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.

Understanding the health care debate among Democratic candidates

puzzleFor better or for worse, health care continues to dominate the Democratic primary. If you’re having trouble understanding precisely where each candidate stands, you aren’t alone. It sometimes seems they aren’t quite sure either.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, of course, are the most prominent advocates of a “pure” single-payer coverage system called Medicare for All. It would ban private insurance and significantly overhaul the current system within a few years. (Warren also has an interim coverage plan before Medicare for All). Continue reading

Names of campaign health care advisers are tightly kept secrets

confidential-fileMuddled arguments about health care have, for better or worse, so far dominated the Democratic primary debates. Every once in a while Cory Booker steps up to explain to the television audience – and perhaps the candidates themselves – that the disagreements aren’t as cosmic as they seem.

Every Democrat on stage wants to expand coverage and to use government programs to achieve that while the Republicans are still talking about repealing the ACA or killing it through the courts. Continue reading

Trump riffs on health at campaign rally

Photo: Classic Film via Flickr

President Donald Trump has pledged to unveil a new plan to repeal and replace the ACA – but we haven’t seen it, and it’s not clear that we ever will.  If the president does announce a plan, it’s to campaign on in 2020, not to try to enact before the November elections with a Democratic-controlled House and a divided Senate.

There’s no way to know how the Ukraine scandal will factor into health care and domestic policy. Trump may focus on impeachment and politics to the exclusion of health care – or he may try to change the subject with some kind of health platform. Continue reading

Shedding light on upcoding in the ER

Photo: Micheal J via Flickr

The Houston Chronicle’s Jenny Deam delved into emergency room billing – hospital facility fees as well as “upcoding,” which means categorizing relatively minor conditions as serious or even life-threatening ailments and charging a lot for them.

It raises costs to both the patient and the insurer. Continue reading

After appeals court arguments, ACA back in limbo

The oral arguments in the Texas v. United States lawsuit aiming to overturn the Affordable Care Act did not go well for backers of the health law on Tuesday. Two of the three judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seemed ready to scrap at least pivotal chunks of the ACA.  (Here’s a wrap from AP.)

But what comes next – or when it happens – is still a guessing game.

Continue reading

Oral arguments and legal drama in the Texas v. United States ACA case

On Tuesday, July 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the appeal of Texas v. United States.

The conventional wisdom, even among conservative legal scholars, is that the case was based on such a contorted legal theory that it should not be taken all that seriously.

Then, in December, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with Texas and 17 other conservative states and declared the whole Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Continue reading