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 She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at

Budget includes massive cuts to Medicaid beyond AHCA proposal

The Trump administration is doubling down on its goal of reshaping Medicaid financing and sharply reducing spending.

As we’ve noted before, the House version of the American Health Care Act would put a stop to the open-ended entitlement funding of Medicaid. States would either get a per capita cap (a yearly amount per person) or a block grant (a lump sum). The per capita cap would give states more flexibility as the economy cycles through good and bad periods. In slumps, when more people go on Medicaid, the amount would go up. The block grant amounts would rise by a pre-determined amount for 10 years, but states would have more flexibility in program design. Continue reading

ACA repeal, Trump budget threaten expanded spending on public health

The House’s ACA repeal bill finally passed last week. It potentially will have a significant impact on public health if the Senate’s version runs along the same lines.

That’s because the Obama-era Affordable Care Act had a big impact on the Centers for Disease Control and communities, even if it was overshadowed by the ongoing national debates about coverage and the role of government in providing health care. Continue reading

Reporters must contend with readers’ perceptions, ‘fake facts’

In my blog posts, I usually try to highlight stories that have a lesson – something that you can take and apply to your own reporting on health reform.

This story  by the Washington Post’s Jenna  Johnson doesn’t have such a clear-cut, practical “how-to” aspect. But I’ve found myself thinking about her opening anecdote again and again since I read it, so I figured it’s time to share.  Continue reading

What’s next for drug costs? #AHCJ17 hears from the experts – including a patient

President Donald Trump has spoken about the cost of drugs frequently. Though not always clearly and consistently, he has called for government negotiation of prices. Drug prices also have caught Congress’s eye, although we’re not quite sure what (if anything) legislators are willing to do about it.

But patients are fed up, as David Mitchell, founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs reminded us last week during a Health Journalism 2017 session in Orlando. Continue reading

Public radio collaborative shines light on ACA’s impact in their rural communities

Photo: Rebecca KigerPatients wait for treatment at a West Virginia day program for substance abuse.

The Ohio Valley ReSource is an award-winning collaborative of seven public radio stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky that have partnered to produce some fine multimedia work on rural health and Affordable Care Act. Their region has been hard hit by the opioid crisis and the spread of HIV – expanded health care coverage under the ACA is seen as critical in combating both.

The collaborative has done a nice mix of narrative and policy – looking at coal miners, alcoholism, job creation and rural providers, particularly clinics. Continue reading