I don’t see myself as an advocate. I think the reason I’ve gotten those awards is because I’m one of a few people who write about those issues in a broad way. I’m one of the few people who write about cancer not just as a multiplication of cells, but what happens to people when they have cancer and run out of money. I write a lot about the practical stuff — so I think that’s what attracts the attention of advocacy groups. I don’t see myself as an advocate for any particular illness or cause. But I see myself as an advocate for good health policy, and those necessarily overlap.
Some of these groups are shocked that I’ll write a lot of columns about cancer and then I’ll write one very critical of cancer groups. They’ll say, “I thought you were on my side.” And I say, no, I’m on the side of good public health. When consumer groups fail, that needs to be exposed as just much as when governments fail. Groups don’t always understand that – but that’s the life of a journalist.