Is it too boring or complicated? No, Wiener, said. “But it needs a new slant.” Although there have been what he calls “endless victim articles” about poor quality in nursing homes, there’s been little focus on new programs for home and community-based care such as letting Medicaid recipients choose their own home health attendants. In his presentation to health journalists, Wiener offered a menu of questions and story ideas, including, for example:

• About twice as many people are receiving care at home than in nursing homes, and the trend will continue. Is that where money should be redirected?

• Germany and Japan finance long term care through social insurance. England has a system similar to ours, but the British government has taken steps to reform its “social care” system, putting that country way ahead of us in terms of policy discussions.

• Ineffective tax incentives and problematic regulation will continue to plague the market for long-term care insurance.

These topics should stimulate journalists’ appetites for creative coverage in their communities, and offer fresh ideas for pushing the candidates to talk about long-term care during the campaign. The subject of long-term care cries out for leadership from both the press and the candidates.

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.