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California’s Successes And Failures As A Healthcare Testing Ground

Andrew Nixon
Capital Public Radio
Interventions to reduce heart attacks and deaths during childbirth are two of dozens of case studies of healthcare delivery initiatives in California examined in a new issue of the journal Health Affairs.

As the fifth largest economy on the globe, California is looked to in many ways as a world leader—not just in terms of agricultural production and climate change mitigation goals, but also in the field of health, where we’ve been a testing ground for new ideas in health care policy and delivery. For instance, California was an early adopter of the Medicaid expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act, and health officials have launched initiatives to target specific health outcomes and risks like heart attacks, maternal deaths and vaccine exemptions.

But how have all these health experiments fared? In September, the policy journal Health Affairs devoted an entire issue to answering this question in California, examining health topics ranging from health disparities and coverage for undocumented immigrants to the effect of hospital consolidations on the price of treatment. Listen to the audio above for an interview with FM89 health reporter Kerry Klein about successes and failures in California’s healthcare test bed, and an attempt to the question: Is California a health care leader?

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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