Alison Kodjak

Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak is a health policy correspondent on NPR's Science Desk.

Her work focuses on the business and politics of health care and how those forces flow through to the general public. Her stories about drug prices, limits on insurance, and changes in Medicare and Medicaid appear on NPR's shows and in the Shots blog.

She joined NPR in September 2015 after a nearly two-decade career in print journalism, where she won several awards—including three George Polk Awards—as an economics, finance, and investigative reporter.

She spent two years at the Center for Public Integrity, leading projects in financial, telecom, and political reporting. Her first project at the Center, "After the Meltdown," was honored with the 2014 Polk Award for business reporting and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award.

Her work as both reporter and editor on the foreclosure crisis in Florida, on Warren Buffet's predatory mobile home businesses, and on the telecom industry were honored by several journalism organizations. She was part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that won the 2015 Polk Award for revealing offshore banking practices.

Prior to joining the Center, Fitzgerald Kodjak spent more than a decade at Bloomberg News, where she wrote about the convergence of politics, government, and economics. She interviewed chairs of the Federal Reserve and traveled the world with two U.S. Treasury secretaries.

And as part of Bloomberg's investigative team, she wrote about the bankruptcy of General Motors Corp. and the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. She was part of a team at Bloomberg that successfully sued the Federal Reserve to release records of the 2008 bank bailouts, an effort that was honored with the 2009 George Polk Award. Her work on the international food price crisis in 2008 won her the Overseas Press Club's Malcolm Forbes Award.

Fitzgerald Kodjak and co-author Stanley Reed are authors of In Too Deep: BP and the Drilling Race that Took It Down, published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.

In January 2019, Fitzgerald Kodjak began her one-year term as the President of the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

She's a graduate of Georgetown University and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

She raises children and chickens in suburban Maryland.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

About a quarter of Americans surveyed say they've had trouble paying for their prescription drugs, and a majority welcome government action to help cut the cost of medications.

A survey released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many people have skipped or rationed their prescription medications or have substituted cheaper over-the-counter drugs.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The leaders of seven drug industry giants were forced to defend their industry's prices and business practices on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, as lawmakers criticized them for failing to put patients before profits.

"Prescription drugs did not become outrageously expensive by accident," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. "Drug prices are astronomically high because that's where pharmaceutical companies and their investors want them."

When it comes to making changes in health care, CVS Health isn't settling for tinkering around the edges. The company is looking to strike at the heart of how health care is delivered in the U.S.

In November, the drugstore chain completed a $70 billion acquisition of health insurance giant Aetna that CVS has said will change the company and in the process alter the way consumers experience health care.

Brittney Crystal was just over 25 weeks pregnant when her water broke.

It was her second pregnancy — the first had been rough, and the baby came early.

To try to avoid a second premature birth, Dr. Joy-Sarah Vink, an obstetrician and co-director of the Preterm Birth Prevention Center at Columbia University Medical Center, arranged for Crystal to be transported by ambulance from her local Connecticut hospital to New York City, where Vink could direct her care.

The Trump administration is proposing major changes in how prescription drugs are priced and paid for by Medicare.

The effort is designed to cut costs for senior citizens at the pharmacy counter and by its example could spur changes in the broader market for prescription drugs.

"Medicare-for-all," once widely considered a fringe proposal for providing health care in the U.S., is getting more popular. Several Democratic presidential hopefuls are getting behind the idea.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., endorsed the approach Monday in a CNN town hall-style event, saying her aim would be to eliminate all private insurance.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In her first speech as speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi made it clear that she knows that health care is key to why voters sent Democrats to Congress.

"In the past two years the American people have spoken," Pelosi told members of Congress and their families who were gathered Thursday in the House chamber for the opening day of the session.

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