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Applause For Post Health-Care Coverage

By Andy Alexander

A recent ombudsman’s column criticized the Post for not providing readers with enough primer-like pieces on the complex health-care debate. Last Friday’s Omblog cited a terrific piece on end-of-life planning that was precisely what readers have been saying they want. Today, The Post went one better.

A large feature, headlined “8 Questions On Health-Care Reform,” provides readers with non-jargon explanations of some of the central issues. Reported by Ceci Connolly and Alec MacGillis, it offers baseline information to those who want to start tracking the debate as it intensifies in Congress. The package provides a glossary of terms, as well as helpful graphics (in print and online) comparing bills, showing how lobbyists are connected to a key Senate committee, and a breakdown of who constitutes the 47 millions Americans who do not have health insurance. The design and graphics were by Karen Yourish, Laura Stanton and Kenneth W. Smith Jr.

Readers called and e-mailed their appreciation.

One came from a local librarian. “I see today’s Post has primers,” she wrote, “and I hope to see more.”

“Today’s 2-page spread is excellent,” wrote a Washington journalist who has been critical of The Post’s coverage in the past.

Also in today’s paper:

- The lead story in the Health section explains how the current proposals might affect different families and individuals facing health-care problems. The story was written by Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News, an independent news service that has collaborated with The Post on health stories.

- A story from Los Angeles by reporter Karl Vick on "recission," the technical term for canceling coverage on grounds that an insurance company was misled.

These are the types of stories readers have been saying they need. They appeal because they offer plain-English explanations, and they often tell the health-care story through the eyes of real people.

In the past, The Post has deserved some of the reader criticism that its coverage was too focused on process and politics. Not today.

By Andy Alexander  | September 8, 2009; 5:07 PM ET
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Next: The Redskins-Post Relationship


Interesting conclusion since their are few if any specifics on the 5 bills floating around Congress!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | September 9, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I applaud the Post for finally putting some explanatory reports out to the readership.

However, I must note that the praise doesn't change the ratio of explanatory (what's in the bill and what it means to mean) reports to the horserace reports. Ombud praises 2 stories (Fri and Tuesday) which could be either stories in two weeks of reporting for a 1/7 ratio.

Now, it's possible that the Post has turned the corner and the correct ration is 2/5 for a 40% explantory rate and 60% horserace.

The original ombuds post stated a 72% horserace to 28% what-will-it-mean-to-me/what's-in-the-bill, but in either case the improvement is noteworthy, but marginal.

Posted by: grooft | September 9, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Money is energy. It's force that is always flowing in and flowing out. There's a universal reaction to it and you can never have enough. If the coverage is profitable there will be more.

Posted by: Dermitt | September 10, 2009 3:48 AM | Report abuse

Michael Barone has written two columns in the past week alleging, and making a very good case for, partisan bias by the Post in Virginia's governor's race. Will the Ombudsman please address this matter?
I would send this request in an email, but the link does not work.

Posted by: mikwil84 | September 10, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

This Just In.

There is a Tea Party Protest in Washington DC on 9/12/2009 to protest out-of-control government spending.

Applause For Post Tea Party Protest, I don't think so.

Posted by: geo82170 | September 11, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I, too, would like to see the Post do a story on the "tea parties," on who has funded them, who is sponsoring them, who has organized them. And even more important, what the sponsors and funders hope to accomplish. Simply giving enraged people a venue to act out seems inadequate as a purpose.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | September 12, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

The Post has never had an article, column or editorial that examined the waste in the high overhead and compliance costs of private insurance. What they are doing now is way too little and way, way, way too late.

You said todayyou over cover the Redskins because your readership is interested, but in 2003, your national poll asked if one preferred private health care through employers or to have the government give every person "something like Medicare." Single payer got 62% and private insurance received 33%.

Yet since 2003, the Post's coverage of single payer has been zilch, nada, zero, non-existent, etc.

It is clear that the Posts cover not what its readers want, but what it advertisers and corporate interests want.

Posted by: lensch | September 12, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The tea party will be really amazing.

Posted by: kazns2000 | September 14, 2009 3:29 AM | Report abuse

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