This week, we bring you a deeper look inside the health insurance industry. The dark side of prescription drug coupons. A story about Pet Health Insurance, which is in its infancy, and how it is changing human behaviors—for example, if you have the pet health insurance, you bring your pet to the vet more often, and the vet makes more money and...well, you can see the parallels.
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. (3 minutes)
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. (12 minutes)
Michael May tells the story of Barry Cooper, a former crooked narcotics cop who has turned his interest elsewhere...to busting crooked narcotics cops. But after Cooper and a rich benefactor team up to set a trap for the police, Barry's plans are put in jeopardy—including his dream of creating a reality show called "Kop Busters." Michael May is the Culture editor at the Texas Observer.
Ira interviews Bob Helms, creator of the zine Guinea Pig Zero, which is about people who make their living by donating their bodies to science for medical experiments. Bob says he wouldn't do spinal tap studies or psychoactive drugs (he calls the people who do the latter "brain sluts").
In Anchorage, many people take pride in being able to co-exist side-by-side with wild animals. Jon Mooallem has the story of one animal that became a resident of the city in a way that few non-humans ever do.