Host Ira Glass talks to Rob Lamberts, a doctor and blogger in Georgia, who describes the crazy world of medical billing, where armies of coders use several contradictory different systems of codes...and none of it makes us healthier.
Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt explains why prescription drug coupons could actually be increasing how much we pay, and prevent us from even telling how much drugs cost.
Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson recount how four accidental steps led to enacting the very questionable system of employers paying for health care.
Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum investigates the growing popularity of pet insurance, and what it reveals about insurance for people.
This American Life producer Sarah Koenig reports on a very surprising reason why insurance companies dump members, and how this reasoning contradicts President Obama's argument for what will lower health care costs.
Former Bush Administration official David Frum explains a very surprising fact about Bush's economic failure, as it relates to health care. Frum is a regular contributor to the radio show Marketplace.
Are doctors to blame for the rising costs? NPR Science Correspondent Alix Spiegel reports on the shocking results of studies about varied health care spending. Hear more health care stories this week from Alix at npr.org.
Or is the problem the patients? Producer Lisa Pollak reports.
Or maybe the insurance companies are to blame? Producer Sarah Koenig reports.
Host Ira Glass talks with Susan Dentzer, editor of the journal Health Affairs, about what current health reform proposals do to fix the rising costs of healthcare...And points at a surprising, kind of heartening phenomenon happening within the current debate.
This American Life Senior Producer Julie Snyder talks to Ira about her rather alarming theory regarding the new president's smoking habits.
Measles cases are higher in the U.S. than they've been in a decade, mostly because more and more nervous parents are refusing to vaccinate their kids. Contributing Editor Susan Burton tells the story of what happened recently in San Diego, when an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy returned home from a trip to Switzerland, bringing with him the measles.
Host Ira Glass talks about his fear of sleep, and reports on other people who have very strong reasons of their own to fear bedtime. We also hear the sounds of troubled sleepers from a DVD put together by Doctors Carlos Schenck and Mark Mahowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center.
Mike Birbiglia talks about the sleepwalking that nearly killed him. It's an excerpt of his one-man show "Sleepwalk with Me," which is now also a feature film, produced and co-written by Ira Glass.
This American Life producers Nancy Updike and Robyn Semien report on critters that can kill sleep: cockroaches and bedbugs.
Joel Lovell explains why, as an 11-year-old, he trained himself not to fall asleep, and how that had some unintended consequences. Note that the Internet version of this story has slightly different language than the version broadcast on the radio.
For some people, the fear of sleep is linked to the fear of death. We hear from some of them.
When Amy Silverman's daughter was born with Down syndrome, she followed the advice of all the parents she met: She signed her daughter up for "early intervention" therapy. But her daughter's progress had unexpected consequences, forcing Amy to make a choice she'd never predicted.
A woman's elderly father has several hired caretakers who help him throughout the day. When one of the caretakers accuses another one of stealing from father, it's up to his daughter to figure out the truth.
Chaya Lipschutz, an Orthodox Jewish woman from Brooklyn, donated her kidney to a stranger. After that, she decided to spend all her time trying to match up potential donors with kidney patients.
When Sarah was 10 years old, she got a heart transplant. Soon after, her mother decided to find out more about the person who saved her daughter's life.
Lucy, a 28-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis, meets the "Bike Girl," who has the same disease, in an Internet chatroom. They are both, against the advice of friends and doctors, trying to get pregnant, and they find that they have a lot in common.
Dr. David Kalenberger is the head of a fertility clinic in Oklahoma City.
Brady Udall tells the story of the time he helped a stranger get his car out of a ditch. In exchange, the man promises to help him any time, for any reason—legal or not.