There were a number of workmanlike stories explaining the math behind the Milliman index, such as those done by CNNMoney.com and Reuters. Ditto for stories that reported the bankruptcy study and underinsurance findings. For example, a post by Tara Parker-Pope on her New York Times blog, Well, clearly discussed the key findings of the American Journal study. But there wasn’t much dot connection in this crop of reporting. It’s fine to report studies—but in the middle of a contentious health reform debate, context is super important.

Right now, proposals for taxing benefits, which could ultimately leave more people vulnerable to the kinds of things these studies found, cry out for dot connection. Can’t leave this one up to the economists.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and 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. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.