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Health Care or Health Scare?

Informing the public requires not only producing quality content but finding to ways to encourage the public consume it
March 2, 2011

Laura Giocomo and I just turned a presentation we made to the Colorado Healthcare Communicators called “Health care or health scare?” into a guest column for the Health Policy Solutions website. In it, we address public opinions on federal health care reform, including widespread misconceptions about what elements the new law actually contains.

While our piece was intended to point out that there are opportunities for health-related organizations to better inform the public, it certainly begged the question of who or what is responsible for the current level of confusion.

Denver Post Staff Writer Michael Booth, who has extensively covered this issue, commented, “The print media and some responsible broadcast outlets, including public radio, have dedicated deep resources to covering federal and state health care reform, in neutral, fact-based fashion. There are some legitimate cases where you can blame media inattention for public ignorance – in the case of health care reform, it’s much more accurate to blame public ignorance on either public inattention, or attention to willfully irresponsible media such as Fox News.”

That’s certainly a valid perspective and highlights an ongoing challenge: Informing the public requires not only producing quality content but finding to ways to encourage the public consume it. There have been some creative efforts to make this dry subject somewhat more digestable but, as the polling we highlighted demonstrates, they appear to have had limited impact so far.

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