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March 5 Webinar: Insuring the Uninsured and the Medicaid Expansion

President Obama intended to make government-subsidized insurance for the poor through Medicaid a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. But in June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not force states to expand their programs. Now each state must decided whether to grow its Medicaid rolls, turning what once seemed like a story about process into a high-stakes game of political brinksmanship. Is it worth it for states to forgo generous federal subsidies for the expansion in order to hold steadfast in opposition to "Obamacare?" Even once strident opponents of the ACA have relented rather than turn down vast sums that would subsidize a historic expansion. Where does your state stand? And what are the stories you can tell about it?

In this webinar addressed key issues for reporters as states move forward with their decisions. Each choice has consequences for politicians, implementers, medical providers, and patients -- and for the health of communities.


Center for Health Journalism Digital Editor-in-Chief Michelle Levander moderated the discussion with the panelists below.



Alan Weil has been the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) since September 2004.  An independent, non-partisan, non-profit research and policy organization, NASHP is dedicated to excellence in state health policy and practice. Mr. Weil, a frequent speaker on national and state health policy, Medicaid, federalism, and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, will give an overview of what will happen in states that are participating and states that are not. Mr. Weil can be reached at



Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR in Boston. She also created and frequently contributes to HealthCareSavvy, WBUR’s community of patients starting to shop for health care. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, class of 2010, and a National Health Journalism Fellow in our 2011 program. Ms. Bebinger will share experiences and story ideas gleaned from reporting on the Massachusetts Medicaid expansion, the model for the ACA. Ms. Bebinger can be reached at


Becca Aaronson reports on health care and develops data interactives for The Texas Tribune. After an internship in fall 2010, she was hired by the Tribune to help cover the 82nd legislative session. Ms. Aaronson will talk about covering the emerging support for expanding Medicaid in Texas despite Gov. Rick Perry's decision to opt out. She will also provide tips on how to create interactive graphics that look at how a state might fare if Medicaid were expanded. Ms. Aaronson can be reached at


The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 National Fellowship will provide $2,000 to $10,000 reporting grants, five months of mentoring from a veteran journalist, and a week of intensive training at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles from July 16-20. Click here for more information and the application form, due May 5.

The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 Symposium on Domestic Violence provides reporters with a roadmap for covering this public health epidemic with nuance and sensitivity. The next session will be offered virtually on Friday, March 31. Journalists attending the symposium will be eligible to apply for a reporting grant of $2,000 to $10,000 from our Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund. Find more info here!


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