Category Archives: Government

D.C. health journalists gather for rooftop happy hour

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: Misty Williams/CQ Roll Call

The D.C. chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists kicked off the fall season with a happy hour hosting public affairs officials from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The happy hour took place on Sept. 6 on the rooftop of CQ Roll Call, which overlooks the White House and the Capitol. Reporters enjoyed cold beverages, pizza and assorted snacks.

About 60 people attended, including independent journalists and reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Fierce Healthcare, Kaiser Health News, and The Hill. Continue reading

HHS session on covering suicide described as new effort to engage reporters

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president, chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee and a member of the association's Finance and Development Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Mark Weber

The Department of Health and Human Services is sponsoring a seminar for reporters on covering suicide on Tuesday, in what the lead organizer described as an effort by HHS media officials to engage with journalists in new ways.

Mark Weber, the deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, said that media officials often interact with reporters in what he called “ATM transactions” – communicating only when one needs something from the other. Continue reading

Cities sue administration over ACA policy

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.

Photo: Marylandstater – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. en:Image:1city hall baltimore.jpg, Public Domain, Link

The latest in the Affordable Care Act legal battles: U.S. cities suing President Trump and top health officials at HHS for sabotage.

The suit, filed Aug. 2 by Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago and Columbus, plus two people from Charlottesville, Va., (which has some of the highest ACA insurance premiums in the country) accuses the administration of “intentionally and unconstitutionally” undermining the ACA, including by expanding non-ACA plans and discouraging enrollment. Continue reading

Pre-existing conditions re-emerge: Find out who might be affected

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.

Photo: Ted Eytan via FlickrA sign from a 2017 rally in support of the ACA in Washington, D.C.

The latest anti-Affordable Care Act lawsuit from a score of conservative state attorneys general – partly backed by the U.S. Department of Justice – brings protections for people with pre-existing conditions squarely back into the political and policy forefront. (And you should expect this lawsuit and pre-existing condition protection to come up in the Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh in early September).

So how many people really do have pre-existing conditions who are vulnerable to losing coverage?  And where are they?

Continue reading

CMS updates website with reporters’ needs in mind

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Click on image for a full-size view of the new CMS page.

Based on feedback from journalists, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated its online “Newsroom” with the goal of making it easier for reporters to find the information they need.

In a blog post, Administrator Seema Verma said the agency has “made CMS data and background, press contacts, and other information quickly accessible. We’ve also built a more robust search tool that will help serve your needs.” Continue reading

Verma defends cuts to navigators and halting risk adjustment payments

Virgil Dickson

About Virgil Dickson

Virgil Dickson reports for Modern Healthcare from Washington, D.C., on the federal regulatory agencies. Before joining Modern Healthcare in 2013, he was the Washington-based correspondent for PRWeek and an editor/reporter for FDA News.

Photo: Jeff Porter/AHCJSeema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, spoke at a briefing on public health emergencies at the CDC in December.

Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was on defense on Thursday during a meeting with reporters who pushed her to explain a series of controversial decisions made by her agency in recent weeks.

The agency has faced accusations of sabotage by health advocates after the agency’s decisions to end risk payments to insurance companies offering plans on the individual market and to dramatically cut funding for navigators who help consumers sign up for coverage.  Continue reading