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Sudden Flurry of Health Care Reform News

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We want to praise several recent journalistic efforts to address health care reform issues.

Most notable, given the terrible track record of network TV news on these topics, was a two-part series by CBS News and Jon LaPook on questions about angioplasty, addressing the medical arms race and the need for true informed consent about harms and benefits.


Monday June 8 clip here.

Tuesday June 9 clip here.

The first (at least) was done in partnership with BusinessWeek, https://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/review.php?rid=2051 https://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/review.php?rid=2047 https://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/review.php?rid=2043 https://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/review.php?rid=2002 https://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/review.php?rid=1994 https://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/review.php?rid=1972 https://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/review.php?rid=1966

For now, though, we simply want to tip our hat to this week’s efforts by CBS.

We also want to add to the litany of praise for Atul Gawande’s piece, Kaiser Health News service writes:

“The … article is now being called one of the most influential health care stories in recent memory. The New York Times reported that President Obama made it required reading for his staff and cited it at a meeting with Democratic senators last week. His budget chief, Peter Orszag, has written two blog posts about the article. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius referred to it in a speech at the John F. Kennedy School of Government last week. Lawmakers on the Hill also are discussing it. Congressman Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., for instance, says the article has “shifted perceptions on the health care industry.”

By the way, if you want to learn about health policy and if you haven’t been following the recently-launched Kaiser Health News Service, you should be.

But critics of the Gawande piece, and of the Dartmouth Atlas data upon which it’s largely based, have come out of the woodwork. And Maggie Mahar, in her excellent Health Beat Blog, addresses many of those criticisms.

The debate is warming up.

And journalism needs to do better than just report on the horse race – the “he said/she said” political wrangling that has helped kill almost every embryonic health care reform effort with a death of a thousand cuts.

In these times, journalism needs to guide, to interpret, to help consumers navigate.

Some of the examples I’ve just highlighted do a terrific job of that.

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