Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Karan Chhabra

The NFL season opener might wait for rain, but Wonkbites won’t.

  1. Doc fix’s on sale! After so many years of gridlock, why the sudden interest in passing a “doc fix” that would repeal the SGR? This interview points to a surprisingly favorable rating from the CBO that makes a doc fix seem cheaper this year than anytime in the recent past.
  2. Hitting the heartlandState opt-outs from Medicaid expansion will disproportionately affect Americans in rural areas, according to a health economist at a recent conference. The converse is also true: city-dwellers meeting criteria for Medicaid expansion live disproportionately in states going ahead with the expansion. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a red state/blue state divide, but the politics of Medicaid expansion appear to exacerbate already-significant gaps between rural and urban healthcare.
  3. Great Expectations: The latest volley in the rate shock debate revolves around a new Kaiser Family Foundation study saying insurance premiums actually won’t rise as much as previously expected. But expected is key—it’s not that rates will decline across the board, but that they’re not going to rise as much as we once thought.
  4. Comparing apples to oranges: An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a cantaloupe might not. Or at least that’s the thrust of a new study connecting specific fruits to the risk of developing type II diabetes. Blueberries, grapes, and apples came out healthiest, with cantaloupes and fruit juice the worst. Though it controlled for a slew of confounders, it’s still just an observational study—so take the results with a grain of [something that doesn’t add yet another food cliche to this blurb].
  5. As long as the doc isn’t me, enjoy this list of 14 ways to drive your doctor crazy during a physical. I can attest that they’re 100% effective.


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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