Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where You Live in America Determines When You Die

Shutterstock Debates over income inequality divide liberals and conservatives. In the last few decades, income inequality has soared in the U.S. In the 1950s, the top 1% of Americans brought home about a tenth of the country’s income. By 2012, … Continue reading

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How to Tell Grandpa He Is Too Old for Another Colonoscopy

Shutterstock Cancer screening can save lives: Mammographies reduce the chance women will die of breast cancer; and colonoscopies reduce the chance people will die of colon cancer. But should my 93-year-old father receive a screening colonoscopy? The test is uncomfortable, … Continue reading

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Healthcare for the Uninsured Is Wasteful (For a Surprising Reason)

Shutterstock American physicians dole out lots of unnecessary medical care to their patients. They prescribe things like antibiotics for people with viral infections, order expensive CT scans for patients with transitory back pain, and obtain screening EKGs for people with … Continue reading

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The Good and, Too Often, the Bad of Primary Care in the U.S.

Shutterstock Death by a thousand bureaucratic demands. That’s how many American physicians currently describe their jobs, with work days that often don’t end until long after their kids go to sleep, when they finally finish documenting their clinical interactions. You see, government … Continue reading

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How Physicians Respond to the Price of Lab Tests before Ordering Them

Shutterstock Healthcare prices in the U.S. are often hidden. Some people think this price opacity contributes to our nation’s high healthcare spending. If people don’t know how expensive healthcare is, they won’t have much reason to restrain healthcare utilization. A recent … Continue reading

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Why Living in a Rich Country Can Give You Cancer

Shutterstock As a primary care physician, I have counseled thousands of patients to get cancer screening—blood tests to look for prostate cancer, mammograms to detect impalpable breast cancers, and colonoscopies to find precancerous colon lesions. I’ve even tried to find … Continue reading

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How a Leading Medical Journal Helped a Pharmaceutical Company Exaggerate Medication Benefits

Shutterstock How excited would you be about a medication that lowered your risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke by 1.5%? Excited enough to spend a few thousand dollars a year on the drug? I expect not. What if, … Continue reading

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You Know Who Else Fails ‘The Jimmy Kimmel Test?’ Hospital Emergency Rooms

(Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) When Jimmy Kimmel’s child was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, Kimmel realized that people without his wealth (or his generous insurance coverage) would not be able to pay for the life-saving care that his … Continue reading

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Healthcare Spending and Life Expectancy: in One Stunning Picture

Let me be clear: how long people live in any country of the world is determined by lots of things, not just by the quality of their healthcare system. Nevertheless, one of the things medical care is supposed to do … Continue reading

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The Life-Expectancy Gap in One Depressing Picture

Here, from the Financial Times, is a picture showing that the lower your income, the less increase you’ve gotten in life-expectancy the last four decades: Income inequality is one of the largest human problems of this century.

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