Forget the mainstream media; the health care debate is being shaped in cyberspace

Jeffrey Frentzen

Nearly every day, I am dumbstruck by how much blatant propaganda has accompanied the media’s coverage of the health care reform debate. Television network and cable newsrooms seem unable to avoid choosing sides in the debate.

Example: Recently, most national mainstream media outlets broadcast news of a poll conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) that stated a majority of its member doctors supported the so-called “public option” in health care legislation. What these media outlets failed to mention, however, is that four out of five physicians do not support the AMA.

Where can you find relatively unbiased, fact-based coverage of such an important issue? More important, where can a plastic surgeon or any other physician find relevance on this issue, written to them in a language and tone that physicians can dig?

The answer is I will give you one guess, and it isn’t ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or Fox News; nor is it found in the Tribune family of newspapers, the organs of Rupert Muldoch, or the handful of powerful global companies that currently monopolize most local and national media outlets. It is, as one Web blogger recently coined, that “health care reform will be decided on the Internet.”

My own careful investigation is that there is a lot of honest, relevant, and informative content to be found in Web—and blog-based coverage of the health care and insurance reform movement. Let’s get started.

The New England Journal of Medicine has published an interesting survey of physicians at Check out the Other Opinions, Links, and Legislation sections, which are accessible via a menu on that site.

In the blogosphere, author and commentator Jane Hamsher publishes the FDL blog (, which both praises and dissects the health care and insurance reform movement with an impressively upbeat, positive attitude and eagle eye for detail.

DB’s Medical Rants ( contemplates the political, social, and medical-related motivations behind reform. Not exactly unbiased, as the author represents a Libertarian point of view; however, the blog talks to physicians on their level.

Dr Rich, one of my personal favorite medical bloggers, offers The Covert Rationing Blog ([removed][/removed]), which offers informative, at times provocative columns that cover issues such as what the HMO charts tell us about health care reform and the implications of the individual’s civil right to health care.

The Health Care Blog ( has published several illuminating posts that collect fact and editorial on various aspects of the reform movement, including a thoughtful analysis of Medicare.

The Healthcare Horserace site ( is a fascinating aggregation of news reports, opinion pieces, facts and figures, and political tub-thumping from a conservative perspective.

On the other side of the aisle, The Huffington Post has provided many liberal-based opinions on the health care discussion—quite possibly, this site offers the most comprehensive documentation of the reform movement. This includes information from The Huffington Post Investigative Fund’s Health Care Investigative Unit, a research project that tracks congressional lawmakers who receive the most money from health care interest groups.

Other sites of interest include The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog (, which is published by a past president of both the National and the California Associations of Health Underwriters.

Another site, the CMHMD blog (, likewise helps to interpret the latest developments in the reform debate.

If Congress Won’t Read It, I Will, a blog written by an Austin, Tex-based real estate broker, may veer away from my intended focus on medical viewpoints of the reform debate. It is a layman’s interpretation of the entirety of HR 3200, the proposed and often demonized Congressional health care reform bill. His blog can be reached at