Author Archives: Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, has been AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curated related material at healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

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.

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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

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