National Conversations About the Costs of U.S. Health Care – A Content Analysis of Media Coverage, 1993-2010

Caroline Foster, Andrea H. Tanner, Sei-Hill Kim, Soo Yun Kim

This study evaluated 531 newspaper articles and television transcripts to examine how the U.S. media presented the issue of rising health care costs from 1993 to 2010. The prominence of health care coverage, the expert sources, and the presentation of the causes of rising health care costs were assessed. Results suggest that the president influenced health care news coverage, while expert sources quoted in the reports influenced how the causes of rising health care cost were presented. Findings contribute to the growing body of academic literature on agenda building theory and provide insights for health care reform advocates interested in maximizing their media advocacy efforts.

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