Tag Archives: Congress

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

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

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

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

Understanding the federal spending deal and how it affects the ACA

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: Tim Evanson via Flickr

Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr

We’ve just posted a tip sheet to help you understand four main ways the big year-end tax and spending deal passed by Congress affected the Affordable Care Act.

The limits on paying health plans their full risk corridor payments (what Marco Rubio insists on calling an “insurance bailout”) was renewed for another year. Three taxes that helped finance the ACA – the Cadillac tax, the medical device tax and the health insurance tax – were delayed or suspended for two years (one year for the insurance levy.) The tip sheet explains them, looks a bit at what could happen next and includes links for more reading and analysis. We’re also updating the relevant sections of our health reform glossary and key concepts. Continue reading

PACE legislation to expand in-home care passes Congress

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo by My Future via Flickr

Photo by My Future via Flickr

The House of Representatives on Oct. 21 passed legislation aimed at reducing costs and strengthening comprehensive, coordinated health care and related long-term services for some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens. It now heads to the President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

The Providing Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly Act (PACE) Innovation Act (S 1362) will expand the current PACE program by allowing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to conduct demonstration projects, using the PACE Model of Care, to serve individuals with disabilities an integrated, community-based setting that supports independence and enhances quality of life. It will also work to improve health outcomes and reduce costs for seniors who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Continue reading

Study attempts policy point by detailing cancer rates by congressional district

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Vintage Postcard Capitol, "Washington D. C. " via photopin (license)The East Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, seen here in a vintage post card.

Vintage Postcard Capitol, “Washington D. C. “ via photopin (license)The East Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, seen here in a vintage post card.

A lot has been said lately about the geography of health, with maps citing longevity by ZIP code, and other health risks such as smoking or obesity broken down by states, counties and other typical boundaries. But rarely do you see it cancer mapped by congressional district.

It’s a project the American Cancer Society recently took on. The research and advocacy group recently released a report looking at cancer rates across the United States by congressional boundaries, found higher rates in districts in the South and Appalachia, while lower rates were in Mountain states. Why further break it down by 435 lawmakers’ districts? Continue reading

Congressional update at GSA touches on upcoming stories

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

What’s really happening with aging policy in Washington? At last week’s annual Gerontological Society of America Conference in New Orleans, a standing-room-only audience was privy to updates from key Congressional committee staffers.

Erika Salway, policy adviser for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, discussed the committee’s work on issues affecting older adults, including federally qualified health centers, primary care, oral health, mental health and the Older Americans Act. Funding for the OAA is $1.8 billion, which may sound high, but she reminded the audience that its programs serve 10 million seniors every year and funding constitutes less than .06 percent of the federal budget. The OAA funds essential services such as Meals on Wheels, job training, caregiver support, transportation and elder abuse services. It expired in 2011 but continues to receive federal funds under the old legislative formula. Continue reading