Emily Bazar is a healthcare reporter who writes “Ask Emily,” a bi-weekly column supported by the California Healthcare Foundation that runs in more than 25 newspapers and NPR affiliate websites across California, answering questions about how Obamacare’s giant healthcare overhaul works. Before moderating a panel on whether on whether or not Obamacare gives Sacramento more healthcare choices, she sat down in the Zócalo green room to talk about reporting on the Affordable Care Act, why you won’t find her writing in a coffee shop, and her love of “California Stars.”
What’s the last great book you read?
I’ve read a ton of great books this last year. I would say Jane Eyre or Rebecca. I’ve gone totally British-old-school this year.
What would your theme song be?
“California Stars.” It’s my favorite song in the world. It’s a Woody Guthrie song. I’m just so happy to be back in California, so it’s that song.
What do you wake up to?
Classical. Actually, my cat’s meowing.
What recent story are you most proud to have reported?
Probably a column about people’s [health] plans being canceled without their knowledge and consent. People have been having problems with the Affordable Care Act, and they don’t have a voice, and in many cases I’m able to give them a voice.
What dessert do you find impossible to resist?
Oh, I’m the caricature of a woman: anything chocolate.
What’s the strangest question you’ve been asked about the Affordable Care Act?
Oh my goodness, I have been asked a lot of them. I get people who have no concept of what this law is about, and I don’t know that I would qualify that as strange, but just very, very confused. They’ve already got Medicare or Medi-Cal, and they think they need to buy more plans.
What was your worst subject in school?
When did you last break a sweat?
I rarely break a sweat. It’s only at the gym.
How do you procrastinate?
I work in my garden.
Where do you write?
I need to be able to focus, so I can’t go to a coffee shop or something like that. I’m in a spartan, empty office so I can focus. And sometimes at my kitchen table.