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    Forum Posts by
    Daniel Callahan

    • A Single-Payer Bubble?

      Posted on June 28, 2018

      In an earlier piece, “Trumping Drug Costs,” I looked at out-of-pocket costs as the pivotal issue with drugs. They can be a particularly heavy burden on the elderly, taking money from their savings and a large bite of their Social Security income. Along the way, I also looked at out-of-pocket medical costs in Europe–called “cost… Read more

    • Trumping Drug Costs

      Posted on June 6, 2018

      I usually have trouble finding a good word to say for President Trump’s policy ventures, but his aim to better control out-of-pocket drug costs is worth support. Distressingly, but unsurprisingly, it does not include giving government the needed power to bargain with industry for what it will pay for drug coverage. Nor will it allow… Read more

    • Palliative Care vs. Cancer Research

      Posted on April 27, 2018

      The death of former first lady Barbara Bush at age 92 was noteworthy in many ways. She was by all accounts smart, sharp and funny, and a fine, helpful wife to one president and mother to another. Her death last week after a long illness, with her husband at her side, was a model of… Read more

    • Should We Stop Having Children?

      Posted on July 5, 2017

      Not long ago, I received a questionnaire from an organization on a crusade to lower birthrates to protect the health and well-being of people and the environment. Called the Population Connection, it is the successor to ZPG (Zero Population Growth), started in the 1970s by Paul Ehrlich. Shortly thereafter I read a few quotes in… Read more

    • The Climate Agreement: Understanding, and Leveraging, Public Opinion

      Posted on June 6, 2017

      After years of fluctuating and troubled efforts, the nations of the world in December of 2015 came to the remarkable agreement to work together to reduce global warming. On June 2, President Trump announced that our country will withdraw from that agreement. Like many others I was appalled by that decision, which was reckless, thoughtless,… Read more

    • Is Death in Trouble?

      Posted on March 2, 2017

      Death is beginning to show its age, though I hesitate to even mention that possibility.  With an obviously big ego and its intimidating black cloak and scythe, it has always had some less than endearing traits: its doggedness pursuit of the aging, but also its sudden and often unpredictable destruction of human bodies by accidents,… Read more

    • On Living to 100 or More

      Posted on April 6, 2016

      Sometime around my mid-50’s I began to ask myself a question: how long should I want to live? My father had died at 64, my mother at 85, my various uncles and aunts in their 60s and 70s. Occasional news stories, always with a picture, reported on those few people who made it to 100.… Read more

    • The Good of the Body

      Posted on March 10, 2016

      The December 2015 United Nations meeting on climate change was an historic moment for global efforts to reduce harmful carbon emissions. While it gained the agreement about the future good of the planet, it made clear that there is a long and hard road still ahead. Yet another global challenge is showing itself more visibly… Read more

    • Gene Editing: Hope, Hype, and Caution

      Posted on December 8, 2015

      It was great scientific research that first noted and then carefully followed the steady and dangerous increase of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. It was no less part of the greatness of the research that it weathered its own uncertainty and the organized attacks by those who did not want to hear the bad news.… Read more

    • The Death of a Pet: A Glimpse into the Human Future

      Posted on April 25, 2012

      For some years I have been writing about end-of-life care and, of late, focusing on the high costs of that care. I recently had a painful but revealing insight into what the future might look like on both costs and decision-making. It came about from an unexpected angle of vision,  the care provided by a… Read more

    • Global Competitiveness: How Other Countries Win

      Posted on November 11, 2011

      Republicans have long championed global competitiveness as an important political and economic goal, and the power of market competition as the royal road to get there. But, as two recent studies show, right under our noses are two little-noted facts that tell against that belief, most relevantly in the health reform debate. One of them… Read more

    • The Political Use of Moral Language

      Posted on July 6, 2011

      Amitai Etzioni, a prominent social scientist and leader of a communitarian movement, published an article in Dissent in February arguing that it would be “immoral” to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits unless we first eliminate a range of pathologies in our health care system. “If we must make cuts,” he wrote, “we ought first to… Read more

    • The Health Care Cost Monitor

      Posted on May 18, 2009

      Much to the amusement of my colleagues, families, and even idle bystanders who know me as a congenital book, newspaper, and magazine type, I am starting a blog, The Health Care Cost Monitor. Its aim will be to assess and judge the cost of health care, a now monumental problem. My interest in the subject… Read more

    • Truth, Politics, and Advocacy: Access vs. Cost Control

      Posted on April 1, 2009

      In the law, politics, and editorial pages, advocacy has a high status. Defense lawyers are expected to zealously defend their clients, not to offer balanced judgments of guilt or innocence. Legislators are expected to vigorously push their party’s agenda. Editorial writers are expected to editorialize, not anxiously wring their hands. What about those of us… Read more

    • Stem Cells: Science, Ethics, and Ideology

      Posted on March 9, 2009

      The debate over research on embryonic stem cells has been heated and often vitriolic. President Obama’s move to reverse government stem cell limits has, as might be expected, reignited the debate. Yet however much we may disagree on the morality of using stem cells for research or clinical purposes, everyone would do well to recognize… Read more

    • The Blame Game: How to Evade the Cost Problem(2)

      Posted on September 8, 2008

      From the pages of the Hastings Center Report. The Congressional Budget Office recently issued a report laying out in stark detail the seriousness of escalating health care costs. Earlier reports by the Commonwealth Fund and the Kaiser Family Foundation and sundry analyses by many health care economists also stressed the unsustainability of rising costs, and… Read more

    • The Blame Game: How to Evade the Cost Problem

      Posted on September 5, 2008

      The Congressional Budget Office recently issued a report laying out in stark detail the seriousness of escalating health care costs. Earlier reports by the Commonwealth Fund and the Kaiser Family Foundation and sundry analyses by many health care economists also stressed the unsustainability of rising costs, and public opinion surveys show that controlling costs is… Read more

    • A Bioethics Crisis?

      Posted on June 25, 2008

      The journal Academic Medicine in its June 2008 issue published a collection of essays and commentaries contending that the National Institutes of Health should sharply increase its support of bioethics, and should offer funding to increase the number of bioethicists. A variety of reasons were given: potential new issues in the field, a lack of… Read more

    • Health, Money, and Fear: A Documentary

      Posted on May 9, 2008

      A few months ago, I got a call from Dr. Paul Hochfeld, who told me he was an emergency room physician from Corvallis, Oregon, and he had a request. Could he come to The Hastings Center to interview as part of a documentary on health care he planned to make? I was curious to know… Read more

    • Evidence, Technology, and Cost Control

      Posted on February 15, 2008

      There is a growing understanding that the control of health care costs must now be considered as important as the problem of the uninsured. American health expenditures are expected to double within the next decade, from $2.1 trillion to $4 trillion, but already, cost escalation has been one of the important reasons for the steady… Read more

    • Sneaking in Ethics at the FDA

      Posted on September 29, 2006

      In response to my recent Forum item on the FDA and Plan B, a few people wrote to say that they did not think I had it all quite straight. I agreed that was certainly possible. One of those who wrote about the piece was Michael Yesley, who was executive director of the National Commission for… Read more

    • Bad Arguments for Good Causes: The Morning After Pill

      Posted on September 22, 2006

      The over-the-counter contraceptive, known as Plan B (or the morning-after pill), has of course been controversial. But there is one feature of the debate where the voice of ethicists should have been heard: whether opposition to use of the contraceptive is a wrong and unwarranted interference with good science. That has been a common complaint… Read more

    • Liberals and Their Ill-Liberal Policies

      Posted on May 11, 2006

      I am sometimes baffled by my fellow liberals in their social priorities. Why, for instance, does stem cell research receive such political support, and money, while many more pressing needs exist in this country? At the same time that the ballot initiative in California won $3 billion in state bonds to initiate a stem cell… Read more