Author Archives: Joanne Kenen

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 She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at Follow her on Facebook.

Another bid at ACA stabilization – and likely another failure

Photo by Sean Stayte via flickr

Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray are circulating a new “ACA stabilization” plan that in some ways is more ambitious than past efforts and takes into account the repeal of the individual mandate penalty. The senators are trying to get it into the omnibus spending bill Congress wants to pass by March 23.

But success is not very likely at this point. It’s not impossible given all the horse-trading that has to happen to get a huge omnibus spending bill passed, and Alexander, in particular, is persisting. But it definitely is a long shot. Continue reading

Nonprofits, tax breaks and getting hospitals to keep people out

Photo: John Heppolette via Flickr

Kaiser Health News and Capital News Service have been publishing a series called “Baltimore’s Other Divide” – the state of health in a city which has vast disparities in health status, and some of the country’s best known hospitals.

The latest installment, by Jay Hancock, Rachel Bluth and Daniel Trielli, focuses on asthma “hot spots.” Drawing on rich hospital data, they identified the worst places for asthma in the city – ZIP code 21223. People there, like 9-year-old Keyonta Parnell, go the emergency room more often, and call 911 more often. The hospitals know that. But it’s not in their financial interest to fix it. Continue reading

Blog post considers how we talk about the ‘deserving’ vs. ‘undeserving’ poor

Photo: Manar Hussain via Flickr

Medicaid work requirements going into effect in at least a handful of states will only affect the “able-bodied.” But precisely what does that mean?

Emily Badger and Margot Sanger-Katz unpack that term, as well as “deserving poor.” They say in“Who’s Able-Bodied Anyway?” for The New York Times’ Upshot blog, that the “able-bodied” are defined by what they are not – “ not disabled, not elderly, not children, not pregnant, not blind.”

Even so, this is a mushy label – more political than scientific. Continue reading

Potential pros, cons of those short-term health plans

As promised, the Trump administration has released a proposed rule to allow short-term health insurance plans that do not conform to all of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements. The Department of Health and Human Services says it’s necessary to give consumers access to more affordable insurance options; many backers of the ACA say it will further undermine already wobbly ACA markets and leave people with inadequate protections in the case of a serious, costly health problem.

So what is a “short-term plan?” Continue reading

Talking of wishes and waivers in Phoenix at #AHCJ18

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, one of its clear intents was to create a lot more consistency in health coverage across the country. Coverage wouldn’t be completely uniform and 100 percent Washington-imposed. States would still have a lot of regulatory powers over insurers if they chose to exercise it, and some freedom to experiment and modify their own programs, particularly Medicaid. But the state-to-state disparity in uninsurance rates and access to coverage was supposed to have been ironed out.

That’s not what happened – and under the Trump administration states have even more choices – including new options to undermine the ACA. On April 13 at Health Journalism 2018 in Phoenix, we’ll have a panel called “States and health care in the age of Trump: Wishes and waivers” to look at what will probably be the most pivotal period of state health care activity yet. Continue reading