All posts tagged: long story

Has Alcohol Left Humanity Better or Worse Off?

Has Alcohol Left Humanity Better or Worse Off?

“At this point in my life, the pros outweigh the cons,” one reader argued. Illustration by The Atlantic. Source: Tom Stoddart Archive / Getty November 15, 2023, 11 AM ET Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here. Last week, I asked readers, “Are humans better or worse off for having beer, wine, and spirits? Or, if you’d prefer introspection, how about you personally?” Several of you pointed out that humanity benefited greatly from alcohol in bygone eras when there was a dearth of clean water. But today we’ll focus on the modern era. Replies have been edited for length and clarity. Dave shared his family background and its effect on his attitudes: On one side of my family, alcohol was generally forbidden and never touched during family gatherings. On the other, it was central to every family event. If you asked me which side is more fun, I’d say …

What Private Equity Does to Hospitals

What Private Equity Does to Hospitals

Riverton, Wyoming, a city of about 11,000 people at the feet of the Wind River mountain range, seems far away from the world of Big Finance. Yet like so much of America, Riverton has become well acquainted with the business that most epitomizes today’s Wall Street: private equity. In 2018, the local hospital, SageWest, was purchased by Apollo Global Management as part of the giant private-equity firm’s $5.6 billion deal to buy a chain of hospitals called LifePoint Health. Even before Apollo got involved, LifePoint had merged Riverton’s small hospital with the hospital half an hour away in Lander, the county seat. Vivian Watkins, a Riverton resident who once served as Wyoming’s economic-development director, told us that the idea sounded viable—at first. “They told us the new trend in hospitals is ‘centers of excellence,’ so you’ll have maternity care in one place and, say, orthopedics in another,” she said. But in the Apollo era, Watkins and other Riverton residents concluded that, instead of dividing specialties between the two hospitals and beefing up the ones remaining …