Utah native and healthcare economist David Smith was raised in a Mormon community. Smith lost his father, sister, and brother to the same epidemic and has spent his career investigating if their deaths were preventable. Smith is looking for answers, exploring why the American healthcare system is so crushing to navigate, and speaking with guests to learn how we wound up with a broken system where sickness is valued over health.
Lemonada Media presents “The Cost of Care,” a series examining what life is worth in terms of healthcare. Smith is joined by medical experts, patients, and policy makers each episode to find out how the world’s wealthiest country has one of the worst-performing and most expensive healthcare systems ever. They share solutions to potentially work together and fix the system that leaves so many people drowning in debt.
Start “The Cost of Care’s” 10+ episodes from the beginning to hear the full story as well as Smith’s personal connections to these topics. We recommend “The Cost of Care” for listeners who enjoy investigative series like “An Arm and a Leg,” all about America’s expensive healthcare system. Fans of “No One is Coming to Save Us” might also enjoy this podcast since it’s about another faulty system in America: childcare.
Smith feels his life is a ticking “doomsday clock” and fears he might end up like his dad. Episode 1 shares his family’s history, childhood tragedy, generational trauma, opioid abuse, and being excommunicated from the Mormon community. Episode 2 looks at “why sickness pays and health doesn’t” and how the country arrived at this status.
Dr. Zachary Sussman, New York Times journalist Sarah Kliff, and ProPublica journalist Marshall Allen discussed upcoding on the episode 3. It’s how a COVID-19 test could be billed for $11,000, $629 bandaid costs rack up, and more astronomical fees are accrued.
Episode 4 discusses a patient’s mom, Lauren Bard, when her daughter was born 14 weeks premature. Bard, a nurse at a Catholic hospital, had good insurance. She was in disbelief when she received a $1.7 million dollar bill. Dr. Ashish Jha joined the episode to help figure out how this happened.
Dr. Vivian Lee unpacks the vicious “fee-for-service system” with Smith on episode 5, then Dr. Jill Gross talked about how the results can break down the system. For greater details from Dr. Lee, check out her book, The Long Fix: Solving America’s Health Care Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone.
Marquisse Watson started having pregnancy complications in week 18. Her baby girl, Alana, was born premature 6 weeks after, and Alana died 36 hours later. On episode 6, we heard Venice Haynes and Meredith Shockley-Smith broadly discuss why Black babies are twice as likely to die than white babies. Episode 7 is about dialysis and how billions of dollars from the federal budget are spent on treating people with kidney failure.
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick explained the importance of health literacy and asking questions you don’t know the answers to that could save your life. Patient advocates joined episode 10 to share tips to fight the system.
“The Cost of Care” invites listeners to contact the show if you’ve had an infuriating run-in with the healthcare system or any other unfair situations to share. If you’ve been slammed with surprise medical bills after a procedure or have had trouble finding in-network providers in your area, dial 833-453-6662 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out this podcast wherever you listen to your favorite shows.