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.

Azar case continues to prolong ACA uncertainty

FPhoto: Thomas Anderson via Flickr

The Supreme Court has declined to take up, on an expedited basis, Texas v. Azar, the conservative states’ lawsuit against the ACA. That doesn’t mean that the case — which argues for scrapping the whole 2010 health law now that the individual mandate penalty has been zeroed out — will never reach the Supreme Court. But it’s now highly unlikely that the high court will rule during President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

The Supreme Court doesn’t usually take up cases until they’ve worked their way through the lower courts. But as we told you recently, it wasn’t 100 percent clear that they’d follow that tradition in this case. Continue reading

Will the ACA individual mandate case go directly to the Supreme Court?

Supreme Court

Photo by dbking via Flickr

Under the most usual course of events, the Supreme Court would not consider (again) the fate of the Affordable Care Act smack in the midst of the 2020 presidential elections.

But we aren’t living amid “usual” course of events. A coalition of state attorneys general wants the legal process speeded up. And while it’s not that likely that the high court will agree, it’s not impossible either.

In December the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals voided the ACA’s individual mandate. But it didn’t agree with the earlier District Court ruling from December 2018 that because the mandate is unconstitutional, the whole law is invalid. Continue reading

New tip sheet explains ‘partial Medicaid expansion’ – and why it hasn’t happened (yet)

Map: Kaiser Family Foundation (as of Nov. 15, 2019)

Since the Supreme Court ruling in 2012, states have been warring over whether or not to expand Medicaid.

Now, some states want to pursue a “partial” expansion – under the same generous federal funding rules. So far, no state has been able to do this – but they are trying. Continue reading

Congress strikes taxes that helped pay for the ACA

Money, taxes and the ACARemember all those taxes and fees meant to pay for the Affordable Care Act?

The ones that keep getting delayed, suspended, postponed – or put into effect and then halted again?

The big end-of-year spending and tax bill Congress plans to approve this week will eliminate three big taxes – the health insurance tax, the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, and the so-called Cadillac tax on certain high-value employer plans. They were to have provided billions to cover the cost of coverage expansion. (An extra 0.9 percent Medicare tax on income above a certain threshold is still in effect.) Continue reading

New BMJ resource connects health journalists to established experts


Photo: Ann Larie Valentine via Flickr

The British Medical Association’s BMJ, one of the oldest and most respected family of medical journals, has launched a tool to better connect journalists with editors at The BMJ’s 70 or so journals.

The BMJ journals are peer reviewed, so there’s quality control and reliable standards at a time when non peer-reviewed and ethically questionable journals are popping up in our online searches. Continue reading

Tweeting and Tennessee: The story of a block grant

Tennessee State CapitolTennessee is pursuing a variant of a block grant for Medicaid (although it’s not strictly a block grant but more on that in a second.) Brett Kelman has been covering it for the Tennesseean. Much of his work is behind a paywall so we can’t share all of it (here’s one good ungated sample).

We did want to draw attention to what’s going on in Tennessee and point you to an epic Kelman Twitter thread that shed light on his reporting, shows the value of old-fashioned legwork (or in this case, a cyber-variant), and even made Medicaid news an awful lot of fun to read. Continue reading