88 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).
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

An Arm and a Leg An Arm and a Leg

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 990 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 Genetic Testing ‘Bait-and-Switch’

    The Genetic Testing ‘Bait-and-Switch’

    Is it possible for a health care company to make enough people mad about their billing practices that it hurts their business? For one genetic testing company, maybe so. 
    An Arm and a Leg listener Jessica got a test that’s become routine in early pregnancy: non-invasive prenatal testing. It was supposed to be $99. But then — after she took the test — that turned into $250. And when she asked questions, she was told it could go up to $800 if she didn’t pay up quick. , Jessica looked up the testing company, and found out that lots of people experienced what she called “the genetic testing bait-and-switch.”
    And she’s not the only one who noticed.
    When some guys on Wall Street, plus New York Times reporter Sarah Kliff, started hearing about those bills, the company found itself in some hot water. 
    Here’s a transcript of the episode. 
    Bonus reading:
    Sarah Kliff and Aatish Bhatia’s reporting on non-invasive prenatal testingA scorching report on Natera from Hindenburg ResearchAndrew Rice’s story on Hindenburg Research: "The Last Sane Man on Wall Street" 
    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.

    • 18 min
    One ER Doc’s Journey Through the Pandemic — and the Health Care System

    One ER Doc’s Journey Through the Pandemic — and the Health Care System

    Thomas Fisher is an emergency room doc in Chicago. His book, The Emergency, is an up-close chronicle of the COVID pandemic’s first year in his South Side ER. 
    It also zooms out to tell the story of his journey as a doctor: How his upbringing on the South Side fueled his desire to become a doctor. And how the realities and inequities of American health care limited his ability to help. 
    He details how the failures of the American health care system — and the racial inequities it perpetuates — leave health care workers with a profound sense of moral injury. 
    “Over time, when you have this conflict between what you can do and what you're supposed to do—what you wish you could do, what you're trained to do—that creates a moral conundrum….It also leads a lot of people to leave the profession ” 
    For a time, Fisher himself stepped away from practicing medicine. The journey took him to the executive suite but ultimately landed him back in the ER where he started.
    On the street outside the hospital where Fisher works, he sits down with host Dan Weissmann to discuss the book and his search for meaning in the daily sprint of life in the ER. 

    Here’s a transcript of this episode. Subscribe to our newsletters.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.
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 21 min
    These docs are trying to kick private equity out of their ER

    These docs are trying to kick private equity out of their ER

    About a third of ER doctors now work for companies backed by private equity. A lot of those docs do not like the arrangement, which they say puts profits ahead of patients. Now, a group of ER docs are suing to kick one of those private-equity owned companies out of their hospital-- and all of California. They see it as the first step in a long, long fight. 
    The suit cites California’s ban on the “corporate practice of medicine” — which is supposed to outlaw situations where non-doctors tell doctors what to do, for profit. 
    Which raises a question: How did it get left to a group of doctors to get that law enforced? 
    We break it down, with help from:

    Dr. Lisa Moreno, immediate past president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine which filed the lawsuit.Law professor Erin Fuse Brown, who has written about private equity’s growing role in medicine.Legendary financial reporter Gretchen Morgenson, now at NBC News, who has been reporting on private equity’s role in medicine since 2020, and whose reporting tipped us off to this lawsuit. 
    And while you're here, why not:
    Subscribe to our newsletterSend stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEGAnd of course we’d love for you to support this show.
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 21 min
    Credit Where It’s Due

    Credit Where It’s Due

    Credit reporting bureaus announced in April that they would start taking most medical debt off of people’s credit reports. At first, we weren’t sure that would be such a huge deal. After all, the medical debt would still exist, people would still get harassed by debt collectors, or even sued over it.
    But it turns out, there’s a bunch of reasons why these changes could be life-changing, and we want to give credit (the good kind) where it’s due. 
    The changes include:
    Paid-off medical debt disappears from credit reports on July 1, 2022Debts under $500 (even if you haven’t paid them) come off reports in March 2023Medical bills under $500 that you received after March 1, 2022 should will never be counted on your credit reportNo medical bills – of any size– will appear on your credit report until they’re at least a year old, starting July 1, 2022
    Plus, some an end to some games debt collectors can play with your credit score. 
    Here’s a transcript of this 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.

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

    • 17 min
    “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.
    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    • 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.

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

    • 59 sec

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
990 Ratings

990 Ratings

Ginagina Smith ,

Feel better!

Thanks for letting us know.

Neato Feeto ,

Good podcast, bad ads

Love the podcast. 3 stars because the ads for the podcast against the rules are so repetitive and long. I have to go to my phone every 15 mins to skip the ad.

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!

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Thirteen Media
Wondery
Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt
This American Life
iHeartPodcasts
Glennon Doyle & Cadence13

You Might Also Like

Kaiser Health News
Tradeoffs
Marketplace
NPR
Roman Mars
NPR