ACA hits new high and survives in court, but journalists still have some explaining to do

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at

With just over a week to go in June, the Affordable Care Act has already had a very successful month in two important ways.

First, the ACA hit a record for enrollment, topping 31 million Americans since the law went into effect in 2014, according to a report the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued earlier this month. And, second, the ACA survived a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court, as we reported last week.

To reach that figure of 31 million, the HHS report included the 20 million who have gained insurance through the marketplaces under the ACA itself and through other ACA insurance programs. Continue reading

Science journalist Siri Carpenter says ‘follow the money’ to combat misinformation

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and other outlets.

Siri Carpenter

Siri Carpenter

Among the biggest challenges for health and science writers over the past year is how best to respond to misinformation.

Siri Carpenter, co-founder of The Open Notebook, a science journalism non-profit, suggests focusing on the business side of misinformation and who’s profiting by pedaling false narratives to the public.

“I think it’s … important to recognize that we’re up against moneyed interests that are extremely invested in that this [false] information,” Carpenter said in a ‘How I Did It.’ “Misinformation isn’t out there by accident. It wasn’t just accidentally created, and then other people stumbled onto it.” Continue reading

Rural Health Journalism Workshop great source for story ideas

About Melba Newsome

Melba Newsome is AHCJ's core topic leader for health equity and a veteran freelance journalist with more than 20 years’ experience. Her health and science features have appeared in Health Affairs, Oprah, Prevention, Scientific American, Chemical & Engineering News and North Carolina Health News.

Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2017

Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2017

After more than 15 years as a general interest writer, I decided to concentrate my reporting on health, with a focus on rural health. Why? Because reporters don’t just get wrong or misunderstand people who live outside cities; we often overlook important stories about them.

For starters, the face of rural and small town is not as monolithic as it’s commonly portrayed. I was born and raised in the Arkansas Delta. Racial and ethnic minorities now make up 19% of non-metro residents in the U.S.

That’s one of the reasons next week’s AHCJ Rural Health Journalism Workshop, a free three-day virtual conference, is such a great opportunity. Continue reading

Tips on picking good photos for vaccine stories

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

MTA worker getting vaccinated

Photo: NY State MTA via Flickr

Those who have known me long enough have, at some point or another, heard one of my diatribes about poorly chosen vaccine photos in the media. These photos often feature screaming babies, wincing mothers, giant needles (usually medically inaccurate) and similarly negative images that can undermine public health. While it’s not a journalist’s job to promote public health per se, we certainly need to avoid undermining it. Continue reading

Affordable Care Act survives again as SCOTUS rejects third challenge

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at

Photo by dbking via Flickr

Ruling 7-2 on Thursday in a challenge that Texas and other states brought against the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court found the plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to bring the lawsuit.

“The decision preserves health insurance subsidies for more than 20 million Americans and protections for tens of millions more whose preexisting medical conditions could otherwise prevent them from obtaining coverage,” as David G. Savage explained in an article for The Los Angeles Times. Continue reading