Kaiser Health News, An Arm and A Leg Podcast

Programming note: We're working on some cool new stuff.

5 days 22 hours ago

... and it's gonna take us a little while to get it ready for you— maybe a couple months. Meanwhile, we'll have little updates for you here and there.

... and it's a great time to sign up for our newsletter, where we'll have details on what's next, and stories we think you'll be interested in.

Here's where to go: https://armandalegshow.com/newsletter/

 

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Who's been trying to cash in on COVID vaccinations? (And how did racism help them out?)

3 weeks 5 days ago

With COVID vaccinations ramping up, it's time to check in: Who's been trying to make a buck? And who's been doing their best to serve the folks who need help the most? In Philadelphia, the good, the bad, and the ugly have all been on vivid display.


The Bad comes with a giant serving of chutzpah: For a while, the city put its mass-vaccination program in the hands of a 22 year-old with no experience in health care, but with a healthy interest in making money. It did NOT go well. (You may have seen that headline before. We get the deep dive from public-radio reporter Nina Feldman, who uncovered the caper.)


The Ugly is systemic racism: Or is it just a coincidence that the city put its trust in a white 22 year-old... while ignoring an effective group of licensed, experienced, Black health-care professionals who were volunteering their time? That would be the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, led by Dr. Ala Stanford.


The Good is the work that Dr. Stanford and the Consortium have been doing, which throws the Bad and the Ugly into stark relief. Since last spring, they've been working tirelessly and creatively to address disparities in the care that Black Philadelphians receive for COVID-19.


They're not the only folks working to address those disparities—including a lack of good vaccine information from trusted sources. Here's a great example from a project called The Conversation: Between Us and About Us, hosted by comedian W. Kamau Bell:


You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp6S4C6zG_M


We talked with one of the project's leaders, Dr. Rhea Boyd, author of a recent New York Times essay, Black People Need Better Vaccine Access, Not Better Vaccine Attitudes. (Disclosure: The project is backed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, who also are behind our co-producers at Kaiser Health News.)


Here's a transcript for this episode.


Send your stories and questionshttps://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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Revisiting insulin, as relevant (and expensive) as ever

1 month 2 weeks ago

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

2 months ago

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

2 months 2 weeks ago

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.


Here's a transcript for this episode.

Send your stories and questionshttps://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.

Mini-episode: Two small doses of good news

2 months 4 weeks ago

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 (whose 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).


Here's a transcript for this episode.

Send your stories and questionshttps://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.

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

3 months 2 weeks ago

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. We would love it. 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 runs free pop-up clinics— and seeing one played a role in Wendell Potter’s move from Scrooge to whistle-blower.
  • Get Us PPE 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 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, Christmas in July.)
  • MLK 50: Justice Through Journalism 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.


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 questionshttps://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG

 

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

Checked
2 hours 40 minutes ago
Kaiser Health News, An Arm and A Leg Podcast

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.

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