At Health Journalism 2013, I led a panel about state implementation of the health law (Angie Drobnic Holan of the Tampa Bay Times blogged about the session). Later that day, I asked some of the reporters – part of the group of AHCJ Regional Health Journalism Fellows and all from conservative states that have opposed the Affordable Care Act – for some takeaways that will help them cover the topic. Here’s some of what they shared:
- Remember that the exchanges cover only a portion of the population and most will be subsidized. The young healthy ones paying more that you hear about are (as speaker Jon Gruber of MIT said) only a “slice of a slice of a slice.”
- The launch of the exchanges is going to be “a big mess” so the story is also going to be who is going to fix them, into 2015.
- We have been thinking about Jan. 1, 2014, (when the exchanges open) but we also need to be focused on October 2013 (when enrollment begins).
- Get experts on the exchange and the insurance issues in your state set up now so you’ll know who to call when the enrollment starts (October) and the exchanges start covering people (January 2014).