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 twist in the HSA debate – do they encourage more spending?

Photo: mgstanton via Flickr

For quite a few years, many conservatives have argued that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) should play a key role in market-oriented health reform. HSAs, the advocates say, enable people to have financial “skin in the game” and have the potential to encourage them to shop more smartly for health care services, bringing down spending. The counterargument is that they encouraged people to stint on health care, particularly preventive care. Continue reading

Covering health care – as a cancer patient

Alexandra Glorioso, a Florida health reporter for Politico, joined AHCJ for a webcast about what being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at age 31 taught her about reporting on health care.

Before we say anything else – after a rough year with chemo, surgery, and radiation – Glorioso is doing well. She’s in remission (and planning her wedding!). Continue reading

Health plans win some, lose some in challenges to Trump ACA changes

Image by SalFlako via Flickr

Think the only big lawsuit pending on the Affordable Care Act is the Texas fight over whether the whole law is unconstitutional? Think again.

Several lawsuits are still working their way through the courts involving the unpaid cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies, and risk corridor payments. Potentially, the Trump administration could be forced to pay insurers billions of dollars. (Paul Demko has reported on this extensively for Politico, and this post cribs shamelessly — but gratefully — from his knowledge.) Continue reading

Tennessee to take the lead in converting its Medicaid to block-grant funding

Photo: Tim Lumley via Flickr

Tennessee may become the first state in the country to take advantage of the Trump administration’s enthusiasm for block-granting Medicaid – a radical change to the federal-state health program for low-income people created in 1965.

Under recently passed legislation, Tennessee will within six months seek a waiver from CMS to have a block grant – a lump sum of money along with more state flexibility on how to run Medicaid. Continue reading

Covering gun violence as a public health problem requires nuance

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJJoseph Sakran

As journalists, we focus on the increasingly common phenomenon of mass shootings. They are appalling, they are terrifying and we don’t fully understand them.

But gun violence is far more common, far more widespread, and far more insidious than those high-profile events – both murder and suicide. And we aren’t doing enough to think about and address firearms deaths as a public health problem, rather than a law enforcement problem, panelists told a Health Journalism 2019 panel in Baltimore on Friday. Continue reading

Johns Hopkins’ Sharfstein shares his health care ‘toolbox’

Joshua Sharfstein

If anybody has come close to having “done it all” in health policy, it’s Joshua Sharfstein, M.D.

The vice dean for public health practice and community engagement and a health policy professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sharfstein has worked in city, state and federal government, in the legislative and executive branches. He’s worked on drug policy, health coverage, infant mortality, payment and delivery reform, substance abuse, tobacco, public health – not to mention a global health stint in Central America. Continue reading