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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5:30pm

Thu May 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

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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6:20pm

Thu May 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Abortion Opponents Try to Spin Murder Case Into Legislation

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 8:23 pm

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

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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3:00am

Wed May 22, 2013
Shots - Health News

Boomer Housemates Have More Fun

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 11:21 am

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

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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3:12pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

Swell Of Goodwill For First Medicare Chief Confirmed Since 2004

Presenting Marilyn Tavenner, the first official official in charge of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in years.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

When the Senate voted Tuesday to make Marilyn Tavenner the official administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it was the first time the world's greatest deliberative body had approved someone to head the huge health agency since 2004.

That's right, you have to go way back to the Bush administration to find Dr. Mark McClellan, the last person to be officially put in the post.

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3:04am

Thu May 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

Cloning, Stem Cells Long Mired In Legislative Gridlock

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 11:53 am

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

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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11:49am

Tue May 14, 2013
Shots - Health News

A Sharper Abortion Debate After Gosnell Verdict

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 12:25 pm

Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Philadelphia courthouse after the guilty verdicts Monday.
Matt Rourke AP

The murder conviction in Philadelphia of abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell in the deaths of three babies and one of his female patients is likely to further inflame the already heated abortion debate.

Both sides of the abortion divide have been gearing up for what comes next for some time now.

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6:23am

Tue May 14, 2013
Health

Doctor's Murder Conviction Likely To Inflame Abortion Debate

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:19 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the murder conviction of Kermit Gosnell is likely to bring more sparks to the already heated abortion debate in Washington and across the nation. Those on both sides of the divide have been gearing up for what comes next. Here's NPR's Julie Rovner.

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3:24pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

Judge Denies Administration's Request To Delay Plan-B Ruling

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:36 am

U.S. District Judge Korman of New York is steamed about the administration's handling of the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill.
AP

The U.S. District Court judge who last month ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the most popular forms of the emergency contraceptive pill available over-the-counter with no age restrictions has denied the government's request to stay his ruling while it's on appeal.

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4:46pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

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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5:27pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

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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5:10pm

Wed May 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Second Thoughts On Medicaid From Oregon's Unique Experiment

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 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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8:10pm

Tue April 30, 2013
Shots - Health News

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

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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3:29am

Thu April 25, 2013
Shots - Health News

Family Doctors Consider Dropping Birth Control Training Rule

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:46 am

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

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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4:13pm

Wed April 24, 2013
Shots - Health News

Philadelphia Case Exposes Deep Rift In Abortion Debate

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:15 pm

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

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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10:06am

Thu April 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Obama's Budget Could Make Health Waves

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 3:16 pm

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

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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2:58am

Tue April 9, 2013
Shots - Health News

The 'Hard To Change' Legacy Of Medicare Payments

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

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

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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12:35pm

Sat April 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 11:08 am

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

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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12:26pm

Wed April 3, 2013
Shots - Health News

Administration Hits Pause On Health Exchanges For Small Businesses

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 2:58 pm

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

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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8:19am

Wed April 3, 2013
Health Care

White House Delays Part Of Health Care Law

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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3:27am

Tue March 26, 2013
Shots - Health News

Arkansas Medicaid Expansion Attracts Other States' Interest

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 9:57 am

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

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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6:18am

Sat March 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

At Age 3, Affordable Care Act Is No Less Controversial

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 12:33 pm

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

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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1:50pm

Wed March 20, 2013
Shots - Health News

As Health Law Turns Three, Public Is As Confused As Ever

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 8:07 am

Couldn't hurt to make a wish for good health!
Ruth Black iStockphoto.com

As the Affordable Care Act nears its third birthday this Saturday, a poll finds the public actually knows less about the law now than when it passed in 2010. Oh, and a lot of what people think they know just isn't so.

Those are the central findings of this month's tracking poll just released by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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5:22pm

Tue March 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

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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7:18pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:31 pm

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

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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5:04pm

Thu February 21, 2013
Shots - Health News

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

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:51 pm

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

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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6:04pm

Wed February 20, 2013
Shots - Health News

In Reversal, Florida Gov. Scott Agrees To Medicaid Expansion

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 7:25 am

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

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

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6:42pm

Tue February 19, 2013
Shots - Health News

How The Sequester Could Affect Health Care

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 6:56 pm

On Tuesday, President Obama urged congressional action to prevent automatic spending cuts scheduled to begin on March 1.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

It's looking increasingly likely that $85 billion of automatic federal budget cuts known as a sequester will come to pass if Congress doesn't act by March 1.

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11:56am

Thu February 14, 2013
Shots - Health News

More Women Turn To Morning-After Pill

The Plan B pill, one version of the morning-after pill, is available without a prescription, except for women 17 and younger.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The number of women who have used emergency contraceptive pills has increased dramatically in the past decade, according to the latest government data.

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3:19pm

Thu February 7, 2013
Shots - Health News

Catholic Bishops Reject Compromise On Contraceptives

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 5:28 pm

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the administration's attempted compromise on contraceptive coverage is unacceptable.
Patrick Semansky AP

It seems the third time wasn't the charm, after all.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has officially rejected the Obama Administration's latest attempt to ensure that women with health insurance get access to no-cost contraceptive coverage without violating the rights of religious employers.

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5:07pm

Wed February 6, 2013
Shots - Health News

Defying Expectations, GOP Governors Embrace Medicaid Expansion

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, favors a federally subsidized expansion of Medicaid in his state.
Carlos Osorio AP

Top-ranked archrivals Michigan and Ohio State faced off Wednesday night on the basketball court for the second time in this season (Michigan won in overtime to split the series).

But both states' Republican governors have something more in common this week than an intense distaste for their neighboring state's athletic team.

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