As America's health care debate reaches a fevered pitch, The New Yorker's always excellent Atul Gawande reports on an aspect of care that is often overlooked. While most of our medical resources are aimed at "intensive, one-off procedures," we lose sight of the heroism of incremental care. This kind of care is all about developing a longterm relationship with a doctor. And that relationship can often begin with something as simple (and as powerful) as a nod: "[Dr.] Loder gave a sympathetic shake of her head, and that was enough to win the woman's confidence. The patient knew that she'd been heard by someone who understood the seriousness of her problem -- a problem invisible to the naked eye, to blood tests, to biopsies, and to scans, and often not even believed by co-workers, family members, or, indeed, doctors." (Imagine someone saying, Take two of these and call me in the morning, and really meaning it...)
+ "What people forget is, those who end up on opioid pain management have usually tried everything else unsuccessfully." We hear a lot about the opioid crisis. We hear less about patients who need the drugs to function. From Stat: A civil war over painkillers rips apart the medical community.
+ "I don't know when death will arrive. It could be a few months or a few years. In all honesty, that part doesn't really scare me anymore, and I don't devote much time or energy dwelling on it. What does scare me, however, is the strong likelihood that I will spend my last days on Earth unable to do the normal things that make life enjoyable, losing my autonomy and dignity, being barely alive yet in severe pain, drifting in and out of a morphine-induced haze while my loved ones take shifts on a deathwatch. That is not how I want to die. Would you?" Roger Kligler, MD, in Boston Mag: Why I'm suing Massachusetts for the right to die on my own terms.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, an Obamacare repeal without a replacement would mean about 18 million Americans would lose insurance. Over the weekend, President-elect Trump told WaPo that his Obamacare replacement was near completion, and that it would offer "insurance for everybody." (Trump can't divulge the details of his health care plan, otherwise the diseases will know exactly what's coming.)
+ Here are a couple of pretty remarkable stats: First, "60% of Americans say the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans." Second, Obamacare has never been more popular.
"I want to be clear: what I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market. Instead, we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement." From Reuters: "Britain to leave EU market as Theresa May sets 'hard Brexit' course."
"No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war." President Xi Jinping addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos and called on leaders (yes, one leader in particular) to maintain the course on globalization. He also urged countries (yes, one country in particular) to maintain commitments to the Paris climate agreement.
+ "The Davos Man has either failed to properly articulate the benefits of open trade -- or the reality of open trade is more complicated than previously imagined." Andrew Ross Sorkin in the NYT: What to Make of the ‘Davos Class' in the Trump Era.
+ Oxfam says just eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity.
"In truth, the Paris meeting felt less like a diplomatic summit than a farewell concert thrown by an aging rock band." The Economist reports from the Israel-Palestine peace conference -- without Israel or Palestine.
+ Meanwhile, back in Israel, Netanyahu "is mired in a series of eye-popping corruption investigations in a country that has already jailed a prime minister and president."
"There was one sort of framework for what his post-presidency would look like, which was contingent on Clinton winning. Then Trump happened and that threw it all in the trash bin." GQ talks to several people in the outgoing administration to try to figure out what role their boss will have now. Barack Obama Is Preparing for His Third Term.
+ NYT: Late-Term Role for Obama: Groomsman in Chief. (Sort of amazing.)
Putin says he doesn't buy the story about Trump and some prostitutes in a Russia hotel: "Trump is 'a grown man, and secondly he's someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world. I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.'" (I can't wait to see the tweet that comment elicits...)
From Outside Mag: "When Raymond Stansel was busted in 1974, he was one of Florida's biggest pot smugglers. Facing trial and years in prison, he jumped bail, changed his name, and holed up in a remote Australian outpost. Even more remarkable than that? His second life as an environmental hero."
+ The Atlantic: The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science.
"Sure, strapping on the mobile desk harness is a little uncomfortable at first, but after that first time, you barely notice it's there. It's a small price to pay for the improved health and quality of life I've experienced by bending one leg after another at a 90-degree angle eight hours a day, five days a week." From McSweeney's: I switched to a walking lunge desk and you should too!
+ It's been ten years since Netflix shifted its focus from DVDs to streaming content. Today, that service has almost 90 million subscribers.
+ You can have your self-driving car. I'm holding out for the self-flying air taxi.