Home - Peter Ubel

On Health,
Bioethics, and
Behavioral Economics

As a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University, 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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Why is Healthcare so Expensive? Blame the Lobbyists!
Published Apr 09, 2021Featured Image For Why is Healthcare so Expensive? Blame the Lobbyists!
American healthcare is ridiculously expensive. I even wrote a book recently laying out a host of reasons for such high prices, such as the historical connection between insurance and hospitals, the lack of price transparency, and the belated involvement of our federal government in healthcare policies. But mainly it comes down to the power of […]
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How Hospital Stays Resemble Enhanced Interrogation
Published Feb 05, 2021Featured Image For How Hospital Stays Resemble Enhanced Interrogation
Ken Mishark is a hospitalist at the Mayo Clinic who formerly served as a physician in the military. Early in his career, he interviewed for a job in the CIA. That experience might explain why he paid attention when the CIA declassified a manual it had developed on how to conduct “enhanced interrogations”. As he […]
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Employers Are Doing a Terrible Job of Covering the Cost of Pregnancy
Published Jan 25, 2021Featured Image For Employers Are Doing a Terrible Job of Covering the Cost of Pregnancy
If you get insurance through your employer, you don’t have to worry about whether insurance will cover maternity care. The company is required to do so by law. But that doesn’t mean the insurer will be very generous. Because in the United States, having coverage doesn’t mean you’re well-covered. Employers are increasingly corralling their employees into high […]
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American Physicians Lack Diversity— Here’s One Way to Change That
Published Jan 04, 2021Featured Image For American Physicians Lack Diversity— Here’s One Way to Change That
African Americans make up 13% of the country’s population, but only 4% of American physicians are black. This lack of racial diversity in the profession is tragic, denying this prestigious career to many worthy people and undermining the health of many African Americans, who are more likely to receive important medical services when they’re cared for by black […]
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Pandemics and Overdoses: COVID-19 May Worsen Our Opioid Epidemic
Published Nov 19, 2020Featured Image For Pandemics and Overdoses: COVID-19 May Worsen Our Opioid Epidemic
The novel coronavirus has decimated our economy at the same time as it has directly threatened our health. As if that weren’t bad enough, the economic damage Covid-19 is causing could have an indirect impact on our health. Consider what we already know about economic downturns and opioid overdoses. A research team led by Atheendar […]
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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 […]

Other Books by Peter Ubel

About Peter

I am a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University. 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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