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Health policy news is just 1 percent of all news

A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that news about health and health care made up 3.6 percent of all news content from January 2007 through June 2008.

It found that 42 percent of stories were about specific diseases or conditions, with cancer receiving the most attention (10 percent of all health coverage).

Thirty-one percent of health news focused on public health issues, including potential epidemics and contamination of food and drugs.

The smallest category of stories focused on health policy or the health care system (27 percent) of all health news, or less than one percent of all news content. This category includes stories on topics such as Medicare and Medicaid, the uninsured, health care costs, and proposals for reform of the health care system.

For the study, 3,513 health stories were analyzed from 48 news outlets, including newspapers of all sizes, network newscasts, cable programmingand online news sites.