Proposed federal budget filled with cuts to programs benefiting older Americans

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: Susan Jane Golding via Flickr

The Trump Administration’s proposed $4.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2021 features plenty of reductions to spending for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Naturally, this has Democrats and elder advocates up in arms.

The proposal would slash Medicare by $850 billion, Medicaid by $920 billion and Social Security by $30 billion over the next decade, according to The Washington Post. It also includes cuts to Children’s Health Insurance programs, despite previous statements by the president that entitlements would remain untouched. Continue reading

Facing increased scrutiny, PBMs will press case before High Court

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.

pharmacy benefit managers

Photo: FunGi_ (Trading) via Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case that pits two groups on opposite sides of the debate over prescription drug costs: community pharmacists and pharmacy benefit managers.

In the case, Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the court will consider whether the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 pre-empts an Arkansas law regulating PBMs’ drug-reimbursement rates.

Continue reading

Are hospitals training staff to adequately treat delirium in 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.

pill organizer

Photo: Marilyn Dunn via Flickr

Hospitalized older adults who take atypical, or second-generation, antipsychotics for delirium were at increased risk of death from cardiopulmonary arrest, according to a recent study by researchers in Boston.

Despite these known risks, antipsychotic drugs frequently are used to treat or prevent delirium. Delirium (sudden confusion or a rapid change in mental state) affects 15% to 26% of hospitalized older adults. It can lead those affected to harm themselves or others, or otherwise interfere with medical care. Continue reading

Infectious disease rates rising with opioid epidemic

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.

As the opioid crisis has continued to plague the nation, a less-reported story for journalists to consider is the surging number of bacterial and viral infections threatening to make the crisis worse.

The rise includes an increase in bacterial infections caused by Staphlococcus aureus, a pathogen that is often resistant to antibiotics – and a climb in new HIV, hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases and skin and soft tissue infections.

“A converging public health crisis is emerging because the opioid epidemic is fueling a surge in infectious diseases,” said the Journal of Infectious Diseases in August 2019. Continue reading

As ACA turns 10, some top supporters look back

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.

With the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaching next month (March 23), I want to flag this video from the summer of 2018, when KHN’s Julie Rovner interviewed the five committee chairs who shepherded the law through Congress.

This was the first time that former Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and former Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) and retiring Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) had gathered for a public retrospective. All but Levin had retired by then and he left Congress soon after the event, which took place during the Aspen Ideas Festival’s health portion (then called Spotlight Health and now Ideas Health.) Continue reading

Freelancers start national group to oppose independent contractor legislation

Carolyn Crist

About Carolyn Crist

Carolyn Crist (@cristcarolyn) helps AHCJ’s freelance members find the resources, tips and contacts they need to create and run a successful business. A freelance journalist and author, Crist covers health, medicine and science stories for national news outlets such as Reuters, Runner’s World and Parade. She also writes for trade and custom publications. Contact her at carolyn@healthjournalism.org.

Karon Warren

Karon Warren

Spurred to action after the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act passed the House on Feb. 6, a group of freelance writers created a website, Twitter and Facebook group for Fight for Freelancers USA — and they want every type of independent contractor to join the fight.

“Anybody who gets a 1099 should be in the group,” said Karon Warren, a 20-year freelance writer based in Georgia who co-founded the group. Warren and fellow members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors created the group to mirror the Fight for Freelancers NJ and Fight for Freelancers NY groups. Continue reading