Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Karan Chhabra

Hot date with a healthcare blogger this weekend? Wonktail party? If you need to catch up on this week’s healthcare news fast, we’ve got you covered: rapid fire, for your viewing pleasure, the week’s stories that got us talking:

    1. Medicaid’s line in the sand: As states finalize their 2014 budgets, they all have an important choice to make: expand Medicaid eligibility with the generous backing of the federal government (courtesy of healthcare reform), or hang back and preserve the status quo (courtesy of the Supreme Court’s decision on said reform). In a surprise to many, six Republican governors–those of AZ, NV, NM, ND, and most recently Ohio and Michigan–have recently signed onto the Democrat-led Medicaid expansion. (For those keeping score, Adrianna’s home state of Michigan is with it, and mine, New Jersey, not so much.) For our past coverage of Medicaid expansion, look here and here. And for an up-to-date look at who’s expanding Medicaid and who isn’t, check out this nifty map courtesy of my old stomping ground:

      Where the States Stand

      credit: The Advisory Board Company

    2. Add doctors to the list of people not to friend on Facebook: or at least that seems to be the drift of a new piece in the Wall Street Journal. Surprise of the century? Maybe not.

  • “Big Data” is one of the buzzwords of the decade: and the discussion of this New York Times Op-Ed by David Brooks shows that people haven’t gotten bored. He points out two of data’s key benefits: 1) “exposing when our intuitive view of reality is wrong”, and 2) “illuminating patterns of behavior we haven’t yet noticed,” but the fun is of course in the examples he chooses.
  • This won’t make me fat, right?: Contrary to what you’ve been told, it might. Researchers recently outlined seven popular obesity myths, as well as nine perhaps lesser-known truths. But their article in the New England Journal of Medicine (gated original here) wasn’t without its detractors, especially for the writers’ ties to the food industry.
  • Can’t please them all: In response to last week’s proposed revision to the contraceptive mandate (see the last News Dump)–designed to appease religious organizations, mind you–the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying it just isn’t enough.


Did we leave anything out? Was this a total waste of your time, or do you want to see more? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below—we read everything!


Karan is a first-year student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School who previously worked in strategic research for hospital executives and graduated from Duke University.

Follow him on Twitter @KRChhabra.

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