🐤 Is there a doctor in the house?

Let's explore the real cost of America's shift away from primary care physicians.

Saturday | September 16th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Saturday, chirpers! Does it make you feel old when you hear some whippersnappers talking about the latest TikTok trend? Well, even if you’re old enough to remember when the Billboard charts were a big deal, you’re not too old to find some common ground with the young folks.

Billboard has unveiled a new “TikTok Top 50” chart to rank the biggest songs on the platform. In case you’re wondering, Sexyy Red’s “SkeeYee” is currently ranked at No. 1.

-Chris Agee

Markets
NASDAQ
IXIC
$13,708.34
-$217.71 (-1.56%)
Dow Jones
DJI
$34,618.24
-$288.87 (-0.83%)
S&P 500
GSPC
$4,450.32
-$54.78 (-1.22%)
EUR-USD
EURUSD
$1.07
$0.00 (0.18%)
Bitcoin
BTC-USD
$26,668.38
$128.70 (0.48%)
Canopy Growth
CGC
$1.35
$0.10 (8.00%)
*Market data for this issue is from September 15th, 2023 at 6:44pm EST

🏦 Markets: Good things don’t seem to last very long on Wall Street these days. Some fairly significant market gains on Thursday were wiped out by sell-offs yesterday.

All three major indexes saw big losses, chalking up the second straight losing week.

Despite an auto industry strike, GM and Stellantis stock prices saw a modest increase, though Ford was down.

Despite the market volatility, consumers are increasingly bullish about the future of the U.S. economy with inflation expectations dipping to lows not seen since early 2021.

health

Exploring The Abrupt Demise Of Primary Care Physicians In America

Statistics show just how much things have changed.

Exploring The Abrupt Demise Of Primary Care Physicians In America Grey's Anatomy/ABC/Giphy

You don’t have to look too far these days to find evidence of America’s less-than-optimal healthcare system. From skyrocketing insurance premiums to drug shortages to widespread hospital job vacancies, it’s enough to make just about anyone concerned.

In the discussion of how many things seem to have changed for the worse in recent years, there’s an important topic that doesn’t always get a lot of attention: the shortage of family doctors.

A tale of three generations

Joseph Weigel is the second of three generations of doctors in his family and illustrated the monumental shift by explaining how much different his son’s career is than his father’s was.

His dad was the town’s only doctor and was able to get to know his patients on a personal level, taking interest in their physical health and their lives in general.

On the other hand, his son often treats patients in the hospital just once, never getting to know any more about them than their illness at that time.

Why has everything changed?

Simply put, specialized medicine pays more and the overhead costs of owning a medical practice have gotten prohibitive for most doctors — which brings us to this:

  • Only about half of adults under 30 have a primary care doctor.
  • Hospitals have swooped in and bought up many private practices.
  • About 100 million Americans lack access to primary healthcare.
  • Less than half of U.S. doctors own their own practice.

Urgent care, pharmacies, and the emergency room have filled in the gap, but it’s not an ideal situation. Studies show that people who have a relationship with a primary care doctor are generally healthier and live longer.

There is some hope, though. Innovative doctors are using technology to provide a form of primary care that also allows them to make a living.

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culture

This Survey Might Shatter Your Assumptions About Generation Z

Think teens and twenty-somethings are pessimistic? Guess again!

This Survey Might Shatter Your Assumptions About Generation Z Giphy

If you’re not in your early teens or mid-20s, you might have some preconceived notions about those who are. This group, known as Generation Z, has grown up in a world dominated by social media, impacted by economic downturns, and fundamentally disrupted by a global pandemic.

So you might think they’d be pretty pessimistic about the way things are going. But you’d be wrong … at least according to a new Gallup poll.

Optimistic but unprepared

The results of this surprising survey were released this week to a mixture of fanfare and disbelief, finding that more than three-fourths of Gen Zers believe “they have a great future ahead of them.”

And a whopping 82% of those surveyed said they’re confident that they’ll achieve their goals.

These numbers are substantially higher than the percentages registered when older generations are asked about their outlook for the future.

Of course, like teens and young adults in previous generations, they aren’t convinced that they’re prepared for what the future might bring. Only 44% said they feel ready.

Breaking down the results

In broad terms, the poll offers a fairly encouraging overview of Gen Z, but not everyone is equally excited about their future prospects. One of the most notable disparities registered in this survey can be seen along racial lines. While 44% of Black respondents “strongly agree” that their future looks good, just 31% of Whites and 30% of Hispanics said the same.

And there’s one issue in particular that Gen Z believes it’ll have to conquer. Many respondents said that they believe their generation is missing a sufficient network of support to help them make the most of their future.

As Stanford Center on Adolescence's William Damon explained, this is a common concern for the age. “Kids need support. They need guidance.”

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World

The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Shutterstock

🏷️ iPhone prices: If you’re trying to decide whether to upgrade to the new iPhone 15, you might not be all that overwhelmed by the relatively minor upgrades over the previous model. But if you’re impressed by a good deal, it might be the phone for you. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this is the most inexpensive iPhone since the very first one was unveiled in 2007. With a range of $799 to $999 (not including the Pro Max), the cost of these devices is the same as last year.

🚗 No deal: Autoworkers at General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler's parent company Stellantis walked out on Friday, launching the first industry strike in four years. Although the Big Three automakers weren’t able to reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers union in time to avoid a strike, both sides are set to continue negotiations today. Of course, the companies and workers remain far apart in what they’re willing to concede, so this could be a long process.

🇪🇺 TikTok trouble: Backlash over social media app TikTok’s privacy settings has erupted around the world in recent years, culminating with a $368 million fine imposed on the platform this week by the Data Protection Commission in Ireland. Regulators determined that the app violated Europe’s data privacy laws dating back to the latter half of 2020. Some of the issues involved a default “public” profile and allowing minors to receive direct messages from adults.

🍫 Not so sweet: Nestle USA is going to court to settle a dispute with two of its distributors in Mexico. At the core of the case is the company’s assertion that products from its Mexican division, which were only supposed to be sold south of the border, were improperly imported and sold in the States. The two distributors object to Nestle’s trademark dispute, however, claiming that Nestle USA and its Swiss headquarters always knew what was going on.

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economy

Tiny Houses: Affordable Housing, Social Media Nightmare, Or Both?

Before you plan to move into one, be sure to look beyond the hype.

Tiny Houses: Affordable Housing, Social Media Nightmare, Or Both? Giphy

There are countless social media posts, TV shows, and various other tributes to the “tiny house” trend that has blossomed around the world in recent years.

But while these cute, innovative, and often inexpensive housing options are clearly interesting to outsiders, what’s it like to actually live in one? Well, that depends on who you ask.

Skip houses

In Britain, dumpsters are often referred to as skips. And London-based artist Harrison Marshall took the tiny house movement to extremes when he designed and then moved into a “skip house.” It has a small refrigerator, a hot plate, a little bit of storage space … but no running water. He uses a portable toilet outside of the bin.

Marshall said his living arrangement is unfortunately a sign of the times in a city where the average studio apartment costs $2,000 or more per month.

“There are obviously benefits of minimal living, but that should be a choice rather than a necessity,” he said.

Social appeal

In addition to dealing with the obvious shortcomings of such a small abode, Marshall and other tiny house dwellers also have to contend with hordes of rubberneckers who are captivated by the lifestyle.

Some are looking for affordable housing, others just want to add more content to the countless images and videos of tiny houses already available on social media. But when the rubber meets the road, very few are willing to make the compromises necessary to move in.

According to Marshall, about four-fifths of the inquiries he receives about actually obtaining a skip house amount to “just buzz and chitchat.”

He said people have become “almost numb to it from social media,” which can glamorize tiny house living while glossing over the fact that most of the comforts of home are missing.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

90 N Church St, The Strathvale House
Grand Cayman KY1, 9006, Cayman Islands

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