All in all, Dennison delivered a good statehouse story, the kind that is much too rare. With the release of the RAND results, Dennison now has follow-up questions for Smith, MacLaren, and other legislators eager to get more Montanans into high-deductible plans. Dennison and other journos who want to write this story now have numbers that show the dark side of high-deductible health insurance.

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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.