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.

President Trump cut off the cost-sharing subsidies. Now what?

In the next few days and weeks we’ll see the first wave of reactions from health plans – and unsubsidized Affordable Care Act exchange shoppers, because of premium increases – to President Trump’s decision to cut off immediately the cost-sharing subsidies to health plans participating in the exchanges.

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Lessons from Covered California: Marketing matters

At 3 pm ET on Thursday, Oct. 12, Victoria Colliver of Politico will lead a conversation with Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, about lessons learned during the first years of enrollment in the ACA exchange. They’ll also discuss how the exchange is adapting to the changed political climate for health care in the Trump administration.

HHS recently announced that it would slash marketing, advertising, and signup assistance for the 2018 signup season, which begins Nov. 1. That the administration was reducing outreach should not have been a surprise, given that as soon as President Trump took office, his HHS leadership team pulled back on advertising and marketing during the critical final days of the 2017 signup season.

Spending on marketing and advertising for the 2018 plan year will drop from $100 million spent on 2017 sign-ups to $10 million. Funding for consumer helpers called “navigators” will be cut 40 percent – from $62.5 million for 2017 to $36.8 million for the coming season. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for overseeing the ACA, says navigators were falling short of their sign-up targets and wasting money and asserted that “the new funding formula will ensure accountability within the Navigator program.” (For more on the administration policy, see in this Vox story.) Continue reading

HHS further reduces role in ACA open enrollment

Buzzfeed’s Kate Nocera and Paul McLeod last week broke the story that the Trump administration – which has already cut the marketing and navigator budget for the coming shortened open enrollment season – is now pulling out of enrollment events across the country. Its 10 regional directors will not be helping with planning, a break from Obama administration practices. Continue reading

Senate Republicans make last-ditch attempt at Obamacare repeal

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr Sen. Lindsey Graham

The Graham-Cassidy repeal bill – which essentially would change Medicaid into a per-capita cap – has suddenly come back to life. Republicans are making one more effort to live up to years of campaign pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act before they run out of time.

The Senate has to vote by Sept. 30 if it wants to pass a repeal bill with just 50 votes. After that, the current budget resolution is no longer in effect, and any legislation would require a bipartisan 60 votes. Continue reading

Why ACOs have potential for improving end-of-life care

Photo: Beverly Yuen Thompson via Flickr

Accountable Care Organizations, which were created by the Affordable Care Act as one way to improve the delivery of health care, may become an important want to reduce the wide variation in end-of-life (EOL) care, two academic researchers suggest in a recent Health Affairs blog post.

As we have pointed out repeatedly, while the political and fiscal battles have been over the coverage provisions in the ACA, much of the law also contains incentives and programs to improve both care quality and efficiency. And there are ample opportunities to do so toward the end of life, including in hospice. Continue reading