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?