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Podcast: Building Biden’s Health Agenda with Chris Jennings & Doug Badger

January 18, 2021 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Media

The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is tomorrow and to kick off the third season of FAH’s Hospitals In Focus podcast, Chip Kahn is joined by two well-known health policy experts to discuss the new administration’s approach to developing and implementing key health care proposals and regulations. Listen to the new episode HERE.

In our first episode, Chris Jennings, the President and Founder of Jennings Policy Strategies, and Doug Badger, Senior Fellow with the Galen Institute and a visiting Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies with the Heritage Foundation, layout predictions for President-elect Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.

The conversation covers how Jennings and Badger expect Biden’s team will tackle the health and economic fallout from COVID-19 -  contrasting it to the Trump administration. Importantly, they touch on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can be used to shore up health care coverage for uninsured Americans. Then each provides analysis on how the White House staff, regulatory agencies and Congress work together to enact policy achievements for the administration. Chris provides the Democratic perspective while Doug gives us a conservative view..

The episode covers the importance of staffing at the White House, federal departments and agencies, with a special focus on the significance of  how well these health-focused entities interact with each other. When asked how the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, Chris Jennings said, “What we saw over the last year where you had states competing against one another for limited resources and blaming each other and the federal government – that just can’t happen. We have to have a unified federal, state and local collaboration. I think you’ll see a commitment from the Biden administration to do just that.”

Jennings and Badger both forecast their expectations for a Biden health agenda, which they think will center around coverage – addressing everything from a public option, to reinforcing the ACA to Medicaid expansion. “I’m not sure that Congress will resolve Medicaid expansion, but the two big states that haven’t expanded are Florida and Texas,” said Doug Badger. “Both have gubernatorial elections coming up in 2022. People who want to expand Medicaid have done well with referenda, putting that on the ballot, so I expect that issue may be resolved by the states rather than the federal government.”

Interested in learning more about how health care coverage can affect a population’s access to care? Chip spoke with Dr. Chidinma A. Ibe on a recent episode: Advancing Health Equity: Bridging Social Gaps in Health Care.

More about Jennings & Badger:

Chris Jennings has spent decades working in the White House, Congress and private sector. He has spent time in both the Clinton and Obama White Houses as the Senior Advisor to the President for Health Policy and helped pass, enact and implement the ACA, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and numerous other health reforms. Most recently, President-elect Biden appointed Mr. Jennings to represent him on the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force.

Doug Badger has been in public policy for many decades and has been a policy advisor to the White House, the U.S. Senate, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Doug worked in the George W. Bush administration and developed its proposal for adding prescription drug coverage to Medicare and represented the White House in negotiations with Congress that resulted in the enactment of the Medicare Modernization Act.