Digby passes along some depressing news:
In 2009, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a study that revealed what seems to be a shocking truth: those who live in societies with a higher level of income inequality are at a greater risk for premature death….
What happens is those lower down the economic ladder experience more stress. Their lives are much more stressful, and they secrete more stress hormones until they’re burned.Stress is our twenty-first century tobacco. As we understand more about stress biology and the impact it has on our lives, we are going to have to wage a campaign to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. In one survey, people in the US reported the fourth highest levels of stress in the world. That’s true despite all our smartphones and gadgets and conveniences and the ease of everyday life. It’s incredibly stressful for those who own all these gadgets, but the ones on the bottom suffer the most stress. Surveys of stress hormones find that they have the highest levels and they have the worst health outcomes. So the bigger the gap between the rich and the poor, the greater the stress on those lower down, and the higher you are up the economic ladder, the better off you are.
Sarah Kliff noted last week that being uninsured sucks goat balls:
There’s a very simple reason that Obamacare hit 8 million sign-ups: Being uninsured is horrible.
But even if the total number of Obamacare sign-ups isn’t especially important, the groundswell of enrollments is: it shows that the fundamental premise of the law — that people want health insurance — is correct. They’re willing to battle through a crummy website and a complicated law and endless political controversy in that process, too, if it means coming out with a health insurance policy at the end.
“That’s not a new idea that people want health insurance,” Perry says. “But that they would stick through so much hassle still amazes us.”
I’m a health insurance wonk. It is what I do for a living, and it is what I write about. But the best health insurance with perfect compliance means, on a good day with a favorable study 15% of health outcomes are attributed to having great insurance and great medical care. Most of the rest is environmental and social. The biggest driver is stress in a variety of forms. Removing the stress of worrying about the trade-off between getting an ugly lesion checked out and potentially treated versus paying the rent will probably do more for aggregate health outcomes than actually treating the lesion.