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POLITICO's Pulse Check

Updated 4 days ago

News
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Weekly conversations with some of the most interesting and influential people in health care, hosted by POLITICO Pulse author Dan Diamond.

Read more

Weekly conversations with some of the most interesting and influential people in health care, hosted by POLITICO Pulse author Dan Diamond.

iTunes Ratings

383 Ratings
Average Ratings
350
17
7
4
5

Health policy at its best

By Gaujot - Oct 21 2019
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Dan is a perfect host. He has interesting guests for reasonably deep dives. He probes further when appropriate. Overall he leaves guests more (or newly) informed about critical issues in health policy.

Solid, informative

By Multiplyd - Sep 26 2019
Read more
Dan is a great reporter. Imthis is a wonky podcast that those who are interested in healthcare would really enjoy. It talks about policy and politics related to the health industry. Good guests appearances..

iTunes Ratings

383 Ratings
Average Ratings
350
17
7
4
5

Health policy at its best

By Gaujot - Oct 21 2019
Read more
Dan is a perfect host. He has interesting guests for reasonably deep dives. He probes further when appropriate. Overall he leaves guests more (or newly) informed about critical issues in health policy.

Solid, informative

By Multiplyd - Sep 26 2019
Read more
Dan is a great reporter. Imthis is a wonky podcast that those who are interested in healthcare would really enjoy. It talks about policy and politics related to the health industry. Good guests appearances..

Listen to:

Cover image of POLITICO's Pulse Check

POLITICO's Pulse Check

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

Weekly conversations with some of the most interesting and influential people in health care, hosted by POLITICO Pulse author Dan Diamond.

Farzad Mostashari on how government really works

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Farzad Mostashari has been on the frontlines of health care's biggest stories — from New York City's war on smoking to the Obama administration's $30 billion push for electronic health records. Now he's the CEO of Aledade, a fast-growing company that blends digital and population health and riding the wave of Obamacare startups. Farzad sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss his beginnings in public health (starts at the 2:20 mark), his move to become the nation's leader on health IT (8:55), his thoughts on the Meaningful Use program (15:00), what it's like to be a government regulator (20:30), why he started Aledade (28:00), whether MACRA is a boon for the industry (34:00), if independent doctors are endangered and how new Medicare pilots will help (41:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 48:00.

May 05 2016

52mins

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Kate Baicker on busting Obamacare myths

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The politics of health care are messy. Obamacare is haunted by myths. And that's why Harvard's Kate Baicker — a former White House economist and one of the nation's most acclaimed researchers — is so focused on using evidence, not anecdotes, to shape America's health policies. Baicker talks about building a career in research (starts at the 1:55 minute mark), her pioneering work with the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment (8:45), what she thinks of Obamacare’s cost controls and President Obama’s pitch for a public option (24:30), whether the ACA did enough to bend the cost curve (34:00), and what beltway pundits get wrong about health policy (41:30). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 46:10. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Jul 14 2016

55mins

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Trump's steady march to remake the ACA, with Lanhee Chen

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When conservative analyst Lanhee Chen joined POLITICO's "Pulse Check" podcast two years ago, he wasn't sure what to expect from then-candidate Donald Trump. Today, Lanhee's happy with the moves that the Trump administration has made, and he joins Dan Diamond to discuss what won him over. (Starts at the 15:00-minute mark.)

But first, POLITICO's Adam Cancryn sits down to talk about the latest news on the insurance market and HHS at the six-month mark under Secretary Alex Azar.

We'd appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app!

Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

The Trump administration on Wednesday finalized a rule intended to encourage Americans to buy short-term health plans.

Adam’s story on association health plans and NFIB’s decision.

Dan’s story on political interference at ASPE, the internal policy shop at HHS.

Lanhee’s July 2016 appearance on POLITICO’s Pulse Check podcast.

Aug 01 2018

44mins

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She's a Medicaid expert. He's the ex-CEO of Apple. Here's how they see the GOP bill.

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President Donald Trump reportedly bashed the House health bill as “mean, mean, mean." But will the Senate's version be any better? And what do experts want senators to know as they finalize their bill? On this episode of PULSE CHECK, Dan Diamond talks with two people with very different perspectives — and significant concerns — as changes to the health system loom in Congress. First, Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation sits down (starts at the 2:25 mark) to talk about Kaiser’s latest polling on Republicans’ health care efforts and how possible Medicaid cuts could hurt Trump's voters. Then after the break, John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple and Pepsi and now a health care investor and executive, talks about his own meetings with Republicans on the Hill this week and his thoughts on how dramatic changes could complicate the business of health care. (Starts at 30:46.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Jun 15 2017

51mins

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Aneesh Chopra on why health care's data revolution has arrived

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Aneesh Chopra has a lot of titles. He was the nation's first Chief Technology Officer, under President Obama. He's been a venture capitalist, a consultant, an entrepreneur and an author. And according to David Axelrod, Chopra is an evangelist for the power of “digitizing information” — especially in health care. Chopra joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to reminisce about what they learned at the Advisory Board (starts at the 2:30 mark), why Chopra left the private sector to go work for Tim Kaine (8:15), what he did as the White House’s first CTO and his perspective on Obamacare (14:30), why he’s so bullish on the power of health data (23:30), why he thinks the government is leading the way (32:30), and what Silicon Valley can do in health care (40:15). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 51:10. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Sep 15 2016

58mins

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‘Only 23 million more uninsured’

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Republicans’ health care legislation continues to lurch forward, with the Congressional Budget Office this week again predicting the bill will lead to 20-million-plus more uninsured in a decade. On this episode of PULSE CHECK, we discuss how the CBO score is playing in Washington and what’s ahead for the unpopular bill. First, POLITICO’s Jen Haberkorn and Paul Demko discuss their reporting from Capitol Hill, address the latest reports about the health of Obamacare and share how the Senate is approaching its efforts. (Starts at 1:45.) Then, Matt Fiedler of the Brookings Institution — and the former chief economist of the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers — shares his analysis of the GOP bill and why he thinks the most recent changes made it worse. (Starts at 27:10.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

May 26 2017

42mins

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The fall of Theranos, with 'Bad Blood' author John Carreyrou

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In 2015, the Wall Street Journal's John Carreyrou revealed that the blood tests developed by Theranos — the $9 billion company led by Elizabeth Holmes — didn't work. Now John's out with "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup," a book that offers new details about Holmes, her fraud and her efforts to kill his investigation.

John joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss how he got the story and walk through the Theranos timeline (starts at the 1:35 mark), how Holmes was able to attract staff, investors and media attention (12:00), why government regulators didn't spot the fraud (21:30), why staff were scared to blow the whistle (28:15), what Carreyrou thinks of reporters who missed the story and more on his journalistic process (33:30).

At the end, there's a lighting round of listener-submitted questions at 43:30.

We'd appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app!

Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

John's initial story on Theranos in 2015: https://www.wsj.com/articles/theranos-has-struggled-with-blood-tests-1444881901

Fortune Magazine's 2014 cover story on Holmes, one of many laudatory articles: http://fortune.com/2014/06/12/theranos-blood-holmes/

John's new book, "Bad Blood." https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078VW3VM7/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Holmes and her lieutenant Sunny Balwani this month:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-files-criminal-charges-against-theranoss-elizabeth-holmes-ramesh-balwani-1529096005

Jun 20 2018

51mins

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Why the Part B fight is roiling Washington

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Medicare's planned Part B pilot is either a necessary fix to a broken drug payment system — or the first step to President Donald Trump dismantling the Affordable Care Act. It all depends whom you ask. And this week, we asked Peter Bach and Ted Okon — a high-profile proponent and opponent of Medicare's pilot, respectively — to make their case. Bach joined Dan Diamond to discuss why drug spending has become such a huge problem (starts at the 2:00 mark), why Medicare's trying to change how it pays doctors for drugs (6:00), and how he defends the pilot against charges that it's an over-reach (14:15). Okon joined Dan to explain his criticism of Medicare's pilot (25:20), why he thinks the Part B demo is a dangerous over-reach (34:50), and why oncologists are especially vulnerable to payment changes (43:00). Plus: POLITICO's Sarah Karlin-Smith and Brett Norman join Dan to referee the Part B fight and predict what happens next. (49:17) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Jun 16 2016

58mins

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Karen DeSalvo on how data will transform health care

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Growing up, Karen DeSalvo never planned to have one of the nation’s most important health care jobs. Now she has two of them. As National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, she’s the White House’s point person on digitizing health care — and as acting Assistant Secretary for Health, she also helps guide the nation's public health strategy. Dr. DeSalvo joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss how she’s shaped by her upbringing (starts at the 1:20 mark), her perspective as New Orleans health commissioner post-Katrina (4:20), how she balances her two big jobs (15:45), the nation’s progress on digital records (20:00), and why white life expectancy has declined (32:00). Plus: Don't miss the lightning round quiz at 42:00. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

Jun 02 2016

47mins

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How the Senate's 'illusion of momentum' might give them the real thing

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The Senate is driving forward on its health care bill, with a vote looming as soon as late June — even though it's still not clear what's in the bill or if they'll have the votes. How should you think about the Senate's push? Rodney Whitlock — who was health care adviser to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley — joins POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss the dynamics of the Senate and what's at stake in the health care fight. Meanwhile: there’s a lot more to health care than the ACA and AHCA. And after the break, Niall Brennan — the former chief data officer for Medicare and Medicaid and the new head of the Health Care Cost Institute — discusses the biggest spending problems in health care and whether we can trust the data that the Trump administration is publishing. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Jun 08 2017

37mins

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Brett Kavanaugh, ACA court hearings take center stage

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In a bonus episode, POLITICO's Adam Cancryn and Paul Demko join Dan Diamond to preview this week's high-stakes hearings.

Tuesday: The Senate Judiciary Committee begins grilling Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's latest nominee to the Supreme Court.

Wednesday: Texas v. Azar gets underway, with the Affordable Care Act's protections at stake.

Sep 03 2018

19mins

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Why Obama's Datapalooza is still thriving under Trump

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The Trump administration has discarded or reworked a number of Obama-era programs. But this week's Health Datapalooza — an annual conference launched by Obama officials and hosted by Academy Health — has received the current administration's full support, a reminder that the desire to improve data can trump partisan politics.

On the podcast, Academy Health CEO Lisa Simpson joined POLITICO’s Dan Diamond to discuss the Datapalooza conference (starts at the 1:25 mark), why the Trump administration continues to supports the event and how the White House has shaped the current climate for researchers (3:20), why Academy Health focuses on "health services research" and how Lisa would like academic research to change (8:15) and the state of data, particularly as Silicon Valley firms eye health care (13:30).

After the break, POLITICO’s Mohana Ravindranath discusses her reporting on the Trump administration's data-access initiatives. (Starts at the 18:45 mark.)

Dan also remembers POLITICO’s Brett Norman, who died last week at age 43. (Starts at the 29:35 mark.)

Apr 25 2018

32mins

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Meet the industry group fighting Medicare for All

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More than 100 House Democrats on Wednesday, led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, unveiled their sweeping Medicare for All legislation. So what comes next — and why is the health care industry so opposed to it?

First, POLITICO's Alice Miranda Ollstein joins Dan Diamond (starts at the 1:05 mark) on Capitol Hill to explain the state of play.

Then Lauren Crawford Shaver, head of the Partnership for America's Health Care Future (starts at the 9:00 mark), explains why her members — groups like the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association — think Medicare for All and Democrats' other proposals are non-starters.

REFERENCED ON THE SHOW

Democrats' Medicare for All bill, released this week, doesn't include a price tag, Alice and POLITICO's Adam Cancryn wrote.

Jayapal appeared on "Pulse Check" in December 2018 to discuss her Medicare for All plans.

The Partnership has been running digital ads against Medicare for All.

Feb 28 2019

36mins

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Don Rucker wants to set health data free

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"The real, ultimate issue is not interoperability — it's unaffordability of American healthcare and lack of consistent health care product... You go to see somebody, and you don't know what it's going to cost."

Don Rucker, the national coordinator for health information technology, explains how the Trump administration is building on — and departing from — the Obama administration's policies. POLITICO's Darius Tahir also joins to evaluate efforts to improve data access.

Aug 08 2018

42mins

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Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove on what he's telling his senator, and news roundup

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Republicans' health care push continues to grip the Capitol and keep the industry on high alert. On this episode of PULSE CHECK, we review how that effort is unfolding in D.C. but also in Ohio, in a sit-down interview with one of America's most powerful health care leaders. First, POLITICO's Jen Haberkorn joins Dan Diamond to discuss her reporting on the latest twists and turns in the GOP health care push (starts at the 1:45 mark). Then Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the heart surgeon who runs the Cleveland Clinic, talks about why he turned down both the Obama and Trump administration's overtures about being VA Secretary, what he's telling Ohio Sen. Rob Portman about Republicans' health bill and his view on the health care industry's challenges (starts at the 12:45 mark). We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Jun 30 2017

41mins

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Andy Slavitt on what's next for health care - and him

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Andy Slavitt has been busy: Since leaving office in January, the man who ran Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA has mounted a whirlwind defense of Obamacare, holding town halls coast to coast and being ever-present on social media. And in a repeat podcast appearance, Slavitt rejoins POLITICO's Dan Diamond to explain his strategy — and what this year has been like as his profile exploded. Andy discusses how he morphed from Obama administration official to the ACA's most visible advocate (starts at the 3:00 mark), the bipartisan solutions he thinks are necessary in health care (6:30), what he thinks HHS will do and why he thinks his criticism of the GOP is fair (12:00), whether he'd ever run for office (25:00), if he still needs the media as someone with 100,000-plus Twitter followers (34:30), and what he's learned about communications strategy since leaving office (42:20). Note: This conversation was recorded in late July, a few days before the Senate GOP health bill failed on the floor. We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond.

Aug 09 2017

47mins

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The lawyers trying to prove Trump sabotaged the ACA

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It’s no secret that President Donald Trump and his administration oppose the Affordable Care Act. But what's gone under the radar: a lawsuit that’s trying to use Trump’s own words to prove that his "sabotage" violates his constitutional responsibilities.

On the podcast, Zach Klein — the attorney for Columbus, Ohio — explains to POLITICO's Dan Diamond why he decided to join the multi-city lawsuit against the Trump administration and how efforts to weaken the ACA could harm his constituents.

After the break, Yale law professor Abbe Gluck explains the legal theory behind the case and whether she thinks it has a shot at success.

We'd appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app!

Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Columbus joined Baltimore, Chicago and other cities in suing the Trump administration.

Abbe Gluck in October 2017 laid out the argument that Trump's moves to undermine the Affordable Care Act were illegal.

Aug 29 2018

28mins

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Pulse Check at Work: Data scientist

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Health care is awash in data. And we’re all being tracked, maybe in ways we don’t even realize, by a new class of analysts, armed with increasingly savvy tools.

So who are these people — these data scientists — and what exactly do they do? That's what we'll answer on this episode of "Pulse Check: At Work."

First, Jonathan Sung takes us inside his data-driven projects at the Department of Transportation and Kaiser Permanente.

Then, Aneesh Chopra — who was the nation's first Chief Technology Officer and is now president of CareJourney, a firm using data to improve care — explains the skill set to get hired as a data scientist and why he thinks we need a "digital Hippocratic Oath."

Want to help POLITICO improve our own data? Please rate or review this show on your favorite podcast app; just search for "POLITICO Pulse Check"! And tip ddiamond@politico.com with suggestions and feedback.

Note: We'll continue our regular news coverage and analysis while this series is running — look for bonus episodes in your feed.

Sep 20 2018

42mins

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What Brett Kavanaugh means for health care

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It's official: Judge Brett Kavanaugh is President Donald Trump's choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

And his probable confirmation, and the Court's resulting shift to the right, raises serious questions for health care. What happens to the Affordable Care Act? Is Roe v. Wade doomed? And how does this change lawmakers' strategy ahead of the midterms?

In a bonus conversation, POLITICO's Jennifer Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn joined Dan Diamond to discuss Kavanaugh's background and why he was picked, how the selection is playing across key advocacy groups that could sway the nomination and what's next for the Court and Congress.

REFERENCED ON THE PODCAST

Kavanaugh's track record as an appeals court judge: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/09/brett-kavanaugh-track-record-675294

Adam's story on the reaction to Kavanaugh's selection: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/09/brett-kavanaugh-conservative-policies-675460

POLITICO's reporting on how Kavanaugh quickly emerged as a front-runner for the seat: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/09/brett-kavanaugh-trump-private-meeting-706137

POLITICO's Josh Gerstein dug into Kavanaugh's decision on abortion access for a teen immigrant, a ruling that's split conservatives. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/06/trump-supreme-court-pick-kavanaugh-immigrant-abortion-teen-700856

Jen's April 2018 reporting on how opponents of Roe v. Wade were preparing for this moment:
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/15/abortion-trump-supreme-court-roe-wade-473601

Jen's story on abortion cases that could come before the Supreme Court: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/03/trump-supreme-court-pick-abortion-667924

Jul 10 2018

36mins

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Ben Wikler: ‘The Resistance’ isn’t futile

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The Senate GOP is pushing forward with plans to roll back all or part of the Affordable Care Act, threatening insurance coverage for millions of Americans. A devastating moment for progressives? Not at all, says Ben Wikler, the Washington director for MoveOn.org, who argues that the drawn-out fight to repeal the ACA has turned into a major win. Wikler joined PULSE CHECK to talk about activism in the Trump era, how “the Resistance” in 2017 compares to the Tea Party in 2009 and how he’s thinking about the health care fight and what lies ahead. (Starts at the 9:25 mark.) But first: POLITICO deputy health care editor Jason Millman joined Dan Diamond to talk about the latest developments in the Senate and the “skinny repeal” plan now under consideration. (Starts at the 2:00 mark.) We’d appreciate your help: Please share PULSE CHECK and rate us on your favorite podcast app! Have questions, suggestions or feedback? Email ddiamond@politico.com or tweet him @ddiamond. NOTE: Dan will be at Politicon.com in California this weekend for a live-taping of POLITICO’s Nerdcast podcast and to moderate a panel on health care. Stories referenced on the podcast: The Senate’s push to repeal the ACA: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/26/obamacare-repeal-republicans-minimum-240982 John McCain’s attack on the GOP: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/25/john-mccain-obamacare-repeal-240946 The so-called "skinny repeal": http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/25/mitch-mcconnell-skinny-obamacare-repeal-240943

Jul 26 2017

34mins

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Inside the fight shaking HHS, with Adam Cancryn and Rachana Pradhan

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HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma are the two most important health officials in the Humphrey building — but they've spent months disagreeing on policy, personnel and priorities. The longstanding cold war between them has heated up amid questions over Verma's use of outside public relations contractors.

On this episode of "Pulse Check," POLITICO's Dan Diamond joins colleagues Adam Cancryn and Rachana Pradhan to discuss the team's recent reporting on the Azar-Verma relationship, what it means for the Trump administration's policies and where it's all headed.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Verma's faced congressional inquiries and an inspector general probe following a POLITICO report that she directed millions of federal dollars toward PR communications contracts that benefited her personal brand.

Azar and Verma's battles have affected big ideas — like the administration's plans to replace Obamacare — and smaller moments like who gets to announce new regulations, POLITICO reported last week.

Azar also has clashed with the White House — and specifically Joe Grogan, the domestic policy council chief — over policy ideas.

Dec 05 2019

31mins

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Sponsored Content: Telehealth solutions bridging the health care divide for veterans

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One-third of the nearly 9 million veterans who receive healthcare from the VA live in remote, rural areas across the country, and delivering treatment when and where it’s needed most can prove challenging.

Hear from two health experts who are leveraging telehealth technologies to break down the barriers to heath care for America’s veterans.

This special branded episode of Pulse Check was produced by POLITICO’s in-house brand content studio, POLITICO Focus. POLITICO’s editorial team was not involved in the creation of this episode.

A disclaimer from our Sponsor, Philips: Sentry Score is a predictive algorithm for the adult intensive care unit (ICU) that shows a patient’s probability of receiving an intervention within 60 minutes. Sentry Score patient risk predictions are continuously updated as new vital sign data are received providing deeper insights into the patients’ trajectory, which can potentially provide the opportunity for earlier intervention. Sentry Score is a proprietary, locked, algorithm developed as a regression Machine Learning model using patterns of vital sign data from Philips eICU Research Institute (eRI) associated with clinical interventions. References to AI within this podcast are related to the application of Machine Learning in the algorithm development; Sentry Score is not actively changing.

Interviews Include:

  • Nathan Naylor, Vice President of Veterans Health, Philips
  • Karsten Russell-Wood, Head of Global Marketing Patient Care Analytics, Philips

Nov 20 2019

29mins

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Saving the VA, Chapter 4: Sen. Jon Tester on Congress' role

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In the fourth episode of POLITICO's miniseries on the VA, "Pulse Check" and POLITICO's Arthur Allen sit down with Sen. Jon Tester, the ranking member of the Senate committee overseeing the VA.

Tester walks through how lawmakers have tailored legislation to boost the VA, where he thinks senators should push on oversight and what worries him about the agency's direction.

Nov 18 2019

28mins

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Saving the VA, Chapter 3: The patient experience, with J.R. Wilson

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In the third episode of POLITICO's miniseries on the VA, "Pulse Check" and POLITICO's Arthur Allen sit down with a permanently disabled veteran who relies on the agency.

Today,  J.R. Wilson talks about his experience after getting injured during an Army parachuting accident, how he's relied solely on VA services to help with his recovery and his concern that privatizing the agency would harm its specialized quality of care.

Nov 15 2019

33mins

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Saving the VA, Chapter 2: Leading the agency, with former Secretary David Shulkin

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In the second episode of POLITICO's miniseries on the VA, "Pulse Check" and POLITICO's Arthur Allen delve deeper into the challenges of the long-troubled agency.

Today, former VA Secretary David Shulkin discusses his rocky tenure leading the agency under President Donald Trump, how he he tried to implement changes before being fired and what he sees as the biggest risks to the VA's future.

Nov 13 2019

36mins

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Saving the VA, Chapter 1: Caring for veterans, with Andrea Plate

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On this Veterans Day, "Pulse Check" and POLITICO's Arthur Allen kick off a four-episode miniseries: what does the future of the VA look like? 

Today, we talk to former VA social worker Andrea Plate, author of the upcoming book, "Madness: In the Trenches of America’s Troubled Department of Veterans Affairs," about the challenges of caring for veterans amid funding crunches, structural problems and a battle for the agency's soul.

Nov 11 2019

28mins

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Sponsored Content: Delivering better care for patients – Oncology leaders weigh in

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The National Cancer Institute estimates that over 1.7 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed annually. Advancements in science and technology are paving the way for new cancer treatments that can make a huge difference for patients. And yet, many people don’t have access to them.

Hear from two health care leaders working to provide cancer patients with innovative, effective and affordable treatments.

This special branded episode of Pulse Check was produced by POLITICO’s in-house brand content studio, POLITICO Focus. POLITICO’s editorial team was not involved in the creation of this episode.

Interviews Include:

  • Andy Schmeltz, Global President & General Manager, Pfizer Oncology
  • Patricia Goldsmith, Chief Executive Officer, CancerCare

Oct 31 2019

25mins

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Ebola, flu — and mudslides?

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When there's an Ebola epidemic — or a natural disaster — that could threaten the world, a team at CDC springs into action: the Division of Global Health Protection, which deploys disease detectives and helps stand up emergency operations to fight the problem.

Capt. Nancy Knight, MD, joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to debrief on global health crises and the world's response, part of a special pop-up podcast at the Milken Institute's "Future of Health" summit.

Oct 31 2019

31mins

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The fight to fix organ donation, with Greg Segal

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An organ donation can save a life — or at least that's the message hammered home across public health, in advertisements or even when getting a driver's license. 

But why does the U.S. system fail to recover so many transplantable organs? And why are some donated organs even thrown away?

Greg Segal of ORGANIZE joined POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss the current problems and the promising future for organ donation, part of a special pop-up podcast at the Milken Institute's "Future of Health" summit.

Oct 30 2019

25mins

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Meet John Marty — the "Bernie Sanders of Minnesota"

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John Marty ran for state Senate in Minnesota in the 1980s because he wanted to achieve social change. More than 30 years later, single-payer health care has become his defining mission — and Marty says that his local battle has been supercharged by Bernie Sanders and the national Medicare for All movement.

POLITICO's Dan Diamond looked at the political dynamics around Medicare for All and then sat down with Sen. Marty to discuss his policy, strategy and the difficult trade-offs behind single-payer.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Marty has spent years pushing for what he calls the Minnesota Health Plan.

MinnPost wrote about Marty's "lonely quest" to achieve single-payer health care — a decade ago.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan advocacy organization, has thrown its support behind Medicare for All. 

The Minnesota Nurses Association has pushed for single-payer health care and specifically backed Marty's bill.

Oct 24 2019

35mins

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When immigration and health care collide, with Mark Greenberg and Scott Lloyd

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly relied on HHS to help carry out his sweeping immigration agenda, and a new order that would limit visas to people who aren't "health care burdens" could be the latest dramatic change.

Mark Greenberg, who served as the acting assistant secretary for children and families during the Obama administration, sits down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss HHS' role in immigration and why he's so worried about Trump's recent order (starts at the 6:00 mark).

Then Scott Lloyd, the Trump appointee who led the HHS refugee office, joins Dan to discuss his experience after the administration began separating migrant families and thousands of children ended up in his office's custody (starts at the 25:45 mark).

REFERENCED ON THE PODCAST

The Migration Policy Institute predicted that Trump's recent proclamation linking health care and insurance could block as many as two-thirds of green card applicants.

Career health officials have raised concerns that Trump's latest order on immigration and health care could be illegal.

Watchdogs like GAO and the HHS inspector general have found that family separations began months before the Trump administration officially announced the policy.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar emerged as the face of the family-separation crisis last summer, even though HHS didn't lead the policy.

House Democrats and watchdog groups have pressed Lloyd over his decisions and testimony.

Oct 17 2019

56mins

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One-on-one with Adam Boehler

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Adam Boehler took the reins of the powerful CMS Innovation Center in early 2018, pledging to help shift the U.S. health care system away from fee-for-service. Eighteen months later, he's leaving the agency, having launched a series of payment pilots that Boehler vows will lead to dramatic changes.

Boehler sat down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss why he originally took the job, how he evaluated possible payment reforms and why he thinks the Trump administration didn't fear "sacred cows" in health care.

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Boehler founded multiple companies before joining the government, including Landmark Health, which focused on serving the sickest patients.

Boehler helped steer major payment pilots at the innovation center, including an effort to reshape kidney care.

The CMS Innovation Center could be eliminated if the Affordable Care Act is struck down in court.

Oct 03 2019

36mins

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Is this the next big change to Medicaid?

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"Block grants for Medicaid" have been a conservative pipe dream and a progressive bogeyman for decades. Now Tennessee's GOP governor is moving forward with a plan to turn block-grant dreams into reality — if Trump officials and other lawmakers give permission.

First, Joan Alker of Georgetown's Center for Children and Families reviews how Trump officials and GOP leaders have changed the Medicaid program, why she blames the Trump administration for a recent spike in uninsured kids and why she's so worried about the Tennessee proposal. (Starts at the 1:55 mark.)

Then POLITICO's Rachana Pradhan joins Dan to review the policy and politics of block grants and how the Trump administration is sending mixed-messages to Republican states. (Starts at the 30:00 mark.)

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Joan first appeared on "PULSE CHECK" in February 2017, to preview Seema Verma's possible tenure at CMS.

Children's uninsurance rose in 2018, the first uptick in years and a concerning change that Joan and colleagues predicted.

Current and former Trump administration officials — like Brian Blase and CMS Administrator Seema Verma — have argued that ineligible Americans are wrongly enrolling in Medicaid.

The Trump administration has steadily pursued a plan to allow states to seek block grants for Medicaid.

Tennessee had wanted to be the first state to win approval for a Medicaid block grant. Its GOP leaders rolled out their plan this week.

Law professor Nick Bagley argues that Tennessee's plan wouldn't be legal.

Sep 19 2019

40mins

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What will (and won't) happen this fall. Plus: inside the launch of POLITICO Pro Cannabis

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Washington is coming back to life after the summer, and POLITICO's Adam Cancryn and Sarah Owermohle join Dan Diamond to give their predictions on suprise billing legislation, new curbs on vaping, drug pricing reforms, the Trump administration's health plan and other hot-button issues and people to watch. (Starts at the 14:30 mark)

But first, Paul Demko — longtime health reporter and new editor of POLITICO's cannabis team — joins Dan to explain why POLITICO is launching the new team and how he sees the opportunity. (Starts at the 1:20 mark.)

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

POLITICO is launching a free newsletter covering the cannabis industry.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is driving new tobacco legislation.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to introduce a health care plan before the elections.

Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal is facing a primary challenge amid progressive pressure on his health care positions.

Activist Ady Barkan has launched a new video series of interviews with presidential candidates.

Sep 05 2019

45mins

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The long shadow of Trump's "public charge" rule

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There are millions of legal immigrants who depend on programs like Medicaid — and now, after the Trump administration revamped a nearly 140-year-old immigration rule, there's growing concern that many will drop out.

First, Ted Hesson joins POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss how the new "public charge" rule would work (starts at the 2:00-minute mark), White House official Stephen Miller's role in driving the plan (8:05) and the broader immigration changes underway (12:00).

Then, Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo of Northwell Health explains her background as the daughter of immigrants and her work as a pediatrician (starts at the 17:05-minute mark), how she sees immigrant patients being affected by the new rule (20:45) and her broader observations on how immigration and health care collide (26:00).

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Immigration official Ken Cuccinelli appeared on NPR last week to defend the public charge rule — and twist the inscription on the Statue of Liberty.

The Urban Institute reviewed how the public charge rule could affect immigrants' use of government programs like Medicaid.

The Kaiser Family Foundation also prepared a fact sheet on the rule's impact.

Ted's story about Stephen Miller's close involvement in the public charge rule, complete with Miller's emails.

Ted also broke news about how the State Department's public charge denials have already skyrocketed, a possible precursor to national implementation of the new rule.

Dr. Uwemedimo's op-ed in Newsweek about her family's immigration story and why she's worried about the public charge rule's impact.

Michael Dowling, the CEO of Northwell Health — the largest health care provider in New York — is himself an immigrant from Ireland.

Aug 22 2019

32mins

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Gun violence is more than a "mental health crisis"

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A pair of mass shootings have renewed the spotlight on the nation's high rate of gun deaths. POLITICO's Dan Diamond reviews why health care groups say that gun violence deaths represent a "public health crisis" — and how GOP congressmen and the current Surgeon General avoid using that term.

Then Dan talks with Amy Barnhorst, a UC Davis psychiatrist who specializes in gun violence research, about her work and legislation intended to reduce deaths (starts at the 3:15 mark), what she makes of recent comments by President Donald Trump and Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden about the role of mental illness and video games (15:45), and how physicians were mobilized by the NRA's "stay in their lane" tweet and what she would advise politicians to do (21:30).

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Dr. Barnhorst's February 2018 New York Times op-ed on why the mental health system shouldn't be responsible for stopping mass shooters.

A Sactown Magazine article looks closer at UC Davis' work on gun violence research.

California's implemented a gun violence restraining order law, devised in part by Dr. Barnhorst.

The president linked gun violence with mental health in a speech on Monday. Biden also decried violent video games as a possible factor.

Aug 08 2019

27mins

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Dissecting a debate moment: Sanders, Warren and... Delaney?

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"You're wrong" about Medicare-for-all, Sen. Bernie Sanders told former Rep. John Delaney as this week's Democratic debates kicked off — an exchange that set the tone for the first night.

Pulse Check host Dan Diamond joined Scott Bland, host of POLITICO's Nerdcast, to discuss the exchange (and Sen. Elizabeth Warren's comments too) for a bonus crossover episode.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Delaney's "BetterCare" plan, which goes further than some other Democrats' proposals toward ensuring universal coverage.

Warren's rebuke that Democrats need to stop using Republican talking points on health care.

POLITICO's Nerdcast, Pulse Check's sister podcast, looks closer at the political landscape every week.

Jul 31 2019

10mins

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Neera Tanden on Medicare Extra, the Democratic primary and Trump's legacy

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Neera Tanden is one of the most prominent voices in the Democratic party — and her organization, the Center for American Progress, has been pumping out policy ideas ahead of the 2020 election, helping shape the Democratic primary.

Neera sits down with POLITICO's Dan Diamond to discuss CAP's signature Medicare Extra proposal and Democrats' debate over Medicare for All (starts at the 1:00 mark), what she makes of the Democratic primary (15:30), President Donald Trump's influence on politics and why Neera blames Trump for the "warfare" gripping America (22:45), and if the Democratic party has a leadership gap (28:30).

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

Neera first appeared on PULSE CHECK in June 2017, as Republicans pushed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

CAP commissioned an independent analysis from Avalere on its Medicare Extra plan.

Vox's Ezra Klein praised many elements of CAP's Medicare Extra proposal.

Progressives have urged Democrats to commit to Medicare for All, saying that opting for a public option instead would still leave millions at risk.

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 70 percent of respondents favor "Medicare for All" when they have a choice between a government plan and private insurance, but just 41 percent favor a mandatory Medicare for All plan.

Jul 26 2019

32mins

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The race for AI supremacy

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Artificial intelligence is poised to transform the world, including the world of health care. In this bonus episode of Pulse Check, we present POLITICO's newest show, Global Translations, which features the White House point person on AI, Lynne Parker, reflecting on the promise of AI in the health field.

Global Translations examines big problems that don't respect political boundaries. The first season of the show is tackling trade, technological disruption, and climate change. If you like the show, subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jul 18 2019

32mins

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Understanding Trump's kidney plan, plus an ACA update

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered a series of changes intended to reshape how tens of millions of Americans receive kidney care and boost the number of kidney transplants — a plan, scooped by POLITICO, that's received bipartisan praise.

Dr. Carmen Peralta, a nationally known kidney expert at UCSF and chief medical officer for Cricket Health, joins Dan Diamond to discuss the historic problems with U.S. kidney care and what Trump's plan could accomplish (starts at the 1:35 mark).

Then Dan briefly discusses the latest legal threat to Obamacare, following a contentious court hearing this week (starts at the 23:30 mark).

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

The Trump administration moved to shake up how kidney care is delivered in the United States.

A history of Medicare's unusual decision to pay for kidney failure treatment, which critics said has warped the market.

Federal judges aggressively questioned whether Obamacare can survive in a hearing this week.

Law professors Nick Bagley and Richard Primus laid out strategies for Congress to protect the ACA against the lawsuit working its way through the courts.

Jul 11 2019

27mins

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