tv Consider This Al Jazeera December 4, 2013 1:00am-2:01am EST
is exploding with little regulation. we will hear from a doctor whose new study is adding to growing concerns safety. can you live your life paying for everything by only using online currency? we will be joined by a couple who live in -- or who lived in banking. hello. i am antonio mora. we begin with outrageous hospital bills. the mysterious methods hospitals use often puzzle experts. how can it cost one person in california $1,500 to get stitches when the person next to them is charged $500 more and the same treatment in florida could cost over $3,000? as al jazeera's janet tuboni reports, higher costs do not necessarily equal better care. renewing a long-standing debate prices. >> hospital costs have americans fed up with the system. >> i think insurance companies
and hospitals and healthcare in general are really over the top >> reporter: some even say they paying. >> if you were going to get one stitch, would you pay $500 tore stitch yourself? >> i would try to stitch myself. shocking. >> i am not surprised. there is a thing in america about like having competitiveness and an open capitalization. the disparity in costs on this map represent the same procedures in different hospitals. some well a gap of over $90,000. >> you can go to one hospital, get a procedure that costs $7,000. you can go to another hospital, exact same procedure, $100,000. >> you can go to europe or asia and get it for a third of that. >> patients here at the nyu medical center will pay the high cost of treatment and services look so many other americans but what they want to know is: what exactly are they paying for? >> some hospital administrators say the cost is due to highly trained professionals available
at all times, upgraded equipment and building standards that meet expectations. >> i think that there shutted be more oversight probably in terms calculated. >> with a difference in opinion, one question is clear: where is the money going? >> giana york. >> "new york times" core en respond event has been writing about this all year. her fifth article, paying until it hurts on the high cost of american healthcare appears in tuesday's edition of "the new york times." elizabeth. >> thanks. >> it's been said you need a ph.d. in economics to understand how hospitals and hospital bills. you are a doctor in addition to being a journalist. but still, i don't know if you can explain this to me because i don't think anybody can. how in the world can you have a hospital charge $137 for a bag of saline for an iv when the thing costs a buck? >> the truth is hospitals charge what they can get away with
charging in our system. there is no reason for them to do otherwise because we are the one country in the world that doesn't control prices. >> but how in the world can that make sense? let's look at some more of theseprises. example. you looked at a hospital in california, california pacific. some of these inflated prices. tylenol with codeine, the hospital price was 36.78. the market price, 5s $0.00. we talked about the iv fluid back, neck brace costs 20 bucks on the regular market. a knee orthro scopic hospital price $14,110. the market price, barely over $2,000. how in the world does a hospital get away with that? who would go to a hospital and pay $14,000 if you could go 2,000? >> the problem is in most of the u.s., you can't go to someplace else and do it for 2,000. the star of part 3 of our series went to belgium because he didn't want to get his hip replaced in the u.s. or he couldn't afford it. so i think if you shop around,
you can get somewhat better prices, but our prices are universally inflated. >> but why can they get away with it, i guess is my question? because there are so many people involved in the process. >> well, because we don't pay those bills directly. i mean when you look at your hospital bill, you get your hip replaced, you get your explanation of benefits and you see that $99,000 and you think, whoa, what could cost that much? but your insurance is paying most of it. you may have a 2,000 dollar deductible. beyond that, you are like it problem. >> there is a ripple effect in the end that avenge affirmative all of us. >> sure but not one we see directly. we can't respond to prices. we don't experience them directly and, you know, i challenge anyone to call around to hospitals and say, what's it going to cost to get my hip replacedd you can't get the consumer? >> you can't do that in most places. california is an example. they have to put these prices online. so you use, again, the example of california pacific. let's look at some of those prices.
they put the stuff online. $33,000 for an x-ray study of the heart's arteries, more than two 5 grand for gallbladder removal. that doesn't include the doctor's fees, $5,500 for a simple delivery of a baby. that doesn't include 731 bucks extra for every hour of labor. so, oh, my god, if you have them in labor, you are in big trouble. they add on all sorts of other things. are those actual costs for the hospital, real prices, or are they just putting these inflated numbers out there as a beginning point, as a starting point for negotiations? >> well, they are -- they are cost shifting when they come up with those numbers because they will say, they have all of these services but they aren't paid for, like nurses' salaries, like heating, cooling, you know, whatever. but basically, they pull numbers out of thin air. they say, what do we need to make? and then they adjust their prices for this, that, and the other to make that. now, you know, someone would say to me, well, look, your iphone
doesn't cost $650. everyone marks things up. but there are no -- actually, this is healthcare. this is about people's survival, having a baby, kids getting immunizations. so the question is, do we really want that prices the way we have our cell phones priced? >> you end up paying the 650 bucks unless you are getting it through a provider with a contract. in this case, does everybody end up paying those $32,000 for the heart x-ray? >> well, you know, most of the insurers will negotiate rates. the poor -- the unfortunate people who actually are hit with those bills are people who don't have insurance, who don't have an insurer to argue on their behalf. but, you know, in a way, we all pay because it's -- people say, why is my premium going up? this is why. >> why we have so many bankruptcy connected to it. >> right. >> then you see a doctor at that hospital talked about how medicaid only pays 10 to 20% of the costs. medicare, 70% of the costs. insurance companies often get about half of what those list prices are. >> right. >> so again, it just seems like
played. >> it's a crazy system. it's a completely crazy system. we don't do anything else like this. if someone said do you see, you had someone come in to do your kitchen and they said the price is going to be 20 draws in br we will take $200,000 but we will take 30,000, how could you possibly have a system like that? and yet that's what we are doing with healthcare. >> and one thing that i really didn't understand, i guess i don't understand most of tin th but in california, again, you have to publish prices online, put the prices out there. but their emergency room costs are the highest in the country 50% higher than in the northeast. you would think if you were actually putting those prices out there, it would lower prices. so how do they end up here? >> well, the thing is, putting prices on there is not making them accessible to actual human beings. the state, to its credit, said to hospitals, we want to see your charge masters. now, i use that as a list price, but it's not like a restaurant
menu where there are five pages. it's 400 pages of medical coding terms. so, i trained as a doctor so i know what those codes mean. so i can tell you what they are charging for most things. i mean there were a lot of things like, you know, five-inch screw platinum, blah, blah, blah, that i don't know what it is and it's $7,000. so you can imagine if you say to your hospital, i want an itemized bill and you get this list of stuff, it's kind of meaningless. so california, to its credit has taken this first step. most states haven't even done that but in terms of being actually useful for patients, not really. >> you talk about all sorts of other things including how emergency rooms from gone from being money pits to money makers. there, they jack up the costs. elizabeth. >> thank you. i hope everyone looks at prices a lot more it would be a fairer market. >> that's for sure if we knew what was out there. he liz beth rosenthal with the "new york times." great to have you here? >> thank you. for more on healthcare costs and whattrition to obamacare, we
are joined by james robinson, professor of health economics. he joins us from our stud studio. great to have you with us, james. i think you do some things up nicely and asked an important question about healthcare and the "new york times." you said, quote, hospitals are self-fueling, ever-expanding machines. there is an infin ite amount of stuff to buy, am ebbities, new wings, higher salaries, more nurses. but to deliver good healthcare, what do you need? what do we need? and should they be charging what they are charging for those things we need? >> well, i think that there is really three inter-connected aspects of the problem. the first is that the consumer doesn't have any way of knowing what the price ofhy is and the prices structured, as elizabeth was saying, that's so obscure, nobody can understand it. >> that's the first problem. the second one is that the prices, themselves are so -- there is not a single price for anything that you would actually
want to buy. it comes out as these bits and pieces of, as she put it, screws and bolts and bandages and aspirins when what you really care about is: what's my care going to cost me? what's that whole doctor visit going to cost me? what's the whole admission to the hospital going to cost me that's not prized that way? the third is that the consumers often don't care because somebody else is paying for it. we don't care what something costs if someone else is paying. all three of those need to be addressed if we are going to have any rationality in the healthcare pricing system. >> in many ways, it really is completely anti-capitalistic because you end up not knowing what you are buying. so, it really is an aberration to the rest of of our economic system. >> it's a peek you'll yar world because it is a market system but because of insurance and the wait insurance is structured, we are all like we are drugged. we don't care, we don't know. through higher premiums and taxes. at the time we are receiving care, we have this illusion that
someone else is paying for t even if we try, do a diligent job of trying to understand what things cost, we get these incomprehensible. >> you have been out spoken on how it is the biggest driver of rising healthcareh health insurance premiums but the outrageous costs have been known for years. so why hasn't the outrage over this taken us anywhere? >> it's hard to understand. we used to -- we used to say that healthcare costs couldn't rise above 10% of gdp. people would be outraged. now, it's about 18% and seems like it's just going higher. i really think that the fundamental issue is that really, people have believed that someone else is paying for their healthcare raernling themselves. this is the great illusion of healthcare, that we are not paying for it. >> is that illusion going to get worse under alabamacare? the president is making a renewed push and stressing costs. say. >> the website is working for
the vast majority of people. we need to make sure that folks re-focus on what's at stake here, which is the capacity for you or your families to be able to have the security of decent health insurance at a reasonable cost. >> so in the short and long-term, what do you think obamacare will mean for the cost of care? >> i think that it will have the two different effects. it will have some cost-reducing effects because it will help consumers make more apples to apples comparesons across health plans and, hopefully, across doctors and hospitals. >> that's a little bit more to be seen. that's very important so the consumer is making their choices. on the other hand, i think we have to admit that the administrative costs of this whole system are high. and really, unfortunately, obamacare is layering another layer of complexity on a healthcare system which is
what if the quality -- what is the quality of care here compared nations? >> i think all of the studies are pretty clear on this that the quality of care in the united states is about comparable to the other industrialized nations such as canada or the european nations or australia. so we spend more, gu we don't get more. we just have this unbelievably convoluted system and we need to make it more simple. we need to have the consumer, the patient, more engaged in understanding and caring about what it costs, and then we need the healthcare system, the hospitals, the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, to respond to a consumer, an interested and informed consumer by making their prices more understandable. frankly to compete on the basis of price, which will drive prices down over time. >> james robinson, really appreciate you joining us to try to make some sense out of this, this big mess. we appreciate you joining us. thank you. >> my pleasure. >> coming up, an al jazeera exclusive minister with iran's
foreign ministers raises more concerns about the country's nuclear ambitions. we will have analysis next. let's going back to hermela. >> the night against low wages is taking on the banking industry. i will tell you more coming up. what do you think? join the conversation on twitter @ajconsiderthis and on our faceboo+ our facebook and ogolog google+ pages.
>> every sunday night al jazeera america brings you controversial... >> both parties are owned by the corporations. >> ..entertaining >> it's fun to play with ideas. >> ...thought provoking >> get your damn education. >> ...surprising >> oh, absolutely! >> ...exclusive one-on-one interviews with the most interesting people of our time. >> you're listening because you want to see what's going to happen. >> i want to know what works what do you know works? >> conversations you won't find anywhere else.
>> from debt to america to let's make a deal. jamar zarif has wrapped up a diplomatic charm offensive after wrapping up an interim deal on iran's nuclear program. zarif gave an exclusive interview to al jazeera english where he emphasized again that iran's nuclear program will go on at least partly on iran's terms. >> iran will continue its enrichment at 5%. and iran will continue construction work at iraq.
>> for more here in new york is nadir sh ar mi at the joseph corevel at the university of denver. also, the co-of a new book, the syria dilemma. you heard zarif speaking. he insisted they don't want nuclear bombs. as you heard, he is insisting on continuing work at the plant that the nuclear re actor at iraq which would be able to produce bombs. he said they continue to have the right to enrich. you have this conflict between what the ir ranians are saying and what john kerry is saying. >> both sides are trying to spin it for domestic audiences. we have to judge iran not by what the foreign minister is saying but what iran has committed itself to by virtue of the general eva agreement, what it's doing on the ground. i think what we are hearing is
iran wants to show it has not capitulated to the international community. when you look at the general eva agreement, iran has made a an almost 180 degree turn. it had to accept the dmrandz of the international community. capitulation by iran that it had to make in the case of very concerted western efforts. >> let's look at some more of what zarif said. is it all spin? most of us think the economic sanctions are what led iran to the negotiating table, but he had this to say: >> when sanctions started, iran had less than two 00 centrifuges. today, 19,000. so the product, the net product of sanctions has been about 18800 centrifuges added today iran's stock of centrifuges. on the other hand, the people of iran blame the west for instructions that have been imposed on their livelihood, on
their ability to buy medicine, on their ability to finance and purchase food items from abroad. >> so does he have a point? that, in fact, the saifrpingsz have led to iran getting more and more centrifuges and developing their own nuclear program creating some sort of resentment? >> he is saying that for domestic constituents. one has to ask why did it come to an agreement that it previously had rejected in previous years? he is saying it's not because of the sanctions. i think most reasonable people know the sanctions has devastated the iranian economy. the reason why iran has made this about-face, signed the geneva agreement, because it realized its economy, the future of its regime was headed toward disaster. it had to make a compromise. >> that's what's going on. >> zarif said and insisted that iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and
transparent. >> we have nothing to hide. they have been searching iran up and down, in and out, for the past 10 years probably more than they have searched any other country on the face of this earth. and they have not found a single evidence of diversion of our nuclear program into anything other than peaceful purposes. >> if you watch him. is he as netanyahu said on, a wolfe in sheep's clothing? >> i am a reminded of a diplomat who says an ambassador is someone who is a nice gentleman who is sent abroad to lie for the good of his country. we are seeing that in his statements, that he is a very likeable statements but these statements have to be deciphered and interpreted. >> is clear, they hit the nuclear facility and they have things. >> right, or ask the question:
why weren't international inspectors given full access to iran before? why do we have to wait until this agreement if iran really had nothing to hide, why were we going through this whole process of sanction and debate? we could have resolved this 10 years ago. 1234. >> he is representing the interests of his country. i think he is really not speaking to a western audience. he is really speaking to an iranian audience, particularly those segments of the hard-line constituency that don't like this agreement that are sort of making noises that they are unhappy but for now, they are sort of contained. to accomplish. >> he is also trying to get friendliar with the arab gulf states. he did everything he could to sort of sooth feelings there. let's listen to some of this as he blamed, of course, most of the tension in the region country. >> it continues to be israel that continues to do everything in its power in order to derail the process and in order to prevent it from implementation. our friends in the region have nothing to lose.
our friends in the region have nothing to fear. >> so here, is he going further than just oman and qat ar? arabia? >> i think he is trying to. this is a new, almost historic 1 can say push by iran to try to bridge with his neighbors. this is a new outreach. i think he is speaking to saudi region. he hasn't gone there yet. but you can tell iran is not only trying to reach out to the west diplomatically and resolve problems but the same on a regional effort. i think that explains the foreign minister's trip. >> one place you know about and there has been a lot of conflict between saudi arabia and iran is syria. and this is what zarif had to say about what needs to happen there. >> there is no military solution to the tragedy in syria. we need to bring all of the people together.
extremenism syria will harm all of us. extremism in syria cannot be contained to syria. our friends in the region will be the first targets and victims of extremism. >> this is a guy who works for a government that supports the extremists of hezbollah. so, is there anything chance that iran will accept anything other than a solution in syria with assad staying in power? >> it won't. for the foreign minter to talk about extremism, there is no military solution when iran is deeply militarily involved is the height of hypocracy. yesterday, the u.n. rights, said they are guilty and the highest responsible. >> that's the biggest form of extremism instruments having and seeing in syria that is responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 people. so it's the height of hypocracy for the foreign minister to complain about he knew treme whichl his government is backing the most extremist players in syria today.
>> the charm offensive continues. are people buying it and whether it will work? we will stay on top of it. i hope you will join us again. great having you on the set. moving on to another member of what former approximately george w. bush called the axis of evil, north korea where the country's second most powerful leader appears to have disappeared while a new hostage seems to make a coerced con sfeings. according to south korea's intelligence service, the number 2 after his nephew, kim jun un has been dropped from power after two deposit treys executed for corruption and anti-party activities. meanwhile, relatives say they are deeply worried about 85-year-old newman. he has been detained for over a month after he was pulled from a jet liner was a he was leaving korea after a 10-day tour. i am
joined by jordan chain and the author of "nuclear showdown: north korea takes on the world " kim lun yun's ant, also a pour in her own right. has he been removed from power? >> i think that he has because he hasn't been seen in public since november 6th. that would be very unusual if he indeed were not purged. there have been a number of other indications that he actually has been removed from power. so i think that these stories are pretty much on the mark. >> what does this rule from power, if that's what happened here, what does it say about the power struggles in north korea? is this basically just kim june un trying to take role? >> most people say this shows the regime is stable. if kim jung un didn't feel confident, he wouldn't have removed his number 1 power backer. this is a dangerous time for
north korea. the reasons is that period of success, going from the father to the current ruler, the real different time is, i think, when the leader feels confident to act. he will strike out on his own and that means he will get himself in trouble. there are a lot of people in this regime who have been purged so there is a lot of resentment. >> this is a young guy. he hasn't been if power that long. >> i think: for instance, these a aids, this can't be a good sign because, you know, the killing is very hard to stop and blood demands blood. >> what about his aunt who is married to yun sin tak? >> she hasn't been feeling well for some time. i think she is pretty much out of the picture. kim il sung, the founder of north korea. her. >> the grandson can't deal with his aunt? ? >> no. uncle? >> he can sort of sideline him.
i don't think he actually can kill him though because, you know, the myth of the kim family is just so powerful. you just cannot get someone, en someone who is not a blood line relative, bloo marriage. >> let's turn to merle newman, 85 years old, a core e a war vet. they pull him off of an airplane while he was leaving. why are they holding him? >> a couple of reasons. the koreans, they are still fighting the korean war. over. he tried to contact some of his comrades, the partisans resisting north korea. plus we have to remember that one of the founding myths of north korea was that it was a tacked by south korea and the united states. this gives the regime a lot of opportunity to replay that story for the north korean people. this is very handy. >> let's talk about what you just said in the context of this confession. >> which really brings back the
worst possible memories of the cold war. as we look at him here reading this clearly coerced confession, he basically signed or they say he signed a confession committing hostile acts against north service. he said he was guilt of a long list of crimes during the war when he helped the guerillas, that he killed soldiers and planned to him some of his soldiers connect with an anti-communist organization and he begged for pardon on his knees. what are the north koreans thinking? i knew that's an obvious question we ask because of all of the questions they do but to make an 85-year-old doll all of this and humiliate him knowing that the united states is going ill. >> it is to us but for the north korean people, this helps the regime, it shows the regime is able to take an american and put
him on his knees, at least figuratively. so, it is going to play very well in north korea. of course, outside of north korea, it's reprehintible. it's really horrific. >> do you think this turmoil that we are seeing now with the unc uncle, will it make things worse? it's not just merrill newman. we have kenneth bay who has been a prisoner now for months in north korea. he has been held there for more than a year. is it more or less likely we out? >> i think that's a great question, and the reason is that a very highly charged atmosphere, nobody wants to make a mistake. so the safe thing to do is the to do nothing. i think kenneth bay and merle newman will be held for much longer than they otherwise would have been. >> what game are the north korean's playing? trying to get more concessions aid? >> sure. they would love more aid. you know, they would like some other things from us as well. but i think at the end of the day, this is sort of dropped
into their lap. they've got to do something about it. it comes at a bad time for both of those guys. so i think that essentially, this is sort part coincidence, but, also, you know, now that they are there, they are going to milly this to the max. >> for both of these men and their families, i hope something happens and they get out of there soon. gordon change, it's great to have you? >> thank you. >> time to see what's trending on ashingsdz america's website. >> starting wednesday there will be a week of protests in new york city against low wages in the banking industry. they say there is a huge difference between what retail bankers manned make and what those in the corporate offices are paid. according to the bureau of labor and stadistics, a national median salary for bank tellers in 2012 was almost $25,000. about $2,500 more than the median salary of wal-mart workers. activists point out that tellers and other retail staff are usually required to buy suits at their expense and look the part of professional workers. what's more, last year, 39
percents of bank tellers in new york state relied on public assistance to get by while j.p. morgan chase jamie diamond made $21 million. now, to your reaction. viewer john kayes 0 says so long as corporates treat we should union eyes. >> wedged to the gilded age of 2.0. read more at al jazeera america.aljazeera.com. >> many loch to down energy drinks. the author of a new studiey joins us next. later, are men only using half their brain? the new research that could have plenty of wives saying, "i've known that for years." ♪ the stream is uniquely interactive television. we depend on you,
>> you are one of the voices of this show. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> the stream. weeknights 7:30 et / 4:30 pt on al jazeera america and join the conversation online @ajamstream. determining using some sort of subjective interpretation of their policy as to whether or not your particular report was actually abusive, because if it doesn't contain language that specifically threatens you directly or is targeted towards you specifically, they may not consider it abuse. they may consider it offensive. and in that case they just recommend that you block that person. >> i don't want to minimise this, because i mean, there's some really horrible things that are on line, and it's not - it's not just twitter, what has happened through social media and the anonymity of the net is that you see websites, hate-filled websites targetting
>> every sunday night al jazeera america brings you controversial... >> both parties are owned by the corporations. >> ..entertaining >> it's fun to play with ideas. >> ...thought provoking >> get your damn education. >> ...surprising >> oh, absolutely! >> ...exclusive one-on-one interviews with the most interesting people of our time. >> you're listening because you want to see what's going to happen. >> i want to know what works what do you know works? >> conversations you won't find anywhere else. >> talk to al jazeera. >> only on al jazeera america. >> oh my!
future, and take you behind the scenes at our evolving world. techknow - ideas, invention, life. >> today's data dive gets preveny to examine the difference in gray matter between men and women. women have long claimed guys don't use their brains. turns out they may be half right. a university of pennsylvania study used brain imaging to look at brain cells at about 958 people. they found males have more pathways that run the length of each hemisphere while females had better communication between the two hem is fears. guys only use about half their
brain while women use all of theirs. that shouldn't not' surprise anyone who watches a group of guys watching football at hooter's. any man who complains that his girlfriend always wants to talk about everything now has scientific proof. neural connections show females are better at facilitating communication between the analytical side of the brain and the i know to youtive. memories. no prize there for any couple that's ever gotten into a fight women who complain their boyfriends are simple minded get facts to back up claims. men are better at learning and performing a single task while women are better at multi-tasking. males are better navigators. maybe they don't need to stop and ask for dreblthsz after all. then again gps devices make make that issue moot. there is good news for both genders, females and males each excel at scales that complement each other. don't get rid of us men yet.
we could come in handy some day. coming up: is it possible to live your line using only online money? we will get a first-hand account of two people who did that. after the break. >> every morning from 5 to 9am al jazeera america brings you more us and global news than any other american news channel. find out what happened and what to expect. >> start every morning, every day, 5am to 9 eastern with al jazeera america.
is it possible to survive on bitcoin, the unpredictable kunks see that exists digitally. only a handful accept it as payment. most never heard of it. that didn't stop our next guest from embarking trip. >> i am becky, soon to be becky. >> we are going to live first 90 days of our post-honeymoon coyne. >> we will use bitcoin to barter. we will tell you what works, doesn't work and why.
>> we are joined by austin ? >> i have been interested in bitcoin but i don't have a background in economics or criptograpy. it was in production and marketing. i wouldn't to become involved in some way. this seemed like the best way to not only learn about it but to contribute maybe some education of this burgeoning field of a really obscure, difficult-to-understand area. >> let's try to understand it. honeymoon. you married becky, get back and a day later, you embark on this journey where you were going to try to pay for everything with bit coyne. how do i get food? how do i get gas? >> it started right when we landed in the airport back if our honey moon. how t how to get home from the airport. we had to per sweet payment to accept bitcoin. when we started, there was only
one establishment in the entire state of utah. there was one barbecue restaurant outside of provo. outside of that, we had to approach merchants and say action hi, have you heard of no. >> can we pay you with this? >> you managed to get groceries, a gas station about an hour away that you had to drive to in order to get gas which sort of somewhat defeats the purpose, i guess. so you manage to get those e sessions. now you decide what you are going to do is have this three-month trip around the world and do a road trip from provo a lot way to new york. how is that? >> we had to rely heavily on the bitcoin community. they are not merchants that accept bitcoin. certainly not for gas. gas stations are owned by oil companies. they are not interested in -- >> a new way of paying? >> right. >> what does it mean to get the community behind you? we had to meet up with bit coiners all along the way.
we were able to persuade some to accept bitcoin. we had to use in tweens. >> if you do get a business th t agrees to do this, what do you have to do? a transfereelectronically from your computer, you send a code to their computer and you figure out what the cost is based upon the currency value? >> from theition is not that complex indicated persuading somebody to give it a try. i can set you up to accept bitcoin in a few minutes. it's not difficult. the hard part is getting somebody to understand it and have a little confidence in the system that otherwise seems straight. now you are getting on an airplane going to berlin. you are going to stockholm, singapore, going around the world. was that all done through a travel agency? >> for the airlines and for the
hotels, we did rely on the travel agency. there was an agent in germany that we got all of our flights through and most of our hotel stays. when we got there -- >> how about transportation? >> we were on foot a lot. >> how about from the airport? >> from the airport, we frequently, i think, three times on our trip, we met up with somebody at the training station and sometimes we would go to the train station and just find a stranger and say hi, have you ever heard of bit coin? let me explain it to you. we want to pay you with this. we did that three times. three times, the first person we shot. >> do they have to create a bit coin account so that you can transfer money into their account, i would assume? >> yeah. they do have to have a bitcoin wallet like you have an e-mail address for e-mails. but it's straightforward and simple to set up. it's a matter of punching in a few things on your cell phone. >> we have a social media question for you. let's go to hermela of that? >> austin on twitter wants to
know if is bitcoin is worth $1,000, how do you buy a cup of coffee with it? >> that's a very good question. bitcoin can be sub divided out to the 8th desmil point. because it's digital, you can pay. we don't have the vocabulary. we have dimes and nickels and quarters. that doesn't exist yet for bitcoin but i imagine it will as it becomes more commonly used. >> you have to do a lot of calculating and convincing because to eat at restaurants, to survive as you did abroad for three months, must have had to spend a lot of time and a lot of energy to get this done. >> yeah, becky, thankfully has a full-time job and she was at her job almost every day. i was frequently out trying to persuade local merchants to accept bitcoin. it took a couple of weeks to find a grab. eating? >> we did a couple of times. and that was mostly when we were traveling to new areas where we had not been able to contact merchants and persuade them yet.
one night in the stockholm, we were hung re. the next morning we found a restaurant that served excellent swedish food and found boutique hotel. >> did you ever cheat? >> no. never. not once. i was amazed how many people would pull out the credit card. >> richard branson announced that virgin atlantic will be -- not virgin atlantic. his space company is going to accept bit coin as payment and because, it makes more sense. it's a space company, modern technology. it begs the question of will we see bitcoin as a frequently future? >> i think we could. when the infrastructure is in place and the merchant accepts it, it's more security than a credit card payment. it's a matter of having those things in place and having people understand how it works. >> do you think there will be the technology, you can make
these transfers and it's simple to do? >> it's that way right now. again, the matter is how universal it is, how often people have heard of it, accept it and are willing to take it for their business. right now, that's the limiting itself. >> when bitcoin or when you started your travels, bitcoin was worth about $100. right now, it's inflated. there is a big bubble going on. it may be a bubble, but it's over a thousand dollars. did you ever think maybe i should have saved that bitcoin? >> i don't because really, i went into this wanting to learn more about it. the rise in value of bitcoin just begs the question even more: is this viable as a currency if it's rising in value, can you use it as a currency? because that kind of volatility is really extreme. it's really interesting. documentary. appreciate you being here. >> thank you. >> the show may be over. the conversation continues on aljazeera.com/considerthis or
nyberglinda nyberg >> the commuter train crash investigation is focused on the engineer. there's information that he may have been asleep at the switch before the train went off the rails. a federal judge green lights detroit's bankruptcy plan, allowing the city to cut pension plans. joe biden - safety in the sky, a dispute between china and japan. and a report says yasser arafat was not poisoned by radioactive polonium. it it disputes findings that there were high level