Best of 2008: Trudy Lieberman

Lieberman picks her top stories from 2008

1) Health Care on the Mississippi By showing how real people would fare under the proposals of both candidates, the holes and warts in their plans got exposed. I remember the people I met and their struggles with health care every time I see some pronouncement from a politician or an advocacy group, and ask myself if they would really be helped or hurt by what is being said.

2) Who Will Be at the Table? Showing the public what the special interests have to gain or lose from reform is crucial. This series has begun to examine how those interests are planning for the assault and ensuing political fight. We will be watching and hope our colleagues in the media do the same.

3) A Laurel to NPR NPR has done some of the finest health care reporting this year, and its series this summer showed how five countries managed to provide health coverage for all citizens at less cost and better quality than the U.S. Using multimedia as well as traditional radio, NPR dared to show that America has much to learn from other countries.

4) Stephanopoulos Snoozes, Public Loses George did it again—setting up a confrontation between Democrat and Republican health care antagonists that couldn’t help but leave the public bewildered and confused. It was a great model of he said/she said journalism and a terrific example of what reporters should not do if they want their audiences to understand the complexities of health reform.

5) Dick Cheney’s Health Care All year, the political and media emphasis has been on getting more private insurance into the hands of people who don’t currently have it. But there has been little exploration of what affordable coverage really is, which raises the equity question: Who should get the best coverage and who should get the bare-bones? Bill Moyers Journal began to raise the hush-hush equity question last May when Moyers featured the California Nurses Association, a single-payer supporter, and showed the super coverage the vice president got.

6) McCain’s Health Proposals Under the Microscope (Part I) This post revealed that Democrats as well as Republicans are interested in taxing a portion of employer-sponsored health plans, although Barack Obama’s campaign rhetoric and TV commercials suggested otherwise. Keep an eye on this “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scheme as Congress looks for ways to finance health insurance subsidies.

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Trudy Lieberman is a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR's healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. She also blogs for Health News Review. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.