What If My Sore Neck is Meningitis?

The Challenge of Cutting Down on Excessive Medical Tests

Doctors have a term for it: “defensive medicine.” It’s when the rash on your hand leads to tests for syphilis–that sort of thing. And it’s a big problem.

Most of us know that the U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, even though it underperforms many of its less expensive counterparts. What fewer of us know is how much of the cost is due to unnecessary medical testing. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute has found that “excess tests” are costing the U.S. healthcare system $200 billion a year, roughly …

More In: Remedies

When Asthma Kills

Anthony Shadid’s Death Is a Reminder Of a Health Problem That’s Better Managed-And Yet More Deadly

Two thousand years ago, the Roman philosopher Seneca described the symptoms of asthma. An acute attack of the condition, although usually brief, was worse, he insisted, than any other disease …

Are You Traumatized?

Not Necessarily, Thanks to the Magic Of Human Resilience

When I was nine years old, living in Los Angeles, my twin brother and I were whisked away from our mother. We suddenly found ourselves in Park Slope, Brooklyn, living …

The Tooth Hurts

Getting Americans Dental Coverage Is Cheaper Than the Alternative

Pam Congdon is the kind of person who has had one cavity her whole life, and most of the time her job, as executive director of the California Association of …

The Wait Goes On

It’s Not Just ER Patients These Days. The Entire Healthcare System Is in Limbo.

It used to be that long lines in the emergency room were the worst part of waiting for American healthcare. Now we’re waiting for everything: health insurance to be available …

Consensus Gone Wrong

The Left and Right Agree on Medicare—And It’s Not a Good Thing

Official Washington is now in the grip of an unprecedented bipartisan consensus. For all their other differences, leaders of both parties agree that Medicare, the nation’s primary means of providing …