If you’re feeling a little under the weather, it might not be the flu. Maybe it’s the politicians.
Researchers who looked into Taiwan’s local and national elections from 2005 to 2012 found medical care use soared 20.6% during campaigns for “disorders of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum” and “had a significant impact on acute respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and injuries.”
The working paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, looked at healthcare claims for 900,000 people. The boost in healthcare use and costs rose by 17% to 19% for presidential elections for young adults, while mayoral campaigns saw a 7% to 8% boost.
They also found that “excess medical care costs from the 2008 presidential election” were $1.27 billion or $118 per person.
Equating Taiwan’s results to what happens in the U.S. isn’t apples to apples since Taiwan limits presidential campaigns to 28 days.
“One possibility is that the concentration of election campaigns within a short period increases the intensity of campaign events in a way that is harmful to health. Longer campaigns, such as those in the U.S., could moderate campaign activities and reduce healthcare costs,” the researchers wrote.
Outliers isn’t entirely convinced longer campaigns are all that soothing.