Online tool can help reporters offer facts, context to health reform choices

This guide to Obamacare from California’s KQED, written by Lisa Aliferis, is very user friendly.

It is an overview of the federal law – with specific explanations of how it is unfolding in California, a state that has been supportive of the Affordable Care Act, and which the White House is hoping will have a relatively successful roll out. The guide has an overview but it’s interactive in a way that explains how the law works for an insured person, an uninsured person, a small business employee, etc.

If you are doing some quickie profiles of people signing up this week – or refusing to sign up, or pondering whether to sign up – it may help you fact-check and contextualize. For instance, if you interview someone who isn’t signing up because she says “Obamacare will quadruple my costs,” when you plug in that person’s  information you might find that she is actually eligible for significant subsidies (or maybe Obamacare really will quadruple her costs if she’s currently in a bare-bones plan and makes too much for a subsidy …)

It’s important that we report what people are saying and thinking – the rampant confusion has been part of the story all along and may hamper enrollment. But it’s also important that you don’t quote people’s misinformation without giving a bit of more factual context.

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