Category Archives: Health care reform

Tuning in to health care with the podcast boom

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.

Photo: Matthew Keefe via Flickr

Photo: Matthew Keefe via Flickr

Podcasts are all the rage, so we’ve been collecting some health policy-related ones for you. Some of these regularly tackle health policy, some dip into it once in a while (but smartly) and others are geared more toward science and medicine.

Some of you who contributed suggestions noted that a few popular general podcasts (such as On Media and Fresh Air) aren’t health-focused but sometimes have good episodes, respectively, on media coverage and interviews with authors of health books. Continue reading

Things to consider when covering recent departures from the ACA marketplace

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.

Photo: Peg via Flickr

Photo: Peg via Flickr

Decisions by United Healthcare, Humana and now Aetna to shrink their footprint in the ACA exchanges – along with the collapse of the most of the co-ops – are likely to significantly decrease competition in some parts of the country next year.

Among the states likely to be most affected are: Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and probably parts of Florida. Continue reading

A new take on premium trends gets pushback from ACA critics

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.

premium-trendsHere’s an argument that premiums under the Affordable Care Act actually have dropped. Loren Adler and Paul Ginsberg of the Brookings Institution argue this in a recent Health Affairs post, summing up their findings. But not everyone agrees.

Conservatives have attacked both the methodology and the conclusions in “Obamacare Premiums Are Lower Than You Think.” Given that it contradicts some earlier studies, even some ACA supporters say they’d like to see more research on some of the points made by Adler and Ginsberg. More on the critics below, but first let’s look at pair’s findings. Adler and Ginsberg write: Continue reading

Medicaid and mental health: A Tennessee approach

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.

Photo: Don via FlickrNashville cemetery statue

Last week we posted an update on mental health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, so let’s follow up with a look at what’s going on in Tennessee, courtesy of Holly Fletcher at The Tennessean.

Tennessee is among the 19 states that have not taken up Medicaid expansion under the ACA. This summer a Tennessee legislative task force put forth a proposal for a partial expansion program, with the first stage focusing in large part on people with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. If approved – which isn’t certain – it could later be expanded, but only if it meets cost and quality objectives. As Fletcher reported, that’s not so easy. Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, last year tried to enact a market-based version, only to be blocked by a more conservative legislature, as one commentator noted in the newspaper. Continue reading

Dental profession weighs in on the opioid abuse epidemic

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: hjl via Flickr

In a “dear colleague” letter to dental professionals last month, American Dental Association President Carol Gomez Summerhays urged dentists to review their prescribing practices and more effectively counsel patients about the safe handling and use of medications, especially opioid painkillers.

Summerhays also urged dentists to consult databases maintained by state-run prescription drug monitoring programs that could help them identify “doctor-shopping patients” whose prescription histories may reveal drug-seeking behavior. Continue reading