Selena Simmons-Duffin

Selena Simmons-Duffin reports on health policy for NPR.

She has worked at NPR for ten years as a show editor and producer, with one stopover at WAMU in 2017 as part of a staff exchange. For four months, she reported local Washington, DC, health stories, including a secretive maternity ward closure and a gesundheit machine.

Before coming to All Things Considered in 2016, Simmons-Duffin spent six years on Morning Edition working shifts at all hours and directing the show. She also drove the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 for the "Borderland" series.

She won a Gracie Award in 2015 for creating a video called "Talking While Female," and a 2014 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for producing a series on why you should love your microbes.

Simmons-Duffin attended Stanford University, where she majored in English. She took time off from college to do HIV/AIDS-related work in East Africa. She started out in radio at Stanford's radio station, KZSU, and went on to study documentary radio at the Salt Institute, before coming to NPR as an intern in 2009.

She lives in Washington, DC, with her spouse and kids.

Bridget Desmukes was surprised when Dr. Rita Driggers, Desmukes' OB-GYN in Washington, D.C., recommended low-dose aspirin at her first prenatal appointment this past spring. She knew about daily low-dose aspirin being prescribed to people recovering from a heart attack or stroke. But for pregnant women?

Nearly half a million more children were uninsured in 2018 than in 2017, according to data out Tuesday from the U.S. Census Bureau. The drop stems primarily from a decline in the number of children covered by public programs such programs as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Plenty of research shows that adverse childhood experiences can lead to depression and other health problems later in life. But researcher Christina Bethell wondered whether positive experiences in childhood could counter that. Her research comes from a personal place.

Peter Grinspoon got addicted to Vicodin in medical school, and still had an opioid addiction five years into practice as a primary care physician.

Then, in February 2005, he got caught.

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The opioid epidemic is expensive. There are the cost of treatment programs. There's the cost of overdose deaths. We've asked NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin to help us understand the numbers.

Welcome to the program.

SELENA SIMMONS-DUFFIN, BYLINE: Hi.

The federal government says the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vt., violated federal law by forcing a nurse to participate in an abortion despite her objections. The hospital issued a statement saying that the allegation is "not supported by the facts," as Vermont Public Radio reported.

Today, the judge hearing the opioid case brought by Oklahoma against the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson awarded the state roughly $572 million.

The fact that the state won any money is significant — it's the first ruling to hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for the opioid crisis.

But the state had asked for much more: around $17 billion. The judge found the drugmaker liable for only about 1/30 of that.

Lost in all the brouhaha about President Trump's scuttled plan to buy Greenland from Denmark has been this: What do the Greenlandic people think about the whole thing?

In the small capital city of Nuuk, "everybody is talking about it," says Alexander Montgomery-Andersen, a 30-year-old Greenlandic dancer and choreographer. "It's a little comical."

Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

High drug prices are a hot topic in politics right now. President Trump has made lowering them a cornerstone of his re-election bid and is pushing a variety of ideas to get that done.

The Trump administration has dropped one of the meatiest portions of its plan to reduce drug prices.

The Department of Health and Human Services said it will no longer pursue a rule that would have prohibited the payment of certain rebates on drugs in Medicare Part D and Medicaid plans.

The idea was to target the middlemen, pharmacy benefit managers, whose negotiations with drugmakers and insurers influence the costs consumers pay for drugs.

Updated 6:30 p.m.

The Trump administration has announced an ambitious plan to change treatment for kidney disease in the United States.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop policies addressing three goals: reducing the number of patients developing kidney failure, reducing how many Americans get dialysis treatment at dialysis centers and making more kidneys available for transplant.

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Now let's bring NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin to explain how today's news fits into this long history of challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

Welcome to the studio, Selena.

SELENA SIMMONS-DUFFIN, BYLINE: Hi.

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