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 Blog
11:26 am
Fri July 6, 2012

More Answers To Your Questions About The Health Care Law

The Affordable Care Act remains pretty much intact after its review by the Supreme Court. So what's in it anyway?
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 11:46 am

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld almost all of the Affordable Care Act, many Americans are scrambling to remember — or learn for the first time – what's in the law and how it works.

We asked for questions from our audiences online and on air. Here's are some, edited for clarity and length, and the answers:

Q: Will the penalty for not having health insurance affect people at all income levels, or will low-income people be spared?

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Shots - Health Blog
9:32 am
Tue July 3, 2012

True Or False? Elected Officials Interpret The Health Law

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal wants the administration's health care law repealed.
Michael Conroy AP

How well do you remember what's actually in the Affordable Care Act?

Last week's Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama's signature domestic achievement has thrust the measure back into the spotlight, where it's likely to remain through the presidential election.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:45 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

The Day After A Health Care Crescendo, Each Side Plays A Familiar Refrain

Joy Reynolds of San Diego, Calif., looks over Friday's front pages on display at the Newseum in Washington, the day after the Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 5:26 pm

On the day after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law, Washington returned to business as usual.

In other words, supporters of the law were busy praising its virtues, and opponents calling for its demise.

Over at Georgetown University Law Center, several health law experts got together to dissect the court's ruling and what it might mean down the line.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

High Court Health Care Ruling Shifts Action To States

Protesters and supporters of President Obama's health care law await the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday. The court ruled to uphold the law. The focus now shifts to the states, which are responsible for the lion's share of getting people without insurance covered.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 4:27 pm

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold nearly all of the Affordable Care Act may move the debate to the presidential campaign trail. But it shifts much of the burden of implementing the law to the states.

States are actually responsible for the lion's share of getting people without insurance covered under the health law.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:19 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Goes Overlooked In Supreme Court Anticipation

When the U.S. Supreme Court rules Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it will also rule on whether the expansion of Medicaid is an unconstitutional infringement of states' rights.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 1:20 pm

When the Supreme Court announces its long-anticipated decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, all eyes will be on the so-called individual mandate. That's the section of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:04 am
Sun June 24, 2012

Countdown To The Supreme Court's Ruling On Health Care

People wait outside the Supreme Court last week for word on the fate of the federal health overhaul law.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 3:46 am

Anticipation has reached a fever pitch, and the waiting is almost over.

This week, the Supreme Court is almost certain to issue its decision on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. The decision could have far-reaching implications for the legal landscape, the nation's health care system and even the Supreme Court's legacy.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:04 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Why Many Young Adults Might Lose Coverage If Health Law Falls

Jackson Cahn, who graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., is one of the 3 million young adults the Obama administration says would have risked going without insurance if the health care law hadn't allowed them to stay on their parents' policies. Because of the law, his mother, June Blender, was able to add him to her insurance.
Courtesy of June Blender

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 4:39 am

When it comes to health care, even the seemingly easy things become hard.

Take coverage for young adults under the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:07 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

How Opponents Won The Health Care Messaging War

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 1:15 pm

OK, so it's not exactly news that the Obama administration hasn't done the best job in the world selling the Affordable Care Act to the American public.

But now the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has some statistics to demonstrate just how sorry that job has been. And it suggests that the media gets at least some of the blame.

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It's All Politics
11:19 am
Mon June 18, 2012

A Horse Is A Horse, Unless Of Course It's Ann Romney's Dressage Champ

Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wears a "Dressage is no. 1" foam finger at a competition on Saturday. Romney's horse, Rafalca, qualified for the 2012 Olympic dressage team.
Courtesy of Steve O'Byrne

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 2:26 pm

Whether it's good or bad for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, Ann Romney's horse Rafalca qualified for the U.S. Olympic dressage team over the weekend.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:09 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Insurers Wait For Verdict On Health Care Law And Their Bottom Line

Demonstrators both for and against the health care law turned out on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 27, the second day of oral arguments before the court.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 1:25 pm

All eyes these days are trained on the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule sometime this month on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

But some people are waiting more anxiously for the court to rule than others. Among them are those with a major financial stake in whether the law goes forward or not and if so, in what form.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:00 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Abortion-Rights Advocates Pin Hopes On Defense Bill

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), center, speaks as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), right, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at a April news conference on Capitol Hill.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Since Republicans took back the U.S. House in the 2010 elections, abortion has been a fairly constant theme. The House took eight separate abortion-related votes in 2011 — the most in a decade, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:08 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Romney's Health Care Prescription Gives Some Conservatives Heartburn

Mitt Romney (right), at the time the governor of Massachusetts, greets then-Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt during a National Governors Association forum in February 2006. Romney reportedly has tapped Leavitt to head his presidential transition team.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 3:33 am

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney insists that when it comes to health care, his first priority is the full repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

But some of his actions of the past few days have conservatives scratching their heads.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:27 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Backers Of Cost-Free Coverage For Birth Control Fault Legal Challenges

Andrew Shaw iStockphoto.com

You know all those lawsuits now pending around the country charging that the Obama administration's rule requiring most health insurance plans to offer no-cost contraception is a violation of religious freedom?

Well, a whole bunch of supporters of the rule are chiming in now to say that argument has no legal merit.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:22 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

By Putting Patients First, Hospital Tries To Make Care More Personal

Patient Bob Berquist with Gregory Wagner, a doctor in the emergency department. Berquist, who volunteers at Fauquier Hospital, was admitted for low blood sugar when another nurse noticed he seemed dizzy.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 2:22 pm

No one likes to go to the hospital.

But some hospitals around the nation are trying to make their patients' stays a little less unpleasant.

They're members of an organization called Planetree, which was founded by a patient named Angelica Thieriot, who had a not-so-good hospital experience back in the 1970s.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:19 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Woman Charged In Death Of Fetus Is Out Of Jail

Bei Bei Shuai, seen in a file photo, was charged with murder in the Jan. 2, 2011, death of her 3-day-old daughter Angel Shuai, after eating rat poison.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. AP

Bei Bei Shuai is out of jail for the first time since March 2011.

Shuai, a Chinese immigrant who lives in Indiana, is still facing charges of murder and feticide following a failed suicide attempt in December 2010, when she was 33 weeks pregnant.

She was released today after posting a $5,000 bond.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:21 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Catholic Groups Sue Obama Administration Over Birth Control Rule

In a compromise, President Obama proposed to allow religious universities and charities offer birth control coverage through their own health insurers.
iStockphoto.com

So much for compromise.

A total of 43 Catholic educational, charitable and other entities filed a dozen lawsuits in federal court around the nation Monday, charging that the Obama Administration's rule requiring coverage of birth control in most health insurance plans violates their religious freedom.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:20 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Health Think Tank Crunches Health Prices For The Masses

Ricardo Reitmeyer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:06 am

It turns out we may not know nearly as much about all the money spent on health care in the U.S. as we thought we did.

But there's a new group that wants to, well, remedy that.

The problem, Martin Gaynor, chairman of the Health Care Cost Institute, told Shots, is that "two-thirds of the population has private [health] insurance, but most of the information comes from Medicare."

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Shots - Health Blog
11:16 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Bail Granted For Indiana Woman Charged In Attempted Feticide

Bei Bei Shuai, seen in a file photo, was charged with murder in the Jan. 2, 2011, death of her 3-day-old daughter Angel Shuai, after eating rat poison.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. AP

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 8:21 am

Bei Bei Shuai is a step closer to leaving jail for the first time since March 2011, when she was arrested for the murder of her 3-day-old daughter Angel.

The girl, who was delivered by cesarean section, died after Shuai's unsuccessful suicide attempt in December 2010, while she was pregnant.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:47 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Embattled Hospital Debt Collector Taps Politicians For Defense

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announces a lawsuit against Accretive Health in Jan., saying the company failed to protect the confidentiality of health care records for thousands of Minnesota residents. The charges have widened to include the company's tactics in collecting debts.
Jim Mone AP

So what do you do when you're accused of hitting up sick patients in the hospital to pay their bills — sometimes even before they get treatment?

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The Salt
11:24 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Hospital Food So Fresh, Even The Healthy Come To Dine

Executive chef Tony DeWalt picks some lettuce from the Fauquier Hospital's culinary healing garden.
John Rose

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:48 am

Twice a week, local seniors in Warrenton, Virginia, flock to a hip new dinner spot called the Bistro on the Hill for good food, a great view, and musical accompaniment by a retired piano player from a nearby Nordstrom's.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:40 am
Tue May 8, 2012

When Religious Rules And Women's Health Collide

Hospital rules can affect a woman's options for care.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 11:18 am

When you go to the hospital these days, chances are good that it will be affiliated with a religious organization. And while that may might just mean the chaplain will be of a specific denomination or some foods will be off limits, there may also be rules about the kind of care allowed.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:56 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Are Democrats Reaching On Latest 'War On Women' Claim?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington last week.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

The latest skirmish in the so-called war on women has to do with, of all things, interest rates on student loans. More specifically, the effort by House Republicans to offset the cost of a federal student loan bill by cutting funding from a $15 billion preventive health fund included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

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