I’m not in Schwitzer’s camp on this one. Writing a piece labeled sponsored content is a lot different from the sins I uncovered a few years ago researching the “The Epidemic.” And plenty of health care journos have gone to work as hospital publicists or joined PR firms to shill for drug companies. Still, Schwitzer makes an important point about the stories that need to be covered if the public is really to understand this “most significant issue of our times.” One of his readers did too, asking whether Burger will use his access to hospital folks to “talk about best practices and ways for health care to be better and cheaper for the consumer.”

What was Thursday’s column about? It was a puff piece for the hospital extolling its charity care program that helped a cancer patient whittle down some of his bills for his treatment. Will Burger use his space to explore why cancer treatments cost so much in the first place?

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.