Group Wants Amtrak Recommendations Back on Track

The Amtrak Reform Council today urged Congress and the Bush administration to adopt a series of proposals it first made three years ago to try to stabilize the cash-strapped passenger rail service. The group of a dozen transportation, labor and finance experts from both the government and the private sectorsuggested making Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor — the system’s largest and most Read More ›

GOP Can Achieve Health Care Reform by Keeping it Simple

Republicans wondering what to do after they have exhausted the ideas in their “Contract with America” might take a page out of Bill Clinton’s playbook and look again at health care reform. Of course, reviving Mr. Clinton’s confusing and heavily bureaucratic approach to health care would be politically suicidal. Fortunately, neither Republicans, nor market-oriented Democrats, need take that tack. An Read More ›

Player-Coaches for Schools

Some teachers are superstars. Kids and parents know who they are. Teachers and principals know too. So why not give these superstars recognition? Forget gold stars, cash awards or any other reward for past performance. Think instead about a new role for superstar teachers. When one feels ready for the next challenge, why not assign him or her to a Read More ›

Replace Inequity with Genequity

Social Security reform as a political issue was verboten just 10 years ago. No presidential hopeful in his right mind would broach that subject. Now though, the debate is not about whether to reform Social Security, but about how to reform Social Security. Makes you wonder: Just what has happened to finally make discussion of Social Security reform acceptable dinner-table Read More ›

Doing the DNA dance

The uncoiling, unraveling and decoding of the DNA structure by the Humane Genome Project and the Celera Genomics Group is a magnificent scientific achievement and monumental medical milestone. But what does it really mean to the rest of us mortals? To begin with, it means much less than most people think, hope or worry. As diagnostic physicians, we've been trying to come up with a good analogy. Perhaps figuring out the sequence of the chemical elements in human DNA is like finding a huge pile of ancient document scraps in an unknown language and using computers to help sort out the correct order and position of the symbols. But even when sorted out, how could we figure out what the symbols mean? In DNA, scientists have figured out the ordering of the language symbols but don't know what most of the message means. Read More ›

Dr. Bob’s RX for our Managed Care Mess

I’ve reached a conclusion about my friend, Dr. Bob. God made him without waiting for the environmental impact study. Dr. Bob Cihak (pronounced Chee Hawk) grew up in South Dakota and claims he didn’t know “bohunk” was an insult until long after he got to Harvard. “I’ve always considered it a compliment,” he avows, and still occasionally wears his “Bohunk Read More ›

The Education Reform Debate Is Not Over

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has taken a bold stand on the state’s new Academic Achievement and Accountability Commission (editorial 8/5/99). The Post-Intelligencer is alarmed because (horrors!) the Republicans “want to use the commission to debate how education reform will unfold in this state.” According to the Post-Intelligencer the “debate is over.” Why, then, I wonder, should there be a commission at Read More ›