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Over the weekend, I took a long look at what the health-reform law does to address a looming shortage of primary care doctors. And the short answer is: Not much.

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It was an eventful weekend in the news. Today's Daily Briefing will help you catch up on health in the debt deal, learn surprising facts about clinical trials abroad and violence in hospitals, and connect with tough-but-important stories about famine and homelessness.

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Earlier this year, the New England Journal of Medicine named Oklahoma as the state that will have the worst access to health care when Medicaid expands in 2014.

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As a Brit looking back on the AHCJ conference which ended just a week ago, I have to say that the overwhelming impression I took away was that Americans appear to love their health insurance companies more than almost anything else, and that US health journalists appear to be less critical and analytical in approaching health reform and health policy than when they report on new drugs and treatments.

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Journalist Mark Taylor examines how one Gary, Indiana emergency room continues to serve some of the sickest and neediest patients in the region, handling more gunshot, knife wound and violent trauma cases than other area ERs, alongside the chronically ill.

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If Congress and President Barack Obama decide the responsibility for health insurance falls on the shoulders of individual Americans, all of us might want to pay more attention to what's going on now in the individual insurance market and to what's promised in the legislation. If having no insurance is considered rock-bottom, having individual insurance is the next floor up. Some call it "house insurance," thinking that by having it they won't lose their homes to pay for a catastrophic illness.

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Lucien Wulsin is an attorney in Los Angeles specializing in health law and health policy. He is director of the Santa Monica-based Insure the Uninsured Project, where he is working on approaches to expand coverage for uninsured working Californians under grants from The California Wellness Foundation, The Blue Shield of California Foundation and The California Endowment.

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Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States?  Apply now for one of our positions. 

The best journalism these days wraps compelling narratives around scrupulous data analysis. Apply now for our 2021 Data Fellowship to learn the skills necessary to use big data to inform your reporting on health and social welfare issues. Learn more in this webinar on Aug. 3.

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