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 News
3:13 am
Wed October 23, 2013

States' Refusal To Expand Medicaid May Leave Millions Uninsured

Protesters fill the Miami office of state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. on Sept. 20 to protest his stance against expansion of health coverage in Florida.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 12:12 pm

President Obama on Tuesday appointed one of his top management gurus, Jeffrey Zeints, to head the team working to fix what ails HealthCare.gov, the troubled website that's supposed to allow residents of 36 states to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
3:14 am
Tue October 22, 2013

How Politics Set The Stage For The Obamacare Website Meltdown

It all seemed so easy then. Back in June, the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional. Waiting for that decision may have cost the administration precious time.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:23 pm

Since the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges launched to a long series of error messages Oct. 1, most of the "what went wrong" fingers have been pointing at software developers.

But some say there's more to it than that — that politics has played a role as well.

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Shots - Health News
3:59 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

How The GOP's Shutdown Over Obamacare Fell Short

Susan and Jack Cooper of Richardson, Texas, demonstrate against the government shutdown in Dallas this month.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 5:44 pm

Remember how that fight over the budget was all about Obamacare?

Seems like ancient history now, but House Republicans ostensibly shut down the government 17 days ago, demanding first a defunding, and, when that failed, a year's delay in the health law.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 am
Mon October 14, 2013

So What's The Real Deadline For Obamacare Sign-Up?

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 1:06 pm

The health exchanges are now open, though some have a lot of glitches. You still have lots of questions about how the Affordable Care Act affects you and your family.

And we have answers. In our ongoing series, we're addressing questions you've asked about the sign-up process.

With people having so much trouble logging onto the websites to get coverage, some are wondering how soon they have to sign up for coverage to avoid the potential penalties.

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Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

First Step In Health Exchange Enrollment: Train The Helpers

Assisters get up to speed on how best to explain the new health coverage choices during training on Sept. 25 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 2:06 pm

Even as the Affordable Care Act's new health exchanges open for business, polls show the public is still pretty confused about how they're supposed to work.

The latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in fact, found that two-thirds of those without insurance said they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Insurance Exchange 101: Here's What You Need To Know

The audience concentrates on a presentation by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger's office about the federal health care overhaul at the University of Kansas satellite campus in Overland Park, Kan., earlier this month.
John Hanna AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 9:36 am

The Affordable Care Act has been through two years of legislative wrangling, a presidential election and a Supreme Court test that took it to the brink.

Now, after yet another round of debate and argument, major pieces of the federal health law are expected to kick in Tuesday.

If all goes as planned, people who don't have insurance or who buy it on their own will be able to shop online or at various locations in their communities for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1.

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Shots - Health News
12:15 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Administration Touts Lower-Than-Expected Obamacare Premiums

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state agency running the state's new health exchange, announced the plans and prices that will be offered by private insurers on May 23.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 11:42 am

Premiums in the health insurance exchanges set to open next week will be lower than anticipated, the Obama administration announced Wednesday.

According to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, "premiums nationwide will ... be around 16 percent lower than originally expected," and 95 percent of uninsured people live in a state with average premiums that are lower than expected.

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Shots - Health News
5:17 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Would A Federal Shutdown Delay Health Care Exchanges?

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz leaves the weekly Senate Republican Policy Committee luncheon Tuesday, shortly before beginning a filibuster against Obamacare.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:27 am

Well, it's almost Oct. 1, the day of a threatened government shutdown and the day state health insurance exchanges are scheduled to begin operations.

Those are the online marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act where people can compare health plans and sign up for coverage.

Would closing down the government delay the opening of the health exchanges?

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Shots - Health News
3:20 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Employers Trim Health Costs By Cutting Coverage For Spouses

Workers prepare orders to be loaded for shipment at a UPS Healthcare Supply Chain and Distribution Center in Atlanta on March 12. The company recently announced that it would no longer offer coverage for spouses who had their own job-based insurance.
Robin Nelson Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 10:05 am

When UPS told workers that it would no longer offer health coverage for spouses who had their own job-based insurance, it caused a big stir. But the shipping giant has plenty of company.

So many employers are trying to cut back on health coverage for spouses that it has become a trend. The practice began well before the Affordable Care Act passed, and the connection to the law, in some cases, isn't that direct.

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Shots - Health News
3:21 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Getting Personal With Your Health Insurance Exchange Questions

The final countdown: It's time to figure out how insurance through the health exchanges will work for you.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 11:15 am

With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.

We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.

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Shots - Health News
2:54 am
Fri September 6, 2013

After A Decade, Congress Moves To Fix Doctors' Medicare Pay

I think I see the problem.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 7:59 am

Hear the words health care and Congress, and you think fight, right?

And you'd be forgiven, particularly because the House has now voted some 40 times in the past two years to repeal or otherwise undo portions of the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
5:27 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Bill Clinton Steps Up To Dispel The Confusion Over Obamacare

He's back! Unabashed wonk and former president Bill Clinton detangles the health care law.
Danny Johnston Associated Press

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:22 pm

With the launch of the major piece of the Affordable Care Act less than a month away, the Obama administration is escalating the public relations push with one of their most effective weapons – former President Bill Clinton, now known to many as explainer in chief.

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Shots - Health News
5:15 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Study: Price Shocks On Health Exchanges Appear Unlikely

What's the prognosis for health insurance rates?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:18 pm

With new health insurance exchanges set to launch in just over a month, there's been a lot of chatter about how shocking the rates might be.

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Shots - Health News
9:44 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Despite Distaste For Health Law, Americans Oppose Defunding

Defunding strikes most Americans as the wrong prescription for the Affordable Care Act.
Ricardo Reitmeyer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 4:49 pm

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act often talk about how unpopular it is.

And this month's tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation bears them out. Negative views of the law (42 percent) top positive ones (37 percent).

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Shots - Health News
3:06 am
Mon August 19, 2013

You Ask, We Answer: More Of Your Questions About The Affordable Care Act

From left, Garrett Berntsen, Jennifer Majer and William Shields compare notes at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Twenty-somethings have new choices under Obamacare.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 11:06 am

The Oct. 1 launch of the new health insurance exchanges is now less than two months away, and people are starting to pay attention to the changes these new marketplaces may bring to the nation's health care system.

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Shots - Health News
3:20 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Obamacare Foes Make Final Push To Stop Health Law's Implementation

A screenshot from the FreedomWorks website, which is urging citizens opposed to the Affordable Care Act to opt out of the law's requirement to have insurance. It asks Americans to symbolically "burn your Obamacare card." In reality, no such card will exist.
FreedomWorks

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:47 am

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Shots - Health News
4:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Fix Is In For Congressional Obamacare Glitch

The new health law has left some 20,000 workers on Capitol Hill unsure of their health care options for the coming year.
Dwight Nadig iStockphoto

Finally, the federal HR department has released the health rule much of Capitol Hill has been waiting for.

There's now an explanation from the Office of Personnel Management on how members of Congress and much of their staff will get their health insurance starting next year.

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Shots - Health News
5:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Congress May Be Getting Its Own Obamacare Glitch Fixed

If you worked here, you'd be worried about losing your employer-funded health insurance contributions.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 10:16 pm

As its last official action before leaving for a five-week summer break, the House today voted — for the 40th time — to block implementation of the federal health law.

But it was something that happened late Thursday night affecting members of Congress and their staffers' own health insurance that attracted more attention around the Capitol.

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Shots - Health News
4:26 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Will Obamacare Mean Fewer Jobs? Depends On Whom You Ask

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 5:43 pm

Of all the contentious claims about the Affordable Care Act, few have been more contentious than over the impact it's having on employers.

It's hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on a television without seeing a story about some boss cutting workers' hours or saying he won't be doing any more hiring because of the health law.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Plan B To Hit Shelves, Protected From Generics

The Plan B One-Step morning-after pill will now be available to women as young as 15 without a prescription, and will have another three years of protection from generic competition.
AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 5:54 pm

As expected, the Food and Drug Administration has granted an additional three years of protection from generic competition to the makers of the most popular form of the emergency contraceptive pill,

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Shots - Health News
4:19 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Obama Turns To Comedians To Promote Health Coverage

Comedian Sarah Silverman helped get out the vote for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
YouTube

Who needs jocks when you've got Jennifer Hudson and Amy Poehler?

That seems to be the message coming out of the White House following a star-studded meeting yesterday led by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Its mission: Figure out how to help promote the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
10:29 am
Mon July 22, 2013

State Laws Limiting Abortion May Face Challenges On 20-Week Limit

Becca Besaw of Austin, Texas, and Christopher Robertson of Fort Worth, Texas, protest the state's new law restricting access to abortion at a rally in Dallas on July 15.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 4:57 pm

Banning abortions after a specific point in pregnancy has been a popular trend in the states this year. Last week, GOP Gov. Rick Perry made Texas the 12th state to ban most abortions after 20 weeks.

But how states define the starting point for that 20 weeks may cause headaches for women and their doctors — and ultimately affect whether these laws pass constitutional muster.

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Shots - Health News
3:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

White House Muddles Obamacare Messaging — Again

President Obama walks off the stage after speaking about the Affordable Care Act during an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Obama argued that the law is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of consumers.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:13 am

This summer was supposed to be a time to reintroduce the public to the Affordable Care Act and teach people how to sign up for benefits this fall.

But that's not what's happening.

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Shots - Health News
3:59 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Texas Abortion Fight Is Just One Of Many This Year

Opponents of a state abortion bill circle its supporters in Austin, Texas, in early July.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 4:15 pm

The eyes of the nation may be on Texas, as legislators fight over whether to impose strict new regulations on abortion and those who provide it. But a report on abortion laws and regulation across the country finds that the Lone Star State isn't alone.

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Shots - Health News
3:16 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Messy Rollout Of Health Law Echoes Medicare Drug Expansion

Back in 2006, President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt talked with reporters during a trip to Florida, where Bush spoke to volunteers helping seniors sign up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Mike Stocker AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 5:13 am

It hasn't been a good week for the Affordable Care Act. After announcements by the administration of several delays of key portions of the law, Republicans returned to Capitol Hill and began piling on.

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