What I'm Reading (Dec. 14)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Dec 14, 2023
Listicles are articles consisting of lists. It is indeed the listicle season. Listicle #1 - Learning never ends. United Healthcare is no longer an insurance company; it delivers healthcare Listicle #2 – Useful Principles Plain vanilla
What I Am Reading December 14th

Here are just two things learned:

  1. The US Defence Department earns $100m/year operating slot machines used by soldiers on their bases. [Gabby Means]
  2. 1 in 5 people currently have a disability. 100% of people will have some form of disability in their lifetime. [Jim Nielsen

Here are all 52 new things Tom Whitwell learned this year. 52 things I learned in 2023


This article is a bit econ heavy, but it is critical to understanding the changing economics of healthcare delivery writ large.

“Next year, UnitedHealth Group — one of the largest health care companies on the planet — expects to make a lot more money in a relatively simple way: by funneling more of the insurance premiums it collects from workers and taxpayers toward itself.

That’s possible because UnitedHealth, known for its sprawling insurance presence, has pivoted to become one of the largest providers of outpatient care by acquiring numerous physician practices, surgery centers, urgent care facilities, and pharmacy benefit managers. And whenever possible, UnitedHealth is directing more of its insurance members to get care and prescription drugs through those entities that are owned by its Optum division — essentially allowing its left hand to pay its right.”

From Stat, The health insurer will see you now: How UnitedHealth is keeping more profits, as your doctor


Tis the season of lists. I want to get ahead of the curve, so I offer you this list of 30 Useful Principles from the substack of Gurwinder.

“14. Preference Falsification: If people are afraid to say what they really think, they will instead lie. Therefore, punishing speech—whether by taking offence or by threatening censorship—is ultimately a request to be deceived.

15. Nutpicking: Online political debate mainly involves cherry-picking the most outlandish members of the enemy side and presenting them as indicative in order to make the entire side look crazy. The culture war is essentially just each side sneering at the other side's lunatics.

16. Moral Pollution: We act like bad reputations are contagious, and mere proximity to something labelled immoral is itself immoral. Brands cut ties with people deemed unethical not because they value ethics, but because they fear contamination. Cancellation is moral quarantine.”

And then there is this.

“But how did one island come to dominate the vanilla industry? And why is one kilogram of “plain vanilla” now more valuable than one kilogram of silver?”

Great question, and it is answered by our friends at Gastro Obscura: Why One Island Grows 80% of the World’s Vanill

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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