Tag Archives: Health care reform

Resources can help reporters cover ACA implementation

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.

Today I have a quick post to share a few health journalism resources, other than AHCJ’s own health reform core topic area, that may help you down the final leg of implementation of the Affordable Care Act:

Reporting on Health is a program of the USC Annenberg Center and the California Endowment. It touches on a range of health issues – including materials and examples of good work for those of you on the health reform policy beat or tracking developments in your state. It’s a bit California-centric, for obvious reasons, but still a lot of helpful material and sources.

The Columbia Journalism Review‘s Second Opinion project is spearheaded by former AHCJ president Trudy Lieberman. I’ve particularly liked the pieces on state exchanges.

Web Md has regular updates on health law implemention,  including Health Reform 101 from AHCJ member Lisa Zamosky.

And The Wall Street Journal  has a new ACA rollout page, including a primer on some of the law’s key features.

99 things on the health care reform to-do list, the otter edition

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.

For some Friday fun … Sarah Kliff did a blog post for The Washington Post’s Wonkblog on  “99 things” that have to happen in the 99 days between her post and Oct 1. OK, she cheated a little:

2. Washington state must launch a health insurance exchange

3. Oregon must launch a health insurance exchange

4. California must launch a health insurance exchange

5. Idaho must launch a health insurance exchange

6. Hawaii must launch a health insurance exchange

7. Colorado must launch a health insurance exchange

Image by Peter Kaminski via flickr.

But she’s still got some useful information on what’s on the states’ and the feds’ to-do list which helps you understand the technical complexity of this undertaking.

And don’t forget to check out number 99.  Which, quite frankly, has nothing to do with health care but we can all learn about baby otters.

Give context, not equal time, to anecdotes in coverage of health reform

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.

Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a recent Politico op-ed, shared some thoughts on challenges in covering of the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.

Three of his main points – understanding the health law is not just a Washington story, knowing what to cover and finding solid resources to get at the facts instead of contrived “balance” – are topics we try to address on Covering Health and on the AHCJ health reform core topic site. Balance is fine – fair and essential – in complex stories where there are many points of view, different ideologies, and legitimate questions about how the health law will unfold over time.

It’s not “balance” if there is clear, solid data on a specific topic, and another side gets equal time just because they don’t like it (or because your editor insists that it get equal time).  Knowing what’s in the law, what it does and what it doesn’t do, helps us report with authority and find that balance.

The aspect I want to address here, related to the “balance” question, is what Altman calls “judgment by anecdote.” Here’s what he’s worried about: Continue reading

Facing growing health care costs, Mass. tries containment #ahcj13

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey

About Priyanka Dayal McCluskey

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey is a business reporter at the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette. She is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-Healthier Beat Fellowship, which is supported by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Massachusetts is famously ahead of other states when it comes to health insurance coverage. Ninety-eight percent of Bay State residents have insurance.

But the state is also way ahead in another area: health care costs. The cost of care is the highest per capita in the country and, consequently, the world, according to Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Insurers, providers and government regulators have been working, with some success, to curb the rate of health care costs in Massachusetts. Continue reading

Premium shock: The story isn’t as simple as it seems

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.

You’ve seen lots of stories – and you may well have written some – about how much the cost of insurance is going to rise for younger people in the exchanges next year – the so-called “premium shock” or “price shock.”

This is a fair concern – but be careful that you handle it fairly. Continue reading

‘The insured and the unsure:’ What will businesses do?

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.

I clicked on an Economist story on the future of employer-sponsored health insurance  to get a sense of what picture it was painting for its largely overseas but U.S.-savvy,  business-oriented audience.  It turned out to be a very good overview.

I thought it may have been a tad heavy on the “lots of small- to midsize-employers will drop coverage” angle but not excessively so. It would have been nice to note that they’ve been dropping coverage for years, one reason that the health law was enacted. But it is fair to worry about how employers will react and how employees will fare under the Affordable Care Act and the article lays out a lot of related issues clearly. (I didn’t see a byline on the online version – so kudos whoever you are.)

Unlike some articles and commentary I’ve seen in the U.S. press, when this piece noted that premiums may go up, it also noted:

  1. they’ve been going up long before health reform and
  2. low-wage and middle-income workers will get subsidized, so the sticker price isn’t the same as what they will actually pay.

It drives me crazy that the subsidies are so often neglected. Continue reading