It's the worst day of your life: You've been in a catastrophic accident, and the fastest way to transport you to the hospital is via helicopter, or air ambulance. You are likely too vulnerable, possibly even unconscious, to choose which air ambulance organization will transport you, but the difference in cost between public and private transporters can run to thousands of dollars.
Air ambulance transport started as a service provided mainly by hospitals, sometimes even at an operating loss. But in recent years, the air ambulance industry has increasingly privatized, leading to skyrocketing prices.
So, what incentivized private groups to invest in air ambulances in the first place, and how are rising costs for the service defying conventional laws of supply and demand?
Special thanks to Scott Hensley, NPR, and Kaiser Health News for maintaining a database of medical bills submitted by listeners. If you're interested in learning more or submitting your own story, check out this link:
Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.
Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.