Category Archives: Core Topics

Another bid at ACA stabilization – and likely another failure

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.

Photo by Sean Stayte via flickr

Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray are circulating a new “ACA stabilization” plan that in some ways is more ambitious than past efforts and takes into account the repeal of the individual mandate penalty. The senators are trying to get it into the omnibus spending bill Congress wants to pass by March 23.

But success is not very likely at this point. It’s not impossible given all the horse-trading that has to happen to get a huge omnibus spending bill passed, and Alexander, in particular, is persisting. But it definitely is a long shot. Continue reading

Opioids the topic of daylong training for D.C. journalists

Kimberly Leonard

About Kimberly Leonard

Kimberly Leonard (@leonardkl) is a member of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee and co-chair of the Washington, D.C., chapter. She covers Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services as a health care reporter for the Washington Examiner.

Photo: Ryan Basen Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen, right, helps demonstrate how naloxone is administered.

Health journalists in Washington, D.C., participated in an all-day training session about reporting on the opioid crisis, hearing from treatment experts, medical providers and public health advocates.

The event took place Feb. 23 at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and was a partnership between the D.C. chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the National Press Foundation. Continue reading

Takeaways for journalists from health IT’s biggest event of the year

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Photo: Courtesy of HIMSS

The largest health IT event of the year dropped into Las Vegas last week and brought along more than 43,000 attendees. The HIMSS conference is where chief information officers, chief medical information officers and other health care techies who usually toil in relative anonymity get to be rock stars for a week.

HIMSS – the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society – is a leading voice in advancing and educating about technology in the health sector. Its annual conference is the must-attend event for those working in health IT and digital health.

There are a lot of great health care stories that come out of the HIMSS conference. Continue reading

Covering U.S. efforts to create a universal flu vaccine

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

This year’s severe flu season has increased the spotlight on the development of a “universal” influenza vaccine – a vaccine that would be effective against most strains of the flu.

But that vaccine has been elusive.

In 2011, Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told USA Today that he was “guardedly optimistic” a universal flu vaccine would be within reach in five years after scientists identified pieces of the virus that consistently appeared in seasonal and pandemic flu viruses. Continue reading

Report card may add perspective to reporting on your state’s oral health

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at

Photo: hamiltons53 via Flickr

Minnesota captured the top overall ranking in a recent state-by-state dental health report card compiled by a popular consumer website.

Meanwhile, Mississippi came in dead last.

WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 different metrics and crunched data garnered from federal and nonprofit sources for its 2018 States with the Best & Worst Dental Health report. Continue reading