Kaiser Health News, An Arm and A Leg Podcast

The best video about health insurance, ever

6 days 9 hours ago

A couple months ago, we started getting messages from listeners telling us: you gotta watch this video. 


It’s a thirty minute YouTube video from a creator named Brian David Gilbert, and it’s probably the best video about health insurance we’ve ever seen. 


Brian David Gilbert is best known for his highly-detailed, hilarious videos for Polygon, a media company about video games. But when he left that job to strike out on his own, he needed new health insurance. We talked with him about how that experience turned into one of the most difficult videos he’s ever made — and this is a guy whose old job had him tracing things like Zelda storylines across decades-long franchises. 


You can watch the full video here


Other delightful BDG creations discussed in this episode:


Special thanks to Wil Williams, Sarah Ballema, Josh Rubino, and Bea Bosco for adding their voices to this episode!


AND: We’d love for you to support this show. Now is a great time to do it. This month, every dollar you donate is DOUBLED, thanks to NewsMatch and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Holy cow, what a deal. Here, go for it.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Health insurance post-Roe, and a grassroots network of abortion funds

2 weeks 6 days ago

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion has been banned in more than a dozen states. As you choose your insurance plan for next year, you might be wondering: How does that affect my insurance plan? We learned two big things.  


First: There’s no one answer (and few answers are settled yet). A lot depends on where you live, and where you work. 


But second: For lots of people, for a long time, insurance has rarely been a help in accessing abortion. Most people pay cash. And lots of people can’t afford to.


But there are organizations who have been tackling this issue for decades — abortion funds. 


We’re big fans of when regular people find a way to help each other survive this messed-up, profit-driven health care system — and abortion funds are a huge example of that kind of effort. There’s a lot we can learn from them. 


We talk with Oriaku Njoko, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and Tyler Barbarin, a board member with the New Orleans Abortion Fund, to learn from their experience. 


Here's a transcript of this episode.


We’d love for you to support this show. Now is a great time to do it. This month, every dollar you donate is DOUBLED, thanks to NewsMatch and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Holy cow, what a deal. Here, go for it.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

A listener asks: Could NOT having insurance be a better deal?

1 month ago

It’s open enrollment for 2023 health insurance for lots of folks — a time when you might find yourself asking: what good is health insurance anyway? 


One listener wrote to us about his son, a student with no income. Dad asks, If the son could get charity care (financial assistance) at his local hospital….  should he bother getting health insurance? 


The big picture question: If you’re broke, and can’t get insurance from work, what are your best options? 

The big picture answer:  It totally depends!  


  • Do you live in a state that expanded Medicaid?
  • What are the financial-assistance policies like at the hospitals around you?
  • What kind of health care do you know you’re going to need?


We had expert help here:   Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, and . Jared Walker, founder of Dollar For, and a super-expert on charity care.  


If you want to go deeper:


We’d love for you to support this show. Now is a great time to do it.

This month, every dollar you donate is DOUBLED, thanks to NewsMatch and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Holy cow, what a deal.

Here, go for it.




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Quick update from Arm and a Leg HQ

1 month 2 weeks ago

Hey there,

You may have noticed, we've been keeping a slower pace for the last few months — publishing every three weeks instead of every two — since Dan recovered from COVID.


And every-three-weeks is gonna stay our default for now. Putting out the show more often was wrecking Dan's health, and some important behind-the-scenes work just wasn't getting done.


When we slowed down the podcast release schedule, we also suspended the First Aid Kit newsletter, which compiles our most-useful information for dealing with the out-of-control medical system.


Starting today, First Aid Kit is back — publishing monthly instead of every-other-week. (We're telling you, Dan was pushing too hard before.)


If you're already a subscriber, you should have a new issue in your inbox right now. If you're not a subscriber yet, why not sign up?




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

California plans to make its own insulin and sell it super-cheap. Really.

2 months 1 week ago

This year, the state of California put up $100 million to produce its own insulin, and sell it for cheap. How’s it going to work? (Is it going to work?)  


The price of insulin could be the starkest example of our out-of-control health care system: More than 7 million Americans need it to survive, and some die because they can’t afford it— medicine that’s been around for 100 years, medicine its discoverers didn’t want to patent. 


We look at how California’s plan came to be, and what might stand in the state’s way. 


Further listening:


Also, we mention our recent coverage of the legal and lobbying power of the pharmaceutical industry. That’s in our last episode, here:  https://armandalegshow.com/episode/congress-fixed-a-piece-of-medicare/ 


Here’s a transcript of this episode.


  • Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG
  • Get our newsletters here
  • And of course we’d love for you to support this show.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Congress fixed (a piece of) Medicare. It only took a few decades.

2 months 4 weeks ago

Lots of seniors have to pay thousands of dollars for drugs—even tens of thousands—or do without life-saving medicine. That’s finally going to change. 


The new Inflation Reduction Act will set a $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors. (Yes, it’ll do a bunch of other stuff too.) 


It took a long time. Folks like researcher Stacie Dusetzina spent years building evidence about how Medicare prescription drug policy was failing people with cancer and other conditions. 


The pharmaceutical industry fought this change tooth and nail — for decades. Julie Rovner, Chief National Correspondent for Kaiser Health News, takes us on a journey back to the late 1980’s, when Congress learned the cost of messing with Big Pharma. 


  • Transcript
  • Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG
  • Support us



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

The Medical-bill "Negotiation Lab"

3 months 2 weeks ago


It’s often possible to negotiate medical bills. It sounds hard — and it can be — but what if we got it down to a science? Mapped out all the moves ahead of time? Jared Walker and his team at the nonprofit Dollar For are running a big experiment to see if they can do just that. And we got to visit the lab. 


The folks at Dollar For caught our attention — and lots of other people’s—when they went super-viral on TikTok with a 60-second recipe for crushing medical debt by accessing charity care, financial assistance that most US hospitals are legally required to offer. That was early 2021. 


Next, a group of whip-smart volunteers helped Dollar For develop a user-friendly system to help folks apply for that assistance. Dollar For also started holding open trainings on Zoom, teaching people the ins and outs of applying for charity care—and helping others to do so. They say their work to date has helped erase more than $18 million in medical debt. 


But lots of people who can’t afford their medical bills don’t qualify for charity care. So Dollar For is trying something new: what they’re calling a “negotiation lab” for gaming out the best way to negotiate with hospitals and debt collectors. 


We listen-in on one of Dollar For’s real-life negotiations with a debt collector and take notes. 



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Checked
2 hours 10 minutes ago
Kaiser Health News, An Arm and A Leg Podcast
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).

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Subscribe to Kaiser Health News, An Arm and A Leg Podcast feed