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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A Matter of Life-or-Death: The Type of Nurses Your Hospital Employs
Published Oct 21, 2020Featured Image For A Matter of Life-or-Death: The Type of Nurses Your Hospital Employs
Good medical outcomes often depends on good nursing care. When hospitals cut back on nursing care, patient mortality rates climb. If you want a good hospital, pick one that doesn’t skimp on the nurse-to-patient ratio. You should also look at the education level of nurses a hospital employs. Because not all nurses are equally skilled. […]
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Income Inequality is Killing Us
Published Sep 30, 2020Featured Image For Income Inequality is Killing Us
It’s easy to think of good healthcare as being the key to a long, healthy life. But socioeconomic circumstances often play a far bigger role in life expectancy than access to high-quality healthcare. Consider the strong relationship between socioeconomic circumstances and life expectancy in Norway, a place where healthcare access is universal. Let’s start with money. People […]
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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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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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