VOX series examines the approach of four countries to universal coverage.

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Dylan Scott

In a new How I Did It essay, Dylan Scott of Vox explains how he and colleagues Ezra Klein and Tara Golshan created their multi-part series “Everybody Covered“ about how four countries accomplished universal health care. They also look at the state of Maryland, which has an all-payer system that may be a model for cost-containment in the U.S. The package, which contains both a series of articles and several podcasts, was supported by the Commonwealth Fund.

The series looks at Taiwan’s single-payer plan (which is arguably underfunded and which is not so beloved by its physicians), Australia’s public-private combo (with significant economic-based disparities), a “supercharged” Obamacare in the Netherlands (where it works partly because the country is not politically divisive) and Britain’s National Health Service. As Scott noted – there are always tradeoffs.

The Vox team wrote, “No health care system is perfect. But most of America’s economic peers have figured out a way to deliver truly universal coverage and quality care. The United States has not.”

In his HIDI essay, Scott discusses the lengthy planning and background reading that went into the project. But what really made it sing was the combination of the reporters’ grasp of policy and their narrative storytelling.

As he wrote:

“Once we had our settings, we had to find our characters and our scenes. To me, what was always going to distinguish a project like was being there. You can read dozens upon dozens of scholarly articles and how other health systems compare to the U.S. I wanted people to feel like they understood what medical care actually looked in these countries and how it reflected the choices those nations had made. We wanted to show these systems at their best while surfacing the tradeoffs of these differing approaches to universal health care.”

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