Cover art for podcast An Arm and a Leg

An Arm and a Leg

113 EpisodesProduced by An Arm and a LegWebsite

A show about why health care costs so freaking much, and what we can (maybe) do about it. Hosted by award-winning reporter Dan Weissmann (Marketplace, 99 Percent Invisible, Planet Money, Reveal). Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


The bill looked like BS. So she took it to small claims court.

“I sued a hospital in small claims court and lost — here’s what I learned.” That was the subject line for an email we got from listener Lauren Slemenda. 

She wrote: “I feel like I won” — and we knew we needed to talk with her.

She wants to encourage more people to try taking providers to court over unfair bills. 

“If everybody that they screw stands up,” she says, “They can't afford to pay a lawyer to defend against all of those [cases].” 

It’s an interesting idea for sure — What if more people use small claims court to fight messed-up medical bills? Like, a lot more people? — and we’ll be exploring it in the coming months. 

Meanwhile, Lauren’s story has lessons for all of us. For instance, even though she lost her case, she doesn’t expect to pay a cent. 

Here’s a transcript of the episode. 

More helpful resources

Want to try some of Lauren’s tactics? 

Looking up billing codes: The latest First Aid Kit newsletter is all about fact-checking medical bills and includes a section about examining billing codes. We'll go deeper on those codes in the next installment. 

Dealing with debt collectors: We discussed knowing your rights when dealing with debt collectors with a couple of experts in this very-fun episode.

Lauren got her dealing-with-debt-collectors playbook from journalist and friend-of-the-show Marshall Allen. His book, Never Pay the First Bill, includes a template of a letter you can send to a debt collector, challenging them to document their claim.

Exploring small claims court: We first got tipped off to this aggressive approach in a story we re-played recently: Can They Freaking Do That?!? 

... and followed up with the story of Jeffrey Fox, who successfully used small claims court to force a big hospital to refund a $2,000 charge. David vs. Goliath.  

Send your stories and questions. Or call 724 ARM-N-LEG.

And of course we’d love for you to support this show.

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction


Listen to An Arm and a Leg


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens