U.S. Life Expectancy Drops First Time since 1993 »

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency, has reported the remarkable news that U.S. life expectancy has dropped for the first time since 1993. According to Mortality in the United States, 2015 (NCHS Data Brief No. 267, December 2016): Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2015 was 78.8 years,...
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Game Developers Face Final Boss: The FDA »

[This piece was later published by Newsweek and the Foundation for Economic Education.] “Absent the FDA, Americans would be healthier and happier.” —Robert Higgs As I drove to work the other day, I heard a very interesting segment on NPR that featured a startup designing video games to improve cognitive skills and relieve symptoms...
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What Happened to the Midwives? (Hint: Government) »

It seems like every time I log on to one of my social media accounts, someone is announcing a pregnancy or birth. Perhaps this is why I’ve recently written on the supposed “gender-wage gap” and mandated paid maternity leave. One thing that keeps popping up among my pregnant friends is the question of whether...
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Welcome, High School Freshman! Pee in This Cup! »

High school is rough for a lot of kids. As the captain of my high school’s academic team (we took tests competitively and competed weekly with other students in academic competitions—yes, this is real thing), you can imagine I wasn’t on the ballot for “Ms. Popular.” Others undoubtedly experience worse. Between parents, puberty, and...
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An Argument for “Selling” Babies »

“Behave, or I’ll sell you.” This “threat” was one I heard with some regularity as a child. It was my mother’s way of letting me know that I was driving her up a wall. It was usually followed by something like, “then they’ll pay me to take you back.” (In retrospect, if this was true,...
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Seven of 10 Doctors See Effects of Climate Change on Patients! »

Just within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen Congressional Republicans join with Democrats to buy into the idea that the federal government knows how to pay doctors for “quality” and “value.” It is the main concept behind the misconceived Medicare “doc fix” bill that the Senate will consider this week. If adopted, it...
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Individual Liberties and the Right to Die »

About three months ago, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard ended her life. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, her prognosis was less than grim, with the average life expectancy of similar patients about 14 months. Upon receiving her diagnosis, Maynard and her husband moved to Oregon, where the state’s “Death with Dignity” law would allow...
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Obesity Can Be a Disability, Says European Court of Justice »

The European Court of Justice has just issued an opinion holding that obesity can be a disability requiring employers to “take appropriate measures . . . to enable a person with a disability to have access to, participate in, or advance in employment, or to undergo training, unless such measures would impose a disproportionate burden...
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Plain Brown Wrappers? »

It once was true that copies of Playboy, Hustler, and other (soft or hard) pornographic materials were delivered to subscribers in generic envelopes so that no one, including your local postal carrier, could see what publications you had ordered. I, of course, know that fact only on the basis of hearsay evidence. Nowadays, though,...
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The Case for Drugstore Clinics »

In The Atlantic, Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD, has delivered “The Case Against Drugstore Clinics.” It is a weak case. Let’s take his strongest argument first: A woman with a sore throat went to a retail clinic and received a prescription for antibiotics. After a few days, she hadn’t gotten better, so she went to...
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