Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Health Care Musings

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably been hearing A LOT about healthcare these days. It's all over the news in America right now and you practically can't get away from it ... So, last night I downloaded the most recent podcast of This American Life (a show from Chicago Public Radio) and after listening to it today, I just HAVE to share it with my blog readers.

This American Life is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to as I commute to work every day. If you haven't heard of the show, it's really hard to explain but I definitely recommend that you check it out ... Here's how they describe themselves and I think it's pretty accurate ... "there's a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It's mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There's lots more to the show, but, like we said, it's sort of hard to describe."

Basically, they pick a theme/topic for each episode and show a variety of different stories on that theme. Very cool concept and I've really enjoyed it. I've learned a lot about so many different topics. And I find that they are very even-handed in their coverage which I appreciate.

Anyway .... the episode that I listened to today was all about Health Care and there were some really interesting tidbits that I think everyone could benefit from learning. This is the link to the actual show I'm talking about - Episode 391: More Is Less. I hope you'll check it out. Some of the details on what's covered are below in case you're interested ... taken directly from the This American Life website ...

An hour explaining the American health care system, specifically, why it is that costs keep rising. One story looks at the doctors, one at the patients and one at the insurance industry.

Prologue.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. (5 minutes)

Act One. Dartmouth Atlas Shrugged.
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. (18 minutes)

Act Two. Every CAT Scan has Nine Lives.
Or is the problem the patients?  Producer Lisa Pollak reports. (12 1/2 minutes)

Act Three. Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Polar Bear and an Insurance Company?
Or maybe the insurance companies are to blame? Producer Sarah Koenig reports. (12 1/2 minutes )

Act Four. Now What?
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. (6 minutes)

Song: "Doctor My Eyes," The Jackson Five

Please note that I believe there will be a second podcast next week on the same topic so if this one interests you, check it out. By the way, I subscribe to their weekly podcast via I-Tunes for free. And I think you can also listen right from their website. Either way, give it a listen ... you might learn something. I definitely did!
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