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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

With covid cases on the upswing again around the country, partisan division remains over how to address the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration proposes bigger penalties for hospitals that fail to make their prices public as required. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Big Leagues Balk at Endorsing Vaccination

The major sports leagues are struggling to vaccinate enough of their players to protect the clubhouse and locker room, and few stars have stepped forward to pitch vaccination to teammates or fans. WNBA players are an exception, with a 99% vaccination rate and high-profile ads urging the public to get vaccinated.

Contraception Is Free to Women, Except When It’s Not

The landmark federal health law required most commercial health plans to cover a comprehensive list of birth control methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration free of charge to female patients. But health plans don’t have to cover every option, and newer methods are not included in the federal list of covered services.

Facing Headwinds on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Biogen Launches Controversial Campaign

The makers of Aduhelm, a drug approved last month despite concerns raised by experts about its effectiveness, have launched a website and ads designed to urge people who are worried about their memory to ask doctors about testing. But some health advocates say it is misleading because some memory loss with aging is normal.

Watch: More Long-Covid Cases Seen in Kids

While covid is generally mild in children, doctors report a growing number of long-haul covid symptoms and MIS-C cases, particularly among Black and Latino children.

Sen. Wyden: $3.5T Budget May Have to Trim but It Can Set a Path to ‘Ambitious Goals’

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is helping to negotiate the health care spending framework for the Democrats’ budget plan, said lawmakers may have to settle for very basic versions of programs deployed in the package. But the key, he added, is to get the “architecture of these changes, bold changes,” started and show people what is possible.

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