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Atul Gawande, who was named this week to head up a joint venture set up by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, has devoted his life to rethinking US healthcare, writes Anjana Ahuja in a profile. The surgeon has written four books, founded projects to improve health in developing countries, and was tipped to be surgeon-general had Hillary Clinton been elected US president. Now he has been given the brief of improving the health of the three companies' combined 1m-plus workforce – and cutting the cost of caring for them.
He single-handedly changed the way many hospitals operate with his book The Checklist Manifesto, which argued that doctors could save lives by applying techniques pioneered in aviation safety. His other works have brought a sense of humanity and humility into a profession better known for its swagger, Anjana notes.
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson writes that General Electric’s fall from the Dow Jones Industrial Average marks the end of an era. The company is slimming down to its aviation, healthcare and power businesses. Yet most Americans still think it makes fridges and lightbulbs.
Miranda Green writes about the moment when the French President told off a local boy for being too familiar and offers readers some lessons in French formality.
Nick Timmins tackles the UK National Health Service as it turns 70, writing that it is yet again in crisis. There is scarcely a member of parliament who does not recognise that the service needs more money — even if, over eight years of austerity, it has performed remarkably well.
Best of the week
A bad bout of Brexit cynicism infects Theresa May’s health plan– Robert Shrimsley
America must allow Rwanda to make its own choice s – David Pilling
May’s Brexit dividend and other myths worth exploding–Christopher Giles
Trump and Iran — between war and a grand bargain– Roula Khalaf
The Italian challenge to the eurozone– Martin Wolf
What you've been saying
Immigrants will be needed as the baby boomers age— Letter from Daniel Aronoff:
The baby boom generation is ageing, and as it heads into retirement the US will soon face a massive labour shortage. According to the US Census Bureau, the age-dependency ratio (the percentage of working age people to retirees) will jump from 67 per cent in 2010 to 83 per cent in 2030. This projection is based on a retirement age of 64, so it surely over-states the impact, as retirement ages are already climbing upward. Even so, the US will need to add immigrants to its domestic-born labour force to support the living standards of the older population. Any politically feasible restructuring of Medicare and social security will require it.
Comment by Publius on Why disabled people like me give up on careers:
Thank you for sharing your struggle. I was diagnosed with a Grade 2 tumor in my spinal cord about 2 years ago and my neuro-muscular system has slowly been deteriorating since. Like you described, simple tasks such as writing, holding a key to open a door, and even walking has become exhausting — both mentally and physically. I had been preparing to take Level II of the CFA before my diagnosis, but now I can't sit for more than 15 minutes without experiencing physical discomfort. While this has been the toughest ordeal I've experienced, I am constantly having to remind myself not to feel sorry for myself or compare my situation to anybody else (whether I perceive their life as harder or easier) because all that does is expend energy I could otherwise use more purposefully. So, to the author, please don't get discouraged — be strategic about your energy as well and success will open itself to you.
Trump’s simplicity attests to McLuhan’s theories— Letter from Stephen Shevoley:
You could at least wait until Nafta is dead before ceding Marshall McLuhan to the Americans (June 21). While McLuhan — a Canadian — was criticised by some for his overly simplistic theories regarding the media, Donald Trump has proved how effective simplicity can be. However, you shouldn’t punish those who foresee the future. Assuming, of course, that posthumous American citizenship can be considered punishment.
Person in the News: Atul Gawande, a surgeon injecting humanity into US healthcare
He has been chosen to lead a wide-ranging review of America’s $3tn industry
The GE-free Dow is the index our age deserves
The story the index tells best is how the US economy has come to be driven by brands
The NHS is sustainable — as long as we are prepared to pay for it
The UK’s health service is delivering middling results for middling outlay
Gareth Southgate’s bunch of good lads take on the world
England sees itself reflected in a young and diverse group of football players
Instant Insight: An agreement on Greek debt that satisfies both sides
A moment of triumph — but the country still needs to build durable institutions
Peter Wilmot-Sitwell, financier, 1935-2018
A gentleman banker with integrity — and a killer instinct
Manners maketh Macron: lessons in French formality
The president ticked off a cheeky teen but too much deference in politics is unhealthy
Free Lunch: Getting Italy right
The country’s challenge is one of productivity, not competitiveness
Undercover Economist: Football’s minnows demonstrate how poor countries can catch up
Elite sport offers a global labour market while weaker home nations enjoy the benefits
FT View: When robots write the editorials, all will benefit
AI will free journalists from the repetitive work of holding opinions
FT View: British business has been far too quiet on Brexit
Airbus spoke up about the risks of a hard exit, others should follow
The Big Read
The Big Read: Donald Trump and the 1930s playbook: liberal democracy comes unstuck
Trade wars and the targeting of minority groups in the US and some EU countries have strong historical echoes