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An Arm and a Leg on Smash Notes

An Arm and a Leg podcast.

December 31, 2019

No surprise, the cost of health care is… unhealthy. Reporter Dan Weissmann digs up revealing, surprising stories-- and some straight-up hacks-- that can help us get a little less scared and confused about the mess we’re in. We may be screwed, but we’re together. Let's talk



Episodes with Smash Notes

Body: Yup. A Stanford professor measured it. So… we should probably learn how they actually make money, understand their incentives.

Hospitals in Maryland were suing patients over bills that should’ve been forgiven. It wasn’t illegal. Until now. How a coalition changed that. This year. Plus, our friends at Dollar For build their bill-crushing army, one Zoom training at a time.

Manny Lanza died because he didn't have insurance. His parents fought back, with help from New York’s favorite tabloid. After years of work by advocates and organizers, laws suddenly changed. Here’s how.

How one Republican senator made sure the ACA required non-profit hospitals to act more like charities—and less like loan sharks—before voting against the whole thing. Oh, and how 2010 "broke America." No big. With David Axelrod.

The lawyer was Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the lawyer who beat Big Tobacco in the 1990s. Later, he launched a series of ill-fated national lawsuits aimed at getting non-profit hospitals to quit price-gouging low-income patients, and chasing them hard for...

We’ve been on a hiatus for a minute, and we are SO excited about what we’re coming back with. These are stories we’ve been collecting for months—some of them for more than a year—and they’re big.

An update on Jared Walker, whose viral TikTok described a little-known (& effective) recipe for “crushing” hospital bills. He's been responding to a mountain of requests for help—and building a system to respond more effectively, thanks to a s...

For years, at ProPublica, Marshall Allen has been exposing health care grifters. (He’s our kind of guy.) Now, he's written a book… about how to fight back. It’s called “Never Pay the First Bill.” We talked. It was a whole vibe.

Health care insiders get stupid medical bills too. One of them taught us how to write an insurance appeal—like the one that saved her son $14,000. Now she's sharing that letter—and her notes to us about why she chose to include certain words and k...

When Adam Woodrum's insurance denied a claim for an ER bill, he sent his story to NPR... because he happened to KNOW how to deal with it. And he figured it would be a friendly thing to share what he knew. (Kudos, Adam!)

This story was originally...

How hard is it to pick the best health insurance? ECONOMISTS find it hard. Lots of folks are suddenly eligible to pick new health insurance thanks to the big stimulus bill Congress passed in March—so we thought it'd be useful to bring this 2018 st...

... 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...