Policy Chats
Policy Chats
Jun 2, 2023
Exploring Access and Barriers to Care in Public Health Policy
Play • 30 min

In this episode, Assistant Professional Researcher Deborah Lefkowitz talks with students from the UC Riverside School of Public Policy about public health policy.  

About Deborah Lefkowitz:

Deborah Lefkowitz received her BA summa cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University, and her PhD in Social Ecology from the University of California Irvine. Dr. Lefkowitz’s research focuses on cancer survivorship, health disparities, and health law and policy, with a focus on vulnerable cancer populations in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Prior to pursuing research, Dr. Lefkowitz was an internationally recognized visual artist and documentary filmmaker, and created a significant body of work on how individuals confront traumatic, life-altering experiences. 

Learn more about Deborah Lefkowitz via https://profiles.ucr.edu/app/home/profile/deborahl 

Podcast Highlights: 

"I think we have to say our health care system is really broken. It's very fragmented. And what that means, is that it takes a lot of work to get access to care and that work is disproportionate if you have a low income.”

-       Deborah Lefkowitz on the topic of the burden inflexible work creates for obtaining necessary care. 

"I actually think it's a real mistake to think that we could actually make informed choices in advance about the best health insurance for our own needs... I hear a lot less discussion about insurance companies making health care decisions. That's essentially the system that we have now, where you need prior authorization from many health care plans for many types of procedures. And it's essentially insurance adjusters who are making those health care decisions, sometimes  life and death decisions.”

-       Deborah Lefkowitz on how insurance adjusters currently are making the life-altering decisions for people about which procedures are covered. 

“The ACA removes the barrier to insurance of having a preexisting health condition... So if we think today about how many of the people in the US have had COVID-19, that's most people in the US, that would be considered a preexisting condition under pre ACA circumstances… So if in the future, people who have had a COVID infection developed health problems that could be linked to that infection, then they would be excluded from health insurance. And this is currently the case for millions of Americans.”

-       Deborah Lefkowitz on how the Affordable Care Act still benefits a majority of Americans today in ways they may not realize.


Deborah Lefkowitz (Assistant Professional Researcher) 


Rachel Strausman (UCR Public Policy Major, Dean’s Vice Chief Ambassador) 

Kevin Karami (UCR Public Policy Major, Dean’s Chief Ambassador)

View the video version here: https://youtu.be/M4mjoVkbJHo

Music by: 

C Codaine



Commercial Links:




This is a production of the UCR School of Public Policy: https://spp.ucr.edu/ 

Subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss an episode. Learn more about the series and other episodes via https://spp.ucr.edu/podcast

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