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Category Archives: Good Ideas


Mark T. Mitchell says: Gratitude is a way of inhabiting the world. It is a disposition toward the world that reminds us that we are not alone. We are not solitary creatures owing nothing to no one. Rather, gratitude points to our dependence. It is a fitting attitude in the face of our creatureliness. When [...]

Disclosure as a regulatory tool: how we make decisions

Inspired by this article about the ineffectiveness of disclosure as a regulatory tool, some questions: When you sign up for an online service like iTunes or Facebook, do you read the terms and conditions before you click the “I agree to these terms and conditions” button?  When you rent a car, and the clerk asks [...]

Curious about Donald Berwick? Maggie Mahar at the Health Care Blog gives us plenty of reasons to be excited by Obama’s choice of Berwick to head Medicare and Medicaid, but my favorite bit was this: In a 2005 interview published in Health Affairs, Berwick expressed his concerns: “I would draw a very dark line between the [...]

FCC: what doing its job looks like

Via the NYT, from a longer article describing the FCCs plan to modernize the American broadband internet infrastructure: In a move that could affect policy decisions years from now, the F.C.C. will begin assessing the speeds and costs of consumer broadband service. Until then, consumers can take matters into their own hands with a new [...]

1983: When (Legislative) Giants Walked Among Us

The inability of our current Congressional representatives to do anything at all about health care — access or costs — is highlighted by contrasting today’s bumbling Congress with some legendary Congresses of yesteryear. “Yesteryear” meaning, in this case, 1983. Michael Millenson has a post at the Health Care Blog describing the wonderful things that happened [...]

Malpractice reform, for all the right reasons

I was able to catch a little of the health care summit today, including the bit where John Boehner said that defensive medicine was the main driver of healthcare cost inflation, Obama’s response that Boehner’s claim is false, and Dick Durbin’s plea that capping damages for pain and suffering would be unfair to patients whose [...]

Tips for not getting porky

If you’re one of those folks who drives a desk all day, you’re at increased risk for getting fat.  Sorry. So unless you’re willing and able to chuck your desk job for one that keeps you moving (e.g., waiter, emergency physician, UFC combatant), you’ll be wanting to develop some skills for keeping the weight off.  [...]

Walking away from your mortgage: Waldman vs. McArdle

Megan McArdle and Steve Waldman have been going back and forth about the morality of walking away from underwater mortgages (via Kevin Drum).  McArdle thinks people should keep paying, and Waldman thinks they should walk away. Between the two of them, they’ve cataloged many of the likely consequences of our descent into a mutual ethos [...]

Holiday fundraiser worth doing

Patrick Rothfuss, on the strength of his superb novel The Name of the Wind, is one of my favorite authors. Now, I haven’t met Patrick Rothfuss, but my guess is that he’s a pretty good guy.  He certainly has a pretty good beard.  He’s also running a fundraiser this holiday season for Heifer International that [...]

Bad beans

Over at ACEP’s blog The Central Line, Graham Walker tells us why he wants a national EMR.  Graham’s vision is compelling, yes, what with all that information and stuff.  As an emergency physician, I want a national EMR, too. But what if I were the patient?  Let me put on my hypothetical patient hat, and [...]