Health Care

What we're reading: U.S. is unprepared for a global plague

Members of a medical team monitor simulated patients infected with Ebola at Dulles International Airport.
Members of a medical team monitor simulated patients infected with Ebola. Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

The next global plague is coming, Ed Yong writes in the Atlantic, and the U.S. is "disturbingly vulnerable."

The big picture: The total number of outbreaks every 10 years "has more than tripled since the 1980s," Yong says. Bill Gates told Yong that if there was a severe flu pandemic, more than 33 million people could be killed across the world in 250 days.

Special report: The next health care wars

This shows symbols commonly associated with health care
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Forget the Affordable Care Act: The future of our health care system will be shaped by a much bigger and broader fight — one that will likely culminate with a 2020 choice between private markets and an authentic government-run program in the form of a Bernie Sanders-style Medicare for All. 

The bottom line: The cost of health care — both for individuals seeking coverage and the government seeking sustainability — promises to return as the biggest domestic issue once the Trump obsession burns off. 

The big picture: We're getting closer to AI doctors

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 

It’s not unrealistic to think that 80% of what doctors do will be replaced by algorithms and artificial intelligence. The idea, evangelized by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla two years ago, is that machines can more accurately diagnosis us — and that will reduce deadly medical errors and free doctors up to do other things.

The bottom line: We’re getting closer to this reality. Algorithms, for example, can already diagnose diseases from imaging scans better than human radiologists. Computers possibly could take over the entire radiology specialty.