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Norms: You Notice When They’re Gone

The concept of norms has gained prominence in both my professional life as a physician and in the American political landscape. As Yale political historian Joanne Freeman observes, the constitutional framework for our government is just that: a framework. The actual practice and outworking of government is saturated with norms. When a person who thinks … Continue reading Norms: You Notice When They’re Gone

Speak Up: It can Save Your Life

In this must-read story in the Washington Post, a man developing septic shock goes back home after waiting several hours in the emergency department. When he returns to the ED the following morning, he quickly develops multisystem organ failure and nearly dies. This could have been prevented with, among other things, early and appropriate treatment for … Continue reading Speak Up: It can Save Your Life

What Congress Should Learn from Medicine

The specialty of anesthesiology is one in which seconds matter. Treating an arrhythmia may require quick, decisive action to restore the heartbeat and blood pressure. Placing a breathing tube happens in a space of time measured in seconds and fraught with challenges: physical strength combines with deliberate movement and fine motor adjustments. Other activities, like weaning … Continue reading What Congress Should Learn from Medicine

Attention: The Mandate Is A Good Thing

Why?   The mandate spreads risk by bringing the young and healthy into the pool, making coverage more affordable. This is the exact opposite of a "high risk pool". Rising health care costs are thus a reason to strengthen the mandate, thereby making it more onerous for the young and healthy to duck out of coverage. … Continue reading Attention: The Mandate Is A Good Thing