Author Archives: Joanne Kenen

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.

Fact-checking Cruz’s claims that Obamacare left him uninsured

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz, as you may have heard, said on the campaign trail in late January that he didn’t have health insurance. And that his wife was pretty ticked off about it.

A few days later, his office said he and his family were, in fact, insured. As fellow Texan president hopeful Rick Perry once said – OOPS.

But it’s not really funny. Continue reading

How the ACA may be helping to close the ‘race gap’

Chris Flavelle of Bloomberg View points out an unheralded achievement of the Affordable Care Act: It’s narrowing the race gap in health insurance.

In a recent opinion column summarizing research on insurance disparities and the ACA by Algernon Austin at the Center for Global Policy Solutions, Flavelle wrote: Continue reading

ACA expanded smoking cessation programs but are people getting services?

Photo: Roman Pavlyuk via Flickr

Photo: Roman Pavlyuk via Flickr

The Affordable Care Act requires all state Medicaid programs – whether they opted into expansion or not – to help people quit smoking. The law requires at least some counseling and FDA-approved therapies, including nicotine gum and some drugs that assist in tobacco cessation.

How are the states doing? Not great. Continue reading

AHCJ fellow tells how she examined hospital community benefit, post-ACA

Reform_Kutscher-StFrancisMemorialHospital

Photo: HaeB via Wikimedia CommonsSaint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco

Beth Kutscher, a Modern Healthcare reporter who recently become the publication’s California bureau chief, has covered health care finance for several years, with a particular focus on for-profit health care.

During her 2015 AHCJ Reporting Fellowship on Health Care Performance, she looked at the impact Medicaid expansion had on hospital finances. And she spent some time reporting on how not-for-profit hospitals have to give back to their communities to justify their tax exempt status.

That’s often through providing charity care or training physicians – but some hospitals are addressing different community needs. One San Francisco hospital, for instance, supports a program that escorts kids after school through a gang-ridden neighborhood, enhancing both their physical safety and their stress levels.

Find out more about how Kutscher explored this topic, and what she learned from it, in her How I Did It essay.

Understanding the federal spending deal and how it affects the ACA

Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr

Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr

We’ve just posted a tip sheet to help you understand four main ways the big year-end tax and spending deal passed by Congress affected the Affordable Care Act.

The limits on paying health plans their full risk corridor payments (what Marco Rubio insists on calling an “insurance bailout”) was renewed for another year. Three taxes that helped finance the ACA – the Cadillac tax, the medical device tax and the health insurance tax – were delayed or suspended for two years (one year for the insurance levy.) The tip sheet explains them, looks a bit at what could happen next and includes links for more reading and analysis. We’re also updating the relevant sections of our health reform glossary and key concepts. Continue reading