Healthcare Won't Reform Itself

We sat down today with one of the leading voices in American health care, George Halvorson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.  In some critical respects, Halvorson's perspective may be singular in its relevance to the ongoing debate because, with 8.6 million members, 14,600 physicians, 35 medical centers, and 431 medical offices, Kaiser is the largest managed health plan in the U.S.  More importantly, it is also profitable and controling its costs while delivering a high level of care to a satisfied customer base.  In short, it is achieving much of what American health care isn't right now.


In his new book, "Health Care Will Not Reform Itself", Halvorson explains the "vertically integrated" approach to delivering care that sets Kaiser apart.  By bringing more of the functions of health care delivery under a single, umbrella -- from pooling risk through insurance to delivering and optimizing care by managing doctors -- Kaiser better aligns the costs of health care with their ultimate outcomes.  And, while he thinks the Kaiser model per se is politically infeasible in our current climate, an approximation of it, he calls "virtual integration" very well may offer the way forward.  Stay tuned for his interview to get a peak at what the future of American health care should be, if not will be.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

Videos
  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less

Carl Sagan on why he liked smoking marijuana

Carl Sagan liked to smoke weed. His essay on why is fascinating.

Photo: Photo by Robert Nelson on Unsplash / Big Think
Mind & Brain
  • Carl Sagan was a life long marijuana user and closeted advocate of legalization.
  • He once wrote an anonymous essay on the effects it had on his life and why he felt it should be legalized.
  • His insights will be vital as many societies begin to legalize marijuana.
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less