LEVER TIME: Artificial Intelligence Is Denying Americans Health Care

On this week’s episode of Lever Time, producer Frank Cappello and senior editor and reporter Andrew Perez are joined by health care journalist Bob Herman, who recently co-authored a report for health care industry news organization STAT detailing how the country’s largest health insurer has used artificial intelligence to deny rehabilitation services for older and disabled Americans.

LISTEN NOW by selecting your podcast player of choice:
Apple Podcasts ~ Spotify ~ Google Podcasts ~ iHeartRadio
Amazon Music ~ Stitcher ~ Overcast ~ Pocket Casts ~ In Browser

A transcript of this episode is available here.

The insurer, UnitedHealth Group, has claimed that its algorithm, which predicts how long patients will require rehab services, is used solely as a recommendation. But its subsidiary’s case managers allege the company pressures them to adhere to the algorithm’s suggestions in order to cut off payments as quickly as possible. This issue is affecting Americans enrolled in Medicare Advantage health insurance plans — the privatized version of Medicare operated by private insurers as an alternative to traditional Medicare.

In today’s interview, Frank and Andrew speak with Bob about the growing use of artificial intelligence in the health care industry, how insurance companies like UnitedHealth are effectively being run like automobile assembly lines, and how the federal government has largely failed to ensure that the private insurers operating Medicare Advantage plans follow Medicare coverage rules.


If you like this episode, feel free to pitch into the tip jar — it helps us do this kind of reporting:

We hope you enjoy our weekly podcast — it’s the next step in our plan to build a powerful independent voice to take on corporate media.