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 the whole thing. 


The national requirement to offer charity care emerged from the Obama White House’s failed courtship of GOP Senator Chuck Grassley. We hear how that failed courtship almost tanked the ACA— and how the battle over the ACA “broke America”—from former Obama adviser David Axelrod, longtime reporter Julie Rovner and a top Grassley aide. 


This is the second in a four-part series—but you can totally start right here!


The series looks at the (slow, uneven) development of legal protections for consumers (a.k.a. patients, a.k.a. people who just don't want to die and aren't Bill Gates) against outrageous medical bills and draconian collection practices.


You can listen to the first episode any time, before or after this one. It's about how a legendary lawyer—the guy who beat Big Tobacco in the 1990s—tried to sue non-profit hospitals into acting more like charities and less like loan sharks. (He lost, but it wasn't a total dead-end; that's where this episode picks up.) It's totally fun too. It's right here.


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