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
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.

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Shots - Health News
11:38 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Judge Reluctantly Approves Government Plan For Morning-After Pill

This brand may have a near-monopoly in emergency contraception.
AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 2:11 pm

An obviously unhappy Judge Edward Korman has approved the Obama administration's proposal to make just one formulation of the morning-after birth control pill available over the counter without age restrictions.

But in a testily worded six-page memorandum, the federal district judge made it clear he is not particularly pleased with the outcome. He has been overseeing the case in one way or another for more than eight years.

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Shots - Health News
3:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Administration's Plan For Morning-After Pill Pleases No One

Plan B One-Step might be the only emergency contraceptive available to all ages without a prescription.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:20 pm

Reaction was swift to the Obama administration's announcement Monday night that it was dropping a long-running legal battle to keep age restrictions on one type of the morning-after birth control pill.

But like just about everything else in this decade-long controversy, the latest decision has pleased just about no one.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Court Says Some Morning-After Pills Must Be Available OTC Now

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 4:00 pm

A federal appeals court has dealt the Obama administration yet another blow in its quest to keep at least some age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraceptive pills.

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Shots - Health News
2:53 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Maternity Coverage Sought For Young Women On Parent's Plan

Young women can get health insurance through a parent, but it doesn't always include maternity care.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 4:00 pm

Young women covered by a parent's health insurance don't necessarily get maternity coverage. The National Women's Law Center thinks it may have found a way to get them benefits.

The group has filed sex discrimination complaints against five large publicly funded employers, using a little-noticed provision of the Affordable Care Act that bars discrimination in health benefits on the basis of gender.

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Shots - Health News
3:30 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Administration Touts Competition In Insurance Exchanges

The Obama administration is countering criticism that the new health insurance exchanges will be lacking in competition, though it's doing so a bit quietly.

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Shots - Health News
4:20 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Abortion Opponents Try to Spin Murder Case Into Legislation

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has introduced a federal bill to ban most abortions after 20 weeks' gestation — six weeks into the second trimester. This is the second straight Congress he's done so, but this time he's broadened his bill to encompass all 50 states, not just D.C.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 6:23 pm

As predicted, abortion opponents on Capitol Hill are wasting no time in their efforts to turn publicity over the recent murder conviction of abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to their legislative advantage.

Their latest goal: a federal ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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Shots - Health News
1:00 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Boomer Housemates Have More Fun

Group houses are becoming popular — again — among some single baby boomers, and not just for financial reasons. Marianne Kilkenny (second from right) shares her home in Asheville, N.C, with four other people.
Mike Belleme The New York Times

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 9:21 am

Today more than 1 in every 3 baby boomers — that huge glut of people born between 1948 and 1964 — is unmarried. And those unmarried boomers are disproportionately women.

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Shots - Health News
1:04 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Cloning, Stem Cells Long Mired In Legislative Gridlock

After President Obama overturned Bush-era policy restricting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research in 2009, Nebraska Right to Life led a protest of the research outside the University of Nebraska regents' meeting.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 9:53 am

The news that U.S. scientists have successfully cloned a human embryo seems almost certain to rekindle a political fight that has raged, on and off, since the announcement of the creation of Dolly the sheep in 1997.

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Health
2:49 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Doctor's Murder Conviction Likely To Inflame Abortion Debate

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 11:19 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
2:46 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Why A Slowdown In Health Spending Is Starting To Look Real

iStockphoto.com

So you know all that talk about how the boatload of money going to health care will bankrupt the nation if something isn't done soon?

Well, it turns out that while politicians were bickering, the problem started taking care of itself. Well, a little bit.

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Shots - Health News
3:27 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Women's Health Groups Angered By Morning-After Pill Moves

Soon after President Obama spoke at Planned Parenthood's national conference in Washington, D.C., last Friday, the administration alienated some women's health groups.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

The administration's actions this week on emergency contraception have left many women's health groups sputtering with anger.

But what really has some of the President Obama's usual allies irritated is the fact that the moves are in direct contrast to speeches he made in just the past week.

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Shots - Health News
3:10 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Second Thoughts On Medicaid From Oregon's Unique Experiment

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 5:48 pm

Two years ago, a landmark study found that having Medicaid health insurance makes a positive difference in people's lives.

Backers of the program have pointed to that study time and again in their push to encourage states to expand the program as part of the federal health law.

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Shots - Health News
5:59 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

FDA OKs Prescription-Free Plan B Pill For Women 15 And Up

The Plan B One-Step morning-after pill will now be available to women as young as 15 without a prescription.
AP

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 6:10 pm

In an effort to find a compromise for a politically fraught issue, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a proposal to make the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B more available to some younger teens without a prescription and to older women by moving the medication out from behind the pharmacy counter.

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Shots - Health News
1:29 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Family Doctors Consider Dropping Birth Control Training Rule

The federal health law is supposed to increase access to prescription birth control. But will doctors of the future be ready?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:46 am

One of the more popular provisions of the federal health law requires that women be given much freer access to prescription methods of birth control. That includes not only the pill, but implants and IUDs as well.

But what happens if there are not enough doctors to prescribe those contraceptives?

That's exactly what worries some reproductive health advocates, as efforts are underway to rewrite rules governing the training of the nation's family doctors.

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Shots - Health News
1:43 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Philadelphia Case Exposes Deep Rift In Abortion Debate

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is an abortion provider who was charged with killing a patient and seven babies.
AP

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 10:15 am

This is the sixth week of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the physician charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of a woman and infants at the Philadelphia abortion clinic he owned and operated.

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Shots - Health News
8:06 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Why Obama's Budget Could Make Health Waves

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (center), flanked by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner (left) and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, speaks during a budget briefing in Washington on Wednesday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:16 pm

OK, the conventional wisdom about the budget President Obama sent to Congress yesterday is that's irrelevant.

It's two months late, after all, and the House and Senate have already approved their own spending blueprints for fiscal 2014.

But here's why it matters when it comes to health.

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Shots - Health News
12:58 am
Tue April 9, 2013

The 'Hard To Change' Legacy Of Medicare Payments

President Obama's budget plan for fiscal year 2014 may include a proposal for Medicare patients to pay more of their own medical bills.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:14 am

The budget President Obama will send to Congress Wednesday is expected to include some $400 billion in reductions to Medicare and other health programs.

And if the word around Washington is correct, it may also include a proposal aimed at winning some bipartisan backing — by changing the way Medicare patients pay for their care.

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Shots - Health News
10:17 am
Sat April 6, 2013

With Plan B Ruling, Judge Signs Off On Years Of Advocacy

A federal judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make all levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives available to younger teens without a prescription.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 9:08 am

A federal judge ordered Friday what women's groups have failed to accomplish politically for a dozen years. He ruled that Plan B, the most commonly used morning-after birth control pill, be sold without a prescription or other restrictions to women of all ages.

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Shots - Health News
10:26 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Administration Hits Pause On Health Exchanges For Small Businesses

Shops and other small firms may be open, but health insurance exchanges will take a little longer before they're ready to offer a full range of health plans for small business customers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 12:58 pm

The Obama administration is delaying the start of a key piece of the Affordable Care Act. Workers in small businesses will have to wait an additional year to be able to choose from more than one plan in the marketplaces that start next January.

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Health Care
4:26 am
Wed April 3, 2013

White House Delays Part Of Health Care Law

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 6:19 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Obama administration is delaying the start of a key piece of the Affordable Care Act - the national healthcare law. Workers in small businesses will have to wait an additional year to be able to choose from more than one plan in the new online marketplace that start next January. NPR's Julie Rovner reports that the change might dampen enthusiasm, at least at the start. But not everyone thinks that's a bad thing.

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Shots - Health News
1:27 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Arkansas Medicaid Expansion Attracts Other States' Interest

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks at a rally promoting the expansion of Medicaid in the state in front of the Capitol in Little Rock on March 7.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 7:57 am

Since the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law optional last year, states' decisions have largely split along party lines. States run by Democrats have been opting in; states run by Republicans have mostly been saying no or holding back.

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Shots - Health News
4:18 am
Sat March 23, 2013

At Age 3, Affordable Care Act Is No Less Controversial

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act at the White House on March 23, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 10:33 am

The Affordable Care Act turns 3 on Saturday, and it seems just as divisive as the day President Obama signed it.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Ryan Budget Proposal Echoes Obamacare While Rejecting It

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds up a copy of the 2014 Budget Resolution as he speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Health policy watchers might have been amused reading the latest blueprint for the federal budget, out Tuesday.

That's because once again House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposes a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans refer to as "Obamacare." But this time, the proposal describes the changes it envisions to the Medicare program in very Obamacare-like terms.

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Shots - Health News
5:10 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Governors' D.C. Summit Dominated By Medicaid And The Sequester

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks during a panel discussion at the National Governors Association 2013 Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:31 pm

When the nation's governors gathered in Washington, D.C., over the weekend for their annual winter meeting, the gathering's official theme was about efforts to hire people with disabilities.

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Shots - Health News
3:47 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say

Plan B is one of two emergency contraceptives available in the U.S.
UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:51 pm

The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.

Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?

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Shots - Health News
4:33 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

In Reversal, Florida Gov. Scott Agrees To Medicaid Expansion

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, long a foe of the administration's health overhaul, reversed course and agree to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid in the state.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:25 am

Perhaps Florida Gov. Rick Scott's motto should be "never say never."

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