Yellow text in horror movie font

Reporter Bob Herman from STAT News unpacks his blockbuster investigation about the country’s biggest health care company.

Covering the American health care system means we tell some scary stories. But this episode is almost like a horror movie

It’s got some of Hollywood’s favorite tropes: Machines taking over. Monsters from separate franchises meeting face to face in a new movie, like Godzilla and King Kong, or Jason and Freddy. And a couple perceptive folks warning everyone, ”Hey, look, something really bad is happening!”

Those folks are Bob and his STAT News colleague Casey Ross. The monsters are United HealthGroup — a “behemoth” as one expert called them in an episode from last year — and Medicare Advantage, which we looked at in our last episode. And the “machines” belong to United.

Bob describes what some of United’s own employees said about the result: “For some of us, it’s creating this moral crisis. Like we know that we are having to listen to an algorithm to essentially kick someone out of a nursing home, even though we know that they can barely walk 20 feet.” 

Scary stuff. But Bob and Casey’s reporting has caught the eye of some powerful people in government, and right  now, Medicare Advantage plans are on notice from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Senate is holding hearings, and the Department of Justice reportedly has an anti-trust investigation in the works

Here’s a transcript of this episode

Send your stories and questions. Or call 724 ARM-N-LEG.

And of course we’d love for you to support this show.

What people are saying about us: