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Robert Pear, scrupulous chronicler of health care for the New York Times, dies at 69

In the hands of many Washington reporters, the ins and outs of Medicare and Medicaid, the Clinton administration’s failed health-care overhaul and President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act could be insufferably technical. But health policy is also intensely personal. For millions of Americans, it determines what conditions their health insurance will cover, how much insurance — if any — their grown children can afford, and how their elderly parents will pay for prescription drugs.

By all accounts, Robert Pear of the New York Times was one of the most relentlessly probing journalists on the health-care beat, enlightening readers and rankling partisans with the clarity of his reportage and his savantlike understanding of the federal government and its arcana. With a seemingly ever-present byline on Page One of the Times, Mr. Pear was a constant and authoritative presence in Washington for four decades.

He died May 7 at 69 at a hospice center in Rockville, Md. The cause was complications from a severe stroke that he suffered April 29, said his brother, Doug Pear.

Attribution: Emily Langer,
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