Policy & Ethics

Bundling surgery and surgical fees into one payment for a so-called episode of care is the goal of CMS. It's meant to reduce costs. But what if physicians don't deliver all the expected services? Should they reimburse some of the money? The RAND corporation says yes -- and estimates the savings at nearly $10 billion annually.
The World Health Organization does a tremendous job advancing the cause of global public health. But two recent, major screw-ups show that the institution is far from perfect. In one instance, a group of UK scientists accused the WHO of spreading "blatant misinformation."
Public health advocates regularly promote bans on flavored liquids, or e-liquids, used in e-cigarettes, arguing that they prompt teenagers to take up vaping and ultimately “hook” them on nicotine. While this is a reasonable concern, the evidence shows that banning flavored e-liquids would discourage adult smokers from giving up cigarettes and do little to quell teen vaping, which is low in both the U.S. and U.K.
Innovation is built upon an ecosystem that takes decades to mature. Yet, China has already made substantial advances in computer science, chemistry, engineering, and robotics -- all of which pose a direct challenge to U.S. technological supremacy. However, the U.S. will remain dominant and largely unchallenged in biotech and medicine for the foreseeable future.
Dr. Jeffrey Singer takes issue with a Cincinnati Enquirer article touting a recent CDC report of a 30% drop in opioid prescriptions in 2016-17, compared to 2010-11. Our ACSH advisor maintains that the restriction of the drugs has no impact on their misuse, but does force pain patients to use ineffective and dangerous alternatives. In other words, prohibition.
In 1997, the BMJ reported that GlaxoSmithKline had withheld data in a clinical trial, specifically, that Paxil was ineffective in adolescents and often caused suicidal thoughts. From the subsequent justifiable uproar rose ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry for clinical trials requiring the posting of their results when the study was completed. A new study shows that this regulation is routinely ignored. And like a labradoodle, is all bark and no bite. 
Seattle is usually the poster child for the consequences of bad policies. But on vaccination, this northwestern city finally got one right.
2020 has gotten off to a rough start for both vaping supporters and critics. A new policy by the Trump Administration has both sides angry, and a new anti-nicotine policy by U-Haul, the self-moving company, appears to be blatantly discriminatory.
As a society, we have done a good job stigmatizing the completely unacceptable behavior of driving under the influence of alcohol. But because marijuana has been destigmatized, people are driving while high. It's time to take action.
Many public health officials have called for mandatory vaccines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The motivation for this policy is understandable, but forcing parents to immunize their kids emboldens the anti-vaccine movement. By incentivizing people to vaccinate and holding them legally accountable when they don't, we can preserve individual autonomy, maintain herd immunity and undermine the anti-vaccine movement.
Americans are uniquely litigious. There are reforms that could be made to the legal system that would fix this, but lawyers are financially incentivized to resist them.
The "activist-legal" complex is real. One of the lead plaintiffs' attorneys, Timothy Litzenburg, was arrested for the attempted extortion of $200 million from a company involved in the production of Monsanto's Roundup. This same attorney collaborates with Carey Gillam and her anti-GMO organization U.S. Right to Know.