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.