Outlet: New York Times, Jan. 4
Gist: 1) Virtually no commercial diet program has "published reliable data from randomized trials showing that people who participated weighed less a few months later than people who did not participate." 2) Since there's no good evidence, maybe you should avoid the most expensive programs. 3) The most expensive programs are supervised by doctors. 4) "Doctors could do as well as these programs" just by telling people to diet and exercise. 5) All diet programs fail because "they're fighting biology."
Critique: Thanks for the help.
Item: Medicare will pay for alcoholism screening and for counseling to quit smoking.
Source: Medicare administrators
Outlets: New York Times, Dec. 24; Los Angeles Times, Jan. 2
Gist: Alcoholism screening begins this week. Coverage of smoking cessation counseling begins in March. Both will cost a lot of money but save more by preventing cancer, heart and liver disease, and other maladies.
Cultural analysis: We're socializing treatment of smoking and drinking because we now view them as diseases, not vices.
Economic analysis: We socialized treatment of the consequences of smoking and drinking when we created Medicare 40 years ago. Now we're just cutting costs. ... 10:30 p.m. PT
TODAY IN SLATE
The Right Target
Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget
It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is
I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights
Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.
Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.
It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice
Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
In Defense of HR
Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.