Briefing Congress and Journalists on Health Policy

Field of Work: Conducting issue briefings on health and health care policy for policy-makers, journalists and national organization officials.

Problem Synopsis: Congressional staff and journalists need access to timely, accurate and objective information to help increase their understanding of complex health and health care issues, and thereby improve their ability to help make and convey health policy.

Synopsis of the Work: From 1999 to 2007, the Alliance for Health Reform conducted issue briefings on health topics for congressional staff and journalists, and created additional resources for news reporters seeking unbiased information on health issues.

Key Findings

  • The Alliance for Health Reform:

    • Held 27 briefings for congressional staff and others, covering topics such as:
      • Patients' bill of rights.
      • Ways to encourage more employers to offer health insurance.
      • Prescription drug spending.
      • The uninsured.
      • Children's health insurance.
      • Racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
      Each briefing yielded an audiotape or a webcast for later review.
    • Produced 24 four-page background briefs.
    • Held 12 briefings for reporters in Washington, 47 briefings for journalists and editorial boards in other cities and 72 desk-side briefings for Washington reporters.
    • Produced and distributed four sourcebooks, in English and Spanish, to assist reporters in covering health policy issues.
    • Created a Find-an-Expert database for reporters to use when seeking sources in various areas of health to interview. By 2007, the database listed 341 experts.