Building a better safety net with Veenu Aulakh
Play • 21 min

The health care safety net is rarely glamorous, but for tens of millions of Americans, it's often necessary. These low-income patients depend on Medicaid, public hospitals and other services for care — although safety-net resources have been increasingly strained in recent years, partly because of decisions made in Washington.

On this episode of PULSE CHECK, we meet one person trying to make the safety net stronger: Veenu Aulakh, the executive director of the Center for Care Innovations (, which tests safety-net ideas and works to implement solutions across California and beyond.

In this conversation (recorded in Oakland in January), Veenu talks about her center’s mission (starts at the 1:10 mark), the state of the health care safety net (4:00), the focus on “innovation” buzzwords in health care (7:30), how consolidation is affecting safety-net patients (9:30), how policymaking in Washington is playing out on the front lines in Oakland and beyond (13:30), and why Veenu walked away from a Fortune 500 health care company to work on safety-net projects (17:45).

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