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Health Wonk Review: Pre-Passover edition

Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:10
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(Before It's News)

The Jewish holiday of Passover, which commemorates our freedom from years of slavery (among other things) begins next Monday evening. During the ceremony, we recite the 10 Plagues, and we actually have 10 great posts to offer, but I’m going to pass on linking posts and plagues.

Instead, I’m going to intersperse some interesting factoids about the celebration between entries. And please note that the factoids and the posts are not related:

On the seder plate displayed in the middle of the table, you’ll find an egg, charoset (fruit and nut mixture), horseradish, greens, bitter herbs and the shankbone of a lamb.

Joe Paduda thinks it’s time to look to how ACA can be fixed, but doesn’t see the Rocket Surgheons Powers That Be in DC actually doing that.  Instead, he’s expecting Medicaid and Exchange de-funding, along with subtle efforts to add friction to enrollment and the individual markets. What a pollyanna 😃.

Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated During Passover. According to the American Jewish Historical Society, many Jews were in synagogue for the holiday when news of Lincoln’s assassination broke … Sadly, a time that was supposed to be full of celebration became one of mourning.

Good friend David Williams has an interesting podcast with the CEO of CleanSlate, which uses medication as part of its treatment approach to fighting opioid addiction.

Matzah – unleavened bread – looks like a giant saltine. It’s also the primary ingredient in “matzah brie” (fried matzah), a sort of Jewish French toast (and a particular favorite of your HWR host).

Uber wonk Roy Poses has a discussion on physician burnout with the CEOs of some big US hospital systems, including some of the most prestigious, and joined by the CEO of the American Medical Association.

Four glasses of wine are consumed during the seder, all of which need to be Kosher for Passover. When I was growing up, this meant cough syrup Manischewitz or Mogen David. But in recent years, very tasty real wines have become available (I’m partial to the Merlots).

Our friend Brad Wright discusses his own interaction with our health care system as he recovers from a bout with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. It’s quite eye-opening. R’fuah shleima, Brad. [link]

On a happier note, he’s also the proud papa of a beautiful bouncy baby girl (Mazel Tov!)

Libyan Jews took Passover so seriously that the women ground flour for the matzoh seven days ahead – wrapping scarves around their mouths and noses so as not to contaminate the flour with their breath.

I imagine he’s tired of hearing this, but Jason Shafrin continues to earn his keep as our favorite health care economist with posts like this week’s, where he asks a seemingly innocent question: “Are physicians benevolent public servants or profit maximizers?” [I suggested he embrace the healing power of 'and']

The seder is actually a service, complete with its own prayerbook, called a Haggaddah. There are an almost infinite variety of these available (I recently saw one based on the Harry Potter books).

Bradley Flansbaum‘s post actually ties up pretty neatly with Jason’s. as he explores “The Great American Coding Swindle.” AKA “How You, too, Can Game the System for Fun and Profit.” 

In Afghanistan, a tradition of bopping each other on the noggin with green onions adds a festive air to the ceremony.

Our good friend Louise Norris, herself a veteran HWR hostess, offers us her take on clearing up some of the confusion over the ACA individual mandate penalty. Pretty timely, since tax day’s less than a fortnight away. 

Syrian Jews have a custom of starting the storytelling aspect of the Haggadah by taking the matzah used during the Seder, placing it into a special bag resembling a knapsack, and throwing it over their shoulders. They then proceed to recite a verse in Hebrew about leaving the desert in haste.

And HWR co-founder (along with Joe Paduda above) Julie Ferguson sends along her colleague Tom Lynch’s post on the impact the “Psychosocial Buzz” is having on timely Workers Comp payouts.

A small container of salt water symbolizes the tears we shed as slaves, and into which we dip the greens.

Steve Anderson sends along Wendell Potter’s response to RyanCare. Spoiler Alert: He’s not a fan.

Jews from Hungary like to bring the bling to their Passover meal by decorating their Seder table with gold and silver jewelry. The explanation offered for this custom is that the Israelites were given the precious metals by the Egyptians to hasten their exodus from the land.

Our own contribution this week is my post on a favorite golden oldie: price transparency in healthcare. Have we finally found my ideal (aka “The McDonald’s Model)? Kinda looks that way (at least on a small scale).

Well, that’s it for this edition. May you and your families enjoy a wonderful Passover and joyous Easter. And don’t forget to join us on  April 20th when Brad Wright hosts.

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