Tag Archives: implementation

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

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

Watch funding, implementation and court cases as health reform moves forward

The election is over. Obamacare survived.

So what’s the story in your state or community?

Implementation. Or lack thereof.

Joanne KenenJoanne Kenen (@JoanneKenen) is AHCJ’s health reform topic leader. If you have questions or suggestions for future resources, please send them to joanne@healthjournalism.org.

So here’s an overview of where things stand in D.C. – and what it means for the health beat.

(Soon we will post a short separate item on the new state insurance exchange deadlines. If your state wants to run its own exchange, the deadline is still Nov. 16. They have more time to fill in the details though.)

The Affordable Care Act will not be repealed. Maybe the House will still hold a few symbolic repeal votes, but it’s not going to be repealed. That does not mean that critics of the law won’t try to dismantle parts of it. Some likely targets include the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board and some of the industry taxes, particularly the medical device tax. Watch your own legislators to see where they go on this—if you are in a state or district with a medical device industry, watch the Democrats as well as the Republicans (and the medical device businesses themselves). Ask them how they want to offset the funding; if they eliminate one of the taxes that paid for the coverage expansion, where do they want to get that money instead? Adding to the deficit isn’t going to go over as a solution.

The law’s funding is vulnerable. How vulnerable and which parts? Hard to say yet. But for what it’s worth, #DEFUND is the new Twitter rallying cry for opponents of the law (some of whom do not seem to realize that the Republican House can’t act unilaterally … but I digress). There will be ample opportunities for Republicans to try to take a whack at this, not just through the annual budget and appropriations process but through the lame duck session of Congress getting under way this week that will try to find a way of averting, at least temporarily, the fiscal cliff. Continue reading

Post-election: What aspects of health reform are reporters focused on?

In addition to AHCJ health reform topic leader Joanne Kenen’s predictions for health reform after the election, we’re reading other stories and timelines that show where implementation (you’re going to hear that word A LOT) is going.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP offers its perspective on what effect the election will have on American health care. Its timeline focuses on “stakeholders,” such as insurers, health care providers, employers, the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries and, yes, consumers. It concludes that the health sector must fundamentally transform the way it operates and offer real value.

Kaiser Health News’ Jay Hancock talked to health policy analysts about what to expect for health reform, with responses that range from expecting the Republican-controlled House to delay implementation by withholding funding to “It’s full-steam ahead with implementation.” Hancock’s story points out the looming deadline to launch health insurance exchanges, the subject of a recent AHCJ webcast that is worth re-visiting now.

Matthew Herper, of Forbes, takes a different tack with his “Note to The Pharmaceutical Industry Upon The Re-Election Of Barack Obama,”in which he tells the industry that it has no friends in politics now and the future lies in innovation. He lays out some visions for the future.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has an interactive timeline to show key dates and provisions in the implementation of the ACA.

On a somewhat lighter – but still useful – note, Kenen pointed out that as health reform moves forward, those of us who write about it need an arsenal of synonyms for “implementation.” See what she and some other top health journalists came up with.

AHCJ webcast
Thursday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. ET.

On Thursday, an AHCJ webcast will look at “What does the election mean for senior health?” with an eye to explaining the outcome for seniors on Medicare, older adults who receive long-term care services from Medicaid and other programs that serve our elderly population. The blue-ribbon panel includes moderator Judith Graham, health care journalist and AHCJ topic leader on aging, Joseph Antos of the American Enterprise Institute, Karen Davis of The Commonwealth Fund, and John Rother of the National Coalition on Health Care.

Finally, remember that Kenen and other journalists have been compiling key resources to help cover all aspects of health reform for more than a year in AHCJ’s Core Topic pages on health reform.

We’ll continue to pick out good stories that should help move the story forward and give reporters more story ideas – so check back with Covering Health often. And, if you’ve seen stories you think are helpful, please include links in the comments below.

Wanted: Other ways to say ‘implementation’

Health care journalists need synonyms for ‘implementation’

With the re-election of Barack Obama, the march toward implementing health care reform will continue. But @JoanneKenen, AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform, noted that what health care journalists need now are synonyms for "implementation."

Storified by Pia Christensen · Wed, Nov 07 2012 09:35:56

what health care journalists need now: synonyms for "implementation." #hcr #obamacare #acaJoanne Kenen
@charlesornstein @JoanneKenen Synonyms for implementation: enact, adopt, phase in, begin, launch, install, put in place, kickstart.Jordan Rau
Execution? RT @charlesornstein: RT @JoanneKenen: what health care journalists need now: synonyms for "implementation." #hcr #obamacare #acaKristen Hallam
@kristen_hallam @charlesornstein hmmm. Execution might be a Dem synonym but a GOP antonym….#hcrJoanne Kenen
next..GOP antonyms MT @jordanrau: @charlesornstein Synonyms 4 implement: enact, adopt, phase in, launch, install, put in place kickstart…Joanne Kenen
@JoanneKenen "putting into practice" … "carry out" … What else, folks? Synonyms for "implementation." #hcr #obamacare #acaCarla K. Johnson
@joannekenen @charlesornstein Hard to find a neutral synonym. Fulfillment, also problematic. Let’s invent a new word! ACAzation.Kristen Hallam

Coverage of insurance exchanges needs context

During the past few days, I have read quite a bit of local coverage about health insurance exchanges from about  10 different  states (some “blue,” more “red.”) I was looking for good stories to hold up as an example of what’s at stake here.

New tip sheet

Affordable Care Act: The politics of health care, year two

The Affordable Care Act just hit the one-year mark, but that’s not likely to change the political dynamic in D.C. and many state capitals. Indeed, it may intensify as the 2012 campaign approaches. Following the complex legislative and budgetary procedures in Congress from a distance can be daunting. Joanne Kenen, AHCJ’s health care reform topic leader, has written a brief guide to some of what’s unfolding and likely to unfold in the next year or two.

I did not read every single state story from the whole country so maybe I missed something great. But I did read enough to conclude that most of the stories, unfortunately,  were awfully heavy on  process.  They described political finger pointing: Republicans say no, Democrats say yes,  the state legislature equivalent of he-said, she-said . There was  very little explanation to readers about what exchanges are, and what kind of decisions states have to make about  them , what’s at stake or why the heck the reader should care.

In case you are tempted to say it’s too complicated to explain in a short daily story: Look at Felice Freyer’s  March 31 story in The (R.I.)  Providence Journal. That is a short daily story, not a big takeout. But see how much context and explanation she was able to weave in with a deft clause here and there.

Sarah Kliff, of Politico, takes a slightly different tack that is also useful. It’s not a policy story, but politics, a state roundup. She makes two good points, which might help some of you covering the politics of implementation in your own state.  First, how successful the Tea Party has been in driving the state-level implementation conversation to the right, and second “a widening rift within the Republican party, between those who say states should implement the law, retaining more power as it moves forward, and others who favor completely opting out of a law they because they believe it to be unconstitutional.”

I pulled together some resources about exchanges for the tip sheet on covering the first anniversary of reform.  I’ll gather some more for a future update. If you see more good articles on the exchange, let me know by sending a note to joanne@healthjournalism.org.