Good morning … All the best to Tim Jost, who has been a patient, accessible and indispensably smart expert on just about every twist and turn of the Affordable Care Act's entire life. Jost is stepping away from his regular contributions to the Health Affairs blog, which is a well-deserved break for him but a big loss for the rest of us.
I told you 2018 would be bad.
Point of personal privilege: I'm pretty sure Orrin Hatch was the first elected official I ever interviewed. I was 16 and covering the 2000 Republican convention, but had no idea of how to go about doing that. I recognized Hatch from TV, at some reception I probably wasn't supposed to attend, and by the end of the week he was one of the only members of Congress who had been willing to take a few minutes for my extremely unsophisticated questions.
By now I've trailed him in the Senate hallways roughly one million times, enough to know he's almost always talkative with the press. That short interview wasn't access, though; it was charity. I, of course, take no position on Hatch's politics, but just as a person, it was very kind of him, and it meant a lot to an aspiring journalist — enough that I still remember it almost 20 years later.