Berwick shares thoughts on media coverage of health care, reform

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Don Berwick has worked with reporters as part of his jobs at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and, most recently, at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Berwick appeared at a Newsmaker Briefing at Health Journalism 2011. (Photo: Len Bruzzese)

Having left CMS in December, Berwick agreed to share his thoughts with AHCJ President Charles Ornstein about media coverage of CMS, health reform and his tenure.

Among other things, Berwick says, “There weren’t a sufficient number of longer in-depth analyses of what really was going on and what were the pros and cons of the choices the government, and our nation, are making.”

He also talks about what he calls the “great communication paradox around the Affordable Care Act” – the lack of understanding and explanation of the law.

Among his tips for reporters:

  • Explore the “more care is better care” myth
  • Medicaid is vulnerable and crucial and can’t get enough coverage
  • Stay away from the three-minute soundbite
  • Don’t simply repeat “nonsense”

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