84 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).
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An Arm and a Leg An Arm and a Leg

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 983 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).
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    “The Golden Age of Older Rectums” (for investors)

    “The Golden Age of Older Rectums” (for investors)

    A new golden age is dawning, and it starts where the sun don’t shine.
    A listener got a pricey quote for her colonoscopy, but the medical practice behind it seems like “the only game in town.” We scope it out and learn the surprising reason why: Investors have decided your butt is a goldmine. 
    Private equity investors have made their way into many areas of our lives. Now, they’re at the gastroenterologist’s —and lots of other medical specialists, too. We learned why these doctors are selling their practices to private equity, and what it could mean for your health care and your bills. 
    Correction notice: The original version of this story mis-identified the organization where Claire McAndrew worked when we spoke to her in 2019. Whoops. We've updated the audio file, so it's correct now.
    Here's a transcript for this episode.
    As always, we'd love you to:

    Subscribe to our newsletter, First Aid KitShare your stories and questions, either on our site or call 724 ARM-N-LEGPitch in to support this show financially.
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    • 19 min
    Sick Note, pt. 2: Dang

    Sick Note, pt. 2: Dang

    Dan’s COVID has hung on there for a while, kept him SUPER tired. Yoinks. Back in a couple weeks!
    Meanwhile, as always, we'd love for you to:

    Get in touch to share a story or your thoughts. Subscribe to First Aid Kit, our newsletter about how to survive the health-care systemSupport us: Your donations are this show's biggest source of income.

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    • 59 sec
    Sick Note: Dan has COVID. (He's fine, but ...)

    Sick Note: Dan has COVID. (He's fine, but ...)

    Hey there — I got COVID a little before we were scheduled to tape this week's episode. Whoops!
    I'm fine now, but kinda tired. Just to be on the safe side — some people stay tired for a while — let's give me two weeks before we come back with a full episode.
    Meanwhile, I'll share this: I think one reason I got better quick was, I was able to get anti-viral meds. (Paxlovid, in my case.)
    And I mention this because: There's a new variant going around, BA.2, which looks like it's going to bring on a new wave; we don't know how big it'll be yet, but the New York Times had some good tips recently for how to be prepared.
    One was: Have a plan for getting antiviral treatment, in case you do get sick. Some docs don't like to prescribe them, and some folks shouldn't take them because of things like drug interactions. It's worth knowing your best options ahead of time.
    I'm here to co-sign that advice. The rest was good too. Here's the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/30/well/live/ba2-omicron-covid.html
    Finally: Even this two-minute sick note has a highly-entertaining moment, thanks to a listener who wrote a surprising response to a recent First Aid Kit newsletter... then recorded that note as a voice memo.
    So, I'll catch you in a couple weeks. Till then: Take care of yourself, for real.
    And as always:
    Our First Aid Kit newsletter collects the practical lessons I've learned about how to fight the awful cost of health care. You might want to subscribe.We love it when you 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.


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    • 2 min
    Fighting for the Right to Help

    Fighting for the Right to Help

    It’s illegal to advise someone who’s being sued for medical debt, unless you're a lawyer. Yep, really. Even in its most basic form (like helping people fill out a checklist) it’s considered the “unlicensed practice of law.” And it’s a crime. As in, you could go to jail.
    So some New Yorkers are suing to get that changed. 
    The non-profit Upsolve wants to help people represent themselves in court when they’re being sued over debt. Their plan is to train people like pastors, social workers, and librarians and others to help people others know their rights. And iIn the Bronx, Reverend John Udo-Okon is one of those volunteers, ready to help. 
    We meet the CEO of Upsolve and Reverend John to talk about their work – and why they’re suing the state of New York. 
    Here’s a transcript of the episode. 
    Subscribe to our newsletter, First Aid Kit. 
    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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    • 19 min
    Swimming with sharks

    Swimming with sharks

    Pharma and insurance companies play devious, clever games, competing for dollars. They’re sharks! It’d be fun to track, but they’re eating us alive.
    If anyone could beat the sharks at this game, we’d pick Lillian Karabaic, who runs the personal finance show/community called Oh My Dollar! — and is SUPER on-top-of her stuff. 
    But Lillian recently got socked with an unexpected $3,000 charge— and expects to lose her very-organized fight against it.

    Understanding how Lillian got here — how pretty much any of us could, and how we can start to fight back, together — means understanding the games these big sharks are playing.
    Which is exactly what we do in our latest episode, with Lillian’s expert — and often very-funny — guidance. 
    This episode goes deep on a shark game called a “copay accumulator” policy. In short, they’re an invention by the insurance industry to make sure only YOUR money counts toward your yearly deductible — not any assistance you may receive from a drug company. 
    One thing we learned: Finding out if your insurance plan even includes one of these policies can be extremely tough: Otherwise, Lillian — who did her extremely-good best to check for this very information — wouldn’t have gotten taken by surprise.
    We’ve got a little bit of help to offer: Researchers from a nonprofit called The AIDS Institute also researched this question, looking at hundreds of plans across the country. And they developed a tip sheet a tip sheet to help guide their search: How to search online, what questions to ask if the information just isn’t online (which happens).  
    More resources:
    For tips on how to avoid overpaying for drugs — when that’s possible — check out the latest edition of our First Aid Kit newsletter.There’s a third bunch of sharks involved in this drug-pricing game: Middleman companies called Pharmacy Benefit Managers. If you want to understand the role they play, here’s an Arm and a Leg episode about them.A dozen states have banned copay accumulators, and more are considering it. This short report includes a list of those dozen states. 
    Here’s a transcript of the 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.

    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 26 min
    Introducing: Half Vaxxed

    Introducing: Half Vaxxed

    Last year we brought you the story — part caper, part tragedy — of how Philadelphia tried to hand off its COVID vaccination program to a wannabe tech bro right out of college. We built on the work of reporter Nina Feldman and her colleagues at WHYY. Now, they've laid out the entire thing in a podcast of their own, called Half Vaxxed. It’s terrific. Funny in places, horrifying in others, and full of lessons.
    We'll be back in a few weeks to start the next batch of Arm and a Leg episodes. Meanwhile, we hope you'll enjoy the first episode of Half Vaxxed.
    Meanwhile, don't miss our First Aid Kit newsletter, where we're sharing practical tips on surviving the world's most-expensive health care system.
    Catch all of Half Vaxxed here

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    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
983 Ratings

983 Ratings

Ginagina Smith ,

Feel better!

Thanks for letting us know.

Bee Naush. ,

Required reading

So informative and essential for people who want to understand our healthcare system better and empower themselves with information to advocate for themselves. Thank you for doing this!

boccechamp ,

Important and entertaining

This is one of my all-time favorite podcasts! It offers useful, simple advice for anyone struggling to navigate the US healthcare system in an interesting and engaging format. I highly recommend it here and irl.

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