Truth well-told is an art in any media. Tradeoffs: Healthcare, Policy, People is a podcast series addressing crucial topics. It manages to be concise and informative, yet stamped with personality. The team takes turns reporting and providing research updates along with cultural observations and recommendations at at the end as “staff picks.”
Tradeoffs was launched by journalist Dan Gorenstein and University of Pennsylvania community health expert Courtney Summers in the fall of 2019. The first podcast compared health plan proposals of the then-Democratic presidential candidates. I, of course, especially appreciate the podcasts that address drug pricing and choice. We can’t underestimate how useful a series like this is that makes policy understandable. It reminds me of what advocates at the Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition say about access to medicines: “Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.” Information doesn’t matter if it is not understandable.
In their January 15, 2020 post from the HealthAffairs blog “You’ve Got To Hear This: Funding A New Health Policy Podcast” Steven Birenbaum and Jordan Reese wrote “…the most captivating podcasts employ a combination of journalism, classic character-driven storytelling, and a heaping teaspoon of entertainment.” Exactly. It takes work to make something feel effortless. The effortless feel to Tradeoffs’ podcast and weekly newsletter is the result of much work and thoughtfulness. May it continue. We need artful podcasts on essential healthcare topics right now.