Category Archives: Health & Well-being

Time To Stop Paying For Pepsi With Food Stamps

The food stamp program helps over 40 million Americans pay for groceries. Unlike other forms of economic assistance, this program, called SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), only pays for food, thereby constraining how recipients make use of the aid. … Continue reading

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My Burrito Has How Many Calories?!?

In collaboration with Peggy Liu and Jim Bettman, I’ve had fun doing some research on just how hard it is for people to guess how many calories they are consuming, at restaurants like Chipotle where everyone puts different ingredients on … Continue reading

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Outpatient Spending Is Catching Up To Hospital Expenditures

For decades now, policymakers have been trying to slow down the growth of healthcare costs. For much of this time, a large part of that effort was directed at hospital spending. American hospitals are extremely expensive, and take care of … Continue reading

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A Park Bench That Tells You You’re Fat?

Clearly we in the United States are not taking the obesity epidemic as seriously as the Russian government. We debate whether it is appropriate for the government to require restaurants to inform their customers about how many calories they are … Continue reading

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Here’s Why Funding Medical Education Helps Vulnerable Patients

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine in June (no one accused me of being a timely blogger!) shows that academic medical centers often provide poorly-reimbursed services that other healthcare institutions avoid. Where more general hospitals might avoid … Continue reading

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Would Americans Be Happier with a Higher Minimum Wage?

There was a very nice piece in the Washington Post recently, exploring the relationship between life satisfaction and the minimum wage. They summarize their findings in the following figure: I suggest you read the piece, to see what they make … Continue reading

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How Medicare Is Punishing Hospitals That Care For Poor People

Such a no-brainer: If patients who receive care at Hospital A are more likely to get readmitted to the hospital 10, 20 or 30 days after discharge than patients in Hospital B, then Hospital A must be doing something wrong. … Continue reading

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The Best-Selling Biologic Drugs

Biologic drugs are a big deal for the pharmaceutical industry right now. Blockbuster chemicals for common conditions like diabetes and hypertension are largely things of the past. We’re getting pretty good at controlling those conditions, and few people expect a … Continue reading

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Racial Disparities in Outcomes after Heart Attack Were Eliminated by Free Prescriptions

High costs make it hard for many patients to afford their medications. That’s why some medical experts believe we should give important medications to patients for free, to see if that improves their health outcomes. One famous example of this … Continue reading

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Could Pay-For-Performance Lead To Overuse Of Antibiotics?

Not long ago, the Joint Commission (a healthcare quality organization) established that patients with pneumonia should receive antibiotics within four hours of diagnosis. Timely diagnosis and treatment can be the difference between life and death in patients with this illness. … Continue reading

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