This morning, Paul Krugman at The New York Times wrote a column about health care titled “Patients Are Not Consumers.”
I’m going to reprint portions of his piece with a few words struck-out and replaced. Let me know what you think:
How did it become normal, or for that matter even acceptable, to refer to
medical patients students and their families as “consumers”? The relationship between patient students and their families and doctor teachers used to be considered something special, almost sacred. Now politicians and supposed reformers talk about the act of receiving care education as if it were no different from a commercial transaction, like buying a car — and their only complaint is that it isn’t commercial enough.
What has gone wrong with us?
….The idea that all this can be reduced to money — that
doctors teachers are just “providers” selling services to health care education “consumers” — is, well, sickening. And the prevalence of this kind of language is a sign that something has gone very wrong not just with this discussion, but with our society’s values.
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