The Dose is the Commonwealth Fund’s podcast that asks, What can the U.S. do differently when it comes to health care? Join host Shanoor Seervai every other Friday for conversations with leading and emerging experts. This season we’re focusing on new ideas that could strengthen and improve health care for everyone.
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Uncared For: America the Outlier
The maternal mortality rate in the United States is more than double that of our peers – and it’s especially high among Black birthing people. Why? The Commonwealth Fund collaborated with Lemonada Media to create Uncared For, a six-part podcast series, hosted by award-winning journalist SuChin Pak (Add to Cart, MTV News) to take a personal and wide-ranging look at maternal health care around the globe to find the answer.
On today’s episode of The Dose, we’re sharing the first episode of Uncared For. SuChin Pak talks to Brandi Jordan, a doula who was an essential support for Pak’s own childbirth. Even though Jordan has decades of childbirth experience, when it came time for her own pregnancies, she was repeatedly ignored and neglected by her doctors. Unfortunately, Jordan is not alone in experiencing a system that disproportionately fails Black birthing people.
The first episode of Uncared For examines some of the factors that contribute to the systemic racism that Black birthing people face in the United States and unpacks the historical roots of these inequities. Over the course of the series, the show explores health care systems in Germany, the Netherlands, and Costa Rica to find solutions for a health care system that’s safer for all birthing people.
All six episodes of Uncared For are now available wherever you get your podcasts.
Health Care’s Increasing Focus on the Drivers of Health
What people eat, where they live, and how much they earn can impact their overall health more than the medical care they receive — sometimes much more. Now, for the first time, federal policymakers are trying to measure and screen for what are known as the drivers of health.
On this week’s episode of The Dose, Shanoor Seervai talks with Alice Chen, M.D., chief medical officer at Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace, about gathering momentum in the health sector to acknowledge and address nonmedical risk factors for health.
Chen, a physician with years of experience caring for underserved patients (as well as a former Commonwealth Fund Harvard Fellow in Minority Health Policy), explains how food insecurity, housing instability, and transportation issues, among others, are all inextricably linked to people’s health.
“As people started thinking about how you actually improve health and not just provide transactional health care services, you start to widen your lens and realize, oh, there are all these other factors that are actually driving population health,” she says.
For the next few months, The Dose will be going on hiatus. We’ll be back in touch in the new year with more conversations about how to make health care better for all Americans.
U.S. Women Struggle to Get Abortions in a Post-Roe World
In post-Roe America, many women seeking abortions are treading on landmines, particularly in states where access is banned or severely restricted.
On the latest episode of The Dose, host Shanoor Seervai talks to Raegan McDonald-Mosley, M.D., about a tool that makes it easier for people to determine what the laws are in their state and where they can get care.
Mosley, the CEO of Power to Decide, talks about the huge risks for women – particularly low-income women of color – who can’t get the reproductive health services they need.
“Instead of… investing in maternal health services on the ground in communities that need it, [some states are] literally doing the opposite to make it harder for people to connect to care and services,” she says.
Why the Midterm Elections Matter for Health Care
The midterm elections are around the corner, and health care is likely to be a major factor in how Americans vote. Abortion and reproductive health access will motivate many people, as will inflation (which impacts the cost of care).
On the latest episode of The Dose, host Shanoor Seervai talks about the most pressing health care battles to watch with Katie Keith, director of the Health Policy and the Law Initiative at Georgetown University Law Center’s O’Neil Institute.
Keith talks about how access to abortion may play out at the federal and state level, legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of free preventive care, and the impact of the impending end of the public health emergency.
Improving Health Care for Trans Youth
Bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ+ people are under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Many aim to make it more difficult for transgender people to get health care — something that’s already a challenge for many, particularly trans youth.
On the latest episode of The Dose, host Shanoor Seervai interviews Austin Johnson, an assistant professor of sociology at Kenyon College and the research and policy director for the Campaign for Southern Equality, an advocacy and direct services organization.
One way to expand access to care for transgender youth, Johnson says, is to “make sure you center trans experience, center trans people's understandings of their health care, education, and family life, and rely on … scholarship that is led by trans people.”
Who Gets to Decide When the Pandemic Is Over?
Earlier this week, President Biden declared the pandemic over. This tracks with public opinion: most Americans have long abandoned their masks, and federal funds may soon dry up for testing, treatment, and even vaccines.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the virus has disappeared. In fact, hundreds of Americans are still dying each day from COVID-19, and thousands more are suffering from long COVID, a host of protracted symptoms that could lead to severe health complications down the line.
On the latest episode of The Dose, host Shanoor Seervai talks to Dr. Bob Wachter about what it's like to live with COVID in 2022. Dr. Wachter, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the pandemic.
I work in healthcare management and was pleased to see a podcast dedicated to policy and management. The content is good, timely, and knowledgeably covered. I would say that the interviews feel choppy, as if the questions and answers were prerecorded separately, then later cut together. I am not sure the control you can have on this, but I also found this podcast to be much quieter than others - I am in my 30s, turn my phone and car volume to max, and can still have trouble hearing some parts. Thanks for this podcast. Keep it up!
Interesting content but the delivery is really rigid - would be much more engaging as a fluid conversation. As it is, feels like a Q&A that follows a strict question list and doesn’t adapt based on responses. Also agree with other reviewers that anyone choosing to listen to a podcast like this probably has a basic knowledge of health care/policy so basic terms and concepts don’t need to be explained.
Insightful and helpful
Well-produced and insightful analysis with global perspectives on health policy.