After the Fact is a podcast from The Pew Charitable Trusts that brings you data and analysis on the issues that matter to you—from our environment and the sciences, to larger economic trends and public health. Experts from Pew and other special guests discuss the numbers and trends shaping some of society’s biggest challenges with host Dan LeDuc, then go behind the facts with nonpartisan analysis and stories.
Coming Soon: Race and Research
A new season of Pew’s “After the Fact” podcast explores diversity in America and how race intersects with research in a range of fields—from public opinion polling to medicine to economics. We talk with social scientists who are helping society better understand how the nuances of race can change the perspective of issues and other experts who are looking at how diverse viewpoints improve policy solutions. The episodes of this season are a contribution to the evolving national conversation about race and diversity, offering a timely look at the challenges, opportunities—and the work—ahead.
Misinformation and the Coronavirus Vaccines
Stat: 30 percent—According to the Pew Research Center, 30% of Americans don’t intend to get a coronavirus vaccination.
Story: There’s a light appearing at the end of a long tunnel in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: the emergence of effective vaccines to prevent its spread. Yet, even with a solution in sight, public trust is still a hurdle—with an “infodemic” of misinformation occurring alongside the pandemic. In this episode, we discuss the facts about the science of the vaccines—and the importance of communicating accurate information to the public—with Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, infectious disease physician and associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Division of Health Policy and Management.
The Pandemic’s Impact on America’s Civil Courts
Stat: 70%: The percentage of debt collection cases that result in default judgment, or automatic win, to plaintiffs.
Story: Debt collection cases are the most common civil court cases today, but many Americans are navigating the civil legal system without legal representation and paying heavy consequences. In this episode we hear from Erika Rickard, who leads Pew’s work to modernize civil court systems, on the issues surrounding debt collection cases and how the pandemic is bringing some courtrooms online. We’ll also speak to Chief Justice Nathan Hecht from the Supreme Court of Texas about how data on debt collection cases is informing the state’s efforts to ensure the court process is open, fair, and transparent.
States of Innovation: Securing Public Pensions
Stat: $1.24 trillion: The 50-state pension funding gap—the shortfall between what all the states have funded and what they actually owed public employee retirees—as of 2018.
Story: Public employees count on pensions when they retire, but most states haven’t adequately funded their obligations. As of 2018, the funding gap for all the states totaled $1.24 trillion. Without sustainable funding, the cost of retiree benefits can mean less money is available for schools, roads, or public safety. In this episode, we hear from Greg Mennis, who leads Pew’s efforts to help states find innovative solutions to close the funding gap and save taxpayer dollars. We also speak with Marcie Frost, who leads the California Public Employees' Retirement System—the country’s largest public pension system—on how stress testing that pension fund helps policymakers understand potential costs and liabilities as they make decisions to help secure retirement benefits for 2 million public employees, retirees, and their families.
States of Innovation: Creating Corridors for Wildlife
Stat: $8 billion: The cost of vehicle collisions with wildlife each year in the U.S.
Story: In America’s West, animal herds follow ancient migration routes that are bisected by roads and highways. In this episode, we hear from Matt Skroch, who leads Pew’s efforts to conserve wildlife corridors, and Jodi Hilty, of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, about innovative solutions that make roads safer for both people and animals.
States of Innovation: Expanding Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders
Stat: 18%: The percentage of Americans with opioid use disorder who receive medication as part of their treatment.
Story: As the coronavirus pandemic grips the world, the opioid epidemic continues to affect millions of Americans. Several states are developing innovative ways to tackle this public health issue. In this episode, we speak with Beth Connolly, who leads Pew’s research on substance use disorders, and Louisiana Representative Paula Davis, who helped ensure effective treatment in her state.