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NASI Launches Campaign to Help Journalists Sort Through Medicare's New Prescription Drug Benefit

California HealthCare Foundation Gives Generous Grant to Fund the Educational Seminars

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2005
Contact: Jill Braunstein, (202) 452-8097


To help California's seniors and their children sort through the available health plans and financial assistance programs, the California HealthCare Foundation has awarded a grant to NASI who will work with the National Press Foundation (NPF) and New America Media to produce a series of educational seminars for journalists. Presented in newsrooms throughout California, these seminars will help journalists understand and explain this immensely complicated new benefit to the public.

“Journalists have a distinct role in our society as educators, and we plan to capitalize on the media's education and public awareness functions to help smooth the biggest changes in Medicare since the program's inception,” said Marilyn Moon, President of NASI and Vice President and Director of the Health Program at the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

NASI Senior Fellow Bob Rosenblatt, a Medicare expert and former L.A. Times reporter, will recruit experts from California's Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program to explain key terms and benefit options to journalists writing about the new prescription drug benefit. “Our goal is to see journalists emerge from the Medicare Road Shows with the knowledge and ability to write stories that will lead beneficiaries to make informed choices when faced with dozens of competing drug plans,” said Rosenblatt.

Medicare experts agree that implementation of this new benefit will be complex, particularly for such a vulnerable population. “The experience in the summer of 2004 with seniors and their families trying to make good decisions about drug discount cards – a simpler version of a drug plan – demonstrated how confusing and frustrating such decisions often are,” said Moon.

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training, and the open exchange of ideas.

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