On the Reporting on Health member blog, John Lister, Senior Lecturer in Health Journalism at Coventry University in the UK, writes: “A British View of the US Health Reform and US Health Journalism.” He begins by reflecting on the Association of Health Care Journalists conference he attended in Philadelphia last month:
“I have to say that the overwhelming impression I took away was that Americans appear to love their health insurance companies more than almost anything else, and that US health journalists appear to be less critical and analytical in approaching health reform and health policy than when they report on new drugs and treatments.”
He explains why, which is why you should read the full piece, which I don’t want to cannibalize. But here’s more of a teaser of what he writes:
“…it’s rather shocking to find a conference of knowledgeable and independent-minded journalists apparently uncritical of the system, and failing to ask some of the basic questions that should be asked about new treatments – not least exploring potential benefits and harms, comparing the new ideas with existing alternatives (of which there are many around the world), and discussing potential conflicts of interest.
I came away wondering whether, and at what stage, American health journalists might begin routinely to ask more searching questions about the system itself, its key players – and its constantly spiralling cost. Because until these issues are raised in the media it is unlikely they will spontaneously raised by the American public: and that, no doubt, is just the way the for-profit insurers and hospital chains like it.”
Dr. Lister has invited me to speak at “Health in the Headlines: A European conference on health journalism” – June 23-24 at Coventry University.