Tag Archives: obama

Precision Medicine Initiative: Some quick resources

The White House has announced its anticipated “Precision Medicine Initiative,” which it describes as an “emerging field of medicine that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, microbiomes, environments, and lifestyles – making possible more effective, targeted treatments for diseases like cancer and diabetes. ”

Health Journalism 2014 featured a panel about personalized medicine and the presentations from “Getting personal: The medical and ethical challenges of using genetic information” may offer some story ideas and considerations for reporters who are explaining President Barack Obama’s proposal.  Continue reading

Election 2012: What do we know about the fate of health reform?

Joanne Kenen, AHCJ’s health reform topic leader, earlier discussed five potential outcomes of the election. Given what we now know about the results, here is Kenen’s wisdom on what to expect in terms of “Obamacare.”

Barack ObamaPresident Obama has won re-election; the Senate remains Democratic and the House remains Republican.

Obamacare survives. It will be implemented in 2014 – probably not without bumps and challenges, so you will have plenty to write about. But the fighting won’t be over.

There are at least two legal challenges to the law out there (not counting the lawsuits over contraception policy – but that’s a peripheral issue and wouldn’t bring down the whole law). Republicans, as this CQ/Roll Call story suggests, won’t just drop their argument that people can’t get subsidies through federal exchanges (in states that don’t run their own exchanges).

The Affordable Care Act will get tied into all the fighting to come over the fiscal cliff, entitlement reform, tax reform, the sequester and of course that looming debt ceiling limit. There are many ways that the GOP could still try to weaken or dismantle parts of the health law, including attempts to delay it, repeal specific pieces of it, or roll back some of the subsidies. But repeal is off the table.

My Oct. 26 story is behind a paywall. Julie Rovner at NPR also took a look at this. Mary Agnes Carey at Kaiser Health News looked at how various pieces of the law could change under different scenarios.

Joanne 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.

AHCJ Webcast

What does the election mean for senior health?

Tune in Thursday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. ET.

Now we need to make sense of the election’s results for our readers, viewers and listeners.

This AHCJ webcast will examine one big piece of the puzzle: what this election’s outcome means for seniors on Medicare, older adults who receive long-term care services from Medicaid and other programs that serve our elderly population.

A blue ribbon panel of experts will offer their thoughts and analysis during this event. Join us for a lively discussion and ask the questions that matter to you and your audience. The experts are:

  • Joseph Antos, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, American Enterprise Institute
  • Karen Davis, president, The Commonwealth Fund
  • John Rother, president and chief executive officer, National Coalition on Health Care
  • Moderator: Judith Graham, health care journalist and AHCJ topic leader on aging

A quick Obamacare election recap – or ‘precap’

So the election is finally here. What do we know about the fate of “Obamacare?”

As I write this on Sunday, Nov. 4 – not much. But here are the four main  scenarios to think about. When we know the results, we’ll explore more in depth.

Joanne Kenen

Joanne 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.

At this writing, the presidential race is considered very close (with each side predicting that its guy will win.) The conventional wisdom is that the Senate is likely – not certainly, but likely – to remain in Democratic hands. But we’ll look at what would happen if the Republicans pull out a narrow win.

All the scenarios I write about here assume that the House remains Republican – that’s pretty much a given. Should the entire politicoscenti be wrong about that (highly unlikely) and it goes Democratic, that would mean more support for President Barack Obama’s health law, if he’s re-elected, and more obstacles to repeal if Mitt Romney wins. But, I repeat, it’s unlikely.

So read through the other four scenarios – and I put the most interesting and least understood last. Continue reading

Resources break down candidates’ views on health care, what matters to voters

Here are two more resources before the presidential debate and the final weeks of trying to untangle the health policy claims in the campaign. Both come from the Journal of the American Medical Association (and neither require a password).

Core Topics
Health Reform
Oral Health
Other Topics

The first is a straightforward two-page essay summing up Obama vs. Romney on the health law/private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. It’s by Aaron E. Carroll, who is a physician and policy expert, and   Austin B. Frakt, a health care economist. (Both are part of The Incidental Economist blog, which I like a lot – and it’s searchable!)

“Fundamentally,” they write, “the candidates disagree on the role of government as the guarantor of affordable access to health insurance, as evidenced by their plans for private insurance markets, Medicare, and Medicaid.”  They also note the two candidates have different starting points for policy – Obama prioritized covering more people, and Romney stresses cutting federal spending on health.

The second is an infographic from the Kaiser Family Foundation, part of its Visualizing Health Policy collaboration with the journal.  It shows how voters rank health care as a campaign issue this year, which health issues are most salient and how Americans perceive Obama and Romney on these issues. It includes historical contact for the past five elections (back to Bill Clinton in 1992). Cost, as you may guess, is key. I particularly liked this chart, which showed how issues rose and fell with voters every four years. (Moral values beat out economy/jobs for the top spot in 2004. Health care placed 5th and last that year – after terrorism and Iraq.)

Joanne 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.

Americans unprepared to pay for long-term care

In the Chicago Tribune, Deborah Shelton examines how unprepared Americans are to pay for their own long-term care needs as they age. Long-term care tends to slip under the radar because, as one of Shelton’s sources told her, “People buy insurance for their life because they know they are going to die, for their car because they know that can get in an accident and for their health because they know they can get sick, but people don’t tend to buy insurance because they think they are going to need someone to help them take a bath.”

faces-of-aging-largeLong-term care encompasses everything from nursing home fees to in-home assistance with everyday routines. It all comes with a price tag; Medicare only covers a limited amount and Medicaid programs apply only to those below certain economic thresholds. That leaves the middle class, who can’t afford the services but don’t really qualify for Medicaid, in the lurch, Shelton writes.

Most people assume Medicare will pay the bills, but the program covers long-term care only under certain conditions and for a limited time. While Medicaid covers long-term care, beneficiaries have to be poor or willing to “spend down” their assets to be eligible. Private insurance can be expensive and excludes applicants with serious medical problems.

As a result, many families pay out of pocket until they exhaust their resources and then turn to Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act attempted to fill in the blanks, but long-term care provisions of that reform plan withered under intense cost pressure.

An initiative that would have incorporated long-term care into the Obama administration’s health reform plan was scrapped in October after actuaries determined that it would not be financially self-sustainable over the long haul. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act would have created a voluntary, self-funded, employer-based insurance option to help people save for long-term care.