56 episodes

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.

An Arm and a Le‪g‬ An Arm and a Leg

    • Documentary
    • 4.8 • 923 Ratings

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.

    Revisiting insulin, as relevant (and expensive) as ever

    Revisiting insulin, as relevant (and expensive) as ever

    We're re-releasing and updating a story we first reported in 2019, about how insulin got to be so horribly expensive—the scientists who discovered it did NOT want price or profits to keep it away from people who need it—and what some people are doing about it, today.
    The story seems especially relevant right now, for two reasons:
    1. the COVID vaccine process has reminded all of us how vital it is to BOTH get breakthroughs in the lab AND to make sure everyone can afford to benefit from them.
    2. The second half of the episode—about ways that folks who need insulin are taking action on their own behalf—turns out to have been a sneak preview of this show's current focus on self-defense.


    Also, the whole thing is a wild ride. And: The updates from people we talked to in 2019? All more encouraging than we'd expected.


    Here's a transcript for this episode.
    Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG
    And of course we'd love for you to support this show.
     
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    • 31 min
    A legal strategy for erasing billions in medical debt— that works—from a 60-second video.

    A legal strategy for erasing billions in medical debt— that works—from a 60-second video.

    Yep. This viral TikTok video's recipe for "crushing" medical bills is legally sound. And IRS filings from thousands of hospitals attest to $2.7 billion of crush-able debt from a single year— a number that experts say looks more like a floor than a ceiling. Of course, it'll take a lot of work to actually zap those debts. But Jared Walker is off to a promising start. His organization, Dollar For, had already helped wipe out millions in medical bills before he made that video.
     
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    • 26 min
    A former "bad guy" lawyer shows us how the dark machinery works. And our rights.

    A former "bad guy" lawyer shows us how the dark machinery works. And our rights.

    Jeff is a lawyer who used to represent medical-bill collectors in court. ("I was a bad guy, for sure," he says.)
    But he switched sides, and he's here to tell us what he knows. For instance, we have more rights than we probably know.
    It can be tough to get them enforced, but he's got some tips there too.
    And his portait of how the dark machinery works is... kind of hilarious.

    Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG

    And of course we'd love for you to support this show: https://armandalegshow.com/support/

    Here's a transcript for this episode: https://armandalegshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Arm-and-a-Leg_S05-Ep02_Know-Your-Rights_Transcript.pdf
     
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    • 24 min
    Mini-episode: Two small doses of good news

    Mini-episode: Two small doses of good news

    2021 is off to a rough start, but we've got a couple of small things that don't completely suck.
    First, a new federal rule could help cut through one completely-ridiculous issue. Then, a listener describes how he headed off an insurance nightmare, using what he learned from this show.

    Dan talked about the first story—a requirement that hospitals give us some information upfront about what a given service might cost us (after insurance, if we've got it)—in a short conversation with Niala Boodhoo for the daily-news podcast Axios Today.

    You'll find a LOT more detail on that rule in this story from reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen: https://www.kmuw.org/post/you-now-have-right-know-your-hospitals-prices-and-heres-how-experts-hope-will-help
    (Celia's reporting about a $50,000 "air ambulance" ride formed the core of a recent episode about how we get squeezed by insurers on one side and providers on the other: https://armandalegshow.com/episode/financial-self-defense-school-now-in-session-make-your-own-luck/)

    Here's a transcript for this episode: https://armandalegshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Arm-and-a-Leg_S05-Ep01_Two-Small-Doses-of-Good-News_Transcript.pdf
    Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/
    ... or call 724 ARM-N-LEG
    And of course we'd love for you to support this show:https://armandalegshow.com/support/
     
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 10 min
    A 21st-century Christmas Carol: How one Scrooge became a health-care whistleblower

    A 21st-century Christmas Carol: How one Scrooge became a health-care whistleblower

    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)
     
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    • 21 min
    From our reporter's notebook: What we learned in 2020, and what's ahead, with T.K. Dutes

    From our reporter's notebook: What we learned in 2020, and what's ahead, with T.K. Dutes

    This episode turns the tables: Host Dan Weissmann gets interviewed about what he's learned this year, and what's ahead for the show— with T.K. Dutes, an ace radio host and podcast-maker ... who was a nurse in a previous life, so she knows a thing or two about the health-care system. (She chronicled her career transition in an episode of NPR's Life Kit.) And here we learn: During her nursing career, she was uninsured. She's got some stories about life before-and-after health insurance.

    T.K. also coins what could be a new tagline for this show: "Where there's money, there's going to be scams."

    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.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
923 Ratings

923 Ratings

lizfmom ,

Love this show!

I wish we didn’t need it, but this podcast is SO valuable. As a physician, I’ve learned so much from listening to this show about the financial side of healthcare, and especially about how to be a better advocate for patients, both professionally and in my personal life.
Don’t miss an episode!!
Thanks!

GardenMom56 ,

Love your show

I really appreciate the information you provide to your listeners. I have a little bone to pick with your Andy Slavitt interview. I loved that he did your show with you and it seemed like you took some cheap shots. Unnecessary, he is a needed voice on Healthcare and a good ally. But overall love what you are trying to do.

Tae Adaeze ,

Just Wow!

This podcast is so informative. Rightfully so the stories and practices of our healthcare system invigorates anger, but this podcast has empowered me to fight even for the smallest thing. Keep up the great work.

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