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

Experts outline framework to address health care consolidations

Photo: Norman Mosjos via Flickr

The wave of mergers and acquisitions in health care in the age of reform hasn’t stopped – and three top-notch health policy experts in a recent guest post in Forbes explain why we should worry about that.

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How will BCRA affect your community? Check out this resource

A new tool from the Kaiser Family Foundation lets you see how the Senate health care bill (as it existed in late June) will affect your community.

It enables you look county-by-county at how premiums are tax credits will look in 2020 both under the Affordable Care Act and under the Senate’s proposed repeal and replace bill, Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Continue reading

Senate balks on quick action on reform – now what?

Sen. Mitch McConnell

Early in June, the smart money was on the Senate’s health reform debate spilling into July. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just didn’t have the votes. Moderates (not all of whom are all that “moderate” in general…) had deep misgivings about Medicaid spending, coverage losses and – for at least two moderate female senators – defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Conservatives wanted the repeal to cut more deeply into the Affordable Care Act and eliminate regulations and consumer protections, leaving states and the market to shape insurance coverage and affordability. Continue reading

Services enabling disabled to live more mainstreamed life may fall prey to GOP reforms

Photo: Alexander Edward via Flickr

Medicaid is a lifeline for the disabled. As Jonathan Cohn explains, the current Washington debate over Medicaid’s future has profound and often overlooked implications.

Right now much of the Washington policy fight centers on how quickly – when, but not if – the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act would get rolled back under Republican repeal-and-replace bills. As we’ve pointed out before, there’s a lot less attention being paid to Republican proposals to cap Medicaid spending – to put an end to its open-ended federal entitlement funding. The Senate Republicans are arguing over what rate the spending would grow (there are a few different ways of measuring inflation and medical inflation….). They are not debating whether or not to make this fundamental change – which the Democrats all oppose. Continue reading

Resources for tracking rural hospital closures

Photo: throgers via Flickr

The phenomenon of rural hospital closures has gotten a fair amount of attention in the last few years with all the Affordable Care Act finger-pointing. But as the University of North Carolina’s Cecil G. Sheps Center notes, the problem really emerged and caught the attention of policymakers in the late 1980s.

For a few years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published an annual report, but closures slowed down about 20 years ago, and interest waned. The pace of closures picked up again during the Great Recession of 2008-09, before the ACA’s passage. Continue reading