#79 Beyond Obamacare: Smart Fixes for the Healthcare System:Dr. Joe Habboushe

The U.S. spends more than $3 trillion a year on healthcare, or nearly $10,000 a year for every man, woman and child. But are we getting a bang for our buck? In many cases, the answer has to be no. And this goes well beyond the raging debate over Obamacare and whether all Americans should have access to coverage.

About a third of money spent on healthcare is now simply wasted or spent on poor decisions, says our guest, emergency room physician and entrepreneur, Dr. Joe Habboushe. The crisis includes clinical waste, excessive prices, fraud and bureaucracy.

 

Dr. Habboushe shares his moving personal story and passion for reducing waste and improving patient outcomes through his work as a physician and as CEO of MDCalc - an online diagnostic app used by about 50% of American doctors.

"Let's not get rid of what we do really well and that's drive innovation for the world," says Dr. Joe. "If we focus on waste, we have to look at why healthcare costs a lot and if we want to reduce that how can we do it in a way that doesn't damage our system.

Solutions:

  • Greater use of technology to help doctors improve decision-making.
  • Take a careful look at how much money, and intense care, is spent on the final months of life. In some cases, doctors and hospitals profit from treatment 
  • Government and taxpayers need to continue funding research that leads to potential drugs and breakthrough treatments.
  • Allow pharmaceutical companies to profit from new drugs and medical treatments that benefit patients.
  • Patients: Be better informed about successful medicine, which doesn't always mean a pill for every ailment.

#6 Fix It Shorts: Election 2016:The Problem is Us.We The Voters

The news media have bombarded us with stories about the candidates, the contest and - to a lesser extent - the crucial issues America faces as people vote for the next President.

This podcast is about the voters.

We went back to four past episodes of "How Do We Fix It?" pulling extracts about how we make decisions and why the information that you and I receive from internet search engines and other sources may be radically different than the news and views our friends and neighbors are hearing.

On episode 24 podcast host and author David McRaney told us "we are not so smart," using confirmation bias as a defining example. "It would do us all good to actually think what are we wrong about," said David, who argues in favor of challenging our own personal biases. "Whenever you have an understanding of something, create an alternate explanation."

Psychologist Robert Epstein joined us on episode 11 to discuss whether Google is too powerful for our democracy. The former Editor-in-Chief of "Psychology Today" has done extensive research on Google's search rankings and algorithms. "There is a problem is the monopoly in search" that Google holds in most of the world, Robert said. "They're customizing what people see." 

Search rankings can have a big influence on how people vote. We are not getting challenged by ideas that we haven't heard before.

Joan Blades of Living Room Conversations aims to bring people together.  A progressive herself, Joan has engaged with evangelical conservatives and leaders of the tea party in lively, but respectful dialog about climate change, criminal justice reform and other questions. 

"We've become increasingly divided," Joan told us on episode 43. "We don't even share the same facts." Joan explained some of the ground rules of having conversations with those you disagree with. 

This brief "Fix It Shorts" podcast also features John Gable of AllSides. This news website puts stories from different sources next to each other -  columns from left, right and center-leaning news newspapers and online sites. 

"We want people to be able to see quickly the differences," John said in episode 49. "What we started doing with All Sides is breaking that filter bubble."

#4 Fix It Shorts: Why Hacking & Online Attacks Threaten All of Us: Adam Levin

The release of nearly 19,000 e-mails from the Democratic National Committee rocked party leaders and forced the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

We look at how this happened, why Russia was probably involved and how many other organizations, businesses and government agencies are at risk of cyber break-ins.  

Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com and the online security firm IDT911 says the power grid and financial system are at risk.  He warns of a possible "Cyber-geddon."

In this episode of "Fix It Shorts" Adam tells Richard and Jim how all of us can reduce our threat of identity theft and hacking attacks.  

Adam Levin is a well-known expert on identity theft and credit and the author of "SWIPED: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers and Identity Thieves."