An Arm and a Leg

Feb 25 2021 20 mins 1.3k

A show about the cost of health care that’s more entertaining, empowering, and occasionally useful than enraging, and terrifying and depressing. Reporter Dan Weissmann digs in to show how we got into this crazy mess and how we just might live through it.














A 21st-century Christmas Carol: How one Scrooge became a health-care whistleblower
Dec 29 2020 21 mins  
Former health-care executive Wendell Potter spent part of 2020 publishing high-profile apologies for the lies he says he told the American people in his old job—and trying to debunk the myths he once sold. The story of how he became a whistle-blower is a modern-day Christmas Carol. And it's a story about the long, messy process of change—whether that’s changing your own life or trying to change a bigger system. It’s a great way to close out a pretty-terrible year. Another cheerful note THANK YOU!!! Your support for this show has MAXED OUT the matching program NewsMatch. It’s a huge, huge boost for our work in 2021. Of course, we could still use your support before the year ends. There is SO much work ahead. AND, if you’re looking for other places to help out, here are a few places doing powerful work: - Remote Area Medical (https://www.ramusa.org) runs free pop-up clinics— and seeing one played a role in Wendell Potter’s move from Scrooge to whistle-blower. - Get Us PPE (https://getusppe.org/) helps front-line workers get the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe during the pandemic. (And yep, that is still a thing. Grrr…) - RIP Medical Debt (https://ripmedicaldebt.org) pools money to buy up old medical debt and forgive it. By doing bulk transactions, they can take a $5 donation and use it to discharge $500 in debt. (We featured their work in a 2019 episode: https://armandalegshow.com/episode/christmas-in-july-one-familys-tragedy-becomes-a-1-million-gift-to-their-neighbors/.) - MLK 50: Justice Through Journalism (https://mlk50.com/) does powerful investigative reporting. After they exposed how the biggest hospital in Memphis was suing patients over unpaid bills, the hospital was shamed into dropping thousands of lawsuits and erasing almost $12 million in debt. (https://armandalegshow.com/episode/a-hospital-sued-thousands-of-patients-then-a-reporter-called-them-out/) And of course it is absolutely not too late to support this show. Here’s that link: https://armandalegshow.com/support/ Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact or call 724 ARM-N-LEG)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.







Andy Slavitt gives us a COVID check-in from 40,000 feet
Dec 04 2020 27 mins  
Andy Slavitt, who ran a big chunk of health care for the Obama administration, has spent 2020 talking with almost everybody who knows anything about the COVID pandemic— and sharing what he learns in real time, first on Twitter, then on his pandemic podcast "In the Bubble." When we wanted an episode taking a look at the big picture—what we've learned so far from the pandemic and what we might expect next—Andy was the person we wanted to talk to. And he said yes! We got into the money side of what we can expect with vaccines and testing, and treatment—which wasn’t always pretty but wasn't all bad news—and we ended up with some really big-picture questions about the profit motive in health care. Support us: During November and December 2020, your donation counts for DOUBLE, thanks to a campaign called NewsMatch. So cool. You can make a one-time donation OR make an ongoing monthly pledge. Here’s the link: https://armandalegshow.com/support/ Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG We discussed the money side of what we can expect with vaccines and testing, and treatment—which wasn’t always pretty but wasn't all bad news—and we ended up with some really big-picture questions about the profit motive in health care. Support us: During November and December 2020, your donation counts for DOUBLE, thanks to a campaign called NewsMatch. So cool. You can make a one-time donation OR make an ongoing monthly pledge. Here’s the link: https://armandalegshow.com/support/ Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.






David v Goliath: How to beat a big hospital (using small claims court)
Oct 29 2020 22 mins  
In a classic—and hilarious—David vs. Goliath story, Jeffrey Fox takes on a huge hospital over an outrageous bill, and wins. He's a bit of an expert in using small claims court to get satisfaction, and he's got detailed instructions for all of us. Here's his first lesson: The other side—no matter how big they are, and no matter what they say to you—doesn't actually get to make the rules. Not the LEGAL rules. The details of how he got to victory in this case are super-entertaining, and super-satisfying. Support us: You can now make a one-time donation OR make an ongoing monthly pledge. AND: During November and December 2020, your donation counts for DOUBLE, thanks to a campaign called NewsMatch. So cool. Just click here to give: https://armandalegshow.com/support/ Want more detail on this whole small-claims-court strategy? Got you covered: - Some folks have used just the threat of small claims court to get outrageous bills lowered. You'll hear all about it in our 2019 episode Can They Freaking DO That?!?: https://armandalegshow.com/episode/can-they-freaking-do-that/ - Law professor Christopher Robertson describes some of the legal theory behind this approach in a Harvard Law School blog post: https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/2017/10/03/medical-bills-are-open-price-contracts-a-victory-for-the-little-guy/ - Jeffrey Fox posted documents from his case, and a brief narrative:http://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Writeup-1.pdf - Finally, here's this episode's transcript: https://armandalegshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Arm-and-a-Leg-Transcript-S4-Ep07-David-v-Goliath-Published-Oct-29-2020.pdf Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


How to handle debt collectors, with the TikTok Mom and a legal expert
Oct 15 2020 28 mins  
There's a reason Shaunna Burns went viral with her videos about dealing with debt collectors: She used to be one, so she knows a few things. (Also she's smart and funny.) We fact-checked her advice with a legal expert: Jenifer Bosco, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. Who said: Yep, most of Shaunna's advice totally checks out. This one's full of useful tips—and it's fun— so please pass it around. Debt collectors are out in force, and as you'll hear in this episode, they can be super-unscrupulous. But, as you'll also learn: We've got rights. You don't need to have heard our earlier episode about Shaunna and her story; you can just start right here. (There's lots of strong language in both this and the previous Shaunna episode, so maybe save them for when the kids aren't around.) Meanwhile, here's a bunch of links to resources: The National Consumer Law Center, where Jenifer Bosco works, publishes the book Surviving Debt - There are chapters on medical debt, dealing with debt collectors, and what to do if you get sued - The book is updated every year - It's free to read online at https://library.nclc.org/sd Consumer-finance expert Gerri Detweiler, who helped fact-check one big question for this episode, has a VERY useful-looking site: https://www.debtcollectionanswers.com/ - She just published a new article with answers to questions like "Can medical bills be sent to collections if you're making payments?" (yep) and "How do I dispute a medical bill in collections? - There's another, more-general primer on medical debt/collections, also updated recently. - Gerri and co-author Mary Reed offer their e-book Debt Collection Answers as a free download. (It was published in 2015, so it may not be as up-to-date.) Shaunna's dealing-with-debt-collectors TikTok videos. We've got links at https://armandalegshow.com/handling-debt-collectors. (Be sure to note Jen Bosco's legal caveats, but these are great and will get you in a fighting spirit.) Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG Support us: https://www.patreon.com/armandalegshow  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.











Financial self-defense school, now in session: Make your own luck.
Aug 06 2020 27 mins  
If you need medical care, it's like you've entered a casino, playing for your financial life, with the deck stacked against you. Lucky for us, we get insight — and tips the dealer WON'T tell you— from ace reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen. To start with, she got an executive from a health-care company to talk honestly — maybe more honestly than he realized — about how his company and others are playing the game, when they send patients bills for huge amounts. Here's what else she found, when she investigated an $80,000 bill one man got: For many COVID patients, including the guy in her story, lots of providers just aren't allowed to bill for more than insurance pays them. Those are providers who took some of the $175 billion in bailout funds that Congress passed out in March. Don't expect your provider to just tell you. (That $80,000 bill did not include a footnote saying, "Once insurance pays us, you can forget all about this.") But if you get a bill for COVID treatment, you can make your own luck and look up the provider yourself. Because Celia found a government database where you can SEE if your provider took those funds. We also like Celia's Expert tip sheet for pushing back against your medical bills. ... and her first big medical-bill story— A Kansan's $50k Medical Bill Shows That You Don't Always Owe What You're Charged— is packed with insight too. Note: When this episode was first posted, our host mis-pronounced the first name of a man who received an $80,000 bill. He is Anil Garmalkar. The audio has been corrected. We are bringing you these self-defense lessons every two weeks from here on out. That's thanks to direct support from listeners. We'd love for you to support us too: https://armandalegshow.com/support/  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.







How Katelyn survived COVID—without going bankrupt. (Not easy. She has tips.)
May 20 2020 21 mins  
In early April, Katelyn was in a financial bind: Home sick with COVID, she hadn't been paid in weeks. And bills were due. "My landlord is kinda beating down my door right now," she said in a voicemail to our hotline. Weeks later, Katelyn got back in touch: She had made it through, thanks to a combination of playing hardball with one company and knowing how to play nice with others. Because of her job, she had an insider's understanding of the playing-nice process: Katelyn works in collections for a financial institution, so she knew how to ask for help. Even so, she didn't find the process easy. She came out of the ordeal with a heck of a story, and hard-won tips for all of us. In addition, here are a couple of resources mentioned in this story: * A collection of tips on dealing with medical bills and collection agencies, from one of our favorite teachers: TikTok mom Shaunna Burns. https://armandalegshow.com/medical-bill-tips-from-a-mom-who-knows-some-things * Hello Landlord is a free online tool that automatically generates letters you can send to your landlord, asserting your legal rights. (Right now, those rights may include some federal protections avainst evictions.) https://hellolandlord.org/ You can call and leave us a message too: (724) 267-6534 — that's 724 ARM N LEG Or share stories at https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ Thanks to everybody who supports our work! Join 'em here: https://www.patreon.com/armandalegshow  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.




The severe, weird recession... in health care. And what it means for our wallets
May 06 2020 18 mins  
You've probably noticed: The U.S. economy is crashing. Something you may not have noticed, that may sound really weird: Almost half of that economic devastation comes from just one sector. And that sector? It's health care. If that sounds completely backwards, it is. Except in the world of how we pay for health care in this country. Because even though we as a society need health care workers like never before, to fight COVID... ... we-as-individuals are avoiding doctors' offices and hospitals for everything else, whenever we can. Just like we're avoiding going out to eat. And this country runs health care kind of like the restaurant industry: When people stop showing up for Sunday brunch— or for hip replacements, colonoscopies, etc. —the enterprise runs short of cash real fast. Even folks you'd think would be the most in-demand — ER docs fighting COVID—aren't immune. In this episode, we look at some of the extra weird details of this very-weird recession: how a couple pieces of it are working, and what they could mean. For our wallets. We draw in this story on stuff we covered in a Season 3 episode called "Can They Freaking DO That?!?" It's still fun and relevant, and you can catch it right here. https://armandalegshow.com/episode/can-they-freaking-do-that/ Thanks to everyone who supports this show on Patreon! Join 'em, and we'll shout you out at the end of an episode: https://www.patreon.com/armandalegshow  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.





Like a fire with no one to call: 'We've left no latent capacity in health care.'
Apr 22 2020 17 mins  
Ryan Gamlin spent a decade working on the financial side of health care, before going to medical school. Now, as an anesthesiologist in Los Angeles, he’s on the front lines fighting COVID-19, an experience he describes as “scary, in a way that I never expected to be scared, going to work.” He was scared one day last summer, too, when a California wildfire came within feet of the hospital where he was working.  And then a fleet of fire trucks showed up to protect the hospital. “City, county, park service, forest service, new trucks, old trucks, unmarked trucks.” “As I drove home later that day through the protective ring of equipment, I realized the fundamental difference between public safety and health care. Public safety is built on latent capacity. We pay for people and equipment to stand idle, over-prepared for emergencies.” These days, he’s been thinking back to that experience. “We’ve left no latent capacity in health care,” he wrote in a Twitter thread.  “And some part of the tragedy that’s now unfolding in this country is because of that. Because we let health care become a business. And because businesses don’t keep a hundred extra fire trucks around, their crews trained and ready, just in case.” We talked with Ryan about his experiences for this week’s episode. With protective equipment in short supply, he said, "It felt like a fire, with no one to call." We ALSO hear some good news, about folks who are stepping up to help — tapping their own latent capacity. That includes people making "ear savers" for health-care workers. Turns out, if you wear a mask all day, the elastic rubs the heck out of the skin behind your ears. Some people are 3-D printing connectors that go around the back of the head. And some people are taking a more low-tech approach. Here's a picture of my friend and neighbor Liz Feldman is the medical director at a local clinic. She's modeling ear-savers that are basically fabric headbands, with buttons sewn in to hold the masks in place, made by a retired colleague from old t-shirts and scavenged buttons.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


If I get COVID-19, what good will my insurance do me?
Apr 15 2020 32 mins  
Lots of people have insurance plans that only cover them with certain places —providers, certain hospitals. But: in a COVID pandemic surge, who knows if you'd end up one of those places? And if you end up someplace else... then what? That’s the question we got from a listener named Becky in Minnesota. She's got a Bronze plan — it only covers a limited "network" of providers— and she's got a $6,000+ deductible. With officials talking about converting sports arenas into makeshift hospitals, Becky says: "If you call an ambulance, you may not even go to a hospital, right? Let alone a hospital that is quote-unquote in your network." We put Becky's question to one of the country’s top health-insurance nerds: Sabrina Corlette, founder and co-director of Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Not all the answers were comforting. But they weren't all grim either. And Becky turns out to have some good advice for us all. And, per Sabrina Corlette's advice for anybody newly out of work — and suddenly without health insurance: Go apply for Medicaid. As promised in the episode, here's a map showing which states have expanded Medicaid so that pretty much anybody who suddenly has very little income is eligible: https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/status-of-state-medicaid-expansion-decisions-interactive-map/ Please keep your questions and stories coming: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ Or call (724) 276-6534 — that's (724) ARM N LEG And as always, we'd love you to join us by supporting the show on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/armandalegshow  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.




















Health Care: The Musical
Nov 27 2019 22 mins  
It would sound a LOT like Explanation of Benefits, which is a musical revue that actually played in New York City in 2019. ... so it would feature a parody of "Bills, Bills, Bills" — the 1999 Destiny's Child hit —rewritten for the age of GoFundMe. And it would have smart, funny musical numbers tracing the long, sad history of the U.S. health care industry. Welcome to our musical episode! And thank you to the young NYC troupe Heck No Techno for creating Explanation of Benefits. Our episode isn't sung all the way through — it's more like the PBS documentary on Hamilton than an actual musical of its own. But that is still. Pretty. Darn. Cool.  AND: In keeping with our theme this season of self-defense against the cost of health care, Explanation of Benefits wraps with a set of short vignettes demonstrating ways patients can work to protect themselves from excessive charges. So we have included here an email-by-email breakdown of songwriter Emily Lowinger's successful battle to fight off a surprise medical bill. ... and we've set it off with music — timing and cues lovingly adjusted by our audio wizard, Adam — and it is a TREAT. Go enjoy. Have a great Thanksgiving! ... and speaking of thanks: I recently spent a weekend afternoon sending thank-you cards to folks who support this show on Patreon. I'd love it if you became one: https://www.patreon.com/armandalegshow  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.









A place where they do health care more cheaply and effectively. (And yes, it’s in the U.S.)
Jul 31 2019 22 mins  
For our Season 2 finale, time for some inspiration. For 30 years, James Gingerich has run a super-effective clinic in Indiana, delivering great results at low cost — to high-need, low-income patients. James Gingerich stands in front of shelves holding books that Maple City Health Care Center distributes to families with young children. He’s not a modest guy, and two of his brags stand out — as a study in contrasts. One is a quote from a board member that makes him sound like a big dreamer: “People think of us as a medical organization. We’re not. We are fundamentally a peace and justice organization that happens to be engaged in our community through medical care.” The other is the way he stands at his desk and nerds out on stats that show his clinic beating the pants off the competition, on preventive-care measures like screenings for cervical cancer, vaccination rates for two-year-olds, etc.. “OK, next: diabetes control,” he says. “Are you getting the idea here?” At the heart of it, he says, is listening to people’s stories. The rest he calls “housekeeping.” It’s not a fix for our whole broken system — you can’t just copy-and-paste what’s happening here — but it’s definitely pretty inspiring. There’s a bit more in this write-up I did for our pals at Kaiser Health News. But first! How about taking our listener survey? It just takes a few minutes, and you’ll be helping us out a TON: https://armandalegshow.com/survey/ Thank you! You’ll be helping us get Season 3 made.    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.













How much for an MRI? Well, that depends…
Jun 19 2019 22 mins  
This week, we look at three MRIs with four different price tags, and an enormous range. Liz Salmi and a view of her brain. (Photo: Kaiser Health News) The first two price tags come from listener Liz Salmi, who has been living with brain cancer for more than a decade. Liz gets MRI scans twice a year, to make sure the cancer isn’t growing. A couple years ago, Liz changed insurance, changed providers… and got serious sticker-shock when she saw the bill for a scan: $1,600 — AFTER insurance. So when she needed a follow-up scan, she shopped around — and found an option that set her back less than 90 bucks. Which is great news, and useful — as far as it goes: As Liz points out, not everybody has six months to shop around. But Liz’s experience isn’t even the craziest MRI-price-tag story we look at this week. Stick around for that. Coming in to bat cleanup — to help us understand why these prices are so crazy, and so variable — is journalistic super-star, friend of the show, and my new colleague: Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and author of An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. She breaks it down in an authoritative, funny, clear-as-glass way. (Reminder: Kaiser Health News — our co-producers for this season — is not affiliated with the health care provider Kaiser Permanente. It’s a great story, and we’ve got it for you right here.) This is the first of three episodes where we look at where health care prices come from. So this week it’s MRIs. Next up: Prescription drugs.




We thought we had adulted properly
Jun 04 2019 23 mins  
Caitlin and Corey Gaffer got a surprise letter from their insurance company — saying they were being dumped for non-payment. Except, as far as they knew, they were paid up. As it turned out, they’d made a couple of small mistakes, which they were eager to fix. But their insurer was definitely not interested. Caitlin and Corey spent fruitless weeks on the phone. And then, Caitlin’s pregnancy — more than six months along — ran into complications. They scrambled for months to get covered, while racking up about $30,000 in hospital bills. There’s a happy ending. Two, in fact. First, their baby was born healthy (and insured) in January. She’s in the episode too, and she’s adorable. Maggie, Corey, and Caitlin Gaffer, with Luna the dog. (Photo by Lauren Cutshall.) Second: In March their old insurer offered an apology — and offered to reinstate them. (This was the day after a reporter called to ask the insurer for their side of the story.) … but the whole journey was harrowing, and opens up questions about what kinds of safeguards consumers have — or should have — against getting dropped. Welcome to Season Two! This story — like a lot of this season — came straight from my inbox. A few days after the show launched, I got an email with the subject line “Pregnant woman and her husband in Minnesota need help.” We’ve got new friends! We’ve got co-producers for Season Two, Kaiser Health News. Three things to know: First: Kaiser Health News is not affiliated with the giant health care provider Kaiser Permanente. They share an ancestor — which is a fun story I’ve written all about here. Second: They ARE a great non-profit newsroom covering health care in America, an editorially independent project of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (There’s that name again. And again, here’s the story.) Third: Their editor-in-chief is one of the people who inspired this show. YEP. The whole story is worth reading. I am so pleased and proud to be working with these folks. Catch you next time. Till then, how about… Following us on Twitter or Facebook? Becoming a Patron? Sharing a story?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out infor...





A “deal” on health insurance comes with troubling strings
Dec 19 2018 22 mins  
Bari Tessler is a little famous as a “financial therapist,” but even she gets rattled by the price of health care. Her story is complicated. And very relatable. Bari chose to use a Christian "health share" instead of regular insurance. It's cheaper, but it comes with strings: Things the group doesn’t cover, limits on their obligations to you… and a religious vision that not everybody is comfortable with. Including Bari. She sees it, for now, as the least terrible of a bunch of terrible options — but she’s conflicted about it. Also: What my family is doing for health insurance next year. And: A taste from one of the most painfully-hilarious things to hit the Internet for a long time. Welcome to Our Modern Hospital, Where if You Want to Know a Price, You Can Go F*** Yourself, published by McSweeney’s. There’s a longer excerpt, and an interview with the author, Alex Baia — that’s on our Patreon. Thanks to Alex for permission to record excerpts, and to ttsreader for dramatizing the text for us! Find Us Online - Website: http://armandalegshow.com - Twitter: http://twitter.com/armandalegshow - Instagram: http://instagram.com/armandalegshow - Facebook: http://facebook.com/armandalegshow Our Team: - Host: Dan Weissman (www.danweissmann.com) - Editor: Whitney Henry-Lester (thedarlingkiller.com) - Consulting Producer: Daisy Rosario (@RunDMR) - Audio Wizardy: Adam Raymonda (adamraymonda.com) - Music: David Winer (wearefancymountain.com)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.




Why Health Insurance Actually Sucks (Season One, episode 6)
Dec 05 2018 16 mins  
Turns out, insurance companies allow — even encourage — crazy price-gouging by hospitals. For example, the leg brace Blake needed was available for $150 on Amazon. But thanks to his insurance, he paid more than $500. Investigative reporter Jenny Gold’s work helps us understand how that kind of thing happens. She compares health care to shopping for a gallon of milk. “We can look at the cost of a gallon of milk at lots of different stores and decide which one is the best,” she says.At the store, there’s maybe there’s a couple different brands, with the prices on the shelf. We pick the one we want, pay on the way out. “Now with healthcare,” she says, “the analogy would be, you go to the store for a gallon of milk. You have no idea what it costs. You don’t know what it costs at that store compared to other stores. You walk into a random store, pick out a gallon of milk, go through check-out. You still don’t know what it costs. You give them your credit card information and then a few weeks later you get a bill telling you how much they charged you.” Super-crazy. Jenny’s reporting shows how insurance companies help to keep those prices hidden, and keep them high. Jenny Gold works for Kaiser Health News — which, we should explain, is not part of Kaiser Permanente health care. It’s part of an independent foundation that basically runs on an endowment set up by Mr. Kaiser, more than 50 years ago.




Why you (and I) will likely pick the wrong health-insurance plan (Season One, episode 4)
Nov 21 2018 18 mins  
Because as smart economists recently proved) it is super-confusing, and most of us can’t do the math. But! We found glimmers of hope. So don’t be scared. We’d like to hear how you’re choosing your health insurance for 2019 — or are you going to do without? — and what you’ve learned from past mistakes. You can scroll down and just start typing, or hit us up at insurance [[at]] arm and a leg show [[dot]] [[com]] EXTRA CREDIT: We’d love it if you send us a voice memo! Finally, we’ve got some resources here — guides from some smart, friendly folks — to help you get smarter and avoid some worst-case outcomes. The basics from a smart, kind civilian: Arm and a Leg listener Anna Jo Beck gave herself an education on the topic after her husband was diagnosed with cancer (he’s fine now) — and captured what she learned in a charming, self-published booklet. For Your Health: Making Sense of American Health Insurance starts with “What is it, and do I need it?” and goes on from there. BONUS: It’s peppered with what Anna describes as “moments of cute, heartwarming distraction to keep you from wanting to totally give up hope.” Another version of the basics, from a smart journalist: Vox.com health-care reporter Sarah Kliff published I’m a health-care reporter. Here’s how I shop for health insurance in 2015. It’s still a good primer. More advanced and detailed (also funny), from another smart journalist: Business Insider’s health editor Zachary Tracer chronicled his own decision-making — including actual math — in fall 2018: My company offers free health insurance — here’s why I decided to spend $1,000 more on a better plan. The basic premise all around: If you can afford to think about anything but the lowest-possible monthly premium, then a good thing to think about is: Financially speaking, what’s the worst-case scenario, if I get hit by a bus or something?









A podcast about the cost of health care, coming November 2018
Oct 11 2018 3 mins  
The spiraling cost of medical care shapes people’s lives: The jobs we’re afraid to leave because of insurance, the risk that a trip to the doc could end in bankruptcy. It’s not healthy. This is my story too, and that’s why I’m making this podcast. Here’s what I’ve got in mind. An Arm and a Leg will be entertaining, empowering— even useful. As a reporter, I’ll bring my skill at finding and telling revealing, surprising stories. But the project’s big focus— since I’m in this mess too—is connecting and problem-solving, together. You are not alone. We may be screwed, but we’re together. And if we want to get even a little bit less-screwed, we need each other. If nothing else, we can be good company to each other. We can have a good, dark laugh. We can offer each other empathy. We can sing hilarious punk-rock campfire-songs of rage at whoever turns out to be responsible. So I’ll be looking to you, over time, to offer up your own stories— by sending in voice memo recordings (and email, and FB posts). Also, punk-rock campfire songs. To start, I’ll be reporting out on stuff I’ve found out on my own— stories that help us get a little less scared and confused about the mess we’re in. Early episodes will: Pull back the curtain and show how the dark machinery works. A simple leg brace shows how insurance companies allow— even encourage— crazy price gouging. Check out inventive hacks: Renaissance-fair workers have cooked up a creative, home-brew safety net. Tell some wild stories. Like one woman’s epic quest for health insurance. To keep her family out of medical bankruptcy, she made crazy sacrifices— and tweaked history. Over time, you’ll tell me what needs finding out. We can’t count on single-payer or some other big fix getting enacted and coming to save our butts anytime soon. (We don’t even have to agree on single-payer. No matter what our politics, we’re all screwed right now.) But we need each other’s help and company RIGHT NOW, just muddling through the mess we’re in. You know what? I think it’s going to be fun. Meanwhile: Are you game to share your two cents about stuff we should do? Maybe you can support us with a donation to help get the show launched? Thanks! Talk with you soon. Till then… take care of yourself.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


5 • 1 Ratings

startrek2365 May 07 2020
A great view into a frustrating, depressing, but vitally important topic.