During open enrollment, consumers will need help recognizing plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

questions1Journalists covering open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act this year will need to separate fact from fiction about the law and about coverage for pre-existing conditions.

As we saw on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether it should strike down the individual mandate and the entire ACA in a case we covered in a blog post on Monday. One of the big issues in any debate involving the ACA is coverage for Americans who have pre-existing conditions. During the coronavirus pandemic, this issue is even more important than it was in previous years because more than 10 million cases have been reported, according to The New York Times. Many of those Americans now have a pre-existing condition they did not have last year. Continue reading

New core topic leader explores importance of mental and behavioral health coverage

Katti Gray

About Katti Gray

Katti Gray (@kattigray) is AHCJ's core topic leader for behavioral and mental health. A former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow, Gray is providing resources to help AHCJ members expand their coverage of mental health amid ongoing efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness and to place mental health care on par with all health care.

depression-bench

Photo: Nils Werner via Flickr

Coming up in my particular neighborhood in Little Rock, Ark., one of my dearest childhood friends was a boy we nicknamed something unflattering but — except for the meanest among us kids — treated with great kindness.  He was “just slow,” we said, and left it at that.

The armchair analyst in me concluded, when we were teens, that my friend was mildly retarded (in the vernacular of that time). He also suffered sometimes-paralyzing bouts of depression. All these decades later, he remains a beloved treasure. I call him brother. He’s still a fixture in our hometown neighborhood, self-medicating with weed and, sometimes, crack. He’s snaggle-toothed, his skin an ashen gray. He looks way older than the rest of us. People with chronic, severe mental illness tend to die earlier than the rest of us. Continue reading

Biden’s health plan likely to travel a rough road in the Senate

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.

Biden wearing mask at podium

Photo: Budiey via Flickr

President-elect Joe Biden has an ambitious plan to build upon the Affordable Care Act, in effect evolving “Obamacare” into “Bidencare.”

But depending on the outcome of the two Georgia Senate run-offs, Biden either will face a Republican-controlled Senate or a tied Senate in which Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote. On some issues, the Democrats might pick up a few Republicans, and on others, they could lose a few votes from their side. Continue reading

Pfizer vaccine news sounds great — but it’s still data by press release

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

PfizerVaccine_Blog_Studies_Haelle

Photo: Self Magazine via Flickr

Pfizer made waves Monday with its announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with partner BioNTech, is “strongly effective,” with a reported efficacy of over 90%. The news was so highly touted that I woke up to multiple texts from friends about it, and it definitely sounds exciting.

The problem? That 90% is almost the only number we know because the company didn’t release additional data for others to read and interpret. Once again, these “extraordinary” findings, as Pfizer’s senior vice president described them to Stat News, were shared as “data by press release,” a worrisome trend during a pandemic. Continue reading

Supreme Court case on Affordable Care Act could have far-reaching effects on Medicaid expansion, pre-existing condition protections

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo by dbking via Flickr

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether it should strike down the individual mandate and the entire Affordable Care Act.

As always, SCOTUSblog has all the details on the case, California v. Texas and Texas v. California (both of which have been consolidated for oral arguments on whether the ACA’s requirement that Americans get health insurance is constitutional and, if not, whether the rest of the ACA can survive). Continue reading

Biden coronavirus task force members announced

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.

Coronavirus CG Illustration

Photo: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr

If you want to know how seriously President-elect Joe Biden is taking SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, look no further than the set of scientists, physicians and experienced global health specialists he has selected to be members of his coronavirus task force.

On Monday morning, the Washington Post reported the names of the task force members. Journalists will want to quickly get up to speed on who they are. Though Biden doesn’t take office until January 20, he is already moving to work with governors and members of Congress to shape communications and policy approaches that will influence the U.S. approach to COVID-19 in the near and long term. Continue reading