Home - Peter Ubel

On Health,
Bioethics, and
Behavioral Science

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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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 […]

Latest Content

Spend Too Much On Your Medications? Help Is On The Way
Published Sep 19, 2023Featured Image For Spend Too Much On Your Medications? Help Is On The Way
How is a physician supposed to know which medicine is most affordable under which insurance plan? Fortunately, there are tools coming into use designed to help clinicians figure out patient-specific costs of any medication they prescribe. The tools (jargon alert!) are called RTBTs, for real-time benefit tools.
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From Sponge-worthy to Contagion-worthy
Published Sep 11, 2023Featured Image For From Sponge-worthy to Contagion-worthy
After learning that her favorite prophylactic is going off the market, Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes had to decide which potential partners were “sponge-worthy,” even putting her new boyfriend through what resembled a job interview to see if he was up to her new sexual standards. While the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is hopefully behind us, new variants continue to spread, with news sources reporting this week that Jill Biden and Whoopi Goldberg have come down with the virus. Given the ongoing threat of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases, we all face a new kind of worthiness judgement, a decision about who is “contagion-worthy”: who should we hug, kiss and socialize with given the risk that they harbor a dangerous microorganism?
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Regulating Surprise Bills Lower Healthcare Prices – Guess How Much
Published Jul 05, 2023
You wake up in the post-operative recovery area, still groggy, the full effects of the procedure obscured by an anesthetic haze. You begin to ponder several questions: Was the surgery a success? Did the surgeon find anything unexpected? How quickly will the procedure make you feel better? There's another question you might ask yourself. A few weeks from now, is anyone involved in your care going to send you a surprise bill?
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Puccini Was Dying Of Cancer—Hiding His Diagnosis Was A Grave Mistake
Published Jun 09, 2023Featured Image For Puccini Was Dying Of Cancer—Hiding His Diagnosis Was A Grave Mistake
It would have been a difficult ending under the best of circumstances. Composing what would be his last opera, Giacomo Puccini was struggling to humanize Turandot, daughter of the Emperor and a woman of mesmerizing beauty. Early in the opera, she had cruelly disposed of a series of want-to-be suitors, beheading some and torturing others, […]
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Other Books by Peter Ubel