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What The Health? Open Enrollment is Nigh

Despite the best efforts of President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. And after a turbulent year, open enrollment for individuals who buy their own health insurance begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15.

In this episode of "What the Health?" Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Sarah Kliff of Vox.com, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo discuss the current state of the health law. Julie also interviews Lori Lodes, a former Obama administration health official and co-founder of the new group "Get America Covered."

Among the takeaways from this week's podcast:

Unveiling of the 2018 policies on the federal healthcare.gov website reaffirms the anomalies of pricing this cycle. For many customers, there will be some gold plans that are cheaper than the standard silver plans -- even though the gold plans offer more comprehensive coverage. Consumers will definitely have to shop around to find the right plan for them. Although a federal judge in California turned down a request from states to stop President Trump from ending payments to insurers for some health subsidies, the case is not over. The Internal Revenue Service's decision to require taxpayers to say whether they had insurance this year is a key turnaround for the administration. As Congress fails to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program (which expired Oct. 1), states are slowly creeping up to the funding cliff.

Plus, for "extra credit," the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week that they think you should read, too.

Julie Rovner: BuzzFeed News' "A Trump Official Once Suggested Women Who Get Free Contraception Should Swear They Won't Get An Abortion," by Ema O'Connor.

Sarah Kliff: StatNews.com's "The 'Uber for birth control' expands in conservative states, opening a new front in war over contraceptives," by Max Blau

Margot Sanger-Katz: From the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb's testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health, "Federal Efforts to Combat the Opioid Crisis: A Status Update on CARA and Other Initiatives."

Alice Ollstein: Reuters' "The Body Trade: Cashing in on the donated dead," by Brian Grow and John Shiffman.

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