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tv   Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien  NBC  January 23, 2022 5:00am-5:30am PST

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>> right now, on “matter of fact.” nearly half of all americans are dealing with medical debt >> you have a surprise bill that lands in your mail. and these bills can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to, you know, five figures. >> how the "no surprises" act will impact you and your family immediately. and -- >> i want that house, and i want that house. >> behind the scenes of the hit hgtv show "bargain block." >> home sweet home." >> you have appraisers that are essentially afraid of these neighborhoods. they say, well, oh, this is a crappy neighborhood, and they low ball it. >> how restoring abandoned homes
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in detroit became an urgent mission to fight inequality. plus, this father-son team became a social media sensation, teaching financial literacy to kids. >> what's a secure loan? >> using collateral to help get approved for a loan. >> and why the four day work week may not be just a pipe dream. ♪ soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. welcome to “matter of fact.” imagine this, you have a routine medical procedure -- let's say a colonoscopy. you're insured and your doctor is in network. but then you get an unexpected bill. that is exactly what happened to a woman who got a covid test in an emergency room and ended up with a $6000 bill because the test went to an outside lab not covered by her insurance. the journal of the american medical association found that one in five patients were hit with an out-of-network charge
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after having surgery. these bills can set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars. 50% of americans are carrying some medical debt right now which of course can make paying those bills and managing their regular expenses seem almost impossible. well, relief arrived on january 1 in the form of a new law. the "no surprises act" bans many of these surprise bills. katie keith is a researcher at the center on health insurance reforms at georgetown university. katie keith, so nice to have you. thank you for talking with me. so, we know that the "no surprises act" went into effect on january 1st. walk us through the basic features of this legislation and what exactly it does. katie: what the "no surprises act" means is that those with private health insurance shouldn't face what we call surprise out-of-network bills anymore. and what i mean when i say surprise out-of-network bills, this is really for patients who
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do everything right. if you schedule some kind of service, you make sure that the folks are going to see you are in network. i would expect that my anesthesiologist would be in network, i didn't choose that doctor. you know, maybe you're in an emergency, you can't pick the hospital you're going to or the physician you're going to see. you're taken simply to the nearest emergency room and then you have a surprise bill that lands in your mail. and these bills can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to, you know, five figures. soledad: so, we gave an example in your introduction about a woman who got a covid test, went to the e.r., didn't realize that it was sent to a lab out-of-network, had this multi-thousand dollar fee. how common is that? katie: in general, there's estimates that one in five hospital visits results in one of these out-of-network bills. soledad: so, will this legislation then just end that, no more surprise bills? katie: the only exception where you might see one of these bills is if you're taken by a ground ambulance. it tends to be a little bit more complicated. some of them are owned by cities and counties. there were several reasons why
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congress didn't take that on, but we are starting to see some action at the state level. soledad: so, if you look at how healthcare costs have been rising now, i think it's like 37 pstates. people there are paying 10% of their median income, is going to health care costs, and it seems to me to be both crazy and unsustainable. katie: i couldn't agree more. i would emphasize, i think that 10% figure that you're giving, i think that's for premiums and deductibles. so, for folks who were receiving these surprise bills, they were paying even more than that for, again, costs that they didn't even anticipate. soledad: so then what's the best strategy to lower healthcare costs? katie: in the united states, we just pay so much more for health care than many other -- it's sort of "it's the prices, stupid." and so, you know, we're paying so much more, it's about 20% of our gdp, which means a fifth of our economy is driven by healthcare. i think, over time, it's going to be looking at those prices that people are actually being charged. it's going to be probably focused on value-based care, making sure we're actually getting those outcomes for the
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amount that we're investing. but it's going to take a lot of work. soledad: is there anything that you see on the horizon where you could at least have some consistency in costs, right? that, that even in neighborhoods, communities close to each other, a procedure, the cost of a procedure can vary wildly. katie: yeah, absolutely, or even if it's not consistent costs, we should know what it is up front, so you can be, you know, an informed decision maker and then go to the place you want to go to. and so, one initiative that is sort of slowly rolling out is a new transparency initiative. so, this is a requirement that hospitals in particular and insurance companies have to sort of tell and show the prices that they charge for different things, including their negotiated rates. the question, i think, is will people use that information? some types of healthcare is sort of shoppable like that, you can look it up before you go. not all health care is. so, we'll at least have a little bit more insight into exactly what those prices are, so it's less of a black box for everybody.
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soledad: katie keith from the center on health insurance reforms. thank you so much, appreciate your time. >> coming up -- >> i had no idea that there was a whole massive population of the u.s. that has major issues just getting a normal mortgage for a very low-priced house. how the hosts of the hit show “bargain block” are leveling the playing field for first time home buyers in detroit. and meet the father-son duo using showing kids how to manage their money on instagram. plus, the surprising benefits of working a four-day week. to stay up-to-date with matter-of-fact, sign up or our newsletter my name is douglas. i'm a writer/director and i'm still working. in the kind of work that i do, you are surrounded by people who are all younger than you. i had to get help somewhere along the line to stay competitive. i discovered prevagen.
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soledad: the american dream that includes homeownership is more elusive than ever. fewer than two-thirds of the population own their own homes. in the city of detroit, that number is even lower. the most recent census shows
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about 47% of people within the city limits are homeowners. but one couple is on a mission to change that -- while the cameras are rolling. keith bynum and evan thomas are the hosts of hgtv's hit show "bargain block.” they renovate run-down homes in detroit. but their lessons focus on inequality in housing opportunities, in addition to makeover tips. correspondent jessica gomez traveled to detroit to see how they're helping people purchase their very first home. >> when you think about how big the city is and how much there is to do, it is a bit overwhelming. jessica: keith bynum and evan thomas on their way to work. we drive to their work driving , through detroit's west side, and some of the most blighted neighborhoods in the city. it's where the couple hosts
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their hgtv home renovation show “bargain block.” >> and this is astonishing. >> so much better. jessica: the show follows keith and evan as they bring dying homes like this one back to life. keith: when you think of a $100,000 house, i don't think many people think, like, a little design and glitz and glam and everything's new. jessica: with help from a detroit native and a tight design budget, they price the homes to sell, mostly to first time home buyers. >> not only are they getting an acid but they are sometimes paying less than the current mortgage than they were paying in rent. it is the biggest win possible. jessica: the couple got the renovation bug while living in colorado and came to detroit with big dreams but little experience.
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keith: when we were telling our friends and family we were moving to detroit after never even having visited michigan [laughter] it was a like what, what, what? where are you living? in the city. in the city, in an abandoned house. [both laughing] >> sleeping in the houses as we were working on them is a challenge. jessica: what was the thought process of living in the homes as you were going? evan: we didn't have enough money to buy two homes at once. jessica: the two quickly learned that remodeling the homes would be the easy part. keith: i had no idea that there was a whole massive population of the u.s. that has major issues just getting a normal mortgage for a very low-priced house, right? jessica: detroit's shrinking population and mass foreclosures during the great recession
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have left tens of thousands of forgotten homes. many, in neighborhoods where the impact of redlining -- when minority families were often denied home loans -- lingers today. evan: you have appraisers that are essentially afraid of these neighborhoods. they walk in, they see houses that kind of don't look as nice as the houses they are in, right, and they say, well, oh, this is a crappy neighborhood, and they low ball it. >> that would be amazing. jessica: shea, who fights for fair appraisals, says it's often keith and evan who lose in the deal. >> they'll say its ok, on to the next one, let this buyer purchase it and move on. we're not going to take this dream away from this buyer just because an appraiser says it's not worth it. jessica: it's been a year since rachel haynes bought her “bargain block” home. she's the first homeowner in her family.
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>> that is the main goal of me buying a home, building that wealth and eventually being able to pass it down to my children. jessica: the improvements in her neighborhood, she' says, are catching on. shea: it shows it can happen for not a lot of money and encourages other detroiters in these neighborhoods to do the same thing. jessica: meantime, keith and evan, who are almost out of debt, have opened up a furniture and decor store. and they finally bought their their own for around $40,000. when you pow wow with all the other hgtv stars, anyone else living in a 40k house? >> no. [laughter] jessica: what has been the response from the folks in the neighborhoods? mostly african-american neighborhoods and you have two white guys coming in. >> two gay white guys.
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i have never experienced a community like this. when you need help, someone shows up. jessica: their story, resonating with their 20 million viewers, they say, because it's real keith: i can see from a viewer's perspective, it's much more realistic. the majority of the country lives like we do. jessica: in detroit, for “matter of fact,” i'm jessica gomez. >> up next, why this father has made teaching his son financial literacy a priority. >> everything i do is to make sure he's better than me. >> and america's schools are in crisis. what will it take to get more teachers back to classrooms?
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soledad: it's never too early to start learning about money. in fact, research shows that teaching personal finance to kids can have concrete benefits like helping to close the wealth gap. one online duo making inroads with financial literacy is kyren gibson and his nine-year-old son, kyng. they have more than a quarter million instagram followers. and father and son have also authored a popular kid-friendly financial workbook, "the generational wealth building activity book.” correspondent laura chavez caught up with kyng and kyren in asheville, north carolina to find out how they got started and why. kyren: what's a secure loan? kyng: using collateral to help get approved for a loan. i almost got myself. laura: in their online presence, kyng and kyren, kyren teaches and quizzes his nine-year-old son, kyng, on money and fiscal terms. kyren: is it a surplus or shortage when it comes to ps5s?
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kyng: shortage. kyren: because we haven't been able to get one because there are kyng: there's a shortage of them. kyren: there's not that many, right? kyng: that's why it's more expensive. kyren: that's why it's what? kyng: more expensive kyren: exactly, and that's supply and demand laura: their fun, casual videos made them online powerhouses when it comes to teaching kids. kyren: what are we going to do, son? kyng: exercise. kyren: yeah, we do, we gonna exercise. kyren: everything i do is to make sure he's better than me. i don't want him to be nothing like me, i want him to times two me. i want his kids to be times two him. that's the mission, breaking generational curses. laura: why do you think you are resonating with so many people in this world of financial literacy? kyren: i can't really answer that, but i can say, you know, for my people, systemic racism is true and it's real. don't be scared. i have to create my own way to try to help our people and also find a way help myself and my son break it. in the black community, you
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don't see a lot of us owning, and that's what i'm doing with my son first, and whoever's watching. i hope i can do that with them, as well. laura: with curiosity piqued, we wanted to see how kyng and kyren's target audience of kids interacts with money unsupervised. so, we ran an experiment. we put five kids in a toy store, gave each of them 15 minutes and $20. 3, 2, 1, shop. the rest was up to them. >> i definitely want this. laura: knowing that this was their money, the kids were shrewd shoppers. >> so, you're at $20.96 with this. >> wait take this one away. laura: after they checked out, we sat down together, and kyren talked to them about budgeting, saving, and how money can work for them. kyren: so, if you guys had the chance to redo it over, would you have kept the $20 later to save up later for a drone or would you rather have bought what you bought today?
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>> save. >> save up. >> i probably would have like bought something cheaper and saved up something. laura: while the kids were happy with their purchases, they were also thinking about money differently, just like kyren hoped. because. kyren: it's cool to be what? kyng: smart kyren: exactly. kyng: if you don't like something -- kyng: change it. if you can't change it, change your attitude. maya angelou. laura: in asheville, north carolina, i'm laura chavez for “matter of fact.” soledad: kyng and kyren are part of our latest listening tour, proises of change. other guests include: emmanuel pratt, a 2019 macarthur fellow, growing a better neighborhood in chicago. watch the “matter of fact” listening tour: promises of change on matteroffact.tv. >> ahead on "matter of fact." strikes, walkouts, protests. schools are suffering. find out what some states are doing to get teachers back in the classrooms. plus, how one change in the
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soledad: strikes, shortages, and walkouts. there's a crisis in education happening across the country. in chicago, teachers are back in schools despite having protested in-person learning. we've seen student walkouts in new york city and boston. many are asking how all this will affect the future of teaching. in oklahoma, for example, they're struggling to fill teacher positions. in some schools, uniformed police officers have been filling in. and oklahoma city university suspended its early childhood and elementary education programs for this spring because of low enrollment. a statewide report shows a 25% drop in the number of students earning education degrees. plus, 54% of vacancies have not been filled.
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>> it highlights the level of stress that our educators have been under these past two years. >> they need help, our teachers are stretched to the max, they're doing things that they never though they'd be asked to do. soledad: some states are increasing pay to bring in more teachers. mississippi has a bill on the books to bump teacher pay by $6000 to $43,000 a year. and washington, d.c. public schools are now offering substitute teachers higher pay at $17 an hour. >> coming up, why four-day work week may be closer than you think. nyquil severe gives you powerful relief for your worst cold and flu symptoms, on sunday night and every night. nyquil severe. the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, best sleep with a cold, medicine. with less moderate-to-severe eczema, why hide your skin if you can help heal
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in england, they're testing it out. researchers in the u.k. are launching a pilot program for an abbreviated work week. it involves 30 u.k. businesses and will take place from june to december of this year and is backed by the company 4 day week global. iceland studied workers on four-day weeks from 2015 to 2019 and found increased productivity, happiness, and better health. while microsoft japan found a shorter week increased output by 40%. i think america should research this. i volunteer to test it out. i will be taking off mondays from now on. just kidding. that's it's for this edition of “matter of fact.” i'm soledad o'brien. see you next week. >> if you missed our top stories on what to expect from the act aimed at elminating surpirse medical bills, a look behind the scenes of a hit hgtv show and its unexpected mission, the father and son team teaching financial literacy to kids, the teacher crisis and what some states are doing to fix the
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problem, go to matteroffact.tv and listen to “matter of fact with soledad o'brien” on your favorite podcast provider. watch us during the week on fyi, pluto, and youtube. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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merck, the first asian-american male to anchor a national cable news program is back with us, the msnbc and nbc journalist and filmmaker is also an author. we'll talk about the anti-self help book "enough about me". then council member and co-founder of the aapi caucus joins us to talk about the city's big lunar new year celebration on february 12th. then we profile two young students who just won very prestigious writing honors in the scholastic art and writing

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