Podcast

Can China Save America's Bacon?

Building homes again in Clover, South Carolina.

Signs of life in Clover, South Carolina. Aimee Ennis/Planet Money Flickr pool hide caption

itoggle caption Aimee Ennis/Planet Money Flickr pool

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On today's Planet Money:

China's all over the headlines these days, as its economy recovers faster than the U.S. one. World newspapers trumpet the communist nation's rise, with stories like "Asia recovery show's China's ascendance" and "China to surpass U.S. 'within a decade.'"

Analyst David Gordon, head of research at Eurasia Group, says it's true that the Chinese responded to the global recession with a fast, effective stimulus program. The rest is hype, Gordon says, since the China's economy is nowhere near big enough or dynamic enough to save the rest of the world.

Plus: Listener Aimee Ennis checks in from her interrupted subdivision in Clover, South Carolina, where the developer is — gasp! — building homes again.

Bonus: A blog comment that made us laugh (hey, it was better than crying).

Download the podcast; or subscribe. Intro music: Wolf Parade's "Shine a Light." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr.

Eric Lane responded to a tale of woe about trying to find treatment for an ear infection with one of his own. Eric wrote:

I just had a horrible out of network ear infection experience. Driving down to Florida for vacation I got and knew I had to do something. I found an urgent care clinic and they didn't take my coverage so I called my insurance company. They said my only "choice" was a local emergency room. If you have ever been to an emergency room with an earache I can tell you that you feel like a real jerk sitting there next to a guy holding a finger in a bag on ice — especially when you are let in before him (which happened to me on vacation once). I said I didn't want to do that so they said I would have to pay the whole price upfront ($350) and then submit all the paperwork to my insurer. I didn't have $350, so I decided to let it go.

By the time I hit Savannah I couldn't drive any more. I tried another clinic suggested by my hotel. When I walked in there were tons of people filling out reams of forms. They were all on vacation and out of their coverage areas. Almost single one had to chat with their providers before they went in. The receptionist told me, "Be careful because if you fill out the form wrong your insurer will deny coverage."

Something is very broken and needs to be fixed.

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