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
10:15 pm
Tue September 24, 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 9:42 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
1:20 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 8:05 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
1:21 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 9:15 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
12:54 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 5:59 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.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:27 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 3:22 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
7:44 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 2:49 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).

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:06 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 9:06 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
1:20 am
Thu August 8, 2013

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

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." href="/post/obamacare-foes-make-final-push-stop-health-laws-implementation" class="noexit lightbox">
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 8:47 am

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Shots - Health News
2:13 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
3:39 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 8:16 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
2:26 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Will Obamacare Mean Fewer Jobs? Depends On Whom You Ask

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 3:43 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
1:18 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 3:54 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
2:19 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
8:29 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 2:57 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.

Read more
NPR Story
3:04 am
Mon July 22, 2013

State Abortion Laws Differ From Doctors In Defining 20 Weeks

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 8:30 am

Texas last week became the 12th state to ban most abortions after 20 weeks. But most of the state laws don't define 20 weeks the same way doctors do.

Shots - Health News
1:23 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 4:13 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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Health
3:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

State By State: How Health Law Will Affect Premiums

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 4:31 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In that speech today on the health care law, President Obama made a point of highlighting some good news the administration got yesterday.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: State officials in New York announced that average premiums for consumers who buy insurance in their new marketplace will be at least 50 percent lower next year than they are today. Think about that, 50 percent lower.

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Shots - Health News
1:16 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 3:13 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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Shots - Health News
3:51 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

GOP Says, Why Not Delay That Health Care Law, Like, Forever?

U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks at a press conference Wednesday on Republican plans to delay enactment of the Affordable Care Act. Looking on are Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Sensing that recent delays in key portions of the Affordable Care Act have caught the Obama administration at a weak point in its rollout of the law, Republicans in Congress are doubling down on their efforts to cripple the measure, at least in the eyes of the public if not in fact.

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Shots - Health News
8:13 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Catholics Split Again On Coverage For Birth Control

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori gave voice to a letter Catholic groups sent to the administration and Congress to protest insurance rules for contraceptives.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 12:42 pm

  • As Heard On Morning Edition

Two prominent Catholic groups are finding themselves, once again, on opposite sides of a key issue regarding the Affordable Care Act.

Three years ago, the Catholic Health Association, whose members run hospitals and nursing homes across the country, backed passage of the health law. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents the hierarchy of the church, opposed it.

Now the groups are divided over the law's requirement for most employer-based health insurance plans to provide women with birth control.

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Health Care
2:54 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Affordable Care Act Hits More Road Bumps

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 4:00 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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Shots - Health News
12:44 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Delay For Insurance Mandate Pleases Businesses

President Obama talked up the Affordable Care Act in San Jose, Calif., in June. Now, the administration has said a key provision affecting businesses won't take effect until 2015.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 2:07 pm

The Obama administration's decision late Tuesday to postpone the requirement for employers with 50 or more workers to offer health coverage or risk fines has satisfied some key members of the coalition that supported the law.

But the one-year reprieve also raises new questions about the administration's ability to get the huge health law up and running in an orderly fashion. The deadline for the new health exchanges to begin enrolling individuals is Oct. 1.

Read more
Health Care
6:12 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Affordable Care Act's Employer Mandate Delayed

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:04 am
Mon July 1, 2013

You Ask, We Answer: Demystifying The Affordable Care Act

Families soon will be able to sign up for new health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Cheryl Focht of Mary's Center performs a checkup of Jayson Gonzalez, 16, while his mother, Elizabeth Lopez, looks on.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:25 am

The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin less than three months from now. Oct. 1 is when people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. The policies would kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.

It can all be a little confusing, we agree. So two weeks ago, we asked what you wanted to know about the health law.

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Shots - Health News
3:00 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Maine Once Again Allows Mail-Order Canadian Drugs To Cut Costs

They're back: Cheaper mail-order medications from Canada and other foreign lands.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 10:03 am

It's deja vu all over again in Maine.

For the first time in years, a state has acted to allow its citizens to purchase prescription drugs by mail from other countries. The idea is to take advantage of those nations' lower prices, which can be half the cost of those at American pharmacies.

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Shots - Health News
4:27 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Could LeBron And RGIII Help Sell The Affordable Care Act?

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III already promotes Subway sandwiches. Will health insurance be next?
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 3:26 pm

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Shots - Health News
11:09 am
Fri June 21, 2013

FDA OKs Prescription-Free Plan B For All Ages, Ending Battle

Protesters picket in front of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in New York City in 2006 for the removal of an age limit on the morning-after pill.
Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 2:23 pm

The Food and Drug Administration Thursday evening approved over-the-counter sale, with no age restrictions, of Plan B One-Step. That's the morning-after pill whose status has been the subject of a dozen years of political wrangling and legal dispute.

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Shots - Health News
1:04 am
Fri June 21, 2013

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny

In San Jose, Calif., on June 6, President Obama encouraged people to sign up for insurance in the nation's largest health insurance market.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:07 pm

This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.

But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.

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Shots - Health News
6:29 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

House Passes Bill That Would Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., was chosen by House Republican leaders to manage a bill that would ban many abortions.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 6:43 pm

The House has passed one of the most far-reaching abortion bills in decades. But it's unlikely to ever become law.

By a mostly party-line vote Tuesday of 228-196, lawmakers passed the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," which would ban nearly all abortions starting 20 weeks after fertilization.

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Shots - Health News
12:59 am
Mon June 17, 2013

To Find Out How The Health Law Affects You, Ask The President

President Obama encourages people to sign up for health insurance exchanges in San Jose, Calif., on June 6.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 11:13 am

Call it the Affordable Care Act, call it Obamacare, call it whatever you want — it's coming. And soon. In less than four months people without health insurance will be able to start signing up for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

A lot has been said about the law, most of it not that understandable. So starting now, and continuing occasionally through the summer and fall, we're going to try to fix that.

Read more

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