Down With Annual Checkups!
Brian Palmer thinks people should go to the doctor when they're actually sick
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 20, 2013 10:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Here's some simple advice that will save you time and money: "If you're not sick, don't go to the doctor," writes Brian Palmer at Slate. Around 45 million healthy people spend 17 million hours a year completing their annual checkups, costing the health care system $8 billion a year and sapping around $2 billion worth of productivity out of the economy. And these visits aren't even all that useful in terms of dispensing preventative care, 80% of which doctors wind up administering when people come in with actual illnesses.

Beyond the waste, "many primary-care doctors order totally unnecessary procedures during annual exams," Palmer points out. "Perhaps they just want to make patients feel like they’re doing something." But that's dangerous, because if you get enough screenings, it's pretty likely you'll get a false positive, which can lead to invasive or even dangerous follow-up procedures. Yes, checkups build rapport with your doctor. But while you're "chatting about your hobbies and your grandparents, there are other patients waiting weeks or months for an appointment. And some of them are actually sick." His full column is worth a read.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Down With Annual Checkups! is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 17 comments
Aug 23, 2013 8:02 AM CDT
does this have anything to do with Obumma's death panels?
Aug 20, 2013 9:10 PM CDT
This article is wrong.There's many reasons for annual doctor's visits,blood pressure screenings high on the list.Annual flu shots is another,so is weight monitoring and chronic problem screenings.
Aug 20, 2013 3:13 PM CDT
My doctor likes to pad his bill so he schedules me every three moths. But just before every other appointment the automatic system calls me and asks if I am going to make it. Press 1 for yes, 2 for no, 3 to reschedule. I always press 3 on every other visit. Then I get a letter in the mail about week later showing my new date. Its always three months later because my doctor is in that much demand. He is not sure what he's going to do when Obamacare fully takes over. Sorry in advance for the political comment but its really not political. My doctor is genuinely concerned how his already swamped practice will handle his share of additional 50-million patients. He said one option for him is to do like some of compatriots and go NO-INSURANCE. Its a growing movement among some physicians. I know just one who did that and he's flourishing. But in his case, a private Republican owned company gave him $3 million dollars to do just that. It was a way that the Republican business owner could do political activism and help people. The doctor went OFF-NETWORK and patients just pay $25 for most visits.