twice rejected similar amendments to declare that life begins legally at fertilization, in 2008 and 2010. But Mississippi, with its far more conservative bent, was considered much friendlier territory.

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Health Care
12:01 am
Mon November 7, 2011

Raising Medicare Age Could Lead To Higher Costs

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 3:37 pm

Congress' so-called deficit reduction "supercommittee" is down to the final weeks of deliberations in its efforts to come up with $1.2 trillion in budget savings. And one proposal that keeps cropping up is the idea of raising the eligibility age for Medicare.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney became just the latest to propose it in his speech to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation on Friday.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:43 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Religious Groups Want Relief From Birth Control Mandate

Faith-based health providers got a chance to vent about new federal rules that require them to offer prescription contraceptives as part of their health insurance plans at a House subcommittee hearing today. They also proposed some changes.

But backers of the rules say the revisions sought by opponents would render the requirement meaningless.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:24 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Exhibitors Strut Offbeat Wares At Public Health Confab

If you have a soft spot for internal organs, then you'll love these plush hearts, ovaries and intestines.

Julie Rovner NPR

At the heart of every convention worth its salt is the exhibit hall. But only at the American Public Health Association annual meeting can you find a plush heart for sale. Along with stuffed spleens, brains and uteruses.

And you know the game where you guess how many candies are in a jar and win something cool? Well, at the APHA meeting, the anti-tobacco American Legacy Foundation is giving away a new Kindle, if you can guess how many cigarette butts are in a huge jar.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:59 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Democrats Lose Enthusiasm For Health Law

Sure, it's just one poll of many, but October marks a crummy month for sentiment about the federal Affordable Care Act.

For the first time since President Obama signed it into law in March 2010, more than half of those polled — 51 percent — told researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation they had an unfavorable view of the measure overhauling health care. Only 34 percent said they viewed the law favorably, a post-passage low.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:45 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

A Tweak To Health Law Would Eliminate Medicaid For Some

Should the middle class be eligible for Medicaid?

The health program, funded jointly by the feds and the states, was devised to cover the poor. But if a provision in last year's health law isn't changed that could be the case for people with pretty healthy incomes.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:22 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Employers May Not Rush To Drop Health Coverage After All

Despite claims to the contrary, a insightful economic analysis suggests that it wouldn't be in most employers' business interests to stop providing health insurance when the main coverage provisions of the federal health overhaul kick in.

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Job 1: Careers That Shaped The GOP Candidates
5:00 am
Tue October 25, 2011

Before He Delivered For Voters, Paul Delivered Babies

Ron Paul, shown in this screen shot taken from his website, says he delivered more than 4,000 babies in the Texas district where he used to practice.

www.ronpaul2012.com

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 12:49 pm

Sixth in a series

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul is known for his fervent opposition to armed intervention overseas and the Federal Reserve — and for his equally fervent supporters.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:20 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Medicare Enrollment Comes Sooner This Year

The open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries is under way earlier this year — one of many upcoming changes.

Anne de Haas iStockphoto.com

If you're a senior on Medicare — or an adult child responsible for a senior on Medicare — here's something you should know: The annual "open enrollment" period for joining or changing prescription drug or private health plans is already under way.

"It's much earlier this year. It started on Oct. 15, and it's going to stop on Dec. 7," says Nancy Metcalf, a senior editor and health expert at Consumer Reports. "So you have your window right now."

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Shots - Health Blog
5:42 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Administration Drops Long-Term Care Provision Of Overhaul

The late Sen. Edward Kennedy, a champion for the CLASS Act, gets a standing ovation as he arrives at the closing session of a White House forum on health care overhaul in early March 2009.

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 15, 2011 11:52 am

After a 19-month review, the Obama administration has concluded that it can't implement the CLASS Act, the community-based long-term care program that was the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's most heartfelt contribution to the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:51 am
Fri October 7, 2011

To Keep Required Insurance Affordable, Start With Price

It may not be the sexiest piece of last year's health overhaul law, but it's one that has given small businesses and insurers a lot of heartburn. What exactly should be required when it comes to benefits?

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The Salt
3:06 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

East Coast Pumpkin Shortage Won't Dent The Canned Kind

Melissa Forsyth NPR

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 9:45 pm

With Halloween rapidly approaching, you've probably heard about the shortage of pumpkins along the East Coast caused by the flooding rains of Hurricane Irene.

But while you may have troubling finding just the right shape or the right price for your jack o'lantern this year, there's good news for those looking ahead to the pies and cakes of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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