Monday, May 02, 2016

The NIHCM Awards

I was flabbergasted to learn a couple of weeks ago that I'd won the National Institute of Health Care Management (NIHCM) award for digital healthcare journalism, announced today, along with winners in print, trade, broadcast and research.  For me, being named a finalist in the company of top healthcare journalists -- and scholar-journalists -- was win enough.

In the digital category, finalists included two scholars doubling as bloggers and journalists, Austin Frakt and Nicholas Bagley, who have helped to educate me and whom I rely on as sources; Margot Sanger-Katz, who is breaking new ground in data journalism at the New York Times' Upshot; and a lineup of equally impressive reporters. Their entries, with links, are here. Here are the winners in each category:
John Carreyrou & Mike Siconolfi, "Testing Theranos," The Wall Street Journal

Emily Anthes, “Save Blood, Save Lives” & “The Trouble with Checklists,” Nature

Daniel Zwerdling, Robert Little, Nicole Beemsterboer, Barbara Van Woerkon, Robert Benincasa, Samantha Sunne & Lydia Emmanouilidou, “Injured Nurses,” NPR

Andrew Sprung, “When Silver Is Worth More Than Gold or Platinum” (posts 2, 3, 4), xpostfactoid

Martin Hackmann, Jonathan Kolstad & Amanda Kowalski, “Adverse Selection and the Individual Mandate: When Theory Meets Practice,” American Economic Review
My own entry was a cluster of posts focusing on what's been a central preoccupation of mine in my tracking of ACA implementation: the factors that lead low income marketplace enrollees to access or forgo the Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies that are available only with silver plans. I've focused on CSR, as I noted in this compendium of posts on the subject, because these secondary, semi-hidden subsidies constitute the ACA marketplace's best defense against underinsurance. Most who are eligible access CSR, but too many don't, and the price is too high for too many.

Unlike most Americans, I have enormous respect for journalists. Over the past couple of years (beginning here, in Feb. 2014) I've stuck my toe into the trade as an amateur, and I'm very conscious of my limitations, though trying to extend them. It's been relatively easy for me to learn from experts, and I've built a network of some of the very best who have been generous with their time -- Larry Levitt and Cynthia Cox at Kaiser, Judy Solomon at CPBB, Austin Frakt and Nicholas Bagley of TIE (and academic) fame, Don Taylor at Duke, Joel Ario at Manatt, Janet Weiner at Penn, Heather Howard and Dan Meuse at Princeton, and many others.

I've also learned tons and been stimulated by daily contact with my fellow lay market observers -- Charles Gaba, Louis Norris, Richard Mayhew (the last two are health insurance professionals, the first two my colleagues at, an excellent and unbiased source of ACA info).

I've made less progress, though, getting out into the marketplace and street, talking to people in the roles as healthcare and health insurance consumers, or to the professionals who serve them. That's where I'd like to push myself going forward.

When I first started blogging in 2007, I may never have gotten going without early reinforcement from Andrew Sullivan, who has the great virtue of being receptive to anyone who seems to make sense about anything, regardless of credentials or status. James Fallows shares that receptivity; both offered the reinforcement of guest blogging gigs. Jonathan Cohn has also offered important support,as well as an example of fair mindedness and a commitment to never papering over inconvenient facts while frankly advocating for reform. Harold Pollack is of the same breed. Kevin Drum and Jonathan Bernstein have been good online friends. Steve Anderson at opened up a venue to me that I value highly and has helped push me toward readability.

I'm one of those people who's found a community and pipeline to knowledge on Twitter, so thanks to that beleaguered for-profit that shouldn't have to make too much profit. Never change, Twitter, and see y'all there.


  1. Congratulations.
    You certainly deserve the award. Keep up the outstanding work.

  2. Congrats:

    Looking at the others listed there, you are in with a good crowd too. No light weights.