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Peter A. Ubel
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Entries by Peter A. Ubel

Tax Me Baby: The True Cost of Coke

(2) Comments | Posted May 23, 2010 | 3:17 PM

Taxes are inevitable, or so they say. How much we should tax our citizenry, however, is debatable. Tea party members think we tax too much, and many liberals think we don't tax quite enough.

I'm not going to take a position on the overall tax burden right now. Instead, I'll...

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Gossip and The New York Times

(4) Comments | Posted May 5, 2010 | 6:14 PM

It was a confession, one that was perhaps more revealing than the confessor realized. Mark Leibovich, writing about Politico in The New York Times Magazine in April, felt the need to disclose that he had known Mike Allen, the subject of his essay, for a dozen or so years, and...

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The Audacity of Nope

(8) Comments | Posted April 20, 2010 | 3:46 PM

"No" isn't an ideology.

"Nada" is no way to govern a country.

"Nope" won't turn around the economy, and political rope-a-doping won't balance the federal budget.

Yet if you had to summarize the three top "accomplishments" of the Republican party since Obama took office, they would be no, nada,...

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Abortion, Health Care and the Psychology of Compromise

(2) Comments | Posted April 14, 2010 | 3:20 PM

It is a dangerous time to compromise in the U. S. government. A Republican working with Obama is dead meat in the next primary. A Democrat who works with Republicans? Well, you saw what happened to Joe Lieberman the last time he ran as a Democrat.

Politicians are understandably worried...

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It's Healthcare Reform, Stupid!

(44) Comments | Posted March 18, 2010 | 5:59 PM

Common wisdom ain't always that wise.

The pundits have concluded that Obama made a big mistake by focusing on health care reform this past year, when he should have focused on the economy. Politically speaking, the pundits are correct. Obama has appeared to be ignoring the economy at the expense...

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Megan Fox's Belly Button: The Key to Understanding Politics?

(5) Comments | Posted January 28, 2010 | 6:17 PM

Okay, as fine as is her midriff, most of you probably don't list Megan Fox's belly button as her first, um, attribute worth pondering. But bear with me--her belly button IS key to understanding why the Massachusetts senate seat just went to a Republican, and why Democratic efforts to reform...

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Fixing Healthcare Means Maintaining Infrastructure

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2010 | 9:37 AM

It is pothole season in Michigan, with roads crumbling under the pressure of winter cold. Then again, with the condition of our state's dismal economy, pothole season is becoming a year-round phenomenon here in the Great Lake State. Michigan's government can no longer afford to fix roads like it used...

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Underwear Bombers and the Politics of Invisibility

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2010 | 10:41 AM

It's easy to criticize the Obama administration, isn't it?

Look at the unemployment rate. Or, have you heard about the tax hikes that some say we will need to pay to cover health care reform? Oh yeah, and the administration did a great job with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab didn't...

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Fat Lazy Neighborhoods?

(20) Comments | Posted October 26, 2009 | 1:24 PM

If I told you that neighborhoods cause people to develop diabetes, would you believe me? And would that make you more or less willing to see your tax dollars spent researching ways to treat and prevent diabetes?

That is essentially the question my colleagues and I posed...

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Health Care Reform: Prove It or Lose it

(14) Comments | Posted September 24, 2009 | 3:04 PM

In an effort to be the first president since Lyndon Johnson to succeed in reforming our nation's health care system, President Obama is exhibiting honorable flexibility. Taxing health care benefits for employees? He was against it when running for office, but he is considering it now that the federal budget...

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Hitler's Testicles and Palin's Death Panels

(25) Comments | Posted August 19, 2009 | 7:15 PM

Did you know that Adolf Hitler had three testicles?

You didn't? Well, you are right. That is just an urban legend -- one that I have just created.

In fact, if anyone tells you that Hitler had three testicles, they are either misinformed or they are lying.

Why am I...

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Republicans and Health Care Reform: Who's Divided?

(30) Comments | Posted August 7, 2009 | 12:08 PM

Republicans criticizing health care reform efforts are beginning to sound as principled as Groucho Marx, who once quipped: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them, . . . well I have others." On the one hand Republicans complain that health care reform will cost too much money....

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Reforming Not Only How We Pay Physicians, but How Much We Pay Them

(4) Comments | Posted July 23, 2009 | 2:32 PM

Any sensible plan to reform the U.S. health care system must reform the way we pay physicians. Currently, we reward doctors for doing more "stuff" for their patients -- for performing tests and procedures whether or not these interventions are necessary. Because of this strange reimbursement system, many primary care...

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Tiger Woods and Health Care Reform

(29) Comments | Posted June 23, 2009 | 5:44 PM

American presidents have been trying to reform our health care system since at least the Nixon era, but with only limited success. Past reform efforts have failed for many reasons. For starters, the U.S. health care system is complex, with the medical industry making up almost 1/6 of our economy....

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Stimulating Physical Activity by Building Healthy Neighborhoods

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2009 | 12:30 PM

Hiking in Switzerland several years ago, I came across a trail that seemed to dead-end at a farmer's gate. I looked around for a way to avoid the property, but there was none. Instead, the trail continued through the middle of the farm. I walked through the gate, side-stepping some...

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Nuance Nation

(0) Comments | Posted January 25, 2009 | 8:14 AM

On the Freakonomics blog recently, Ian Ayres reviewed my new book Free Market Madness, and singled out a story I tell there. Ian has written many books himself, so it isn't surprising which story, of the many stories in my book, he discussed.

He picked out a section near the...

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Republican Death Wish

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2009 | 4:14 PM

"With luck, Ted Kennedy will be dead soon."

She uttered these words two minutes after expressing hope that the nation would rally behind Obama. A lifelong Republican, she had voted for McCain. I expect she harbored concerned about Obama's terrorist pals and his anti-American pastor. But with Obama now newly...

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Attack of the Killer Oreos?

(3) Comments | Posted January 5, 2009 | 11:40 AM

Not long before the presidential election, the Wall Street Journal editorial page warned its readers about what it called the attack of the killer Oreos. You have to admit it's a pretty sensational image -- of an Oreo silently stalking its prey, leaping upon an unsuspecting consumer. In fact, this...

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Lance is Back: Time to Make EPO Legal?

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2008 | 3:56 PM

Lance Armstrong will soon be competing again in bicycle races around the world, meaning that the casual biking fan will once again show interest in the sport. It also means that doping allegations against Armstrong are likely to resume. If Lance wins some big races -- at his age and...

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Wolverine Football and the Presidential Honeymoon

(4) Comments | Posted December 7, 2008 | 9:39 PM

If President-elect Obama wants to know the challenges he can expect to contend with in his first 100 days of office, his "honeymoon period," he need look no further than the state of Michigan.

I'm not talking about what he can learn from Michigan about unemployment, where we are...

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