Actuaries’ analysis of ACA alternatives can inform news coverage

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Andy via Flickr

Photo: Andy via Flickr

For those of us deluged with analyses and opinions from the left and the right over replacements for the Affordable Care Act – the actuarial cavalry has arrived.

The American Academy of Actuaries has released three papers analyzing long-time conservative ideas about health reform. These alternatives – high-risk pools, selling insurance across state lines, and association health plans (AHPs) – are playing a high-profile role in the debate over ACA “repeal and replace.” Continue reading

Lawsuit may indicate change in government’s pursuit of insurance fraud

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Urban Bohemian via Flickr

Photo: Urban Bohemian via Flickr

A 2011 lawsuit unsealed last week reveals the inner workings of the nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group. In the lawsuit, lawyers for the plaintiff allege that UnitedHealth evaluated certain employees on how well they raised risk adjustment scores.

The lawyers contend the practice was part of a scheme to increase payments from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by submitting false statements about the level of illness among Medicare Advantage patients. Continue reading

Reporter explored efforts to make dental health a primary care priority

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Elizabeth Whitman

Elizabeth Whitman

Millions of Americans face challenges in finding oral health care services. Creative efforts are underway to tackle the problem.

Some of the more exciting initiatives aim to broaden access by delivering dental care in community and primary care settings rather than traditional dental offices. In a recent feature for Modern Healthcare, quality and safety beat reporter Elizabeth Whitman looked at some of these approaches. Continue reading

Patients, doctors get snarled in Trump’s travel ban

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Anne Worner via Flickr

Photo: Anne Worner via Flickr

As the legal drama continues to unfold over the Trump administration’s efforts to enforce travel restrictions on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, it is clear that doctors and patients here and overseas are adversely affected.

Caught in last month’s initial chaos were patients seeking medical treatment in the United States, as well physicians practicing or hoping to practice here, ProPublica’s Marshall Allen writes. The impact is expected to be particularly tough for communities already challenged in attracting medical talent, ranging from isolated, rural towns to struggling cities. Continue reading

Examining ‘alternative facts’ in patient data

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

telehealthIn this era of “alternative facts,” everyone should read Sue Halpern’s piece, “They Have, Right Now, Another You,” published in the New York Review of Books in late December.

The piece, along with several recent studies on the accuracy of electronic health records, adds to the growing question over what types of data we can trust. And more important, how can we know the difference between bad and good data. Continue reading