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

President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 plan includes national testing strategy, boost in contact tracing

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.

biden

By Michael Stokes – Biden13, CC BY 2.0,

President-elect Biden reportedly plans to announce his COVID-19 task force on Monday, sending Americans a signal that getting the pandemic under control will be his top priority.

Three co-chairs will lead the task force: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale physician-researcher, according to Axios. The group may also include Ezekiel Emanuel, provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and a former health policy adviser to President Obama and Nicole Lurie, a health policy fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and former pandemic preparedness adviser to Obama. Continue reading

Ransomware attacks on U.S. hospitals spike

Debra Gordon

About Debra Gordon

Debra Gordon, M.S., is AHCJ’s health information technology topic leader. She has more than 30 years of experience in the health care world, including a decade as a newspaper reporter covering medicine, and 22 years as a freelance medical writer.

You’ve probably heard (or even written about) recent ransomware attacks on hospitals. The FBI warned hospitals several days ago of the likelihood of attacks with the Ryuk ransomware and, sure enough, numerous hospitals have been hit, forcing some to resort to paper, the last thing they need with COVID-19 cases again spiking. Others have shut down email.

The Russian hackers behind the attacks are asking for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of bitcoin and with, hospitals facing the third wave of the pandemic, they expect to get it. Continue reading

Study documents racial differences in hospice use and end-of-life care

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Image by Steve Harwood via flickr.

A new analysis of racial disparities in end-of-life care finds that Black patients voluntarily seek substantially more intensive treatment, such as mechanical ventilation, feeding tube insertion, kidney dialysis, CPR and multiple emergency room visits in the last six months of life, while white patients more often choose hospice services.

The study’s researchers say the findings demonstrate the disparities seen in seeking end-of-life care in the U.S., despite an overall increase nationwide toward the use of hospice care regardless of diagnosis, but especially for non-cancer deaths. Continue reading

New York Times health reporter shares COVID-19 resources, tips

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.

Apoorva Mandavilli

Apoorva Mandavilli

Eight months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, there are still many unknowns about the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, and journalists are continually looking for new resources.

New York Times science and global health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli recently offered lots of tips to reporters on where to look for experts, how to cultivate them and what to do when health officials change their official guidance on COVID-19, or even contradict themselves. Continue reading