Home - Peter Ubel

On Health,
Bioethics, and
Behavioral Economics

As a physician and behavioral scientist, my research and writing explore the quirks in human nature that influence our lives -- the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect our health, our happiness, and the way our society functions.
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Sick To Debt

How Smarter Markets Lead To Better Care

ABOUT THE BOOK: The United States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. While policy makers have argued over who is at fault for this, the system has been quietly moving toward high-deductible insurance plans that require patients to pay large amounts out of pocket before insurance kicks in. The idea behind this […]

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It is Possible to Shop for Healthcare Bargains if You Can Access Them
Published Sep 15, 2020Featured Image For It is Possible to Shop for Healthcare Bargains if You Can Access Them
Are you one of the many Americans facing potentially high healthcare costs? If you have a high deductible health plan, or even a medium deductible one; if you are expected to fork over substantial copays for medical care—I’ve got good news for you. There are potentially a lot of healthcare bargains out there, if you’re […]
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Oncologists Were Paid to Prescribe Generic Chemotherapy (Here’s Why It Didn’t Change a Thing)
Published Aug 26, 2020Featured Image For Oncologists Were Paid to Prescribe Generic Chemotherapy (Here’s Why It Didn’t Change a Thing)
Brand-name chemotherapy is often incredibly expensive, in excess of $100,000 per patient. Sometimes there are excellent generic alternatives, but many oncologists are hesitant to prescribe generics because such prescriptions cost them money. For many medicines, you see, oncologists receive a 6% markup, meaning when they infuse a patient with a $10,000 monthly course of chemotherapy, […]
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Fact-checking COVID-19 Stats
Published Aug 24, 2020Featured Image For Fact-checking COVID-19 Stats
A U.S. Senator mistakenly tweeted that 14% of UNC students have COVID-19. A local news station fact-checked that tweet, explained the math, and the Senator didn’t back down. Sigh… The University of North Carolina made national news after reporting a coronavirus outbreak shortly after students returned to campus. Before students could even get their first […]
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Critics Wonder Whether the FDA Is Too Slow to Handle a Pandemic
Published Aug 14, 2020Featured Image For Critics Wonder Whether the FDA Is Too Slow to Handle a Pandemic
The FDA plays a critical role in our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It helps decide which medicines are safe and effective to treat the disease. It evaluates the accuracy and reliability of laboratory tests. And it will play a central role in assessing potential vaccines. But will the FDA bureaucracy move with the […]
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An 18th-Century Lesson on How to Stay Healthy during a Pandemic
Published Aug 07, 2020Featured Image For An 18th-Century Lesson on How to Stay Healthy during a Pandemic
Evidence is now overwhelming that wearing face masks slows the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But Americans haven’t universally donned these coverings. An effective leader would find a way to encourage people to adopt this lifesaving behavior. Take sauerkraut, for example. My German father tried his best to get me to eat it when I was a […]
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Concerning Trend for Rural Physicians Makes a Risky Business Even Riskier
Published Jul 23, 2020Featured Image For Concerning Trend for Rural Physicians Makes a Risky Business Even Riskier
The COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc on healthcare providers. Hospitals and outpatient practices are struggling from a combination of lost revenue, from people delaying or canceling appointments, and increased expenses, related to the measures they are taking to reduce the spread of the virus within healthcare settings. As always, when American healthcare providers are in […]
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Other Books by Peter Ubel

About Peter

I am a physician and behavioral scientist. My research and writing explores the quirks in human nature that influence our lives — the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect our health, our happiness and the way our society functions. (What fun would it be to tackle just the easy problems?) My goal is to show you, in an entertaining way, why the key to living better, healthier lives, and improving the societies we live in, is to understand human nature.

I’m also a Professor of Business, Public Policy and Medicine at Duke University. (Officially, I’m the – prepare to be impressed – Madge and Dennis T. McLawhorn University Professor of Business at Fuqua.) My research explores controversial issues about the role of values and preferences in health care decision making, from decisions at the bedside to policy decisions.

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