Author Archives: Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Breaking down the revised BCRA and the Graham-Cassidy alternative plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the Senate’s revised Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday. The major change was incorporating demands from Sen. Ted Cruz to allow insurers to offer less expensive plans that have less robust coverage. It also would allow people to pay premiums using money in health savings accounts. And it allocates $45 billion to opioid addiction treatment.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Bill Cassidy were on CNN talking about their alternative to the plan, which would keep many of the federal taxes and send that money to the states to spend as they see fit. The plan would keep in place the essential benefits of the ACA and would continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage. Continue reading

CBO releases score for Senate’s health care bill

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Senate’s health care plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), on Monday afternoon.

This came hours after Senate Republicans released a revised version of the bill that adds a provision to penalize people who let their insurance coverage lapse for an extended period. People who let their health insurance lapse for longer than 63 days but then wanted to re-enroll would have to wait six months. The CBO score does take that revision into account in its analysis.

The CBO found that, if this legislation were to be enacted, it would: Continue reading

11 journalists from the Mid-Atlantic region chosen for fellowship

The Association of Health Care Journalists has named the 2017-18 class of the Regional Health Journalism Fellowship, an annual fellowship program for reporters and editors across the United States.

The program, which changes regions each year, will focus this year on journalists from the Mid-Atlantic region, namely Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Read on to see who the fellows are and how to follow them on Twitter.

Style guide changes address language about addiction, gender

Photo: Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

The most recent edition of The Associated Press Stylebook – the premier guide for copy editors – has a number of updates that are important for health journalists to be aware of. Many of them are around the subject of drug and alcohol use and misuse, which many of my colleagues find themselves writing about quite a bit these days.

Continue reading

New AHCJ board to be seated July 1

Marlene Harris-Taylor

Marlene Harris-Taylor, a reporter and producer for WVIZ/PBS Ideastream, will join the board of directors for the Association of Health Care Journalists. She and incumbents Jeanne Erdmann, a Missouri-based freelancer; Felice Freyer, The Boston Globe; Gideon Gil, Stat; Maryn McKenna, an Atlanta-based freelancer; and Karl Stark, The Philadelphia Inquirer; will start two-year terms on July 1.

The six join the board members elected in last year’s voting: Julie Appleby, M.P.H., of Kaiser Health News; Scott Hensley, of NPR; Tony Leys, of the Des Moines Register; Ivan Oransky, M.D., of New York University and Retraction Watch; Sabriya Rice, of The Dallas Morning News; and Charlotte Sutton, of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Read more about Harris-Taylor and AHCJ.