What Does this Mean for Health Care Reform?
That so little news coverage focuses on health, and health care policy specifically, is a problem especially when it comes to working together to solve the policy challenges in this country.
We are a democratic society – and the success of democracy depends upon knowledge and communication. Americans rely on the news media to provide information on a daily basis.
Our media coverage helps to determine:
- What issues rise and fall on the national agenda;
- How the public perceives key issues;
- How well Americans understand the policy debates.
Americans are already tuned in to the problems arising from our inefficient, broken health care system.
And while 62% of voters believe that it is important for the government to take action on health care reform, there is not yet any agreement amongst the general public or amongst legislators about what such reform might look like.
The news media could play a vital role in providing balanced information and analysis about the proposals that are introduced in January.
Getting unbiased, reliable information to the public will be also be vital, given the likelihood that opponents will run massive ad campaigns intended to sway public opinion by scaring voters with untruths about the cost and quality of reform plans.
Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that media outlets will switch gears when it comes to health policy coverage, judging by the coverage of health care during the presidential campaign.
During the presidential election season, coverage of health care overall accounted for less than 1% of campaign-related news. This was true despite:
- Voter interest in the subject; and
- Ongoing debates in government about the future of our health care system.
For those folks who are interested in more in-depth analysis about the health care system, the best media outlets seem to be newspapers and news shows like The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
Of course, there are also a range of excellent blogs with information on health care. Check out our blog roll, and sign up for updates from our site!
This article was written by Julia Nagle.