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

House passes first bill to expand the ACA

Photo: Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

The House recently passed a health reform bill – and it’s a definite win for the incrementalists.

The Democratic presidential primaries – which now feel like they took place in another universe, long ago and far away – were animated by a significant divide over whether to move to a single-payer “Medicare for All” health care system or to build upon the Affordable Care Act. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden wants to build on the ACA and favors adding a public option. Continue reading

Pandemic changes, or pauses, state approaches to health coverage

Photo: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr

Before the new coronavirus pandemic, expanding health insurance was a hot topic in the presidential campaign. States were considering a wide range of health coverage policies, including Medicaid expansion, Medicaid block grants, public options, new subsidies and coverage of immigrants.

Much of the state policymaking has been on hold or is phasing in more slowly as the nation’s health system focuses on COVID-19. States are facing enormous financial stresses due both to the pandemic and the subseqent economic crisis. Continue reading

Fate of COBRA reforms in the HEROES Act

Photo: Jernej Furman via Flickr

Democrats in Congress have several ways that they’d like to address the millions of newly unemployed and uninsured Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, including widely opening enrollment for the Affordable Care Act.

One measure that made it into the recent $3 trillion stimulus bill known as the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) would subsidize COBRA. That would enable newly unemployed people keep the insurance they had gotten on the job without having to shoulder the entire cost as typical. Taking over the entire premium can be considerable: Employer premiums average $7,188 for a single person and $20,576 for a family of four, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and COBRA adds a 2% surcharge. Continue reading

VOX series examines the approach of four countries to universal coverage.

Dylan Scott

In a new How I Did It essay, Dylan Scott of Vox explains how he and colleagues Ezra Klein and Tara Golshan created their multi-part series “Everybody Covered“ about how four countries accomplished universal health care. They also look at the state of Maryland, which has an all-payer system that may be a model for cost-containment in the U.S. The package, which contains both a series of articles and several podcasts, was supported by the Commonwealth Fund.

The series looks at Taiwan’s single-payer plan (which is arguably underfunded and which is not so beloved by its physicians), Australia’s public-private combo (with significant economic-based disparities), a “supercharged” Obamacare in the Netherlands (where it works partly because the country is not politically divisive) and Britain’s National Health Service. As Scott noted – there are always tradeoffs. Continue reading

Covering crowdsourced medical bills: Don’t skip these important questions

You’ve all seen the GoFundMe and other crowdsourcing campaigns for health care, on social media or elsewhere. They are probably even more common than you realize. A study from the NORC at the University of Chicago found that about about 50 million people – one in five U.S. adults – have reported donating to some type of campaign to raise money for a medical bill or treatment.

Continue reading

As ACA turns 10, some top supporters look back

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