Names of campaign health care advisers are tightly kept secrets

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

confidential-fileMuddled arguments about health care have, for better or worse, so far dominated the Democratic primary debates. Every once in a while Cory Booker steps up to explain to the television audience – and perhaps the candidates themselves – that the disagreements aren’t as cosmic as they seem.

Every Democrat on stage wants to expand coverage and to use government programs to achieve that while the Republicans are still talking about repealing the ACA or killing it through the courts.

(Booker’s exhortations do minimize the Democrats’ divisions over the future role – or existence – of private insurance but he’s right up to a point about the disagreements around coverage expansion being more about how to do it, rather than whether to do it.)

So who is behind the respective Democratic health plans (which the candidates themselves may or may not be able to articulate clearly in a debate format). Who are the policy advisers, the thinkers, the advocates getting the ear of the presidential wannabes?

That may sound like an easy question. But getting answers, Paige Winfield Cunningham of the Washington Post discovered, isn’t easy at all. Campaigns didn’t respond to questions or made lofty statements about how it was the candidate, of course, who developed the health plan.  In a “How I Did It” essay for AHCJ, Cunningham explained what it took to hunt down the Democratic presidential candidates’ health care advisers, the people shaping the next round of U.S. health care reform.

2 thoughts on “Names of campaign health care advisers are tightly kept secrets

  1. Ruth Taber

    Maybe political ideas/policy on health care are in short supply is due to the lack of knowledgeable experts. People like the late Uwe Reinhardt aren’t around and most smart health maven aren’t ready to hook up with a bunch of pols……..
    As a leading country in the world it’s sickening to know what we spend and how little we get in return (morbidity/mortality statistics) compared to the rest of the world.

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