The “An Arm and a Leg” podcast is back. This season, host Dan Weissmann will tell stories about patients finding creative ways to fight back against outrageous bills.
This first episode of Season 9 updates a story from 2019 about a listener who got a $35 bill from a medical testing lab she had never heard of. Soon a follow-up bill arrived demanding $1,300 if she didn’t pay right away.
This jump in price left her wondering: Can they freaking do that?!?
The answer: They can try. And they often get away with it.
But if patients have the time and moxie, they can propose a fair price and even take providers to court to force them to accept the counter offer.
The original version of this story covered a couple of topics the show has explored: Surprise bills (for which new legal protections were enacted in 2022) and how private equity has been expanding into health care and how some doctors are trying to fight back.
Click to open the transcript
Transcript: Can They Freaking Do that?! (2023 Edition)
Note: “An Arm and a Leg” uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.
I have to start with a big THANK YOU to everybody who supports this show. It’s January, we wrapped up our big fund-raising campaign at New Year’s, and more than six hundred of you came through for us. We hit all our targets, including our stretch goal. It’s huge.
I’ll have a LOT of people to thank at the end of this episode, and I want to think about how to celebrate. Thanks to you, this year is off to an amazing start.
And for this first episode of 2023, I’m going back to a story we first put out more than three years ago, in 2019.
Because: this story changed my whole conception of what this show can aim to do.
When I meet people today and tell them about An Arm and a Leg for the first time, this is the story I tell them about.
Because this is a story about legal rights I never sus …