The off-year Kentucky governor’s election put the future of the Affordable Care Act into question in that state. Kentucky is the only southern state to have run its own ACA health insurance exchange, and go ahead with Medicaid expansion. And it’s been seen as a success. A half million people got covered, mostly under Medicaid. Uninsurance rates plummeted in 2014 more than in any other state – and Kentucky has more than its share of poverty and ill health.
One clear lesson that health law advocates have drawn during the first two enrollment seasons under the Affordable Care Act is that many, many people need help sorting through their health plan choices as they try to enroll.
Among the many ways to get that assistance is by consulting a government-funded navigator or in-person assister (IPA), who must have training in the health law and enrollment procedures. Continue reading
The Washington, D.C., chapter of AHCJ held an event about Medicaid in late October with Matt Salo, who leads the National Association of Medicaid Directors; Cindy Mann, who until January was the top U.S. official in charge of Medicaid at HHS and now works at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; and Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.
Here are some of their insights and story ideas that can help reporters keep this story fresh. Continue reading
We posted recently about California’s assessment of who was dropping out of the exchange, including the finding that most people leaving Covered California were getting health insurance elsewhere.
But as Abby Goodnough later reported from Yazoo City, Miss., that’s not always the reason for higher turnover in other areas. Retaining enrollees is a challenge – and affordability is one big reason. That’s true even for people whose premiums are heavily subsidized. Continue reading
In an Oct. 13 story, Susan Abram informed readers of the Los Angeles Daily News that a city sports arena was being transformed into a massive health clinic for four days. Hundreds of dentists, optometrists, nurses and other volunteers would offer free care to people in need.
This was not the first so-called “megaclinic” to come to the Los Angeles Sports Arena – and not the first time Abram had written about one. The reporter used her experience of past clinics, and insights into the nation’s evolving health care system, to bring a new and interesting angle to her story: Continue reading
Cover health care, or any beat, long enough and most journalists will discover that one story leads naturally to another.
In a new How I Did It for healthjournalism.org, Williams explained that in the spring of last year, she began work on a series to outline how the Affordable Care Act was affecting Georgia consumers. In that series, she reported that 400,000 state residents made too much money to qualify for Medicaid but also too little to receive tax subsidies for health insurance on the federal marketplace. Georgia is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the ACA. Continue reading
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported this fall that the number of people covered – that is, enrolled and paid up – in the ACA exchanges had dipped to 9.9 million as of June 30.
The drop off was similar to what occurred the prior year and was in keeping with expectations. Earlier in the year, 10.2 million were fully covered – and 11.7 had initially signed up but, as expected, not all had paid their premiums. Continue reading
Two fellow AHCJ core topic leaders, Susan Heavey and Joseph Burns, have looked at aspects of the recent census report that documents a sharp decline in the uninsured rate. (Susan’s look at poverty and gender is here and Joe’s overview is here).
About 25 Washington, D.C., area journalists met on Sept. 30 to learn about how the Affordable Care Act was affecting a local brewery and discover how the district’s health insurance exchange was working to help such small employers gain coverage for their employees. Continue reading
There’s a lot of speculation about what outgoing House Speaker John Boehner may or may not accomplish in his last weeks in office.
Ending the acrimony about the Affordable Care Act is not one of them.
Not only is the House now rapidly moving ahead with another attempt to gut key sections of the law through a budget tool known as reconciliation (which President Obama would veto), Boehner has another ACA legacy. He was pivotal in filing the House of Representatives lawsuit charging that President Obama and his administration overstepped their authority in implementing the health law. Continue reading