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Sneak peek: a new Vox podcast about how policy affects real people

Here at Vox, we write lots of stories about the laws and policies that pass in Washington. We’re covering the new Obamacare debate with great fervor — and keeping a close eye on how a President Donald Trump might change immigration laws in the United States.

What we and other Washington reporters are less good at is explaining what happens afterward — how policy can have interesting, unexpected, and important effects on all of our lives.

A few months ago, two of us began dreaming up a new podcast to help change that.

I, Sarah, have spent six years writing about the Obamacare debate. I love writing about the ins and outs of Obamacare regulations, those granular little details that most people ignore. But what I’ve enjoyed the very most is talking to actual people about how the granular detail decisions can affect their lives in really significant ways.

My colleague Liz Scheltens is a video producer who has spent time in the podcast world. She’s also a former teacher and education reporter who loves getting out of the newsroom and talking to people.

We brought on a producer, Byrd Pinkerton, who had the experience in audio and radio we needed to bring our nerdy podcast dream to life.

Vox has two podcasts right now, The Weeds and The Ezra Klein Show. Today we’re rolling out a pilot of a third: one devoted to telling the human stories about policy. This podcast isn’t about the policy debate in Washington or state capitals — it’s about what happens afterward.

This is Vox’s first reported podcast, one where most of our time is spent outside the studio, meeting real people and hearing their stories. Our first episode is about health care, but we want to cover many, many more topics — right now, we’re working on additional episodes about economic and education policy.

This pilot episode looks at American drug pricing, exploring the benefits and drawbacks of a national policy decision not to regulate prescription drug prices. In it, you’ll meet a 34-year-old diabetic who is so worried about drug prices that she is stockpiling insulin in her vegetable crisper — and a health economist who makes a convincing argument that high drug prices aren’t all bad news.

What will you hear from us next? We don’t really know! This episode is an experiment — and you’ll notice that we don’t even have a name for this new experiment quite yet. We’re working on a few more episodes right now, but we’re not sure if we’ll commit to a full season or when it would run.

And this is where you come in: If you like this podcast episode, tell us about it! Please email us at weeds@vox.com and share two things: what you thought of the pilot episode, and what you think we should name this darn thing.

We’ve had a blast the past few months making this episode, and we’re excited to see what comes next. With that, enjoy — and remember to tell us what you think!