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Panel to discuss health care policy, ethics and journalism

November 21, 2017

The Center for Journalism Ethics will dive into the battle over health care in the United States at a free public event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison. Three panelists with expertise in journalism, health policy and bioethics will engage with the public about an issue that affects families, and foster understanding of the ethical decisions journalists and policymakers face.

The panelists are:

Sarah Kliff, a leading health care journalist, puts the policy debate in context and adds transparency to the complicated world of health care in podcasts and stories at Vox.

Paul Kelleher, associate professor in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at UW–Madison, is an expert on the ethical issues in health policy. He researches the justice in health care, the ethical practice of public health, and the philosophical foundations of health policy and practice. He is currently writing a book on humanity’s carbon footprint.

David Wahlberg, health care reporter at the Wisconsin State Journal since 2005, documents organ transplants, rural health care, doctor discipline and patient safety in award-winning projects that bring the national debate closer to home.

Photo: Sarah Kliff

Sarah Kliff

Photo: Paul Kelleher

Paul Kelleher

Photo: David Wahlberg

David Wahlberg

Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of the center, will moderate the conversation, which will cover the politics of changing or repealing the Affordable Care Act, and how health care policy may shape Wisconsin state campaigns and the 2018 midterm elections. Panelists will explore the framing of health coverage in news and critically examine whether the public is served well by the current information environment.

“Health care directly affects people and businesses every day in this country,” Culver says. “It’s a critical time to explore whether journalism overall is doing its job helping people make what can be life-and-death decisions. It’s exactly the right moment to ask what’s going right and where we need to improve.”

The event is free and open to the public. The panel will be in Promenade Hall at the Overture Center, 201 State St., Madison. Video coverage of the event will be provided by WisconsinEye.

Kliff will be visiting with the center Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 as part of its journalist in residence program, an initiative now in its second year. The program brings nationally renowned journalists to campus to promote engagement with UW–Madison students and the public.

Kliff also will share her insights on the ACA and what repeal of the law will mean for millions of people who rely on it for health insurance during a discussion at the La Follette School of Public Affairs. She will address the possible impact of next year’s midterm elections and answer audience questions from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the La Follette School, 1225 Observatory Drive.

The Center for Journalism Ethics, housed in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, provides an international hub for the examination of the role of professional and personal ethics in the pursuit of fair, accurate and principled journalism. Founded in 2008, the center offers resources for journalists, educators, students and the public, including annual conferences exploring key issues in journalism.

For information, email Megan Duncan, project assistant, at