Brett Norman, a POLITICO health care reporter, died Saturday. He was 43 and had pancreatic cancer.
He is survived by his wife, journalist Kate Dailey; sons Everett, 4, and Owen, 2; his mother, Jean Norman; and his brother, Daniel Norman.
Norman reported on the Affordable Care Act, bioethics and the pharmaceutical industry. He joined POLITICO in July 2011.
“He covered all the craziness surrounding the launch of Obamacare – and he broke the story that the very same HHS official who made a mess out of Medicare.gov later went on to make a mess out of HealthCare.gov. Brett had fun with that one,” POLITICO Editor Carrie Budoff Brown, POLITICO Pro’s Editorial Director Marty Kady, and Executive Editor for Health Care Joanne Kenen emailed the staff.
Norman also wrote about bioethical issues such as organ transplantation, and complicated policy issues surrounding the pharmaceutical industry.
At the time of his diagnosis in late 2016, he was working on a project about overprescribing drugs to foster kids as a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow. It was a project he did not get to finish but it mattered to him deeply.
Norman was a talented reporter, a caring colleague, and a valued member of the POLITICO Health Care Team family. He was thoughtful, smart, and had a delightfully wry wit.
“Brett was a kind and generous colleague, but more importantly he always put his family first. It was obvious how much he loved Kate and his boys,” said his fellow POLITICO health reporter Sarah Karlin-Smith, with whom he shared the pharmaceutical beat and the weekly Prescription PULSE newsletter. “I’d like to think there will always be a bit of his spirit in every one of my bylines.”
Before POLITICO, Brett was a science writer at Rockefeller University. He got his start in journalism covering cops, courts and local government at the Pensacola News Journal. At the paper, he was twice part of teams named as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for public service.
Norman, who lived in Washington, was a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was born in Iowa, but considered Pensacola, Florida, his home town. On his Twitter profile, he called himself a “Floribamian.”