ArmAndLeg220

The COVID-19 pandemic has convinced the producers of the health care-focused An Arm and a Leg podcast to transition from releasing limited-run seasons to publishing on a biweekly basis in an open-ended run. “The pandemic is such a fast-moving target,” said Executive Producer and host Dan Weissmann. “The science and the numbers keep changing, and so do the rules about who pays, and how much. An open run will let us keep up with all of that.”

An Arm and a Leg will return on August 6 with what it says will be episodes geared to teach the art of financial self-defense for the age of COVID-19. That builds on its focus on the high cost of health care in the U.S., a topic that has netted the podcast more than 1.6 million downloads to date.

Teaching “self-defense” against the cost of health care has been a growing focus for the show. “We’ve always aimed to be more entertaining, empowering and useful than enraging, terrifying and depressing,” Weissmann said. “We keep getting more focused on that ‘useful’ part.” To that end, the podcast pledges it will track the costs of the coronavirus pandemic and to explore stories and questions from listeners, including new installments in a series called “Can They Freaking Do That?!?

As part of the shift to a biweekly production, An Arm and a Leg has brought on Marian Wang as an editor. Wang is a New York-based journalist who is currently a producer at HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” where she has helped shape the show’s signature long-form segments since 2015. She was previously an investigative reporter at ProPublica. “Our work and our interests are in perfect alignment,” said Weissmann, who is a former staff reporter for American Public Media’s radio show and podcast Marketplace and public radio shows and podcasts like Planet Money and 99% Invisible. He also spent time at public radio outlet WBEZ Chicago (91.5).