The Tennessean recently ran a six-part series by Tom Wilemon, who was a 2012-13 AHCJ Regional Health Journalism Fellow, showing the faces of the Affordable Care Act.
The series, accompanied by video, a set of helpful fact boxes, and an invitation to email Wilemon with questions about the law, broke down the jargon and, as Wilemon wrote, showed “what the law means for a young invincible, a part-time job juggler, a 50-something, an entrepreneur, a poverty worker and an immigrant.” (I confess that initially I read that as a “juggler” not a “job juggler” and was hoping for the first article on “Obamacare goes to the circus,” but alas, I had just read it too quickly.)
The unifying theme was that the Tennessee population – like much of the country – was just not quite sure what this health reform law could offer them (other than political fighting). And that they needed help.
As he wrote in the overview:
The countdown is on until the Affordable Care Act’s mandates take effect.
It’s a law intended to bring health coverage to uninsured Americans, including about 900,000 in Tennessee. They range from healthy young people who think they don’t need coverage to desperate 50-somethings with pre-existing conditions who can’t get a policy.
However, few people understand exactly what the law means for them, even though three months from now they can start signing up to buy coverage on a federal insurance exchange.
The pieces were short and clear but conveyed a lot of information: I was particularly struck by the simple vivid opening sentences that brought the various segments of the population to life and zeroed in on their concerns. Continue reading