President Donald Trump has spoken about the cost of drugs frequently. Though not always clearly and consistently, he has called for government negotiation of prices. Drug prices also have caught Congress’s eye, although we’re not quite sure what (if anything) legislators are willing to do about it.
The Ohio Valley ReSource is an award-winning collaborative of seven public radio stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky that have partnered to produce some fine multimedia work on rural health and Affordable Care Act. Their region has been hard hit by the opioid crisis and the spread of HIV – expanded health care coverage under the ACA is seen as critical in combating both.
The collaborative has done a nice mix of narrative and policy – looking at coal miners, alcoholism, job creation and rural providers, particularly clinics. Continue reading
Many Americans think they pay too much for their prescription drugs, especially those who need life-saving medications for cancer and hepatitis C. Why are drug costs so high in the United States? How can reporters better explain the cost squeeze to their audiences?
These were among the questions that Sarah Emond, M.P.P., executive vice president at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) in Boston and Peter Bach, M.D., director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Center for Health Policy and Outcomes in New York City addressed at the Feb. 15 meeting of AHCJ’s New York chapter. Dan Goldberg of Politico moderated the session. Continue reading
Health care journalists covering addiction, overdoses, and the heroin epidemic are likely to learn that the health insurance system appears to be part of the problem. That’s what Terry DeMio found on her beat in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Since January 2016, DeMio has been the Cincinnati Enquirer’s heroin epidemic reporter.
Rather than paying for the best medications for drug addicts in need, health insurers often require patients to start with the lowest-cost drugs. Then if the lowest-cost prescription fails, insurers then pay for the next highest-cost drug. Called fail-first or step therapy, this process repeats until the patient finds one that works. Meanwhile, the patient suffers or could die, DeMio said. Continue reading
Stories on how heroin and other opioid abuse shattering communities have been the focus of many powerful pieces in media outlets across the country. After years of inaction, Washington, D.C. ,has begun turning its attention to the issue and moving toward some possible action.
But covering the moving parts of the Department of Health and Human Services, Congress and the White House in tackling the issue is akin to tracking a moving target, all complicated by election-year politicking. What’s a reporter – especially one outside D.C. – to do? Continue reading