Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Karan Chhabra

This Independence Day weekend, exercise your freedom to read juicy health news:

  1. “Be cool.” Or, that’s my interpretation of this post by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of Obamacare’s architects, in response to the delay on the employer mandate. By his math, it could only affect 1-1.5 million people — though it sounds like quite a few to me, he points out that they’ll still be eligible for subsidies on the insurance exchanges. He adds that by the time employers could drop coverage and send employees to the health exchanges, they will in fact be subject to the employer mandate. (While we’re on the topic, you should read Allan’s post on how we got stuck with this funny employer-sponsored insurance system in the first place.)
  2. Why doesn’t everyone buy generic OTCs? A big study makes it seem like it’s simply because they don’t know they contain the same drugs as name brands. Pharmacists buy generics 90% of the time, compared with 70% for the general public. The authors suggest the reason is just that pharmacists are more informed customers.
  3. Marco Polo: Before you take a dip to stave off the summer heat, read (or willfully ignore) this data from the CDC about bacteria in public pools. Spoiler alert: the majority of pools contained E. coli (reflecting fecal contamination), and a similar amount contained Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a nasty little bug). Probably worth reminding Junior that pool water isn’t good to drink.
  4. Of course that’s why I’m on Twitter: Scientists who talk to journalists, and those who are mentioned on Twitter, get significantly more citations than those who don’t try to communicate with the public. Which is exactly how I’m going to defend the countless hours I spend on Twitter to Mom, Dad, and job interviewers.


Karan is a 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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