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Michael L. Millenson
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Michael L. Millenson, president of Health Quality Advisors LLC in Highland Park, IL, is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age. National Public Radio called him “in the vanguard of the movement” to measure and improve medical care, and he holds an adjunct appointment as the Mervin Shalowitz, M.D. Visiting Scholar at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Millenson has been a principal in the health-care practice of a major consulting firm and, earlier in his career, was nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize as a a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

Entries by Michael L. Millenson

End the 'Jew Tax'

(152) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 4:49 AM

When I was in high school, my synagogue was firebombed, as was another about 20 miles away. A couple of years after I finished college, one of our synagogue members was held hostage by Arab militants who took over the building housing the Jewish organization where...

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Whose Ten Commandments?

(21) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 1:53 PM

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which begins the eve of June 3, celebrates God giving the law at Mount Sinai by reading the Ten Commandments. Those who want more religion in American life should pay close attention: The text may not be what you think.

The Ten Commandments...

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A Straight Couple at a Gay Wedding: The Political Gets Personal

(340) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 2:36 PM

Setting out for our nephew's wedding, my wife and I weren't quite sure what to expect. Since the two grooms had met at the memorably named Cincinnati Queer Guerilla Bar, our excitement contained an undeniable undercurrent of uneasiness.

Gay marriage is once again a high-profile public issue. When...

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Burying a Life in My Mother's Obit

(2) Comments | Posted May 15, 2012 | 12:21 PM

When my mother died back in 1993, the best way to alert the community was to get the local newspaper to run a news item people would see when they scanned the morning headlines. Unfortunately, our hometown paper was the Washington Post.

The Post obituary page, when not...

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Health Care Reform: How Obama Delivered The Message

(24) Comments | Posted April 25, 2012 | 5:44 PM

While it's comforting to just blame the GOP for the unhappiness with health reform threatening the president's re-election, the truth is that Barack Obama repeatedly botched, bungled and bobbled the health reform message. There were three big mistakes:

The Passionless Play While Candidate Obama proclaimed a passionate moral...

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GOP to Uninsured: (Feel Free to) Drop Dead

(125) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 10:59 AM

"We are now contemplating, Heaven save the mark, a bill that would tax the well for the benefit of the ill."

That's not a quote from oral arguments at the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act or from one of the earnest conservatives demonstrating against it...

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Can Strong Prayer Bend the Medical Cost Curve?

(49) Comments | Posted February 29, 2012 | 9:44 AM

In a provocative essay entitled, "Randomized God," internationally renowned psychiatrist David Healy lays out a blueprint for a clinical trial to test the healing power of prayer. Putting aside the spiritual benefits of supplication, a more pressing secular question might be phrased this way: Can strong...

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Super Bowl Sanitation: "Washed Up" Giants Outpoint Docs

(1) Comments | Posted January 30, 2012 | 5:31 PM

Is the New York Giants' bathroom more sanitary than your hospital room? Could be. And that player cleanliness may even have helped send the team to the Super Bowl.

Freakonomics co-author and self-confessed germophobe Stephen Dubner, working on a Football Freakonomics segment for the National Football League, noticed...

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"Rudolph" Sings of Santa as Savvy Manager, Marketer

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2011 | 9:50 AM

Like everyone else, I've cheerfully hummed, whistled and sung along to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for as long as I can remember. But when I listened carefully to the lyrics this holiday season, I realized I'd missed the underlying message of a song that teaches invaluable lessons about...

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Caleb vs. Tebow Biblical Cred (Take God, Bears and Points)

(2) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 10:41 AM

Even the most causal fan knows that Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow wears his religion on his sleeve. But if it's a matchup of Biblical cred, ye of little faith should cleave to "Caleb" and the Chicago Bears over "Tim" and the Broncos on Sunday. Here's why.

In...

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Why 3 Hospitals Didn't Hurt My Wife (And What That Means)

(2) Comments | Posted December 8, 2011 | 11:04 AM

My wife was lying in the back of an ambulance, dazed and bloody, while I sat in the front, distraught and distracted. We had been bicycling in a quiet neighborhood in southern Maine when she hit the handbrakes too hard and catapulted over the handlebars, turning our first day of...

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The Fine Line Between Shared and Manipulated Medical Decisions

(2) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 1:39 PM

Spend some time with the Society for Medical Decision Making, and "shared decisions" starts to seem less a clinical ideal and more an offshoot of picking a monthly cell phone plan. The fine line between "motivating" and "manipulating" behavior (albeit sometimes unintentionally) starts to blur.

At the...

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WTF? Israeli General Warns of Texting Orders, Being Ignored

(1) Comments | Posted May 31, 2011 | 2:14 PM

When an Israeli Army officer says, "Follow me!", the soldiers under his command may be confused whether he means Facebook or firefight.

According to an Israeli general, some officers have started issuing military orders to their men by email and text message. Even more incredibly, soldiers frequently ignore those orders,...

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#1 Dumbest Cubs (and Baseball) Promotion Ever

(16) Comments | Posted May 28, 2011 | 1:09 PM

At a recent Chicago Cubs game, a sponsor handed out those big Styrofoam index fingers proclaiming, "We're #1!" It was the #1 dumbest promotion ever.

If you love baseball, there are three excellent reasons to give the index finger the third finger.
...

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It's Paternity Test Time for Newt, Mitt and Obamacare

(1) Comments | Posted May 16, 2011 | 6:44 PM

It's paternity test time for Obamacare.

Beneath the bogeyman label that the GOP leadership has attached to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the truth is that health reform has almost as many Republican as Democratic fathers. If you care about the country as much as political...

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Bin Laden, Patriotism and Our Health Care Crisis

(1) Comments | Posted May 5, 2011 | 11:41 AM

In the near-decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the "War on Terror" has cost the United States about $1.3 trillion, according to the Congressional Research Service.

By comparison, it took just six months for the U.S. to spend that much money on health care, based...

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Is A Physician's Cyber-Assistant Next?

(90) Comments | Posted February 19, 2011 | 4:54 PM

IBM's Watson to be a doctor. Well, almost.

Fresh off a commanding victory on Jeopardy, IBM tactfully titled its knock-out, "Humans Win." That's because the company wants to show that its extraordinary computer can help humankind (and human customers), not merely humiliate mortal competitors.

As...

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Why Aren't the Uninsured in the Streets Protesting, Like the Egyptians?

(8) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 3:15 PM

Maybe the uninsured could learn something from Egyptians and the Arab street. At a time when landmark health reform granting most of the uninsured access to medical care for the first time in their lives is being seriously threatened, protests by the uninsured themselves are nowhere to be...

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Our Family's Friends, the Illegals

(53) Comments | Posted December 21, 2010 | 1:50 PM

In an America quietly divided by class as much as by race, our white, middle-class family in suburban Highland Park, IL, is an anomaly: our daughter has been friends for years with kids whose parents are illegal immigrants. If more Americans shared our experience, perhaps the Republicans would...

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Does Anti-Reid Obit Foretell Dem Demise?

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2010 | 4:54 PM

Talk about anti-incumbent passion. James L. Srch used his obituary to get in one last protest against the re-election of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In a paid obituary notice in the Chicago Tribune and the Reno Gazette, the family of Mr. Srch -- presumably with the deceased's consent --...

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