Wednesday Linkage

  • I’m interested to know if there are many who would disagree with this article on why branding international aid is a net negative – privately, at least. Publicly,  the head of USAID, Rajiv Shah, highlights the need for “transparency;” the UK argues that “Britain will not shy away from celebrating and taking credit…” Shah’s argument seems beside the point; the UK’s, self-serving. Neither supports the case that branding aid is good for those it seeks to help
  • Play with Ezra Klein’s and Dylan Matthews’s Wonk Calculator – it’s enlightening and fun. The takeaway, though, isn’t the dollars cut, or even the politics of those cuts; it’s the effect on Americans of cutting certain expenditures or raising taxes.  
  • Drug-resistant malaria is becoming a more significant issue in Asia
  • Excellent article on zoonotic viruses (non-human → human – think swine flu) pulled from a new book, Spillover
  • This is a beautiful, haunting essay in a way that most Halloween stories aren’t




Tuesday Linkage

  • The backlash against Nate Silver has been strange, to me – I think Ezra Klein’s post effectively sums why it’s happening: threatened reporters and a lack of a basic understanding of probability 
  • Private secondary schools are opening in Nairobi and other African cities with increasing frequency. The debate mirrors the public-private debate in America a bit; I think the article misses some of the better questions, though
  • Amazing pictures of Hurricane Sandy aftermath
  • Fascinating article on the search for a universal flu vaccine – researchers are trying to boost T cell “early activation” by implanting forms of the flu virus that can infect cells by not replicate

Friday Linkage

  • My friend Anna Day allows herself to be blindfolded in Syria to report on the “candy factories” produce rebel ammunition
  • The global development community debates the best way to provide artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs, or the current best-practice antimalarials) to those who need them most. Without knowing enough to establish a comprehensive opinion, it seems to me that the strategies are not that far apart, and that a public-private partnership is possible, and recommended (here’s the Oxfam report it discusses)
  • This opinion from the writer of development blog Beyond Good Intentions strikes me as overly negative. I’ve recently been fire-hosing aid/development information, so I don’t have a fully-informed opinion, but in general I think that well-intentioned, smart, reasonable people can have a positive impact if they focus on the community and listen
  • Andrew Sullivan lays out the moral case for re-electing President Obama. I think he overstates #2 and overlooks the moral components of other policy issues (to name a few: abortion, redistribution, and climate change) but it’s nevertheless an effective way to turn esoteric policy prescriptions into moralistic ones
  • This Radiolab podcast on how humans pick up the idea of numbers is utterly fascinating
  • The World Health Organization’s 2012 Tuberculosis Report is out, and – as usual – there’s good and bad in it. Most worrisome is the section on Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) and Extensively Drug-Resistant TB (XDR-TB)

(Cross-Posted from Project Millennial) Choose your Own Adventure: Medicaid Edition

Cross-posted from Project Millennial, a blog focused on health policy and our generation that I occasionally write posts for. Check it out)

Most Americans who are keeping up on election-year politics (excluding maybe the Undecided Voter) understand that Election Day is a pretty big deal this year. What most people might not be keeping up with is that Medicaid will incur some of the most profound changes, in ways that are like to affect how you and your family purchase and consume health care.

But, first things first: you read my last post, right? In it, I gave a 30,000 foot view of Medicaid – who is eligible, what it pays for (you’ll be surprised, I bet), and how much it costs. All in all, it’s the status quo, and it’s what Medicaid will look like if America re-elects President Obama in the November edition of Choose Your Own Adventure.

Wait, you haven’t read the post yet? OK, tell you what. You read it, and while I’m waiting I’ll learn to dance Gangnam Style. It’s a win-win.

Now that you have the basics down, let’s dive into the policy weeds to see what may happen under a Romney/Ryan administration. By now, you’re well acquainted with the Medicaid Motto, but it’s worth repeating: It’s complicated.

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