94 episodes

A show about why health care costs so freaking much, and what we can (maybe) do about it. Hosted by award-winning reporter Dan Weissmann (Marketplace, 99 Percent Invisible, Planet Money, Reveal).
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

An Arm and a Leg An Arm and a Leg

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 998 Ratings

A show about why health care costs so freaking much, and what we can (maybe) do about it. Hosted by award-winning reporter Dan Weissmann (Marketplace, 99 Percent Invisible, Planet Money, Reveal).
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Health insurance post-Roe, and a grassroots network of abortion funds

    Health insurance post-Roe, and a grassroots network of abortion funds

    Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion has been banned in more than a dozen states. As you choose your insurance plan for next year, you might be wondering: How does that affect my insurance plan? We learned two big things.  
    First: There’s no one answer (and few answers are settled yet). A lot depends on where you live, and where you work. 
    But second: For lots of people, for a long time, insurance has rarely been a help in accessing abortion. Most people pay cash. And lots of people can’t afford to.
    But there are organizations who have been tackling this issue for decades — abortion funds. 
    We’re big fans of when regular people find a way to help each other survive this messed-up, profit-driven health care system — and abortion funds are a huge example of that kind of effort. There’s a lot we can learn from them. 
    We talk with Oriaku Njoko, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and Tyler Barbarin, a board member with the New Orleans Abortion Fund, to learn from their experience. 
    Here's a transcript of this episode.
    We’d love for you to support this show. Now is a great time to do it. This month, every dollar you donate is DOUBLED, thanks to NewsMatch and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Holy cow, what a deal. Here, go for it.

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    • 26 min
    A listener asks: Could NOT having insurance be a better deal?

    A listener asks: Could NOT having insurance be a better deal?

    It’s open enrollment for 2023 health insurance for lots of folks — a time when you might find yourself asking: what good is health insurance anyway? 
    One listener wrote to us about his son, a student with no income. Dad asks, If the son could get charity care (financial assistance) at his local hospital….  should he bother getting health insurance? 
    The big picture question: If you’re broke, and can’t get insurance from work, what are your best options? 
    The big picture answer:  It totally depends!  

    Do you live in a state that expanded Medicaid?What are the financial-assistance policies like at the hospitals around you?What kind of health care do you know you’re going to need?
    We had expert help here:   Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, and . Jared Walker, founder of Dollar For, and a super-expert on charity care.  
    If you want to go deeper:
    We did a three-part series on picking health insurance in our First Aid Kit newsletter. Start here. An episode from last year explored some more dos and don’ts for picking health insurance.In a 2018 episode, we talked with another listener — a “financial therapist” — who had her own deep questions about health insurance. 
    We’d love for you to support this show. Now is a great time to do it.
    This month, every dollar you donate is DOUBLED, thanks to NewsMatch and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Holy cow, what a deal.
    Here, go for it.

    Here’s a transcript of this episode.Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG

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    • 26 min
    Quick update from Arm and a Leg HQ

    Quick update from Arm and a Leg HQ

    Hey there,
    You may have noticed, we've been keeping a slower pace for the last few months — publishing every three weeks instead of every two — since Dan recovered from COVID.
    And every-three-weeks is gonna stay our default for now. Putting out the show more often was wrecking Dan's health, and some important behind-the-scenes work just wasn't getting done.
    When we slowed down the podcast release schedule, we also suspended the First Aid Kit newsletter, which compiles our most-useful information for dealing with the out-of-control medical system.
    Starting today, First Aid Kit is back — publishing monthly instead of every-other-week. (We're telling you, Dan was pushing too hard before.)
    If you're already a subscriber, you should have a new issue in your inbox right now. If you're not a subscriber yet, why not sign up?


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    • 5 min
    California plans to make its own insulin and sell it super-cheap. Really.

    California plans to make its own insulin and sell it super-cheap. Really.

    This year, the state of California put up $100 million to produce its own insulin, and sell it for cheap. How’s it going to work? (Is it going to work?)  
    The price of insulin could be the starkest example of our out-of-control health care system: More than 7 million Americans need it to survive, and some die because they can’t afford it— medicine that’s been around for 100 years, medicine its discoverers didn’t want to patent. 
    We look at how California’s plan came to be, and what might stand in the state’s way. 
    Further listening:
    How insulin got so horribly expensive was one of the first stories we covered on this show. Here’s that story-- a version we ran in 2021, including updates on what citizen-scientists, hackers, and activists are up to: https://armandalegshow.com/episode/revisiting-insulin/One of the biggest possible obstacles to California’s plan is the power of middleman companies called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. We unpacked their role, their power, and the profits they make when drug prices are high, in this 2019 episode:  https://armandalegshow.com/episode/why-are-drug-prices-so-random-meet-mr-pbm/ … and here’s a deep dive on the devious, clever games among PBMs, pharma companies, and insurance companies — games where we, people who need medicine, always lose. https://armandalegshow.com/episode/swimming-with-sharks/ 
    Also, we mention our recent coverage of the legal and lobbying power of the pharmaceutical industry. That’s in our last episode, here:  https://armandalegshow.com/episode/congress-fixed-a-piece-of-medicare/ 
    Here’s a transcript of this episode.

    Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEGGet our newsletters here. And of course we’d love for you to support this show.
    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 19 min
    Congress fixed (a piece of) Medicare. It only took a few decades.

    Congress fixed (a piece of) Medicare. It only took a few decades.

    Lots of seniors have to pay thousands of dollars for drugs—even tens of thousands—or do without life-saving medicine. That’s finally going to change. 
    The new Inflation Reduction Act will set a $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors. (Yes, it’ll do a bunch of other stuff too.) 
    It took a long time. Folks like researcher Stacie Dusetzina spent years building evidence about how Medicare prescription drug policy was failing people with cancer and other conditions. 
    The pharmaceutical industry fought this change tooth and nail — for decades. Julie Rovner, Chief National Correspondent for Kaiser Health News, takes us on a journey back to the late 1980’s, when Congress learned the cost of messing with Big Pharma. 

    TranscriptSend your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEGSupport us

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    • 26 min
    The Medical-bill "Negotiation Lab"

    The Medical-bill "Negotiation Lab"

    It’s often possible to negotiate medical bills. It sounds hard — and it can be — but what if we got it down to a science? Mapped out all the moves ahead of time? Jared Walker and his team at the nonprofit Dollar For are running a big experiment to see if they can do just that. And we got to visit the lab. 
    The folks at Dollar For caught our attention — and lots of other people’s—when they went super-viral on TikTok with a 60-second recipe for crushing medical debt by accessing charity care, financial assistance that most US hospitals are legally required to offer. That was early 2021. 
    Next, a group of whip-smart volunteers helped Dollar For develop a user-friendly system to help folks apply for that assistance. Dollar For also started holding open trainings on Zoom, teaching people the ins and outs of applying for charity care—and helping others to do so. They say their work to date has helped erase more than $18 million in medical debt. 
    But lots of people who can’t afford their medical bills don’t qualify for charity care. So Dollar For is trying something new: what they’re calling a “negotiation lab” for gaming out the best way to negotiate with hospitals and debt collectors. 
    We listen-in on one of Dollar For’s real-life negotiations with a debt collector and take notes. 

    Here’s a transcript of the episode.Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEGAnd of course we’d love for you to support this show.
    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
998 Ratings

998 Ratings

julialeigh13 ,

Just what the doctor ordered!

The BEST podcast about one of the worst parts of American society! I love the way this podcast teaches and how engaging each episode is. A total knockout!

EtotheVee ,

Fantastic!

This show is FANTASTIC! I’m a nurse and this show makes learning about insurance entertaining -which helps me grow into an even better nurse! Thank you so much to the team responsible for this show.

Ginagina Smith ,

Feel better!

Thanks for letting us know.

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