Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flossing And The Glare Of The Doctor

Yglesias is surely right about this:
A general practitioner who develops an effective method of nudging people toward quitting smoking or exercising more during his brief post-checkup chats would save many more lives at dramatically lower cost than would all of Dr House’s heroics.
I only took up flossing a couple years ago, after withering under the disapproving glares of oral hygenists who had been prodding my gums with that pokey thing. It's kept me free of dental issues for as long as I've been doing it. (I've actually come to enjoy it, because the minty floss is kind of yummy.) Anyway, I hope that whatever fixes we design for the health care system result in the doctor's glare hitting more people who need it. There are lots of reasons why poor people are often overweight, including the high calorie density of cheap foods, but I'd imagine that their inability to buy time with doctors who will put pressure on them to adopt more healthy habits is part of the story.
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