What does the partial government shutdown mean for older adults?

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Pete Green via Flickr

The federal government has been in partial shutdown mode since Dec. 21 – meaning it’s been nearly a full month since a quarter of government agencies, including the Departments of State, Justice, Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior furloughed a combined 800,000 workers or asked them to work without pay. What began as a minor inconvenience for some is fast becoming a major concern for many seniors who rely on government support for food, shelter and medical care.

First, the good news: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will continue operating uninterrupted, Vox reported. However, they noted “new applicants for these programs might face a wait.” The VA will also continue to operate its hospitals and clinics. Continue reading

As name implies, short-term health plans may not be a good deal for some consumers

Joseph Burns

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 joseph@healthjournalism.org.

For an article on short-term health plans, journalist Nancy Metcalf found an ideal source: Stewart Lamotte, a 64-year-old retired restaurateur from Lawrenceville, Ga.

In a story that Consumer Reports published in December 2017, “Is Short-Term Health Insurance a Good Deal?”, Metcalf explained that when LaMotte shopped for health insurance, he didn’t qualify for a tax credit under the Affordable Care Act. Also, he balked at the $1,000 monthly premium and a deductible of $6,500 that was required for an ACA-compliant health insurance policy. Continue reading

Plan ahead to get answers at a medical conference

Tara Haelle

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.

Photo: Matt Hintsa via Flickr

One challenge when covering medical conferences is that, depending on your publication’s needs, you often must conduct many interviews on the fly both with presenters and with attendees at the sessions.

Since many other people also are vying for the presenters’ attention, you might only be able to get in a few short questions after a session. Continue reading

Media played helpful role in communicating risks during Zika outbreak

Bara Vaida

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 outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: CDCAedes aegypti

The news media, for the most part, played a helpful role in communicating the known health risks of the Zika virus to the public during the 2015-16 outbreak, in comparison to the Ebola outbreak two years earlier, according to a set of studies that were published in a special December 2018 issue of the journal “Risk Analysis.”

The group of studies, titled “Communicating Zika,” looked at how the understanding of Zika developed, how Zika risks were translated to the media and how the media’s coverage shaped public perceptions of the virus. Continue reading

Newspaper’s suit over food stamp data headed to Supreme Court

Irene M. Wielawski

About Irene M. Wielawski

Irene M. Wielawski (@wielawski), an independent journalist based in New York, is a founder and former board member of AHCJ and serves on the organization’s Right to Know Committee.

Photo: Christopher Reilly via Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case brought eight years ago by a South Dakota newspaper asserting the public’s right to know how much taxpayer money goes to grocers and other retailers who participate in the federal food stamp program.

The Argus Leader of Sioux Falls won at the federal appellate court level last year, but a new challenge asserting the confidentiality of business records has pushed the case to the nation’s highest court. Continue reading

Persistence, persuasion pays off with critical global health security story

Bara Vaida

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 outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: M M via FlickrLive poultry market in Xining, China.

Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China are having an impact on the global economy and potentially U.S. biosecurity.

Late in the summer of 2018, New York Times reporter Emily Baumgaertner authored a story breaking the news that China had stopped providing samples of a flu virus – named H7N9 – with U.S. health authorities. The H7N9 bird flu [the influenza virus is named with H’s and N’s based on their protein makeup] has been circulating in China since 2013 and has spread through poultry farms. Continue reading