The United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world – and that spending is increasing every year. In some ways, that’s good news because it means new treatments, drugs, and tests are available and people are living longer. But it also means that health care and insurance are becoming more expensive. There is always pressure to control or reduce costs and find inefficiencies, which in many ways impacts patient care. In this episode we explore the intricate relationship between medicine and money. We hear how financial pressures led to maternity ward closings in Philadelphia – and the surprising results; how much effort a Canadian goes to get his life-saving medication; and the complicated financial realities of hospital operations.

Also heard in this week’s episode:

  • We speak to the NYU health economist Sherry limb about why the debate about for- and non-profit health care is more complicated than we might think, and how changes to the system can have unexpected effects.
  • UCLA Health Policy Expert, Jill Horvitz explains the difficult financial realities of hospital operations and how they weigh the costs and benefits of providing various services.
  • Reporter Jad Sleiman recalls his previous life as a paramedic to uncover one of the secrets of ambulance accounting.