Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Karan Chhabra

Every day, I ask myself what we can do to make you, our readers, happier. Today I figured it out: free food. Unfortunately I haven’t yet figured out the food-teleportation feature on WordPress, so that might have to wait—but in the meantime, munch on these Wonkbites. We got them from food trucks. Promise.

  1. Jersey Strong: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, on Tuesday, announced that he’d be carrying out Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to an estimated 300,000 new NJ residents. Though this surprised many given his GOP affiliation, he’s actually now the eighth Republican governor to break ranks and support the Obama policy. Don’t forget, though that the federal government is fully funding the first three years of the Medicaid expansion–and that Christie took pains to note that he’s “no fan of the Affordable Care Act.”
  2. The Arkanfuffle: Yes, another state Medicaid expansion story—but better. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, announced that he’d struck a deal to shimmy around the Medicaid expansion altogether. Instead, he’s going to have the federal government cover private insurance for everyone who would’ve gotten Medicaid through the expansion. And the feds are okay with it. Though we’re still trying to figure out the legal grounding, it could mean a huge influx of cash for AR insurers and healthcare providers. It’s an unusual story, and we’re watching it closely—please leave comments if you find out more about it.
  3. Elementary? Yeah, right [/medstudentgripes]: Elementary or not, IBM’s Watson is learning medicine, and proving to be pretty good at it. This article by Jonathan Cohn is an evenhanded, yet fascinating look at what the supercomputer (and other technology) could do to healthcare, and what role might be left for suckers like me.
  4. La Dolce Vita: Fantasize about the Italian lifestyle? Apparently, you can have your cake and eat it too with the Mediterranean diet—this week, the best evidence to date was published on the cardiovascular benefits of a diet rich in olive oil, fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, and fish… oh, and wine. Salute!
  5. What ever happened to the good old forehead-to-desk method?: If face to desk isn’t working for you, enjoy this handy guide to the best naps of your life.

Thoughts on the news or our coverage? Leave them in the comments—we read everything!


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

Follow him on Twitter @KRChhabra or subscribe to the blog.

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