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[OP-ED]: Amid Trump’s chaos, a post-American world emerges

 08/01/2017 - 09:10
In 2008, I wrote a book about the emerging “Post-American World,” which was, I noted at the start, not about the decline of America but rather the rise of the rest. Amid the parochialism, ineptitude and sheer disarray of the Trump presidency, the post-American world is coming to fruition much faster than I ever expected.

 In London last week, I met a Nigerian man who succinctly expressed the reaction of much of the world to America these days. “Your country has gone crazy,” he said, with a mixture of outrage and amusement. “I’m from Africa. I know crazy, but I didn’t ever think I would see this in America!”

[OP-ED]: Can we die in peace?

 07/28/2017 - 08:38
Just whether the persistence of high-cost care reflects good medicine, a deep human craving to cling to life, or both is unclear. But the rhetoric about “end-of-life” care has changed more than the reality. To the question -- Can we die in peace and with dignity? -- the answer is “not yet.”

For those of us who had hoped that American attitudes toward death were shifting in ways that would promote a wider reconstruction of the health care system, there’s discouraging news from Health Affairs, the pre-eminent journal of health policy. It devotes its latest issue to “end-of-life” care and finds that -- at least so far -- the power to make health care more compassionate and cost-effective is limited.

[OP-ED]: America’s shockingly poor dental care system

 07/24/2017 - 08:28
I relived painful memories of abscesses, root canals, pulled bicuspids and more in ghoulish, visceral detail as I read Mary Otto’s horribly sad book, “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.”

I’ve given birth to three babies, shattered my wrist, broken my tailbone twice, gotten tattooed, and, once, when I was suspected of having contracted West Nile Virus, had two consecutive spinal taps (one failed) in the name of advancing medical students’ knowledge while securing a diagnosis.