Found by Pear? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The Times story was valuable, and certainly brought the news to a much wider audience. But it turns out that patient advocacy groups have been objecting to the delay for months, and the trade publication Modern Healthcare had covered the latest development in that wrangling about a week before the NYT article appeared. Ashok Selvam’s write-up requires (free) registration, but here’s the lede:

Patient advocacy groups seeking to protect patients with chronic conditions from an exception that could increase out-of-pocket spending beyond the limits set in the federal healthcare reform law aren’t happy with the terse response they received on Tuesday from the U.S. Labor Department.

The government’s response indicates that patients could face much higher out-of-pocket costs than the limits established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Labor Department told patient groups, including the National Health Council, Easter Seals and the Epilepsy Foundation, that it won’t reverse its policy issued in February for the millions of Americans who have either group coverage through their employer or buy individual health insurance.

And the author of the Politico Pulse email blast expressed some amusement at the opportunistic reaction from DC Republicans to the Times story, reporting the delay “became fairly well known in the policy world by April when some consumer groups including ACSCAN [American Cancer Society Consumer Action Network] publicized it.”

A couple takeaways from all this:

• If you’re a reporter for a general-interest publication, you should be reading trade publications on your beat. Often the best stories sprout from them.

• Sharing credit is good manners and there’s nothing wrong with taking a deserved victory lap, but let’s spend less time worrying about who gets the story first (even if we’ve all been trained, for years, to worry about just that). As Reporting On Health’s Michelle Levander has pointed out, the new journalistic age demands collaboration. The important story going forward is not journo-world wrangling but what effect the delay will have on ordinary people. In other words, there’s a pocketbook story to be told.

Related content:

Open wide: the fine print

Surprise? Employer mandate delayed

An Obamacare scorecard

 

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.