We’re back! Here’s a taste of Season 2, launching June 4.

Hey there! We’ve been working hard on season 2. We hope you enjoy this preview , there’s so much good (and frightening) stuff ahead.

Season 2 is coming!

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YEP!  That’s right: Season 2 starts in June!  Whitney, Daisy and I agreed on the dates just last Friday. I am having a great time working on this batch of stories-in-progress.

And it’s going a LOT more smoothly than last season, thanks in part to a group of librarians, archivists, and other beautiful nerds who helped me last summer and fall.

They’ve got a project called Preserve This Podcast, which starts with an unnerving (to me) premise: Stuff online does not stick around forever. Not all by itself.

They’re teaching podcasters like me how to archive our own stuff, and they’re doing itvia a podcast.

In the latest episode, Getting Organized, you can hear host Molly Schwartz teaching me how to keep my digital files orderly.

It’s pretty funny. As Molly says , and my mom can confirm ,  I am “not the most organized person.”

BUT I LEARNED. Just in time, because this season’s first story involved an EPIC interview. I’m going to show you the folder structure I created for all the audio, because I’m so darn proud. And because I am a nerd.

Meanwhile, listen to the episode. Hearing me bumble my way through this , it’s hilarious.

Meanwhile, in the news…  maybe a little less funny… 

Paying an arm and a leg to lose a foot , and re-learn a big lesson: Picking insurance is awful.

Actually, it’s worse than we knew...

A big theme in Season 2 is the incredible amount of adulting , vigilance, persistence, organization , that this system requires of us.

If you ever feel like that’s too much ,

… well, here’s an example of how you’re not alone:

A professor in Philadelphia found out she needed her foot amputated to stop an infection from spreading. But, she thought, at least she had insurance.

Except, it turned out her insurance was junk , a short-term plan with a ton of exclusions ,and it wasn’t going to cover the operation. Or anything related to her problem.

Sarah Gantz reported the story for the Philadelphia Inquirer (which has such a strong paywall you may not be able to read anything. With apologies to the Inquirerhere’s a summary published elsewhere.)

Gantz found herself having to defend her source. And she followed up with a new story.

Remember our episode on why most of us will choose the wrong health plan?

Turns out, most of us are even worse at it than we thought. Sarah cites a study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners:

The crazy part to me: These folks in the study spent an hour with the pamphlet. They did the reading. And still.

These were short-term plans , like the one the professor in Philadelphia had , which don’t comply with Affordable Care Act requirements to, you know, cover essential services.

People skipped it.


Instead of ending on that note, I’ll just report how pleased I am to see that somebody else’s household is just excited for Avengers Endgame as ours:

Back in a couple weeks. Till then, take care of yourself.

Additional Media Coverage

Reviews of the Show

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The Best Podcasts of 2019 (So Far)-Discover Pods
Reviews by Ma’ayan Plaut and Jeremy Helton

AV Club, PodMass, review by Amber Cortes

PBM episode reviewed in  Hurt Your Brain Podcast Newsletter by Erik The Jones.

2018 Best New Non Fiction Podcast List by Wil Williams

The Best New Podcasts, Digital Trends by Jenny McGrath

An Arm and a Leg: Bonding Through Frustration, in The Pod Report

Podcast Maniac An Arm and a Leg Review

Review by Wil Williams for Discover Pods“An Arm and a Leg” Reveals the
True Cost of Healthcare

Why You and I Will (Probably) pick the Wrong Health Insurance
in Hurt Your Brain Podcast Newsletter
 by Erik The Jones.

Recommendation by Scott Gurian  of the Far From Home Podcast

Interviews with Dan 

dan and justin

“An Arm and a Leg” journalist Dan Weissmann explores the cost of health care-WGN Chicago

An Arm and a Leg’ Podcast Tells Alarming Stories of Health Care Costs’ WTTW (Television)’

An Arm and a Leg: An interview with the show creator, Dan Weissmann The Podcast Brunch Club

Interview with Kerry Klein at Valley Public Radio: ‘An Arm and a Leg:’ Inside A New Podcast About The Rising Costs Of Healthcare

New Podcasts for the Summer, Illinois Public Media with Niala Boodhoo

Talking to Dan Weissmann About His New Healthcare Podcast, An Arm and a Leg in The BillFold

Oh My Dollar! Podcast: A Genuinely Messed Up Situation with An Arm And a Leg Podcast

Other Media Coverage for An Arm and a Leg

Contextualizing Care Saul Weiner and Amy Binns-Calvey on “An Arm and a Leg”

Podcast digs into the mysteries of healthcare costs, in Modern Healthcare

Public Radio Tulsa: A New Podcast Focused on the Cost of Health Care

Start Hear on WVXU, Why Health Insurance Actually Sucks

St. Paul couple thought they did everything right, were dropped by insurance with a baby on the way City Pages, Minneapolis, MN

Podcast explores a cancer patient’s quest for low-cost MRIs, Health Imaging

Beach Reads, Pods, and Healthcare Costs, Smart Policy Works

A Few Review Samples:

Podmass in AV Club

An Arm And A Leg
Why Are Drug Prices So Random? Meet Mr. PBM

Just your typical, heartwarming story of healthcare in America: guy gets new insurance, then finds out his new copay on a prescription is $700 at his local drugstore,but somehow it’s only $25 at a supermarket down the street. The guy is Dan Weissmann, a journalist who happens to be hosting a podcast about the “unhealthy” costs of healthcare, so he’s going to spend hours and hours of his own precious time researching the question of why drug prices vary so much, so you don’t have to. And the answer is just as tangled and weirdly fascinating as you might expect, involving a web of backroom deals, bad-faith negotiations, and a hidden, growing monopoly of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (or PBMs) that have a vice grip on prescription drug prices in the United States. Weissmann uses classic film metaphors and revealing interviews to deftly explain the history behind how things got so bad,the implications of which will have you chugging your vitamins for days (an ounce of prevention, right?). [Amber Cortes]

medical image

Selection from the Discover Pods review
by Wil Williams

“Weissmann’s editing and production are key in An Arm and a Leg. Each episode sounds crisp, and they’re kept to a tight story usually under twenty minutes. It’s enough to get the point across efficiently, weaving interview recordings in with Weissmann’s narration, without overstaying its welcome. Keeping the episodes short makes sure the relaxed tone can be maintained without being forced, while also ensuring each story is whittled down to its most essential parts.

An Arm and a Leg is one of 2018’s most interesting new nonfiction podcasts, breaking apart how the healthcare system works while also sharing people’s stories of their own struggles with healthcare. Its comforting style and approach to stories is indicative of one of the podcast’s mission statements: “We may be screwed, but we’re together. And if we want to get even a little bit less-screwed, we need each other. If nothing else, we can be good company to each other.”

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A podcast about the cost of health care, coming November 2018

The spiraling cost of medical care shapes people’s lives: The jobs we’re afraid to leave because of insurance, the risk that a trip to the doc could end in bankruptcy. It’s not healthy.

This is my story too, and that’s why I’m making this podcast. Here’s what I’ve got in mind.

An Arm and a Leg will be entertaining, empowering, even useful. As a reporter, I’ll bring my skill at finding and telling revealing, surprising stories. But the project’s big focus, since I’m in this mess too,is connecting and problem-solving, together.
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Thank you, Chicago AWESOME Foundation!


Dan gratefully accepting support from the Chicago AWESOME Foundation’s trustees. (They kept the giant $1,000-bill prop but sent Dan home with actual cash money. Thank you!)

The AWESOME Foundation is … a really, really lovely thing, powered by a simple idea, a website, and a bunch of wonderful people.

The idea: If ten people in a given place all agree to put up a hundred bucks a month, suddenly they’re a foundation! They can make thousand-dollar grants. As of this writing, people do this in 96 places around the world.

Including Chicago, where the local chapter’s trustees gave this project a thousand dollars last night. THANK YOU SO MUCH!  We will be putting that money to good use.