An Arm and a Leg: The cost of health care

Teddy Bear Hurt New Podcast

The cost of health care shapes people’s lives: The jobs they’re afraid to leave, the businesses they don’t start, not to mention their health. It keeps getting more expensive, and it’s confusing— and scary— to face alone.

An Arm and a Leg will pull back the curtain to show how the dark machinery works.

And that should be… fascinating. Surprising. Entertaining. (That’s how a nerd like me sees it.)

It should also be kind of empowering. Occasionally, maybe even useful.

And, I think, consoling, as in: None of us is in this alone.

On this show, all us blind people will put our hands on this elephant and ask, WTF IS GOING ON? And what can we do—individually, collectively—to help ourselves?

Our 20-minute episodes will include:

  • Root causes of everyday nightmares: A guy gets a knee brace from a local hospital, and then the bill: $1,400. Google says he could’ve gotten the same brace for $150. We investigate: What the hell, man?
  • Personal stories: In one woman’s epic quest to save her family from sky-high medical bills, she makes heroic sacrifices… and history.
  • Expert findings: Some terrific reporters and researchers have already done GREAT digging here. We’ll have them on, to unpack what they’ve found.
  • Interesting hacks: Renaissance Fair workers often have trouble getting good health insurance, so they’ve improvised a creative alternative. (I recently did a brief version of this story, produced with Planet Money, for NPR; there’s more to tell.)
  • Experiments, with your help: In her book An American Sickness, journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal offers some prescriptions for “taking back” health care— by becoming better-informed, more-assertive consumers. Honestly, they sound TOUGH: tricky, awkward, and uncertain. Let’s try them, record the results, and compare notes.