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Health Matters Webinar Series

Upcoming

July 17, 2018

It could be a big year for Medicaid expansion. Virginia is expanding its program to include single adults; a judge recently ordered Maine’s governor do so; and ballot initiatives in four other states could lead to further expansions. But the biggest wave of change is being led by Republican governors, as Medicaid work requirements find a newly receptive audience under President Donald Trump. Currently seven states are seeking federal waivers to add work rules, following the leads of Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire and Arkansas. In this webinar, we’ll explore the policy shift and outline questions reporters should be asking. 

Previous Webinars

June 18, 2018

In a rare move, the U.S. Department of Justice has sided with a legal effort by 20 Republican-led states to upend the Affordable Care Act’s core provisions — one of only two instances in recent memory when the federal government has failed to defend a current law. The Texas-led lawsuit argues that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the law’s promise of coverage to people with preexisting conditions must be overturned. The Justice Department says it can’t find any “reasonable arguments” to support the ACA’s provisions. Could this case spell the end of Obamacare? This timely briefing will help participants understand what this latest legal challenge means for the future of health reform in their communities.

May 15, 2018

The U.S. spends twice as much per capita as other developed countries on prescription drugs. And the price hikes show no sign of relenting: The average price of insulin doubled from 2012 to 2016. A recently approved leukemia drug costs $475,000 per treatment. A breakthrough Hepatitis C drug debuted at $1,000 a pill. Such price tags in turn drive up individual premiums and pose big financial burdens on employers and taxpayers. They’re a major reason why the U.S. spends far more on health care than other countries. This webinar will explain recent trends in drug prices, outline leading policy ideas for addressing the crisis, and share story ideas and reporting tips for bringing the story home for your audience.

March 13, 2018

In the past five months, 100 people have been shot to death in just three mass shootings in Florida, Nevada and Texas. The carnage has left Americans hungry for a deeper understanding of what drives such violence and how we might collectively respond to the terrifying recurrence of such atrocities. While regulating guns is a famously divisive issue in the U.S., how might an exploration of gun violence as a public health problem shift the debate and allow for new ways of addressing this urgent crisis? This webinar will feature insights, research and story ideas from two of the country’s leading researchers on gun violence and one of the country’s top reporters on the topic.

February 05, 2018

The repeal of the health insurance mandate by Congress in December could result in millions fewer Americans with health insurance over the next decade, according the CBO. But individual states still have many options to reinforce their health insurance markets or limit insurance sign-ups, should they choose. This webinar will take a look at how the repealed mandate will change health coverage, and how states might reject — or embrace — the latest GOP moves to erode the Affordable Care Act. With all the focus on Beltway politics, it’s easy to overlook the big role that states have to play in shaping how their health markets work and who gets covered — a rich font of stories in all 50 states.

December 06, 2017

As leading health care economists bluntly put it in a famous research paper, “It’s the prices stupid.” Experts increasingly point to the high cost of care in America — not necessarily the overuse of care — as the chronic illness of the U.S. system. Health systems in other developed countries pay nowhere near these prices for the same services. This webinar will offer an overview of our health system’s Achilles’ heel, and provide journalists with one ace health reporter’s toolkit for covering the issue in their community — including strategies, data sources and crowdsourcing tips.

October 31, 2017

The opioid epidemic has given rise to an illicit gold rush as patient brokers and treatment centers profit off desperate addicts, funneling them to shoddy treatment centers and fraudulent “sober” homes at a profit of thousands per head. The profiteering, unfolding in communities across the country, has bilked insurers out of millions and created a shady subculture that takes advantage of a vulnerable population. This webinar will explain how to report on such fraudulent treatment schemes, explore how they have taken root in communities across the nation, how the legal system is trying to curb the problem, and what a healthy addiction treatment model could look like.

October 04, 2017

U.S. maternal mortality rates are the highest in the developed world and increasing rapidly. America’s rate is about eight times higher than countries such as Sweden or the Netherlands, and the U.S. is the only country among peers where the maternal death rate has been rising. Complicating matters for public health leaders looking to address the problem nationally has been a paucity of reliable and consistently collected state data. This webinar will help reporters understand what’s behind the disturbingly high U.S. maternal mortality rates and look to California, which has become a leader in finding ways to lower the death rate, make better use of data and improve outcomes.

July 26, 2017

The GOP’s House and Senate health reform bills both call for a massive restructuring of Medicaid that could lead to unprecedented funding cuts as states are forced to shrink their programs or make cuts elsewhere. But even if the latest plan founders in the Senate, governors and health officials in conservative states are pursuing a number of Medicaid changes through federal waivers. How might conservative-led reforms change state Medicaid programs for decades to come? With this webinar, we’ll give participants the policy primer they need to understand such historic changes and highlight story ideas reporters can pursue as these reforms play out on both the federal and state levels.

June 07, 2017

Instability and the prospect of sharp premium increases are roiling health exchanges across the country, and the recent passage of the American Health Care Act in the House could signal more dramatic changes. What does this portend for the future of health exchanges, the symbolic heart of Obamacare? And what do reporters need to know to bring this story home for audiences in their coverage area? This webinar will put the latest news developments in context, discuss the ways in which GOP plans and President Trump's actions may impact the health exchange markets, and offer advice for reporters covering this story in their region.

April 11, 2017

It’s often been called the worst drug crisis in American history, ravaging towns from coast to coast and killing more than 33,000 people in 2015. This webinar will explain and offer reporting and storytelling approaches for a new geography of addiction, with the opioid epidemic proving particularly devastating for white rural communities. Prescription painkillers have long been at the core of the epidemic, but the number of deaths from heroin, synthetic opioids and benzodiazepines has risen dramatically in recent years. While the larger story of the U.S. opioid crisis is not new, the epidemic claims more lives every year as increasingly powerful drugs and drug combinations lead to more overdoses, giving this story a heightened urgency. 

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Announcements

There's a growing push by Republican governors to require Medicaid recipients to work to receive care. And the Trump administration is giving them the green light. This webinar will explore what this policy shift means for Medicaid enrollees, and outline questions reporters should be asking now. Sign up here!

Want to improve your data journalism skills?  Apply now for the $2,000 California Data Fellowship -- four all-expenses-paid days of training on data acquisition, analysis and visualization, plus a $2,000 reporting grant and six months of expert mentoring.  Dates:  October 17-20. Deadline: August 27.

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