Felix Salmon

Learning from breast cancer

Over the weekend one of my friends took to Facebook to ask a very good question. Her four-year-old daughter was going to run a lemonade stand, and my friend wanted suggestions “to incorporate an element of giving into the project”. Which charity should the daughter start supporting with her lemonade-stand profits? There were some very good answers, but there was also one woman who suggested, of all things, breast cancer research.

Don’t let doctors’ incomes derail healthcare-cost reform

Sarah Kliff and Matt Yglesias both have good summaries of Steve Brill’s monster Time article on healthcare costs. Both of them correctly point out that the heart of the piece is about negotiating power: who has it (Medicare); who doesn’t have it (the uninsured); and how the lack of negotiating power on the healthcare-consumer side inevitably leads to sky-high costs.

How to improve vaccination

The NYT is leading its home page right now with a big story about the current raging flu epidemic. The cost of this disease is going to be enormous, both in dollars and in lives, and there’s a limited number of things that anybody can do to slow it down. As Kent Sepkowitz says:

Let’s not worry about fake online drugs

Roger Bate has a curious op-ed in the NYT today. He’s the lead author on a study which bought 370 drug samples from 41 online pharmacies around the world, and then tested their authenticity. The results? With the exception of Viagra bought from non-verified websites, every single drug was 100% authentic. But you’d never guess that from his op-ed:

The most dangerous school in Los Altos

A week or so ago, Matt Richtel wrote a long and glowing profile of the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, looking into the apparent irony that a Silicon Valley school is decidedly low-tech; he quoted one parent, Alan Eagle, a senior Google employee, as saying that “I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school”.

How to lose your debt without losing your health

Deleveraging is painful. It’s so painful, indeed, that it can actually be lethal:

Improving America’s healthcare cost consciousness

If you haven’t read Sharon Begley’s wonderful Newsweek cover story on how less healthcare can mean better health, I’d urge you to do so now — it’s one of those articles where I just want to quote pretty much the entire thing. All manner of medicine, it turns out, from CT and MRI scans to antidepressants, have a habit of making people not better but worse.

The antidepressant debate

The NYT’s new-look Sunday Review led this weekend with a big essay by Peter Kramer, the author of Listening to Prozac. But for all its length and detail, it’s very hard to read — at many points, doing so feels like listening to one half of a telephone conversation. Which makes sense when you consider Kramer’s opening paragraphs:

How much for lifetime health insurance?

Caroline Graham’s interview with Bill Gates has lots of interesting nuggets, but this bit in particular, about the amount of money his children will inherit, got me thinking: