Under peace’d, over crisis’d

I don’t know about you, but I am truly sick of the healthcare crisis. There is a new crisis every year at health insurance renewal season (coming soon!), and then at least a few liberally sprinkled in between renewals.  Epi-pen pricing is our most recent, which Time magazine says is “yet another sign of coming Pharma Crisis”.  Aetna’s leaving several states’ insurance exchanges – there’s another one!crisis

It begs the question whether the healthcare situation is actually a crisis.  Continue reading

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The band is still playing

and_the_band_played_onMissteps, politics, and controversy hampered AIDS research and prevention in the 1980s – costing us literally thousands of lives.  “And the Band Played On”, Randy Shilts’s excellent account of the early days of AIDS,  would be less disheartening if we weren’t repeating the same mistakes today with a different disease. Continue reading

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Cheetos under siege in Mexico

Sometimes I miss newsworthy events.  Such is the case with the Cheetos tax that Mexico started charging in 2014. (I also missed the memo on brand new socks being labeled “R” and “L” – what is up with that??? But I digress. . .)   Now, enough time has passed to see whether high energy density, non-essential aka junk food consumption went down in Mexico.  And it did, but not for everyone.cheetos_under_siege  Excellent study available hereContinue reading

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Tunnel vision

We’ve all done it – over-focused on a deadline or an event and lost track of other things, which then became crises.   “Tunneling” works, sort of, when we’re tunnel_visiontalking about working overtime for a month, and then catching up with our lonely spouse or weedy garden.  But what if a person’s focus is consumed with life basics, like food and rent, and what gets forgotten are the electric bill and a child’s asthma inhaler?  Tunneling is why poverty is very hard to escape.  Continue reading

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Got Ikigai?

Ikigai (pronounced eye KEY gay eye) is not seaweed, not a pill or a potion, or even a physical thing at all.  But with it, you will live longer.  You will be less prone to heart disease.  If you have a chronic illness, you will suffer less from it.  And magically, it works even if you have other disadvantages, such as low income or little education. ikigai

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Weekday death

There is nothing quite like having a colleague die at his desk to focus one’s mind.  weekday_deathFirst, you gasp – Whaaatttt?  I just had a meeting with him yesterday!  I have an e-mail from him in my in-box!  Then you exhale and realize just how close life’s edge really is. Continue reading

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Haggle-free Hepatitis C

Recipe for a good haggle session:

  • A buyer who can walk away at any time.
  • A seller who does not want the buyer to walk away.haggle_free_hep_c

Tweak one of those ingredients and you might have a transaction, but not a knock-down, drag-out, I-can’t-believe- that-price negotiation.  And tweak is exactly what courts are doing.  Continue reading

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Bucks and Butts

Remember your first raise?  I do!  I got the maximum raise allowed – 50 cents an hour.  I remember feeling good, holding my head a little higher, shoulders a little cigarettessquarer.  What happens when a whole community gets a raise?  Lots of good things. Continue reading

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Root beer floats Philly preschool

Root beer floats preschoolsroot_beer_floats

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet. – Beatles

Taxing things makes them less attractive.  Soda taxes, for example, are meant to make drinking sugary-chemical-water more painful in the short term.

So, what happens if the tax money is directed to doing good works? Continue reading

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The Eternal Life of Bad Ideas

Bad ideas often have long and successful careers.  Plenty of people still think autism is caused by vaccines despite a deluge of evidence to the contrary.  The eternal_life_bad_ideasworst are ideas that gain urban legend status and no one beats them down with solid evidence.  The legend of emergency rooms is exactly one of these.  Continue reading

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