By Chris Adams
Mary Agnes Carey, an expert health policy reporter for Kaiser Health News, has been watching Republicans in Congress try to kill the law known as Obamacare for all six years it has existed.
In 2017, they have the chance to do so. And she gave NPF Paul Miller fellows a roadmap for how to cover that issue – as well as other health care topics.
“This is historic in nature, in so many ways,” Carey said. One of her suggestions is also one of the most basic: Go to Capitol Hill and sit in on committee hearings, rather than just watching them on TV. You’ll pick up a level of nuance you can’t see on a television screen, and you’ll see which lobbyists are in the room even if the camera never focuses on them.
Among her other suggestions:
- Follow important committees that will oversee health legislation, such as the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (known as the HELP Committee); and the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.
- Watch the committee hearings and markups, particularly for alliances among urban or rural lawmakers and perhaps across party lines.
- Talk to people on the ground affected by the law – hospitals, community health centers, insurance brokers – to get a sense what repeal would mean. Would insurers, for example, stay in certain markets? She pointed to stories from Kaiser Health News about how a repeal of the law’s Medicaid expansion would impact Kentucky and Indiana.