Your free Podsite trial has expired, but you still have time to upgrade!

Claim your custom domain name todayClaim your domain

Why can't they tell you the price upfront?

27 minutes

Sarah Macsalka has seen the stories about how expensive an emergency room visit can be, even for a minor complaint.


So when her seven year-old son Cameron gashed his knee on a weekend morning in June, the ER was NOT where her family headed first.


In fact, Macsalka did just about everything she could to avoid paying a big, fat bill to get Cameron’s knee stitched up — and ultimately failed.


For instance, she took Cameron first to a local urgent-care clinic, but was told they didn't have anesthetic. So it was off to the ER.


Before signing anything, Sarah asked what it might cost and pressed hard — but got only squishy answers.


She ended up liable for $3,000 in charges. If only she had known.


“I would've said thank you very much. And walked out and gone back to our lovely urgent care and been like, 'Cameron, bite on this stick.'”


Her adventures make an entertaining parable, and they raise a big question: In a health care system where consumers are told to "shop" for the best deal, why is it so hard for us to get the information we need?


On this episode, we get some answers, thanks to a super-insider and straight shooter: Lisa Bielamowicz, a doctor who now runs Gist Healthcare, a consultancy firm where hospitals are the clients, gives us the dirt.


We'd love it if you support this show on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/armandalegshow


See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

More episodes from An Arm and a Leg

We spend 12 million hours a week on the phone with health insurance

Yup. A Stanford professor measured it. So… we should probably learn how they actually make money, understand their incentives. Here’s one clue: A lot …

Wait, that was legal until now?!?

Hospitals in Maryland were suing patients over bills that should’ve been forgiven.

It wasn’t illegal. Until now. How a coalition changed that. This …

"We just kept right on pushing"

Manny Lanza died because he didn't have insurance. His parents fought back, with help from New York’s favorite tabloid. After years of work by advocates and organizers, laws suddenly …

The wild backstory of a tiny but crucial Obamacare provision (ft. David Axelrod)

How one Republican senator made sure the ACA required non-profit hospitals to act more like charities—and less like loan sharks—before voting against …

A legendary lawyer sued hospitals for price-gouging their patients. And got his butt handed to him.

The lawyer was Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the lawyer who beat Big Tobacco in the 1990s. Later, he launched a series of ill-fated national lawsuits aimed at getting non-profit hospitals to …

We’re back! Starting Aug 19. And we’ve got some doozies for you.

We’ve been on a hiatus for a minute, and we are SO excited about what we’re coming back with.

These are stories we’ve been collecting for months—some …

How you can listen to this podcast

You can listen to episodes right here on the website, or if you prefer, in a podcast app. Listening in an app makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve already heard, listen without using your data plan and many other conveniences.

Recommended apps
Start listening to Mom vs. Texas
28:53
Start listening to Mom vs. Texas
28:53