The co-ops can use earned media, and that’s where we come in. They are counting on the press to tell their story. Fair enough. But the story we tell must be more than a puff piece. It is the kind of story old-school consumer reporters used to do, complete with solid analysis of what their policies offer. That means scrutinizing and evaluating benefits, prices, restrictions—how the co-ops policies are better (or worse) than what the competition offers. If journos reporting on this new insurance animal do find it can provide a better product, then maybe co-op insurance might take off after all.

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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.