Conference panel generates ACA resources, story ideas #ahcj15

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. Follow her on Facebook.

Anyone who is moderating a session at an AHCJ conference is lucky to have AHCJ board member, Associated Press medical writer, and Twitter extraordinaire Carla K. Johnson (@CarlaKJohnson) in the audience. Here, she’s Storified her Twitter stream from the session “Politics, Policy and People: ACA report card.”

Our speakers were David Blumenthal, M.D., president of The Commonwealth Fund; Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., senior vice president for executive operations, Kaiser Family Foundation (she oversees its polling); and Lanhee Chen, Ph.D., David and Diane Steffy research fellow, Hoover Institution. On Twitter, they are @DavidBlumenthal, @mollybrodie and @lanheechen.

(One clarification from a Tweet – I may have misspoken as I summarized reporters’ expectations on the coming King v. Burwell case. I meant to draw a distinction between policy – not politics – reporters and legal reporters.)

On the panel, we talked a lot about the 1332 waivers that could allow states to deviate from the Affordable Care Act starting in 2017. I promised to share some resources on that topic, so here they are:

  • The Commonwealth Fund has an excellent issue brief (and it is truly brief) explaining the waivers, what states can and cannot do, and why they might want to act outside the ACA. It’s the best short description I’ve seen.
  • Chen wrote a very interesting op-ed for the Wall Street Journal explaining how a Republican administration could possibly modify the waivers after 2016, and how GOP- led states might use them.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation, as most AHCJ members probably know, conducts a monthly tracking poll on health policy, including but not restricted to the public perception of the ACA, which hasn’t changed much. The polls have probed how little the public understands the Affordable Care Act five years after passage, despite all the words we have written about it. Here are the two most recent polls, from March and April, and here’s the page for all the KFF polling.

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