Monday, December 22, 2014. Last Update: Mon 2:15 PM EST

The Second Opinion

How to Report on Medicare

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‘Mediscare’ claims persist. Does calling them ‘debunked’ suffice?

A humble suggestion for reporters covering a recycled Medicare campaign claim

Well, what do you know. Republicans are trying their luck yet again with campaign ads telling voters that the Dems... More

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How do you catch a candidate and pin him down?

MinnPost asked Sen. Al Franken’s challenger nine times what he’d do about Medicare and Social Security. The exchange is illuminating for reporters and voters.

Eric Black, a political columnist for MinnPost, offered a great example recently of how to pin down (or, at least,... More

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The Associated Press factchecks a couple ‘Mediscare’ ads in Kentucky

As the midterm campaign gets underway, some familiar talking points come out again

Bravo to The Associated Press! As soon as dueling ads for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and his challenger in the... More

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Medicare isn’t doing its own ‘truth checking.’ Why?

Kudos to ProPublica for “Examining Medicare,” but there’s more to this story than the bad apples

In April, the Department of Health and Human Services released its great Medicare data dump unlocking a treasure chest of... More

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Six times Medicare caved

A pattern for reporters to dig in to

Reporters don't often cover the rule-making process that goes on at government agencies. If they do, they typically borrow from... More

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Investigating a $150 billion ‘black box’

CPI did stellar reporting on the Medicare Advantage “money grab,” despite agency stonewalling— here’s how others reporters can dig in

In a year-long investigation of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Fred Schulte, David Donald, Erin Durkin, and Chris Zubak-Skees of... More

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The promise and peril of new Medicare data

Newly-released Medicare payment data offer key clues to how physicians practice, get paid—if reporters proceed carefully

Yesterday's release by the Department of Health & Human Services of Medicare physician payment and service data--for decades out of... More

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What do you mean, control drug prices? We can’t do that

The latest fight over Medicare rules shows why American healthcare costs are so high

Update, 1:44 pm: CMS has backed off the proposed rule changes, The Hill reports. Want to understand why American healthcare... More

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Cut to: Medicare ‘cuts’

Reporters get another chance to put a recurring talking point in context and honestly explain to seniors what’s at stake

At the moment, it looks like Medicare may be the gift that keeps on giving for the GOP. For the... More

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Will seniors pay the price?

The hospital lobby’s agenda is clear—hit up Medicare beneficiaries, not hospitals, to pay for the “doctor fix”—and merits wider coverage

A telephone call with reporters on January 23 couldn't have been more explicit. The American Hospital Association, the big trade... More

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OC Register explodes Medicare myths

A laurel to the paper’s deep dive into Medicare Part D showing “profit trumps public interest”

As the Affordable Care Act tumbled along its rocky path to implementation, the media drew parallels between its disastrous... More

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CNN sows confusion

An interview with Sen. Angus King about the unfolding budget negotiations, Medicare, and Social Security—minus follow-up questions or clarifications

What did the government standoff have to do with Obamacare? I've been in Canada for much of this month on... More

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Medicare Uncovered: How many doctors still take Medicare?

How you answer depends on who you are and where you stand

How many doctors are really refusing to treat Medicare patients? It's a simple enough question. But it's also one of... More

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Medicare Uncovered: Cost cutting? We can’t have that!

Medical device makers flex their lobbying muscles

A classic healthcare-lobbying story is in the making--a shootout between the government and the medical device industry over cost... More

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Medicare Uncovered: Who should pay? Who can pay?

A shout-out to Marketwatch for a thorough report that challenges the “skin-in-the-game” theory

Elizabeth O'Brien's May 15 Marketwatch piece on proposed changes for Medicare is one of the best I have seen since... More

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Medicare Uncovered: parsing Senator Corker’s big bill

A primer for reporters on a significant bill

This is the third of a series of occasional "Medicare Uncovered" posts that will look at how the media are... More

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Medicare Uncovered: Corker and his bill

The press needs to move out of its comfort zone

This is the second of a series of occasional "Medicare Uncovered" posts that will look at how the media are... More

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Medicare, Paul Ryan, and beyond: a primer

Here’s context to clarify the big entitlements debates

Mitt Romney’s choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee elevates Medicare and Medicaid (along with Social... More

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What makes Paul Ryan tick?

The New Yorker defines the man who would remake the government

For those closely observing the attacks on Medicare and Social Security, Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker profile piece in the August... More

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Medicare and misinformation

Is my premium rising? A beat memo for reporters

Two weeks ago a Midwest businessman sent an email to a long list of his senior friends warning that their... More

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False balance and the Medicare scare

Who’s been telling the truth in Florida?

Last Thursday the president made a campaign stop in Florida, and—surprise, surprise—he talked about Medicare. Or at least he talked... More

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A Grand Bargain on entitlements?

The press is sending signals about Simpson-Bowles. How about explaining it?

To the average person, Nancy Pelosi’s May 20 interview with George Stephanopoulos probably seemed like standard procedure for a Sunday... More

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Medicare and the $500 billion bogeyman

Will a half-truth still work for the GOP?

Republicans and their allies are dusting off an old $500 billion deception about Medicare, trying once more to scare seniors... More

EXTRA Unpacks the Media’s Medicare Coverage

Are journalists writing for doctors or for patients?

I don’t know Amy Poe, a writer and Medicare consumer based in Little Rock, Arkansas. But I like a piece... More

A Medicare Memo to Campaign Reporters

Tailing Mitt on Medicare and Social Security, too

Dear Colleagues: I have just returned from a reporting trip to Southeast Arkansas, where the folks I visited have very... More

USA Today Touts the Government’s Good News on Medicare

But was it the full story?

A few days ago USA Today trumpeted some health policy news: enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is up and premiums... More

What Mitt Really Believes About Entitlements

Protecting Social Security and Medicare

It’s hard to say if Mitt Romney’s declaration the other night in Florida that Republicans “will never go after Medicare... More

Medicare Versus Obamacare

The fight begins in Florida

In the last few days, three mainstream news outlets elevated “Medicare: The Political Story” into the headlines. It was good... More

Medicare Vouchers Explained

A conversation with the Brookings Institution’s Henry Aaron

In the Republican presidential debate Monday, Mitt Romney came out in favor of a "premium support program, which allows people... More

The Bloodying of PolitiFact

What is Medicare, anyway?

Now it’s my turn to weigh in on the “Lie of the Year,” the gimmick PolitiFact uses to highlight the... More

The Kind of Medicare Story We’d Rather Not See

SmartMoney runs a lackluster listicle

Anyone reading SmartMoney’s take on Medicare would want to get granny off the program in New York minute. It was... More

The Coverage of Wyden-Ryan, Round One

Consensus building to privatize Medicare

Robert Pear’s New York Times piece “Support Builds for a Plan To Rein In Medicare Costs” seemed like a leak.... More

CJR Holds a Town Hall in Missouri

Do the pols represent the voters?

As Barack Obama’s bus cruised through the heartland last week, the media told us a fair amount about what the... More

The Back Story on Medicare’s Wild Spending

The narrative unfolds, bit by bit

It’s no secret Medicare spending is on a wild ride northward. The politicians--Dems and Republicans alike--tell us that every day.... More

The Deficit Deal Defined

Is Medicare really safe?

Presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett chatted with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC yesterday as part of a sales job for the deficit... More

A Medicare Miss at the LA Times

Some fact-checking, please

Medicare is a bear to write about. It’s tough for beneficiaries to understand, and unclear news stories only serve to... More

Joe Lieberman and his Medicare Gift

The press needs to untie the bow—and quickly

Leave it to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman to speed along the process of making seniors on Medicare pay more for... More

Jon Huntsman’s Vision for the Future of Medicare

Whose moral obligation is it?

Potential presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed was thoroughly predictable, containing lots of the acceptable phrases for... More

Memo to Joe Nocera

Getting the facts right on Medicare

Dear Joe: It was good to see your column on Medicare in The New York Times the other day. I... More

Medicare’s Real Cost Problem

Covering Medicare, part six

Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. In... More

A Beat Memo on Medicare

Is the Ryan plan really so novel?

Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. In... More

Means-Testing Medicare, According to CQ

Covering Medicare, part five

Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. In... More

The AP Takes the Public’s Pulse

Covering Medicare, part four

Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. In... More

Single Sourcing on a Medicare Story at NPR

Covering Medicare, part three

Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. In... More

A Missing Medicare Link from The New York Times

Covering Medicare, Part II

Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. In... More

Covering Medicare, Part I

A mixed performance from the press

Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. Without... More

Reporters fail to capture implications of pension provision - A ‘big shift’ tucked into the spending bill goes under-examined

The New Republic: A public trust or a business? - How Chris Hughes turned a 100-year-old publication into a “product”

Serial creators don’t know what will happen to Adnan Syed - New developments in his legal case suggest that the outcome is wide open

FOIA reform dies while the press looked the other way - RIP Improvement Act of 2014

The problem with sharing uncredited photos - “Just because you put something on the internet does not give people the right to steal it”


The traffic lure of outrage (Slate)

“I didn’t become a journalist to peddle indignation on Facebook. But it sells—the page views don’t lie.”

NBC news producer’s sons were in the besieged school in Peshawar (NBCnews.com)

“I remained silent and didn’t know what to say — I know how such attacks on schools usually end”

Hero mom calls into CSPAN to berate her arguing pundit sons (WaPo)

“This was not planned. She called in on the normal line.”

Dick Cheney doesn’t want to call it torture but the media doesn’t have to follow (Vox)

“People deserve to know that the American government (proudly!) did things that in any other context are called torture”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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