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
12:39 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

As Fiscal Cliff Looms, Medicare And Medicaid Face Uncertain Budget Futures

Two new studies and a proposed class action lawsuit settlement all have the potential to change dollar signs as lawmakers address the impending fiscal cliff.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 1:02 pm

No matter who wins the election on Nov. 6, official Washington will have to deal with something called the "fiscal cliff" before the end of the year.

What's coming is a perfect storm of expiring tax cuts, scheduled budget cuts, and various other spending changes scheduled to take place Jan. 1 unless Congress and President Obama (who no matter what will still be president until next Jan. 20) agree on a way to avert them.

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Shots - Health News
2:06 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Romney Tries To Soften Birth Control Message

President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney sparred over birth control, among other things, at the second presidential debate Tuesday in Hempstead, N.Y.
Carolyn Kaster AP

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been firmly anti-abortion during this campaign.

But during Tuesday's debate on Long Island, N.Y., Romney charged that President Obama misrepresented his position on birth control. Here's what Obama said, during what began as a discussion of pay equity for women:

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Shots - Health News
12:16 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Medicare: Where Presidential Politics And Policy Collide

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney first debated Medicare on Oct. 3.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:06 pm

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for about 50 million senior and disabled Americans, is simultaneously one of the most popular and imperiled programs in America.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:54 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Vice Presidential Candidates Spar Over Medicare

Vice President Biden (left) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan during Thursday's debate.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 1:57 pm

It's hardly surprising that Thursday night's vice presidential debate in Danville, Ky., would feature a spirited debate about Medicare. GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is the author of a controversial Medicare proposal that Democrats have been campaigning against for more than a year now.

But fact checkers have raised some flags about some of the claims the candidates made.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:38 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Romney: People Don't Die For Lack Of Insurance

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane Thursday in Dayton, Ohio, for a flight to North Carolina. In comments to The Columbus Dispatch, Romney said uninsured Americans don't die from a lack of health care.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 11:48 am

Another day, another editorial board, another controversial remark for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. On Wednesday, it was abortion. On Thursday, health care.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:31 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Romney's Remarks On Abortion Cause Stir

Mitt Romney's comments on abortion have surprised those on both sides of the issue.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:22 am

Just how many abortion positions does Mitt Romney have? Once again, that answer is unclear.

This time the confusion began Tuesday, during a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:57 am
Sat October 6, 2012

Romney Health Care Debate Claim Gets Corrected By His Own Staff

Mitt Romney speaks during the presidential debate Wednesday in Denver.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:17 am

Independent fact checkers have not been particularly kind to Mitt Romney since Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver. But one of the candidate's claims turned out to be so far off the mark that he had to be corrected by his own aides — a fact not unnoticed by the Obama campaign.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:28 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Democrats And Republicans Differ On Medicaid Fix

Isabelle "Simone" Svikhart, 3, has spent 13 months in the hospital for treatment of a range of health conditions. The Children's Hospital Association distributed a trading card with her picture and details of her case to lobby against Medicaid cuts.
Children's Hospital Association

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 1:14 pm

Medicaid is already the nation's largest health insurance program in terms of number of people covered: It serves nearly 1 in 5 Americans. Yet at the same time it's putting increasing strain on the budgets of states, which pay about 40 percent of its costs.

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It's All Politics
10:29 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Romney's Medicaid Remarks On '60 Minutes' Raise Eyebrows

Mitt Romney talks with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.
AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:21 am

It's not so much what Mitt Romney said about whether the government should guarantee people health care in his interview on CBS's 60 Minutes Sunday that has health care policy types buzzing. It's how that compares to what he has said before.

To back up a bit, Scott Pelley asked the former Massachusetts governor if he thinks "the government has a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don't have it today?"

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Shots - Health Blog
11:29 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Challenges To Health Law Just Keep Coming

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, seen at a news conference in early 2011 before he took office, promised to file a lawsuit soon after he was sworn in. He did.
Sue Ogrocki AP

The Affordable Care Act survived a near-death experience at the Supreme Court earlier this year. And the overhaul law's fate again hangs in the balance come Election Day. Mitt Romney has vowed to work for its repeal, if he's elected president.

Meanwhile, the law continues to take its hits.

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The Salt
10:05 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

So What Happens If The Farm Bill Expires? Not Much, Right Away

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., talk to reporters about the farm bill at the U.S. Capitol in June.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 11:53 am

Congress is set to make a brief appearance in Washington this week, then recess until after Election Day. That means a farm bill is likely to be left undone, just one of the many items on lawmakers' "to-do" lists that won't happen anytime soon.

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It's All Politics
12:38 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

White House Details 2013 Cuts If Congress Doesn't Avert Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 12:50 pm

The White House Friday released a report detailing, in part, what life would look like on the other side of the fiscal cliff, which could occur at the end of the year.

Under orders from Congress, the administration detailed exactly how it would administer painful cuts to both defense and domestic programs that were ordered under last year's budget deal.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:56 am
Wed September 12, 2012

More Americans Have Health Insurance, But Not Many More

Census Bureau

The nation's official measure of health insurance coverage turned positive for the first time in quite a while.

The Census Bureau reported a decline in the number of Americans without coverage in 2011. But the ranks of the uninsured remain pretty high.

All told, 48.6 million people, or 15.7 percent of the population, had no health insurance last year, down 1.4 million from 50 million in 2010.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:02 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Insurance Costs Rise, But More Slowly

Heath coverage will cost you more than last year, but not as much as it might have.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 2:44 am

If you get health insurance on the job, chances are it cost more again this year.

Annual family health insurance premiums rose about 4 percent to $15,745 in 2012, according to the latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:37 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Mitt Romney's Shifting Stance On Health Care

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks about the Supreme Court's health care ruling near the U.S. Capitol in Washington in late June.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 1:26 pm

Mitt Romney seemed to make health care news in a Sunday interview on NBC's Meet the Press.

He said he might not want to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:34 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Does Mother's Abortion History Affect Baby's Birth Weight?

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 3:16 am

Women who had multiple abortions before giving birth to a first child were more likely to have that child very prematurely or to deliver a child with a low birth weight, according to one of the first large-scale studies to look at the issue.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:30 pm
Sun August 12, 2012

Medicaid Fight Reinvigorated With Political Light On Health Care

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., points to piles of the health care overhaul legislation during a markup hearing before the U.S. House Budget Committee last year in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 4:57 am

The addition of Rep. Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket is certain to elevate health care as a campaign issue this fall.

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Presidential Race
12:51 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Ryan Adds Stark Choice On Health Care To GOP Ticket

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks Saturday in Norfolk, Va., after being named Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 7:46 am

One thing Republican Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate will certainly do is elevate issues like Medicare and Medicaid to the top of the election agenda.

As the nation gets closer to Election Day, Ryan's addition to the GOP ticket will present the public with a dramatic choice about the role the government should play in health care.

One thing the Wisconsin congressman never does is apologize for thinking big.

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It's All Politics
12:52 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Dressage Enthusiasts Find Romney-Driven Attention A Mixed Blessing

Jan Ebeling rides Rafalca in the equestrian dressage competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics on Aug. 2. Rafalca is co-owned by Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Markus Schreiber AP

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 1:44 pm

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Shots - Health Blog
2:18 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Under Health Law, 'No-Cost' Birth Control Starts Today

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joins Democratic senators at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to announce new preventive health coverage for women that takes effect Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 2:31 am

Beginning today, most new and renewing health insurance plans must begin offering a broad array of women's preventive health services, most notably coverage of birth control, at no upfront cost.

But even as they take effect, the new rules remain the subject of legal challenges.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:13 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

GOP Says Coverage For The Uninsured Is No Longer The Priority

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says covering the uninsured shouldn't be Republicans' top health priority.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 6:44 am

For decades, the primary goal of those who would fix the U.S. health system has been to help people without insurance get coverage. Now, it seems, all that may be changing. At least some top Republicans are trying to steer the health debate away from the problem of the uninsured.

The shift in emphasis is a subtle one, but it's noticeable.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:23 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Feds And Health Insurers Partner To Fight Fraud

Insurers and the federal government are teaming up to fight health fraud.
iStockphoto.com

The Obama administration is enlisting new allies to fight health care fraud: insurers.

Today the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice announced a partnership with more than a dozen health insurers and industry groups to nip fraudulent schemes in the bud, instead of tracking down bad guys after the fact.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:15 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Flaws And All, Medicaid Can Improve Adults' Health

A budget crunch in Oregon led to an unintended experiment that helped researchers assess Medicaid's effect on adults' health.
iStockphoto.com

Among the reasons some governors say they're considering not expanding their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act is that Medicaid is, well, not a very good program.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:17 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

After Supreme Court Ruling, Health Law Will Cover Fewer And Cost Less

When the U.S. Supreme Court made a Medicaid expansion optional under the Affordable Care Act, the decision lowered the estimated cost of the law.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Tax Committee this afternoon issued their long-awaited analysis of the cost of the Affordable Care Act post-Supreme Court changes.

Their verdict? Making the expansion of Medicaid optional for states will result in fewer people (about 3 million fewer) getting coverage. But that will also reduce the overall price tag of the law over the next decade by about $84 billion.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:48 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Abortion Back On The Front Burner For Congress

It's not just states where abortion is heating up as an issue this election year. Congress is getting back into the fray, too.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:08 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Could The Health Law End Up Back In Court? Opponents Think So

Democratuic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who was involved in writing the health law, rejects claims that federal health exchanges won't be able to provide tax credits.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 5:53 am

If you thought last month's Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act was the final word on the legality of the health law, think again. Some conservative scholars believe they may have discovered a flaw that could send the law back to court, or at least cause some big problems for its implementation.

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Health Care
1:10 am
Sun July 15, 2012

Eyes On Election, Governors Hedge On Health Care

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 6:11 am

As governors from around the country meet this weekend in Williamsburg, Va., health care is near the top of their agenda. Specifically, what to do about the federal health law, now that the Supreme Court has given states new options.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:09 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Governors Spar Over Medicaid And Health Exchanges

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says Medicaid should be overhauled before it's expanded.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 5:24 pm

The nation's governors — well, many of them, anyway — are gathering in Colonial Williamsburg, Va., for their annual summer meeting this weekend.

It's no easy trick for the National Governors Association to get Republican and Democratic chief executives on the same page, or even the same room.

This year, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, it's even harder.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:03 am
Thu July 12, 2012

State Legislatures Stay Busy On Abortion Laws

Virginia Senate Republican Leader Thomas Norment, of James City, (left), and State Sen. Stephen Newman, of Lynchburg, listen to a Feb. debate on a bill requiring an ultrasound before an abortion. The bill was later amended to remove a requirement for transvaginal ultrasound.
Steve Helber AP

2011 was a banner year for state laws restricting abortion. And 2012 looks like runner-up.

That's the central finding of the midyear report from the Guttmacher Institute, the reproductive policy research group that keeps track of such things.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:21 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Will Medicaid Bring The Uninsured Out Of The Woodwork?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest state executive to say no to an expansion of Medicaid.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 11:54 am

Ever since the Supreme Court decided last month that an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act should be optional, quite a few Republican governors have been vowing to take a pass.

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