Tag Archives: ACA

Efforts proceed slowly to expand the mental health coverage gains made in ACA

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: Jennifer Durban via Flickr

Congress recently passed a bill to combat opioid abuse (although it’s still fighting over funding it), and there’s a good chance lawmakers also will pass legislation updating a lot of the federal mental health programs in the fall – although lack of bipartisanship has reduced the scope of what could pass.

President Obama last month signed the opioid bill despite reservations about the lack of funding. Continue reading

Just how “narrow” are the ACA networks – and how much do the insured care?

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: Guy Moll via Flickr

Photo: Guy Moll via Flickr

We all hear stories (and perhaps have personal experience) of people having trouble accessing one of their regular physicians or having trouble getting a desired specialist because of “narrow networks” that offer a more limited choice of doctors and hospitals.

In some states, such as Texas, there has been a significant shift in the individual market to narrow network plans, and away from preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and similar networks providing broader choice and more out of network options. Continue reading

Those who assist with health plan enrollment now have expanded roles – are they prepared?

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: Carol Von Canon via Flickr

One clear lesson that health law advocates have drawn during the first two enrollment seasons under the Affordable Care Act is that many, many people need help sorting through their health plan choices as they try to enroll.

Among the many ways to get that assistance is by consulting a government-funded navigator or in-person assister (IPA), who must have training in the health law and enrollment procedures. Continue reading

Data raises questions: Is health exchange churn an affordability challenge, or the result of a new job?

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 by Flower Factor via Flickr.

Photo by Flower Factor via Flickr.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported this fall that the number of people covered – that is, enrolled and paid up – in the ACA exchanges had dipped to 9.9 million as of June 30.

The drop off was similar to what occurred the prior year and was in keeping with expectations. Earlier in the year, 10.2 million were fully covered – and 11.7 had initially signed up but, as expected, not all had paid their premiums. Continue reading

New ACA funding to expand dental care at health centers

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 mary@healthjournalism.org.

Even as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extends public and private health benefits to millions of Americans, the new beneficiaries may still face challenges finding the services they need.

As we earlier reported, poor adults newly covered thanks to Medicaid expansions could continue to lack dental care in a number of states, according to a recent study published in Health Affairs.

But now there is money in the nation’s health care reform law to help address such shortages.

Last week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced almost $500 million in new ACA funding to assist public and private nonprofit health centers across the country to provide more primary care to their communities.

The funding includes roughly $350 million in awards that will enable 1,184 centers to increase dental, medical, behavioral, pharmacy and vision services. Another $150 million is targeted to 160 centers with plans to renovate or enlarge their facilities in order to see more patients or offer more services.

“These awards will give 1.4 million more Americans across every state access to comprehensive quality health care,” said Burwell in her September 15 announcement. Continue reading

The ACA and patient satisfaction: Does it improve care?

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.

Alexandra Robbins

Alexandra Robbins

The ACA made many changes to Medicare. One of them involves linking part of hospital pay to patient satisfaction.

In an Atlantic magazine essay adapted from her new book, “The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles With the Heroes of the Hospital,” Alexandra Robbins argues that hospitals are missing the point: the way hospitals are defining, measuring and achieving patient “satisfaction” is not advancing the quality of care.

Robbins overstates that the amount of Medicare payments tied to patient satisfaction and understates the role of outcomes (more on Medicare’s Hospital Value-Based Purchasing later). But her essay is provocative and worth thinking about for those of you who cover the hospital industry or your local hospitals, and how they are changing under the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading