Tag Archives: legislation

Congress watch: Why Medicare coverage of unmet needs is so vital

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.

Photo: John Spade via Flickr

Congress returns from its summer recess with a full agenda. It’s probably not high on its to-do list, but many advocates of older Americans hope it will address several pieces of legislation introduced this year that could help many seniors better afford and access dental care, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

These are items that traditional Medicare doesn’t pay for but would make a world of difference in the health and well-being of older adults. Continue reading

Writing about abortion? AHCJ has the data you need

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.

Issues surrounding abortion never really leave the news. A reporter could build an entire beat around covering abortion issues and never be without a story from one day to the next.

That said, recently passed or proposed legislation around the country have thrust abortion to the top of the news once again, mainly because their restrictions push against what has been found to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. Continue reading

Bill expanding Medicare dental care faces uphill climb in Congress

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.

Photo: Jan Fidler via Flickr

Photo: Jan Fidler via Flickr

America’s 55 million Medicare beneficiaries would receive comprehensive dental, vision and hearing benefits under a bill introduced this month in Congress.

HR 5396 (Medicare Dental, Vision and Hearing Benefit Act of 2016) is given no chance of passage by Govtrack.us, a website that tracks Congressional legislation and computes the probability for enactment. But the bill serves of a reminder of gaps in Medicare coverage that represent significant challenges to many elderly and disabled Americans. Continue reading

Analysis reveals who hired health care lobbyists

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Center for Public Integrity has put together an interesting analysis and graph of what interests were lobbying on health care reform in Congress in 2009.

Information to create the chart is drawn from an analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms. The analysis found that “more than 1,750 companies and organizations hired about 4,525 lobbyists — eight for each member of Congress — to influence health reform bills in 2009.”

Trade, advocacy and professional organizations led the lobbying push, with hospitals, insurance companies and manufacturers behind them.

Some interesting tidbits:

  • AARP deployed 56 in-house lobbyists and two from outside firms
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce had 47 lobbyists, all but eight from outside firms
  • The American Medical Association had 33, 11 from outside firms.
  • Some unexpected organizations, including Americans for the Arts and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, also had lobbyists trying to influence health care legislation.

House reform bill includes serious disclosure rules

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The health care reform bill to be considered by the House of Representatives (1018-page pdf) includes strict disclosure requirements regarding “financial relationships between manufacturers and distributors of covered drugs, devices, biologicals, or medical supplies under Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP and physicians and other health care entities” (see “Physician Payments Sunshine Provision” on pages 635 through 653).

All such entities would be required to file annual disclosure reports. Exemptions include investments, goods intended for charity care, short-term equipment loans and payments or transfers of value of less than $5.

(Hat tip to Merrill Goozner)