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Animated Short: The Amazing Health Care Arms Race

At the crossroads of our national debate about jobs and our national debate about health care debt...

Is the (fictional) city of Hobbs. Its mayor has a big problem: How will he implement his scheme to bring in good clean health care jobs when every other American city is trying to do the same? How far will he go to nab those fabled 'medical tourists'? And what will the ensuing medical arms race mean for insurance premiums and taxes?

In this animated short illustrated by Adam Cole and rhymed by me, you'll hear the story of this amazing health care arms race that's unfolding in cities across America.

Tonight on Marketplace, I tell a real-life version of this story from the suburbs of Detroit. The story asks the question: Can local politics influence hospitals to over-expand -- driving up insurance premiums and taxes, and even creating a health care jobs bubble?

Check out some of the latest numbers on health care and jobs in The Health Care Economy Index.

And with that, enough talk. Watch the short already. And please let us know what you think.

About the author

Gregory Warner is a senior reporter covering the economics and business of healthcare for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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Nicely done. It's my theory that if health care keeps expanding the way it is, in the future all economic activity in the United States will be health care; everyone will either be in a hospital, work in a hospital or both! In our area we are about to have two gigantic hospitals open at almost the same time and within a distance of about fifteen miles from each other.

With my mere 1 Mbps connection the audio stutters so badly I cannot make sense of. Please make a transcript so I can understand it, also. Thanks.

Create piece. I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is why I like Marketplace so much. You guys take complex economic issues and break it down to where lay people like me can understand. THANKS AGAIN!

Michael, I agree with you. I always listen to Marketplace and if I miss it on the radio, I go to this website to listen

Outstanding work! This video is spot on! As a practicing physician, I am but a cog in a ginormous machinery of a medical system that is engaged in it's own healthcare arms race. It recently finished off a new wing of a recently acquired hospital (4th hospital in the medical system) at a cost of $400 million. It has already broken ground on a new medical center projected to cost $175 million. It is estimated that 500 construction jobs will be created and, once fully operation in 7 years, a total of 550 people will be hired. While this project is going full bore, the organization had to lay off over 400 people last month because of decreasing Medicaid reimbursements, bad debt write-offs and charity care. Sure, we now have fireplaces in the lobby and spa treatment centers, but they are out of reach of the unemployed and underemployed people that the free clinic I volunteer at serves. I'll give a free prostate exam if anyone can accurately guess when this bubble will pop. Any takers?

Very creative and looks like we are headed for another financial fallout with the taxpayers getting the headaches. Maybe we will end up with universal healthcare if the government ends up owning the hospitals.

Marketplace is my go to place for great stories on today's business news. thanks, Kai

Just wait until you or one of your loved ones gets really sick, and you want to find the best thing to save their lives. How much is that worth??

Yes this was very cute, but don't gloss over the big issues. It's about healthn ot wealth!!

Dear Kai and staff,
The truth will out ... healthcare is largely perceived and promoted as an economic boondoggle, media disseminated. In the end, becoming healthy is an active process not one out of a drug bottle or a hospital. The proof is in front of our eyes: more hospitals, more drugs, more surgeries, more sickness! Bingo!
Thank you!
From an M.D. who has practiced 48 years!

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