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.

Pages

Shots - Health News
4:05 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Why Postponing Insurance Mandate Is No Easy Fix For Obamacare

Patrick Lamanske, of Champaign, Ill., works with Amanda Ziemnisky (right), of the Champaign Urbana Public Health District, to try to sign up his wife, Ping, for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 1.
David Mercer AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 7:57 pm

The Obama administration has entered full damage-control mode over the balky website intended to enroll people in new health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
3:13 am
Wed October 23, 2013

States' Refusal To Expand Medicaid May Leave Millions Uninsured

Protesters fill the Miami office of state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. on Sept. 20 to protest his stance against expansion of health coverage in Florida.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 12:12 pm

President Obama on Tuesday appointed one of his top management gurus, Jeffrey Zeints, to head the team working to fix what ails HealthCare.gov, the troubled website that's supposed to allow residents of 36 states to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 am
Mon October 14, 2013

So What's The Real Deadline For Obamacare Sign-Up?

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 1:06 pm

The health exchanges are now open, though some have a lot of glitches. You still have lots of questions about how the Affordable Care Act affects you and your family.

And we have answers. In our ongoing series, we're addressing questions you've asked about the sign-up process.

With people having so much trouble logging onto the websites to get coverage, some are wondering how soon they have to sign up for coverage to avoid the potential penalties.

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Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

First Step In Health Exchange Enrollment: Train The Helpers

Assisters get up to speed on how best to explain the new health coverage choices during training on Sept. 25 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 2:06 pm

Even as the Affordable Care Act's new health exchanges open for business, polls show the public is still pretty confused about how they're supposed to work.

The latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in fact, found that two-thirds of those without insurance said they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them.

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Shots - Health News
3:37 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Insurance Exchange 101: Here's What You Need To Know

The audience concentrates on a presentation by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger's office about the federal health care overhaul at the University of Kansas satellite campus in Overland Park, Kan., earlier this month.
John Hanna AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 9:36 am

The Affordable Care Act has been through two years of legislative wrangling, a presidential election and a Supreme Court test that took it to the brink.

Now, after yet another round of debate and argument, major pieces of the federal health law are expected to kick in Tuesday.

If all goes as planned, people who don't have insurance or who buy it on their own will be able to shop online or at various locations in their communities for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1.

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Shots - Health News
12:03 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Administration Touts Lower-Than-Expected Obamacare Premiums

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state agency running the state's new health exchange, announced the plans and prices that will be offered by private insurers on May 23.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 11:42 am

Premiums in the health insurance exchanges set to open next week will be lower than anticipated, the Obama administration announced Wednesday.

According to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, "premiums nationwide will ... be around 16 percent lower than originally expected," and 95 percent of uninsured people live in a state with average premiums that are lower than expected.

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Shots - Health News
2:54 am
Fri September 6, 2013

After A Decade, Congress Moves To Fix Doctors' Medicare Pay

I think I see the problem.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 7:59 am

Hear the words health care and Congress, and you think fight, right?

And you'd be forgiven, particularly because the House has now voted some 40 times in the past two years to repeal or otherwise undo portions of the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
3:06 am
Mon August 19, 2013

You Ask, We Answer: More Of Your Questions About The Affordable Care Act

From left, Garrett Berntsen, Jennifer Majer and William Shields compare notes at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Twenty-somethings have new choices under Obamacare.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 11:06 am

The Oct. 1 launch of the new health insurance exchanges is now less than two months away, and people are starting to pay attention to the changes these new marketplaces may bring to the nation's health care system.

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Shots - Health News
3:20 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Obamacare Foes Make Final Push To Stop Health Law's Implementation

A screenshot from the FreedomWorks website, which is urging citizens opposed to the Affordable Care Act to opt out of the law's requirement to have insurance. It asks Americans to symbolically "burn your Obamacare card." In reality, no such card will exist.
FreedomWorks

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:47 am

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Shots - Health News
5:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Congress May Be Getting Its Own Obamacare Glitch Fixed

If you worked here, you'd be worried about losing your employer-funded health insurance contributions.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 10:16 pm

As its last official action before leaving for a five-week summer break, the House today voted — for the 40th time — to block implementation of the federal health law.

But it was something that happened late Thursday night affecting members of Congress and their staffers' own health insurance that attracted more attention around the Capitol.

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Shots - Health News
10:29 am
Mon July 22, 2013

State Laws Limiting Abortion May Face Challenges On 20-Week Limit

Becca Besaw of Austin, Texas, and Christopher Robertson of Fort Worth, Texas, protest the state's new law restricting access to abortion at a rally in Dallas on July 15.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 4:57 pm

Banning abortions after a specific point in pregnancy has been a popular trend in the states this year. Last week, GOP Gov. Rick Perry made Texas the 12th state to ban most abortions after 20 weeks.

But how states define the starting point for that 20 weeks may cause headaches for women and their doctors — and ultimately affect whether these laws pass constitutional muster.

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Shots - Health News
3:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

White House Muddles Obamacare Messaging — Again

President Obama walks off the stage after speaking about the Affordable Care Act during an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Obama argued that the law is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of consumers.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:13 am

This summer was supposed to be a time to reintroduce the public to the Affordable Care Act and teach people how to sign up for benefits this fall.

But that's not what's happening.

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Health Care
4:52 am
Wed July 3, 2013

White House Delays Key Piece Of Affordable Care Act

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 9:52 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
8:12 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
3:04 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 10:25 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
3:04 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 9:07 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
8:11 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 8:43 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
2:59 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 1:13 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
4:51 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 6:20 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
6:05 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 8:23 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
3:04 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 11:53 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
5:14 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 5:27 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
5:51 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

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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Shots - Health News
8:04 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 8:10 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
3:43 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 12:15 pm

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
2:58 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 9:14 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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Health Care
8:19 am
Wed April 3, 2013

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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Shots - Health News
3:27 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 9:57 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
7:18 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 7:31 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
5:47 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 4:51 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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