The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation has long occupied a special place in the debate over health care policy. In addition to publishing some of the most important (and user-friendly) reserach available, it has also invested in journalism designed both to convey that informatoin and to enrich it with original reporting. Chief among those efforts has been a series of programs that subsidize journalists pursuing worthy health care projects, either as interns or mid-career fellows, both here and abroad. I was fortunate enough to land one of those fellowships years ago; without it, I doubt I could have produced my book or half the stories I've written for this magazine.
But times change. And with the rapid demise of print journalism, the foundation realized that underwriting health journalism would have to beyond offering temporary stipends for projects (although the fellowship program is still going strong, thankfully). And so was born Kaiser Health News, which debuted yesterday. It's staffed by some of nation's most experienced and reliable health journalists and is already producing some impressive work. As an example, you might want to check out Jordan Rau's article on the fight over a new hospital in New Jersey--and how it foreshadows coming fights over how to reign in health care expenses. You might also want to make a habit of reading the KHN blog, whose author--Kate Steadman--first made her name as a blogger years ago, before coming to Washington.
I confess to a bias here, since KHN has also asked me to write a series of regular opinion columns, which will appear every other week both at their site and ours. (The first one ran yesterday.) But you don't have to take my word for it when it comes to the foundation's good work. Kaiser--which, by the way, is not in any way tethered to Kaiser Permanente--has the respect of people from both parties and all ideologies. Their formal entry into the news business is, I think, a boon to us all.