How COVID-19 will change the health care policy debate

Health care insurance enrollment storefront
Baseel Farah walks out of Leading Insurance Agency as the insurance agency helps enroll people in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act in Miami, Fla.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images 2014

The battle against COVID-19 has reinforced the inequities, cost anxieties and the inertia that has been a barrier to changing how health care works in the U.S.

Calls for a single-payer health system have become louder amid the growing crisis, with proponents arguing such a system would have provided better protection for the poor and vulnerable.

But others urge caution. They point to countries in Europe with single-payer systems that appeared to be no better prepared than the U.S.

MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with a health economist and health policy researcher about what we’ve learned from COVID-19 and how it should inform future changes to our health care system.


  • Vivian Ho is a health economist for Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Baylor College School of Medicine.

  • Dr. Karen Joynt Maddox is an assistant professor of medicine and co-director of the Center for Health Economics and Policy at Washington University in St. Louis.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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