NIHCM Health Care Digital Media Award: the Finalists.

Thanks to NIHCM for including “Obamacare’s Victims” parts 1 and 2 on the list (see below for a brief description of this two-part post) , and congratulations to all of the finalists.

The award recognizes excellence in digital media that improves understanding of health care topics.A $10,000 prize will be presented to the winner at a dinner in Washington, DC on June 1, 2015.

I urge everyone to read the nominated posts. If you are interested in healthcare and healthcare reform, this is a good short list of “must-read’s.”  You may not agree with all of them, but they provide valuable information, and highlight key controversies. 

Lisa Aliferis, Lisa Pickoff-White, Olivia Allen-Price, State of Health, KQED, 11/17/14, 9/11/14, 3/23/14, 2/3/14

Julia Belluz, “The Science of Obesity and Weight Loss,” Vox, 11/27/14, 12/19/14, 12/23/14, 8/25/14

Aaron Carroll, Mark Olsen, Stan Muller, “Healthcare Triage—Using Evidence to Inform Policy,” Healthcare Triage, 1/19/14, 6/9/14, 10/6/14, 5/26/14

Carlos Fioravanti, “The Stepping Stones to Rare Diseases,” Pesquisa, August 2014

Westby Fisher, “The ABIM Foundation, Choosing Wisely, and the $2.3 Million Condominium” & “Reviewing the Regulators,” Dr. Wes Blog, 12/16/14, 10/21/14

David Gorski, “The Problems with Right-to-Try,” Science-Based Medicine, 3/8/14, 4/27/14, 7/21/14, 11/2/14

Matthew Herper, The Medicine Show, Forbes, 1/8/14, 6/12/14, 8/8/14, 12/7/14

Alexander Howard, TechRepublic, CBS Interactive, 6/10/14, 3/11/14

Allan Joseph, “Treating Hepatitis C,” The Incidental Economist, 6/13/14, 6/16/14, 6/17/14, 6/18/14

Sarah Kliff, “How America Pays for Health Care,” Vox, 9/2/14, 12/22/14, 4/17/14, 12/2/14

Maggie Mahar, “Obamacare’s Victims, Part 1 and Part 2,”, 1/2/14, 1/3/14

Marc-David Munk, “The Future,” Considering American Healthcare, 9/13/14, 8/18/14, 8/8/14, 7/10/14

Elaine Schattner, “Cancer Patients Need More Guidance in Treatment Decisions,” Forbes, 8/28/14, 8/13/14, 9/24/14, 11/2/14

Gary Schwitzer, “ Posts 34 Pieces in 2014 on Imbalanced Media Messages on Screening Tests,” Health News Watchdog,, 10/1/14, 7/9/14, 6/25/14, 9/16/14

“Obamacare’s Victims”– part 1 and part 2 (Summary) 

(Note to HealthBeat readers: these posts originally appeared on )

For more than two years, health reform’s opponents have been feasting on tales of Obamacare’s innocent victims—Americans who lost their insurance because it didn’t comply with the ACA’s regulations. Critics claim that now they have to shell out more than they can afford—or go without coverage.

Trouble is, many of those stories just aren’t true.

In Part 1 of the post, I write about a Fort Worth Star Telegram article that leads with the tale of Whitney Johnson, a 26-year-old new mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). Her insurer just cancelled her policy, and according to Johnson, new insurance would cost her over $1,000 a month.

That claim stopped me in my tracks. Under the ACA, no 26-year-old could be charged $1,000 monthly – even if she has MS.

Obamacare prohibits insurers from charging more because a customer suffers from a pre-existing condition. This rule applies to all new policies, whether they are sold inside or outside the exchanges.

At that point, I knew that something was wrong.

When I checked the exchange – plugging in Johnson’s county and her age – I soon found a Blue Choice Gold PPO plan priced at $332 monthly (just $7 more than she had been paying for the plan that was cancelled). Co-pays to see a primary care doctor would run just $10 ($50 to visit a specialist) and she would not have to pay down the $1,500 deductible before the insurance kicked in.

You’ll find part 1 here and part 2 here. If you would like to comment, please come back to this post.







8 thoughts on “NIHCM Health Care Digital Media Award: the Finalists.

  1. Maggie–I was the prelim round judge w/Michael Millenson (but will have no say in whether you win the grand prize). However, this series was classical blogging at it’s best. Taking a reported story full of BS and ripping everyone involved to shreds by doing better reporting.–Matthew

  2. Matthew–

    Thanks very much. Coming from you, I appreciate the compliment.

  3. Congratulations! You are in fine company.

    Both of your pieces are excellent. It is refreshing to see such real journalism. You are a scrappy, independent analyst. While not directly involved in healthcare you have a real knack for seeing the big picture. I’m looking forward to checking out “Money-Driven Medicine” this weekend.

    • Wilhelm–
      Thank you! And I agree that I am in very good company. I’m flattered.

      I hope you enjoy Money-Driven Medicine. I find that people are still reading it because many of the problems I describe there are still with us. But health care reform is beginning to address them.

  4. Dear Maggie,
    I am a young entrepreneur whom is interested in the Healthcare industry because I believe that It will always be in demand and there is a decent margin of profit in it, I haven’t my niche in the industry as I am doing research, I came across your blog
    Since we are in 2015, How can I find out which industry was the most profitable in 2014 ?. Do you know if it’s still beverages ?
    I would appreciate your reply,
    Thank You,
    Sayed Hamdani.

    • Sayed–

      This is something you can Google. Just search “most profitable industry” and U.S. and 2014.
      I would also suggest searching “most profitable industry” and globally and 2014.

      My guess is that it’s IT/communication (i.e. Google, Apple etc.)