POLITICO's Pulse Check

Religious freedom in health care and news roundup

Episode Summary

Rachel Laser, the new head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, explains why her organization is concerned by the Trump administration's rhetoric and policy moves. In a roundtable, POLITICO reporters discuss the latest changes to Obamacare, how the HHS shake-up is playing out and which state is most "important" in health care.

Episode Notes

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised religious conservatives that their voices would be heard - and as president, he's repeatedly delivered through executive orders and agency moves that have been hailed by Christian conservatives.

Rachel Laser, the new head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, joins the podcast to review how Christian conservatives came to support Trump (starts at the 31:30 mark), how the Trump administration and specifically HHS have pushed policies for religious liberty (36:30), the appropriate role of religion in the public space (44:20), and the role of religious conservatives among HHS leadership (51:25).

But first: POLITICO's Jennifer Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn join Dan to review Congress' latest changes to Obamacare (starts at the 1:45 mark), how new HHS Secretary Alex Azar is leading the agency (10:45), Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy's retirement and hospitals' role in Washington (22:45), and which state is arguably most "important" in the current policy debate (27:25).

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Stories referenced on the podcast:

Jen's story on Congress removing the ACA's cost checks: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/19/obamacare-cost-checks-spending-deal-352346

Jen and Paul Demko's story on the IRS issuing millions of dollars in ACA employer mandate fines: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/20/trump-irs-obamacare-fines-tax-penalties-353614

Adam's story on Azar's priorities at HHS: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/24/alex-azar-secretary-health-confirmed-trump-nominee-365471

DD's story on HHS dismantling LGBT-friendly protections: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/19/trump-lgbt-rights-discrimination-353774

Jen's story on HHS working with a conservative group on an anti-Planned Parenthood policy: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/12/trump-hhs-planned-parenthood-policy-338084