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Health Policy Program

Archives: Health Policy Program Articles and Op-Eds

The Missed 3 Million: Reducing the Threat of Tuberculosis Worldwide | Huffington Post

  • By
  • Susan Blumenthal,
  • New America Foundation
August 1, 2014 |
Next week, over 40 African heads of state will convene in Washington, D.C. for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. One important issue that requires attention at the meeting is strengthening the response to infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria, Ebola and tuberculosis (TB) that threaten lives, economies and national security.

Tipping the Scales on Obesity: How to Sell Health | Huffington Post

  • By
  • Susan Blumenthal,
  • New America Foundation
July 17, 2014 |
Obesity is among the most pressing public health concerns today -- and the situation has just taken a turn for the worse. The Lancet recently published an alarming new report that charts the skyrocketing obesity rates across the globe. Over 2 billion people, or almost 30 percent of the world's population, are overweight or obese. The U.S. has the greatest number of people with this condition worldwide, accounting for 13 percent of the obese population globally. An estimated 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.

The Power of Prevention | Huffington Post

  • By
  • Susan Blumenthal,
  • New America Foundation
June 12, 2014 |
Benjamin Franklin once said that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," yet 279 years later his words still have not been successfully put into medical practice. It is estimated that 70 percent of deaths in America are linked to preventable conditions, including heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Yet the U.S spends 75 percent of its $2.8 trillion annual health care budget on treating disease but only 3-5 percent on prevention.

A Mission to the Mind | Huffington Post

  • By
  • Susan Blumenthal,
  • New America Foundation
June 5, 2014 |
Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton, Michelangelo, Winston Churchill, Ludwig van Beethoven, Jane Pauley, Michael Phelps, J.K. Rowling, Elton John. These are not only the names of fame and fortune, but also struggle. Each of these people has suffered from mental illness, and they are joined by one in four Americans who experience these disorders every year. [1] Of these 61.5 million people, one in seventeen (13.6 million) have a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

Tamiflu: Myth and Misconception

  • By
  • Shannon Brownlee,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jeanne Lenzer
February 19, 2013 |

Flu season is still here, and Hoffman-LaRoche, the manufacturer of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) are still running an ad intended to market directly to patients. "Sometimes what we suffer from is bigger than we think. The flu is a big deal, so don't treat it like a little cold. Treat it with Tamiflu." If you didn't get the message from these ads, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued public service announcements urging people to get Tamiflu at the first sign of a sniffle or sneeze.

Should Jerry Brown Just Ignore His Cancer?

  • By
  • Shannon Brownlee,
  • New America Foundation
January 2, 2013 |

As California’s oldest governor, Jerry Brown has gone out of his way to demonstrate his vigorous good health, jogging around the Capitol and even challenging reporters to pull-up contests—which he won. Now that he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer and begun radiation therapy, some news outlets seem to be experiencing a bit of schadenfreude, gleefully calling the 74-year-old governor’s diagnosis a “blow to his healthy image.”

What 'Health Care Costs' Really Means

  • By
  • Shannon Brownlee,
  • Joe Colucci,
  • New America Foundation
December 22, 2012 |

No fiscal policy event is complete without the plaintive cry that health care costs are out of control. The phrase has become a form of rhetorical boilerplate that is often used to imply that policy makers are helpless in the face of market forces, and that the only way to reduce "costs" is either cutting benefits or rationing.

Do Prestigious Residencies Mean Better Doctors?

  • By
  • Shannon Brownlee,
  • Joe Colucci,
  • New America Foundation
November 13, 2012 |

Each fall, medical students in their fourth and final year select a medical specialty and apply to residency programs. Residency, which lasts anywhere from three to eight years, is run by teaching hospitals. It's when newly minted MDs learn the hands-on, practical skills of doctoring -- how to make diagnoses, perform surgeries, order and interpret tests, etc. They also learn how to deal with patients and families, and work with other caregivers.

The Cost of Assuming Doctors Know Best

  • By
  • Joe Colucci,
  • Shannon Brownlee,
  • New America Foundation
September 28, 2012 |

In most industries, quality-improving and cost-cutting innovations don't sit around for years while people keep muddling through with old technology. When an innovation is ready for widespread use, it disrupts the market, whether the market wants it or not. In the process, some entrepreneur usually makes a killing.

When Patients — Not Doctors — Make Medical Mistakes

  • By
  • Shannon Brownlee,
  • New America Foundation
September 10, 2012 |

For most patients in the real world, getting good medical care involves complicated decisions. It’s not as simple as what often gets shown on TV, where a patient goes in, the doctor figures out what’s wrong, and then he performs some lifesaving surgery. Most of modern medicine, especially for the elderly, is a lot messier — usually there’s not “right” answer, no perfect treatment. And a patient needs to be an active participant in making choices in treatment.

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