Welcome to Recovery Lab: Health

In our overview story, How Covid-19 could make Americans healthier, POLITICO executive editor for health Joanne Kenen reports that while the coronavirus exposed massive weaknesses in the U.S. health care system, the pandemic also provides an opportunity to fix problems that have festered for decades. In fact, if public health officials manage it right, the country could emerge from the pandemic with a much-strengthened health care system, one better equipped to keep Americans healthy, not just treat them when they’re ill.

Perhaps no single effort will have more effect on the course of the pandemic than the Covid-19 vaccination drive, which got off to a slow and sometimes fitful start. In response, POLITICO convened a virtual policy hackathon over Zoom with some of the smartest state officials and health experts from around the country to brainstorm ideas for getting vaccination right. Health policy reporter Sarah Owermohle moderated the session and outlines the hackers’ key takeaways in our report, How to fix vaccination. And for a snapshot at which states are outpacing their peers in vaccinations and lowering death rates, check out 9 states getting it right, a standalone graphic compiled by health policy reporter Tucker Doherty.

In coming weeks, we’ll build out this edition of Recovery Lab with additional health-focused stories, including a look at New York state’s ambitious Covid-19 testing program, a report from California on the link between climate change and racial disparities during the pandemic, and a big swing at the future of the nursing home, how to build better and less deadly housing for seniors. In coming months, we’ll turn our attention to other crucial policy areas, including Education, Work and Infrastructure.

We’re planning on building out our reporting with your input and ideas, so stay tuned for opportunities to engage with POLITICO reporters, editors and outside thought leaders as we live through this national experiment together.

Welcome to Recovery Lab: Health.