Archive for October 2008

頭にくる 5 – Health Insurance and Gender Bias

October 30, 2008

I know, I know, I should be studying…but lecture ended early so I took a trip to nytimes online and read this appalling article:

Women Buying Health Policies Pay a Penalty

It made me furious that insurance companies’ defense for this blatantly biased practice is basically shrugging and saying, ‘Well, women have babies, and that’s expensive.’ They further argued that since women aged 20-50 tend to visit the doctor more frequently and to use more prescription drugs (would they be referring to birth control?) than the corresponding age group of men, it’s fair to make their monthly premium for the exact same health care coverage package nearly 50% higher in some states. So…because it’s “expensive”* to have babies, and “expensive” to provide medication to prevent having babies, premiums shouldn’t be equalized because, in order to do that, men will have to pay more than they do now. Nevermind the fact that they get paid more anyway, in almost every profession.

Yes, it’s true that men use less health care services (especially young men). Of course, that might explain why they tend to expire nearly a decade before women do. I suppose it’s not surprising that insurance companies should think it perfectly acceptable that women should have to pay extra for their longevity and penalize them for their active involvement in their own health care. I find it absolutely despicable.

And a political aside…I’m sure McCain’s health plan didn’t take this disparity into account at all. But then, we know how he feels about womens’ “health“.

*Incidentally, according to my mom, doctors at her hospital get paid around $300 per baby delivered…but it costs an average of $8000 for a standard hospital birth.

Nasty, Brutish and Short

October 28, 2008

Although we occasionally do fun things like draw livers on each other during lab, second semester isn’t exactly full of fun. We are now hurtling toward the shelf exams through 7 more weeks of long days (8:00 – 5:00) filled with lectures. The fall semester seems really short – just under four months long – but they’ve packed so much into it that my head is starting to spin. On Tuesday, we have Mini II and since the anatomy practical slapped me down from an A to a B (to my great shock, I might add, because I was confident that I’d rocked it), I’ve really got to annihilate it. We’ve got 3 more practicals before the end of the semester (our first neuroscience practical was last Friday). Updates may be seldom in the coming weeks but I’ll try to post occasionally. Encouragement never goes amiss – it’s like fuel for success.


October 10, 2008

Confession: Sometimes, I’m not overly fond of the first semester students.

On an individual basis, they seem to be nice enough but what gets my goat is the fact that they love to congregate in Classroom 5, the designated Second Semester domain (all of our classes are scheduled in Classroom 5). When I was a first semester, I would never have dreamed of camping out in a classroom that was reserved for another semester (although The Annex is the designated realm of first semesters, my study areas of choice were the fishbowl and Classroom 1, an unassigned quiet study space near the ocean) but for some reason, this new crop of first semesters likes nothing more than coming to our classroom and sprawling out like they own it. I get a perverse sort of pleasure whenever we have classes after 1:00 and they have to pack up their lunches and leave. I know it’s a silly peeve, but there you have it. That’s what annoys me about first semesters.

However – yesterday, the first semester students had their first anatomy lab practical*, practically on the heels of Mini I (we were lucky last semester; our practical was scheduled ahead of the Mini). As a pal and I passed them lined up anxiously outside of the anatomy lab, my pal snickered and said, ‘Don’t you feel sorry for them?’ I nodded, because I did. (more…)

Flocculonodular Lobe

October 9, 2008

Can you identify the flocculonodular lobe?*

Usually, I’m not very good at gauging the outcome of exams. Sometimes, following a test, I feel as if I’ve been eviscerated. Sometimes, I feel like a wounded soldier, staggering home with the last of my strength. Sometimes, I feel a heavy sense of doom. And sometimes, like on Monday after Mini I, I feel this eerie sense of calm. I can never rely on any of the first three feelings because occasionally, the foreboding is warranted while other times, I’m just worried for nothing. But that peculiar calm…I never recognize it for what it is. The last time I felt it (prior to Monday) was during an Orgo exam while I was an HCP student. It was the second midterm and boy, was it tricky, but somehow, I finished early and spent the last 20 minutes sitting in my seat, serenely reflecting. An awesome tranquility had come over me and it wasn’t like a ‘yeah, I rocked that!’ sort of confidence but it was more like the feeling you get when you wake up after a good night’s sleep on a Saturday morning – unhurried, unharried and clear-minded. It wasn’t until I got my score (a 94) that I realized the significance of that feeling. And here again, I didn’t get that that was what was going on on Monday until I got my scores today: 3 As and 2 Bs.