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In January 2020, JAMA Health Forum was launched as a new channel of information, a novel approach for publishing original work in health policy and for presenting health policy content from across the JAMA Network.1,2 The channel also featured JAMA Forum columns from prominent health policy experts. Beginning in 2021, the JAMA Health Forum channel will become a full-fledged journal.
JAMA Health Forum will be an international, peer-reviewed, online, open access journal that addresses health policy and strategies affecting medicine, health, and health care. The journal will publish original research, evidence-based reports, and opinion about national and global health policy; innovative approaches to health care delivery; and health care economics, access, quality, safety, equity, and reform. Health policy leaders will contribute timely and insightful commentary via the JAMA Forum, and news briefs will cover major reports released by government agencies, foundations, health policy think tanks, and other policy-focused organizations. The journal will also present curated health policy content from across the JAMA Network, including JAMA, JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Network Open, and other JAMA Network journals.
Embracing the evolving trend of open science, JAMA Health Forum will be a fully open access journal that is thoroughly integrated into the JAMA Network. Authors will have the option to submit manuscripts directly to the journal or have their manuscripts transferred from JAMA or the other JAMA Network specialty journals. For manuscripts presenting original research, a rigorous editorial review process, similar to that of all JAMA Network journals, will include external, internal, and statistical peer review. Articles that are accepted for publication will be edited and produced following the same high standards of JAMA and the JAMA Network journals. Distribution will be solely digital and all content will be freely available for anyone to read. As with all JAMA Network journals, JAMA Health Forum articles will receive worldwide reach via weekly email alerts with tables of contents and links to articles, frequent posts on social media channels, and press releases to boost news media attention. To enhance the distribution of content, podcasts will be a regular feature of the journal.
Why launch a new journal focused on health policy in 2021? The year 2020 has been a profoundly difficult one for the US and the world. The COVID-19 pandemic still rages. Normal life has been severely disrupted. Worldwide, the number of COVID-19–related deaths has already exceeded 1 million,3 and by the end of 2020 the number of excess deaths is estimated to exceed 400 000 in the US.4,5 The pandemic is likely to continue dominating health news throughout 2021 and ending it will require innovative health policies. In addition, fundamental health policy issues continue to challenge many nations, including access to health care, health care financing, health care workforce, and the rising dual burdens of infectious disease and noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, mental illness, and injuries. Moreover, the need to address racial justice and related health inequities is paramount.6,7
In the US, the inauguration of President-elect Biden will bring health care policy issues to the forefront of the national agenda. The number of uninsured individuals in the US has increased since 2017, now exceeding 12% of the population, or 30 million people.8 Although 38 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, 12 states—including states with high numbers of uninsured individuals—have yet to expand Medicaid.9 The legality of the Affordable Care Act is once again being challenged in the US Supreme Court. Regardless of the outcome, further reforms to control costs and improve access and quality of care are needed.10,11 Some of the issues to be debated include a public option for purchasing health insurance and lowering the age of Medicare eligibility. The US has not developed a consensus on whether health care is a right or a privilege.12 There is also no clear consensus on how to ensure that all individuals in the US have health insurance; this debate will continue with a new administration and Congress.
Given the importance of health policy in the US and around the world, 2021 is an opportune time to launch JAMA Health Forum as a new journal. Until this launch, the JAMA Health Forum channel will continue timely posts on important health policy matters, and when the journal launches, all of these posts will be moved to the new journal’s archive. Submissions for this journal will begin in early 2021. Additional information can be found in the About section of the JAMA Health Forum website.13
Corresponding Author: Howard Bauchner, MD, JAMA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: November 18, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.23376
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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Bauchner H, Ayanian JZ, Buntin MB, Flanagin A, Shields B. JAMA Health Forum—A New JAMA Network Specialty Journal. JAMA. 2020;324(24):2495–2496. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.23376
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