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
9:07 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 1:42 pm

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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Shots - Health News
1:44 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 3:07 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.

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Health Care
3:52 am
Wed July 3, 2013

White House Delays Key Piece Of Affordable Care Act

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 8:52 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

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Health Care
7:12 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:

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Shots - Health News
2:04 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 9:25 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
3:51 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Administration Clarifies Insurance Rules For Contraceptives

The federal rules for coverage of birth control by religiously affiliated groups are becoming clear.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 5:41 pm

The Obama administration is moving to end a long-running controversy over making no-cost birth control available under the federal health law.

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Shots - Health News
4:00 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 11:03 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
2:16 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 4:26 pm

Who's going to be more successful at selling health insurance to young men this fall: NBA MVP LeBron James, NFL rookie of the year Robert Griffin III, or Mom? If officials at the Department of Health and Human Services get their way, all may be drafted.

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Shots - Health News
12:09 pm
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 3:23 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
2:04 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 8:07 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
7:11 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 7:43 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
1:59 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 12:13 pm

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
12:38 pm
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 3:11 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
4:08 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 5:20 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
4:03 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 5:00 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 5:00 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
4:30 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
5:20 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 7:23 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
2:00 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 10:21 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
2:12 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

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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Shots - Health News
2:04 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 10:53 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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Shots - Health News
10:49 am
Tue May 14, 2013

A Sharper Abortion Debate After Gosnell Verdict

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

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 11:25 am

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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Health
5:23 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Doctor's Murder Conviction Likely To Inflame Abortion Debate

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 12:19 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
2:24 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 6:36 am

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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Shots - Health News
3:46 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
4:04 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

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 4:27 pm

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
4:10 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Second Thoughts On Medicaid From Oregon's Unique Experiment

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 6:48 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
7:10 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

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
2:29 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 1:46 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
3:13 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 11:15 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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