The Atlantic Daily: Health Care and Hack-Backs

More revelations about Don Jr.’s meeting, expert advice on cyberattacks, the U.S.’s performance in health care, and more

Senator Ted Cruz speaks with reporters about the Senate health-care bill on July 13, 2017. (Aaron Bernstein / Reuters)

What We’re Following

Political Problems: The latest revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya—the first, that President Trump’s legal team was informed of the meeting three weeks ago, and the second, that six people attended the meeting—contradict the initial accounts of the Trump family, and cast increasing doubt on their credibility. The confusion, dysfunction, and partisan friction have some observers debating whether the American system can continue working as it’s designed to. James Fallows takes stock of what’s gone wrong—and what’s cause for optimism.

Health Care: A new study finds the U.S. spends more and performs worse on health care than 11 similar countries do, and suggests the path to improvement is to increase access to primary care. That’s unlikely to come from the revised health-care bill newly released in the Senate, which among other changes would make significant cuts to Medicaid. The bill includes a proposed amendment from Senator Ted Cruz that’s intended to free insurance companies from regulation—but risks creating a dangerously unstable market.

Tech Tactics: As cyberattacks become an increasing threat to companies around the world, some experts argue that businesses should be allowed to hack back against their attackers. Meanwhile, new research in biometric science may soon enable U.S. soldiers to fight with weapons that adapt to their bodies—and even, perhaps, to their ways of thinking.


Katie Martin created this illustration for our reader discussion series celebrating the bicentennial of Jane Austen’s death—or, as some of our staff superfans like to say, her ascension into immortality. Share your thoughts about the best Austen lines, characters, adaptations, and even memes, and stay tuned for more essays and reader discussion next week.

Evening Read

Sophie Gilbert on To the Bone, a new Netflix movie about anorexia:

When the trailer for To the Bone was released, it prompted a flood of critiques noting that the film appeared to contain many images and scenes that could be triggering to recovering anorexics. The problem, though, isn’t just with this specific film. It’s a whole genre, a culture, that has a morbid and complex fascination with emaciated female bodies. To the Bone, inspired by its director Marti Noxon’s own experiences with anorexia, is a largely sensitive and thoughtful treatment of the disorder, but it can’t dodge the fact that any truthful depiction of anorexia will, by its nature, trigger those who struggle with the disease. The question is whether the usefulness of recovery narratives is worth the damage done in feeding a cultural curiosity that’s deeply unhealthy.

Keep reading here, as Sophie considers how filmmakers can responsibly portray the disease.

What Do You Know?

1. About 63 percent of the U.S. prisoners who began serving life sentences as juveniles are in four states: Georgia, Texas, New York, and ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. Iran currently operates about 5,000 centrifuges, compared to about ____________ at the time the U.S. signed its nuclear deal with the country two years ago.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The microscopic water creatures known as tardigrades can survive temperatures up to ____________ degrees Celsius.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: California / 20,000 / 151

Our First Podcast

Radio Atlantic

One week from today marks the launch of The Atlantic’s new podcast, Radio Atlantic. Starting July 21, join Jeffrey Goldberg, our editor in chief; Matt Thompson, deputy editor; and Alex Wagner, contributing editor and CBS anchor, as they chat with leading voices from The Atlantic and elsewhere to explore what’s happening in the world, how things became the way they are, and where they’re going next. Listen to the trailer for a sneak preview of the show, and subscribe in your favorite podcast app.

Poem of the Week

From our November 2012 issue, “Memo,” by W.G. Sebald:

Build fire and read
the future in smoke

Carry out ash and
scatter over head

Be sure
not to look back

Read more here.

Reader Response

The TAD group is debating Brian Alexander’s article on how the privatization of infrastructure projects changes Americans’ relationship with public works. One reader writes:

Private companies get held accountable by their customers. To be sure, their customers aren’t the electorate, but they’re also stakeholders in most companies. Companies regularly go out of business for failing to meet the needs of their customers or for falling afoul of regulatory hurdles. Governments by and large don’t.

But another reader questions how consumer accountability works in practice:

The fact of the matter is, the bigger a company gets, the less sway any consumer accountability holds over them. “If you don’t like us, pick another option. Oh, you don’t have another viable option? Too bad.”

More reader discussion here.


Tar yielded, handshake lingered, drug bags drop, winter arrives.

Time of Your Life

Happy birthday to Louise’s daughter-in-law (a year younger than Sesame Street), Paige’s boyfriend Joe (a year younger than Amazon), Deirdre (a year younger than Disneyland), and her mother Evadene (the same age as the actress Betty White). And happy birthday to Andrea, who writes,

My grandmother cried when Kennedy was assassinated. My father was nearly finished with his third war. The GTO and Oldsmobile 2+2 were the cars to have. A book was written about my graduating class, and someone I went to school starred in a TV version. How old am I?

Find the answer here.

Tomorrow, happy birthday to Greg’s son Griff (a year younger than Apple’s Macintosh), another Greg (the same age as the actor Tom Cruise), from Claire to Brad (the same age as 7-Eleven), Marv’s daughter Liz (a year younger than human spaceflight), Nina’s husband Martin (twice the age of Google), and Nicole’s husband Andrew (they met as teenagers, when The Craft was on TV). And happy birthday to Richard, who writes that at 6 weeks old he was “among the first folks in Salem, Massachusetts to receive this new drug”—penicillin.

Do you or a loved one have a birthday coming up? Sign up for a birthday shout-out here, and click here to explore the Timeline feature for yourself.

The newsletter dated July 13, 2017, misstated the last name of the actress Elizabeth Garvie as “Garfield.” Our apologies for the error, and thanks to reader Marilee for pointing it out.

The Atlantic Daily is written by Rosa Inocencio Smith. To contact us, email

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