Obamacare: Covering What Comes Next


The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, raises complex and often very personal questions for many Americans. Journalists need to cover the many angles and nuances of this complicated and controversial law.

The Poynter Institute kicked off a series of six Specialized Reporting Institutes in 2014, funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, with a three-day workshop where reporters could learn the facts and nuances of this program and how to localize their coverage.

The workshop was hosted by The Poynter Institute and The Association of Health Care Journalists at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park in January.

This resources page compiles resources from the SRI and the Web, offering all journalists a starting point for research on any story connected with the Affordable Care Act. Here, you'll find contacts, story ideas, examples of others' coverage, and places to get the context needed to make your stories comprehensible and useful to your audience.

Blogs Worth Reading

CHIR blog, the blog of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms, focuses on health insurance coverage, insurance markets, and how people are affected by insurance reform

Twitter Handles to Follow

@AHCJ_Pia: Managing editor, Association of Health Care Journalists

@Health_Affairs: At the intersection of health, health care and policy

@KaiserFamFound: The Kaiser Family Foundation provides independent information on U.S. health issues

@NPRHealth: Health coverage news from the NPR Science Desk

@SabrinaCorlette: ACA expert, SRI speaker and research fellow at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms

@WSJhealth: Health, healthcare, biotech, new drugs & medicine coverage from The Wall Street Journal

What Others Are Doing

Covering Obamacare Facebook Page

ACA, Inside the Plans by Len Stevens, March 5, 2014

House Calls: Health Care 101 by Monica Eng, March 4, 2014

What's Up Doc? Rural Health Care Provider Shortage by Alex Cameron, Feb. 25, 2014

Obamacare 'death spiral' not so dire by Kay Cee, Feb. 21, 2014

ACA Q&A, A Whole New World by Len Stevens, Feb. 19, 2014

Expensive hospitals aren’t better hospitals by Sarah Kliff, Jan. 31, 2014

As Deadline Approaches, ObamaCare Navigators Help The Uninsured In OK by Dana Hertneky, Jan. 29, 2014

Medicaid needs an audit, House GOP leaders say by Chelyen Davis, Jan. 28, 2014

The Ethics of Preventative Medicine by Kristin Gourlay, Jan. 27, 2014

Prescribed: A Personalized Tour of 'Obamacare'

Obamacare: A Midterm Report Card by Charles Ornstein, Jan. 23, 2014

Journalists Turn to Themselves for Obamacare Stories by Charles Ornstein, Jan. 22, 2014

Key Resources

Web Resources From the SRI

Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues by improving the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The organization's website features a detailed resources page.

Avalere: A think tank focused on health care business strategy and public policy.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services's Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight is charged with implementing many reforms of the ACA, particularly provisions related to private insurance.

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI): A reliable source of information on benefits, including health care.

Enroll America: Cited in the SRI as "a "pro" Obamacare site -but despite its position, includes story ideas and trailheads to stories and useful data."

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is a not-very-well-known federal agency that works with health clinics and under-served, including rural citizens.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

The Center for Insurance Policy and Research (NAIC) coordinates the collection and dissemination of insurance data and research for use by state and federal officials, agencies and policymakers.

The Center on Health Insurance Reforms, based at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute, is a team of experts on health insurance and health care reform. It aims to improve access to affordable and adequate health insurance by providing balanced, evidence-based research, analysis and strategic advice.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit, private foundation focused on major U.S. health care issues and the U.S. role in global health policy. Among other resources, the Foundation's website has a section dedicated to Health Reform and an extensive ACA FAQ.

Additional Web Resources

The GAO's state-by-state breakdown of premiums for consumers ages 19-64 as of January 2013.

HealthAffairs, a leading peer-reviewed journal of health policy thought and research.

HealthCare.gov: Go straight to the source. The HealthCare.gov site features a wealth of information about the ACA and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Medicare's Hospital Compare website is a resource for data comparing hospital scores for discharged patients.

National Association of Dental Plans has put together a reference sheet on ACA and dental coverage.

PolitiFact's ratings of statements about health care.

The United States Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration Affordable Care Act website lists all of the regulations and links to the mandated research and surveys on the ACA, as well as links to consumer resources and information about the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Training

Webinar Replay

Follow the Money: Fraud and the Affordable Care Act, presented by Joe Bergantino, gives reporters a starting place for their investigations.

Beyond the Noise: Covering the Health Care Law. POLITICO health care editor Joanne Kenen will help you sharpen your reporting and deepen your understanding of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on your community. Learn to interpret the latest enrollment figures, analyze and fact-check claims and learn what to watch for as the ACA enters its second year. Enrollment in this important Webinar is free, thanks to support from the McCormick Foundation. Originally broadcast on April 23, 2014.

Self-Directed Courses

Covering the Affordable Care Act, a series of conversations and articles on the Affordable Care Act that will provide you with the tools you need to report on health care reform accurately and with depth and context.

On the Beat: Covering Hospitals puts you in the role of a rookie reporter on the health care beat. Hone your critical thinking skills and learn to uncover and understand the reports, statistics and sources you'll need to cover health care and hospitals effectively.