An Arm and a Leg

An Arm and a Leg

armandalegshow.com
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


Can they freaking DO that?!?
Dec 12 • 27 min
A woman got a bill from a medical testing lab she’s never heard of, for $35. Then, a follow-up bill said if she didn’t pay up right away, that price was going up — WAY up: to $1,287. Which raises a question that comes up a LOT with medical billing: Can…
Why can’t they tell you the price upfront?
Dec 5 • 26 min
Sarah Macsalka has seen the stories about how expensive an emergency room visit can be, even for a minor complaint. So when her seven year-old son Cameron gashed his knee on a weekend morning in June, the ER was NOT where her family headed first. In fact,…
Health Care: The Musical
Nov 27 • 22 min
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…
My Neighbor the Health-Care Ninja
Nov 21 • 29 min
Meredith Balogh has spent years learning to navigate the financial side of the health-care system. She’s a type-one diabetic, she’s never had a lot of money, and for years she didn’t have health insurance. It hasn’t been easy, but she’s become a master.…
Mom vs. Texas
Nov 14 • 28 min
Stephanie Wittels Wachs has a daughter born hearing impaired, which is how she found out insurance didn’t cover hearing aids for kids. Those start at $6,000 and only last a few years. Stephanie teamed up with a few other moms to change Texas law… and won.…
Hey there! Season 3 is coming November 14. Here’s a preview.
Oct 31 • 2 min
It’s going to be REALLY fun. Also, maybe useful. Catch you here soon! Also, here’s a little video preview. Wanna share it with folks? Be our guest! Here it is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo. For information regarding your data privacy, visit…
A place where they do health care more cheaply and effectively. (And yes, it’s in the U.S.)
Jul 31 • 22 min
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…
An actor walks into a doctor’s office…
Jul 24 • 17 min
Dr. Saul Weiner is a physician and researcher at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago. (Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin) Researcher Saul Weiner has been sending fake patients — actors, wired for sound — into real doctors’…
Whoa, this medical device is spying on me. In my sleep. So my insurer can deny me coverage.
Jul 17 • 16 min
That’s the rude awakening Eric Umansky got when he called the company that provided his CPAP machine — a device that helps him breathe at night. He got mad. And he got even, in a way: Eric is an editor at the non-profit newsroom ProPublica, and he tipped…
The insane, surprising history behind insulin’s crazy price (and some hopeful signs in the wild)
Jul 10 • 26 min
The price of insulin is iconic — doubling, tripling, multiplying like crazy, for medicine Type 1 diabetics can’t live without. To understand it, we went back almost 100 years and dug up a story of sweaty Canadian researchers — swatting away flies and…
Coming next week: The price of insulin
Jul 3 • 1 min
As we started working on season two of this podcast, there was one topic that seemed like we just had to look at: insulin. … and I wondered: There are stories about insulin prices everywhere. Would we really have something to add? Something that wasn’t…
Why are drug prices so random? Meet Mr. PBM
Jun 26 • 18 min
I filled a prescription recently, and the drugstore said they wanted more than 700 bucks… for an old-line generic drug. My insurance ended up knocking that down, but it was WEIRD. And it meant a big homework assignment for me. Luckily, I got help. Both…
How much for an MRI? Well, that depends…
Jun 19 • 22 min
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…
To get paid, hospitals get creative
Jun 12 • 15 min
Hospital bills are too high, and insurance doesn’t cover enough. Turns out, that’s a crisis for hospitals too: more and more of us aren’t paying those bills, because we can’t. So, they’re getting creative about collecting — and offering discounts. Which…
We thought we had adulted properly
Jun 4 • 23 min
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…
We’re back! Here’s a taste of Season 2, launching June 4.
May 22 • 2 min
Hey there! We’ve been working hard on season 2. We hope you enjoy this preview — there’s so much good (and frightening) stuff ahead. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Is it ever appropriate to fudge a little? (Season One, episode 8)
Dec 18, 2018 • 22 min
Bari Tessler is a little famous as a “financial therapist,” but even she gets rattled by the price of health care. Also: What my family is doing for health insurance next year. This is our Season One finale. Maybe you’d like to subscribe to our…
Why are ER bills so crazy? With Sarah Kliff of Vox.com. (Season One, episode 7)
Dec 11, 2018 • 19 min
Emergency rooms often bill you a “cover charge” just for walking in the door, and it can be thousands of dollars. That’s in addition to the huge markup on everything that happens there: seven bucks for a band-aid. Twenty dollars for a couple of pills.…
Why Health Insurance Actually Sucks (Season One, episode 6)
Dec 4, 2018 • 16 min
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…
So, Robin Hood’s got an approach to medical bills. (Season One, episode 5)
Nov 27, 2018 • 15 min
The health-care system — especially the financial side — can feel like a Medieval torture device. So maybe it fits that workers from Renaissance fairs have come up with a work-around. In this episode I meet Robin Hood and a woman who has made more than $2…
Why you (and I) will likely pick the wrong health-insurance plan (Season One, episode 4)
Nov 20, 2018 • 18 min
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…
How one drug got its $500,000 price tag. (With 99 Percent Invisible– Season One, episode 3)
Nov 13, 2018 • 24 min
The answer involves a suburban housewife, a 1970s TV star, and a Las Vegas maker of popcorn and nacho cheese sauce. Also: Wall Street. Produced with our friends at 99 Percent Invisible. Many thanks to Abbey Meyers, Joshua Schein, and Nora Guthrie. Find Us…
All the Marbles: One woman’s epic quest for health insurance (Season One, episode 2)
Nov 13, 2018 • 19 min
Laura Derrick takes a drug that costs more than $500,000 a year. So when her family was going to lose their insurance, she made crazy sacrifices… and changed the course of history. Find Us Online Website: http://armandalegshow.com Twitter:…
This is Water, and it sucks. Let’s talk. (Season One, episode 1)
Nov 13, 2018 • 19 min
When I first started talking about doing a show about the cost of health care… everybody had a story. Including me. It’s like that famous speech by the writer David Foster Wallace called This is Water. It starts with a joke about two young fish swimming…
A podcast about the cost of health care, coming November 2018
Oct 11, 2018 • 3 min
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…