Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Adrianna McIntyre and Karan Chhabra

It’s been a long, less-than-warm-and-fuzzy week. Without further ado, here are some health care headlines you may have missed.

  1. What Boston might teach us about our humanity. There have been a number of moving responses to Monday’s tragedy in Boston. This eloquent psychological perspective on the instinctive selflessness motivating first responders was not among the more widely circulated pieces: “Evil begins from a point source—a cartridge of gunpowder, a nugget of uranium, a knot of hate in a single dark mind—and then it blows outward. Good gathers from everywhere around the blast and then moves—foolishly, perilously, wonderfully—toward it.”
  2. What’s a Watsi? Chase Adam, a Peace Corps alum (and millennial!) founded the nonprofit Watsi when he realized we were lacking a “Kiva for healthcare.” Two years later, Watsi funds high-yield medical care for 17 patients each week throughout the developing world. Just a day after this article hit the New York Times, every patient on the site got their care fully funded—though many are still in need worldwide.
  3. The doctor—or nurse/pharmacist/chiropractor—is in. With a flood of new patients expected to enter the system under Obamacare, a variety of health-related professions are jockeying for the right to give them care. States determine “scope of practice,” or who’s allowed to do what, and this article details how optometrists, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists in California are pushing for the privilege to offer some services previously restricted to physicians. Naturally, physicians are citing patient safety concerns to protect their turf, and lobbyists win no matter what the outcome.
  4. Building better health care, a bipartisan way. Tom Daschle, Bill Frist, Alice Rivlin, and Pete Domenici are an all-star team hailing from both sides of the aisle. The four chair the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Health Care Cost Containment Initiative and co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Post on policy strategies to manage rising costs. The editorial contains a summary of their main points in six brief bullets. For those made of tougher stuff, you can click through for the executive summary or full report, which were released Thursday. The full report is 131 pages (before endnotes) so no, I haven’t read it yet.
  5. Look ma, no middle seat! Breaking: humans are socially awkward on public transportation, and we’ve got the empirical data to prove it. Okay, so that surprises exactly no one. Researchers have been working on a design for the “perfect” subway car—which happens to involve asymmetric doors and airline-style seats that have no middle-ground.

Thoughts on the news? Leave them in the comments!

Adrianna is a graduate student in public policy and public health at the University of Michigan.
Follow her on Twitter @onceuponA or subscribe to the blog.

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.


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