So many boxes under the news chum tree! Which one should I open next? How about this one, with a lovely blue cross and a blue shield? I just hope I don’t get a paper cut opening the package — you know how insurance can be.
- Why People Avoid The Doctor. The results of an interesting Medicare Advantage survey shows why people avoid the doctor: alas, their presentation is a slideshow, but reasons range from the cost, to not having the time, to thinking there is nothing wrong with them, to preferring natural remedies. Me? I figure that if I make my schedule so busy, my body won’t have time to fail. Alas, that’s not working.
- Insurers Don’t Make It Easy. Dealing with Insurance is probably one reason people don’t go to the doctor. Take CPAP machines. Sleep apnea is a fast-growing health complaint among Americans, and that has triggered a set of deceptive and unethical measures by US health insurers to shift the cost of using CPAP machines (the forced air machines that sleep apnea patients rely on to stay healthy) to the people who use them, with the effect that it’s often much cheaper to pay cash for your machine and its consumables than it is to get them through insurance. NPR also had an exploration of the problem.
- Doctors and Computers. Modern medicine. Computers were supposed to make it easier. But doctors hate their computer systems. A 2016 study found that physicians spent about two hours doing computer work for every hour spent face to face with a patient—whatever the brand of medical software. In the examination room, physicians devoted half of their patient time facing the screen to do electronic tasks. And these tasks were spilling over after hours. The University of Wisconsin found that the average workday for its family physicians had grown to eleven and a half hours. The result has been epidemic levels of burnout among clinicians. Forty per cent screen positive for depression, and seven per cent report suicidal thinking—almost double the rate of the general working population. Doctors are among the most technology-avid people in society; computerization has simplified tasks in many industries. Yet somehow we’ve reached a point where people in the medical profession actively, viscerally, volubly hate their computers.
- Standing Desks Don’t Help. If you are like me, you’ve (reluctantly) been moved to a standing desk, because the old sitting computer desks with ergometric key trays are harder to find than unsalted fries at a McDonalds. Research, however, suggests that warnings about sitting at work are overblown, and that standing desks are overrated as a way to improve health. Standing is not exercise, and it isn’t necessarily better for you.
- And Sex is Overrated. Well, at least in the eyes of young people, who according to one article are having a lot less sex. The stock markets aren’t the only thing that is tanking, the Atlantic says we are in a sex recession. From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent. In other words, in the space of a generation, sex has gone from something most high-school students have experienced to something most haven’t. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.