Vox Conversations
Vox Conversations
Oct 26, 2020
Sarah Kliff grades Biden and Trump's health care plans
Play • 1 hr 19 min

There are few issues on which the stakes in this election are quite as stark as on health care. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to pass (and Democrats largely support) a massive health care expansion that could result in 25 million additional individuals gaining health insurance. The Trump administration, as we speak, is pushing to get the Supreme Court to kill the Affordable Care Act, which would strip at least 20 million Americans of health care coverage. 


There's no one I'd rather have on to discuss these issues than Sarah Kliff. Kliff is an investigative reporter for the New York Times focusing on health care policy, and my former colleague at the Washington Post and Vox where we co-hosted The Weeds alongside Matt Yglesias. She's one of the most clear, incisive health care policy analysts in media today and a longtime friend, which made this conversation a pleasure. We discuss: 

  • The legacy of Obamacare 10 years later
  • Why the fiercely fought over “individual mandate” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be 
  • What Biden’s health care plan would actually do — and where it falls short 
  • Whether a Biden administration would be able to pass massive health care reform — and why it might still have a chance even if the filibuster remains intact 
  • The ongoing Supreme Court case to dismantle Obamacare 
  • Whether Donald Trump has a secret health care plan to protect those with preexisting conditions (spoiler: he doesn’t) 
  • The hollow state of Republican health care policy 
  • The academic literature showing that health insurance is literally a matter of life and death 
  • Which social investments would have the largest impact on people’s health (hint: it’s probably not expanding insurance) 


And much more


"If Trump wins, 20 million people could lose health insurance. If Biden wins, 25 million could gain it." by Dylan Scott, Vox

“Obamacare Turns 10. Here’s a Look at What Works and Doesn’t.” by Sarah Kliff, et al. New York Times

"The I.R.S. Sent a Letter to 3.9 Million People. It Saved Some of Their Lives." by Sarah Kliff, New York Times

"Republicans Killed the Obamacare Mandate. New Data Shows It Didn’t Really Matter." by Sarah Kliff, New York Times

"Without Ginsburg, Supreme Court Could Rule Three Ways on Obamacare" by Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times

Book recommendations:

The Healing of America by TR Reid 

And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts 

Dreamland by Sam Quinones 

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen


Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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