More of an explainer than anything else I’ve done, this story really came from the fact that I kept hearing about tax credits, but I, in trying to write about them as a reporter, didn’t even really understand what they were. So, this was my chance to dig into the minutia of it all. The lens for it, though, was the new health care proposal and how radically it would change the current set up (to favor the young and the rich).
The story was also really my first attempt to make numbers clear. Tax credits are, obviously, based around a lot of numbers. So to give examples and help people understand what everything actually means, I had to understand the numbers and then find a clear, concise way to relate them. I don’t think I succeed much at first, but I think I got to a point where it wasn’t overwhelming, and it was pretty clear. I have a tendency to get lost in paragraphs that are packed with numbers, my eyes start erratically jumping around, and just about all the information is foregone. Eventually, I just skip to the next paragraph looking for the summary. But, I know that I have an obligation to relate the numbers, to be as transparent and thorough as possible, and that means including and explaining the numbers.
Also, generally speaking, this was the first time I understood that I was enjoying writing about health care and I was starting to get to a place where I could make sense of what other stories were saying—and when I realized just how confused so many other people probably are when they approach the painfully erudite complexities of our health care system.