Separating fact from fiction in covering health care

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Paul Demko of POLITICO; Christina Jewett of Kaiser Health News
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Jun. 22 at 5:00pm
  • Location: Grand Canyon 7
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

Separating truth from fiction in health care can be confounding given the fierce partisan standoff in Washington that’s crystallized over the last seven years. Republicans describe the current state of Obamacare in apocalyptic terms, with premiums skyrocketing and competition dwindling. By contrast, Democrats celebrate the huge coverage gains, leading to the lowest uninsured rate ever recorded. The problem for journalists is that those conflicting descriptions of the current health care landscape are both accurate.

This panel will explore tools you can use to cut through the noise, including how to find and decipher insurer financial filings that provide insight into how they’re faring in the exchange marketplaces. We’ll also cover some of the nuts and bolts of breaking into your local health care universe, including hospital inspection reports, treatment data and adverse-event and infection-rate data. We’ll cap our whirlwind tour with a peek into how Wall Street can give you a peek inside your Main Street health facilities.


Speaker Bios

  • Paul Demko has been a health care reporter at Politico since 2015, primarily covering insurance and federal health care policy. Prior to that he was the Washington bureau chief for Modern Healthcare. Demko also spent more than a decade reporting in Minnesota, including stints at City Pages and Politics in Minnesota. He started his career at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

  • Jewett is a senior correspondent with the Kaiser Health News enterprise team, where she recently worked on a story about deaths at surgery centers with the USA TOday Network. She spent seven years with CIR/Reveal, where she worked on an IRE-award winning series uncovering graft taxpayer-funded drug rehab, spurring arrests and the closure of scores of centers. She and two colleagues won a 2011 George Polk Award. She previously worked at ProPublica and the Sacramento Bee.

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