AP Health Care Initiative
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Posted by: Laura Sellers-Earl
re-election has put national health care reform on a fast track _ at least in
some states. The Affordable Care Act is the biggest addition to the nation’s
social safety net since the advent of Medicare nearly 50 years ago and will
affect every American in some way. Yet it also is far different from the health
insurance program for seniors or Social Security, which are administered the
same no matter where a person lives.
To help its members
understand the health care law and its local impact, The Associated Press is
planning a sustained initiative focusing on how health care reform will play
out in each state.
How health care reform will
be enacted and how consumers will be affected depends on a state’s politics,
demographics and business environment. The result is that the law will create a
50-state landscape, rather than a uniform national map.
Some states have jumped at
the chance to run their own health insurance marketplaces, called exchanges,
while some are moving slowly and plan to cede most responsibility to the
federal government. Others want a hybrid. Some states will expand their
Medicaid programs, while others may not.
The AP initiative, under the
Health Overhaul banner, will be driven in large part by state-based coverage,
from legislative developments to the effect on consumers. It will include
Q&As and other devices that will help readers, listeners and viewers
navigate the law’s implementation at the state level and understand relevant
aspects of the health care industry. A premium will be placed on stories that
can be localized with regional content, and a major emphasis will be addressing
the ordinary citizen’s most pressing question: "What does it mean for me?”
National stories, from
Washington and AP bureaus throughout the country, also will be a key component
of the initiative. Coverage will come in all formats, including photos, video
Two national packages of
explanatory stories and sidebars are moving in advance today for release Jan.
28 and 29:
WASHINGTON _ Buying health
insurance on your own will never be the same. This fall, new insurance markets
called exchanges will open in each state, brought to you by President Barack
Obama’s health care law. They’ll offer private coverage and government aid to
help pay premiums, but the rules will be different. You won’t have to worry
about getting turned down because of a medical problem, but you might want to
have your latest tax return handy to see if you qualify for financial help. By
Primer-Exchanges Q&A. (Many states will offer a customized version of this
national Q&A, tailored to the decisions that state has made thus far.)
WASHINGTON _ It could be the
most important decision state legislatures make this year, not just for their
budgets, but for the well-being of residents and the economic conditions of
their most critical hospitals. President Barack Obama’s health care law expands
the Medicaid safety net health insurance program to cover millions of
low-income people who until now were left out. But each state must decide
whether to accept the expansion. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar.
_ BC-US--Health Overhaul
Primer-Medicaid Dollars, a table of what each state would get from the federal
government and spend out of its own funds.
_ BC-US--Health Overhaul
Many AP members already have
offered suggestions and advice for the Health Overhaul initiative, and we want
to continue that dialogue throughout the year. To that end, we encourage you to
reach out to the news editor or correspondent in your state to provide feedback
and ideas for future coverage topics.
The business of health care
often is a confounding topic. An ongoing coverage partnership between AP and
its state members should make it less so for millions of Americans as they try
to find their way through this new reality.
In addition to your state AP
contact, questions about the 50-state effort can be directed to Tom Verdin (email@example.com) or Kristin Gazlay (firstname.lastname@example.org).