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Author Archive: Peter Ubel

About Peter Ubel

02/08/2018

Is Federal Policy Really to Blame for the High Cost of Cancer Care?

(Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images) U.S. healthcare costs have been high for decades, outpacing other developed countries since at least the 1980s. But costs continue to rise, and that is causing many experts to ask why. Some people blame … Continue reading

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01/31/2018

Want to Prevent Heart Attacks? Perhaps Don’t Try This Behavioral Economics Intervention

Shutterstock If you experience a heart attack, you are probably going to need to take pills to prevent another such attack. People who take beta blockers, aspirin, or cholesterol pills after heart attacks are less likely to experience a second … Continue reading

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01/26/2018

A Prick a Day Won’t Keep Your Blood Sugar Away

Shutterstock When it comes to wreaking havoc on people’s bodies, diabetes isn’t picky, wreaking havoc upon people’s hearts, brains, eyes, kidneys, and peripheral nerves. To forestall such damage, many people with diabetes withstand another kind of bodily harm—they prick blood … Continue reading

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01/24/2018

Where You Live in America Determines When You Die

Shutterstock Debates over income inequality divide liberals and conservatives. In the last few decades, income inequality has soared in the U.S. In the 1950s, the top 1% of Americans brought home about a tenth of the country’s income. By 2012, … Continue reading

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01/16/2018

How to Tell Grandpa He Is Too Old for Another Colonoscopy

Shutterstock Cancer screening can save lives: Mammographies reduce the chance women will die of breast cancer; and colonoscopies reduce the chance people will die of colon cancer. But should my 93-year-old father receive a screening colonoscopy? The test is uncomfortable, … Continue reading

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01/10/2018

Healthcare for the Uninsured Is Wasteful (For a Surprising Reason)

Shutterstock American physicians dole out lots of unnecessary medical care to their patients. They prescribe things like antibiotics for people with viral infections, order expensive CT scans for patients with transitory back pain, and obtain screening EKGs for people with … Continue reading

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12/29/2017

The Good and, Too Often, the Bad of Primary Care in the U.S.

Shutterstock Death by a thousand bureaucratic demands. That’s how many American physicians currently describe their jobs, with work days that often don’t end until long after their kids go to sleep, when they finally finish documenting their clinical interactions. You see, government … Continue reading

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12/27/2017

How Physicians Respond to the Price of Lab Tests before Ordering Them

Shutterstock Healthcare prices in the U.S. are often hidden. Some people think this price opacity contributes to our nation’s high healthcare spending. If people don’t know how expensive healthcare is, they won’t have much reason to restrain healthcare utilization. A recent … Continue reading

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12/22/2017

Why Living in a Rich Country Can Give You Cancer

Shutterstock As a primary care physician, I have counseled thousands of patients to get cancer screening—blood tests to look for prostate cancer, mammograms to detect impalpable breast cancers, and colonoscopies to find precancerous colon lesions. I’ve even tried to find … Continue reading

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12/18/2017

How a Leading Medical Journal Helped a Pharmaceutical Company Exaggerate Medication Benefits

Shutterstock How excited would you be about a medication that lowered your risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke by 1.5%? Excited enough to spend a few thousand dollars a year on the drug? I expect not. What if, … Continue reading

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