Daily Archives: September 28, 2017

Glossary Building Part 1

The three words I chose for my glossary building post I believe are important in consumer health because people should have a basic understanding of what these words mean.

  • Vaccine
  • Hegemonic
  • Consumer health

 

So, the first word I chose is vaccine. Vaccine is an important to have in my glossary of consumer health because it can have multiple meanings. Also, people need to consider what the consequences are to have a vaccine. Vaccines are used to provide immunity against a disease. Vaccine could also be defined as” a program designed to detect computer viruses and inactivate them” (Dictionary.com). People also need to know that vaccines are great to provide immunity to diseases. But overtime, the issue is that the disease/bacteria get stronger because of the bacteria’s ability to grow stronger and become immune to the vaccine.

 

The second word is hegemonic. Hegemonic is also important for consumers to understand because it has multiple meanings. One of them is when people buy what is being sold when they don’t need it, people buy what is being sold even when it harms others, people buy what is sold, even though it messes up the world, and people keep buying what is sold without them trying to understand more about the product (The New Consumer Health Overview, slide 16). So, I think it’s important for people to know that although the products won’t make us feel good or are not good for us, as consumers, we think it’s the norm, so we do it anyways.

 

Consumer health is another word that should be in the glossary. It is important because if someone would have asked me last quarter what consumer health is, I would have said that consumer health is when a person (the consumer) is aware of what diet is healthy or not and which one they should follow. However, my definition would have only been one of other key factors. Consumer health is also having the fact and understanding them to make a good decision, avoiding decisions that are based on misinformation, and lastly, choosing not to be alliterate (The New Consumer Health Overview, slide two).

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Market and Social Justice (Prompt 2)

The concepts of market and social justice govern how we live our lives. From what our “values” are to what and how we purchase. Market justice, the most influential concept of the two, seems to reflect the American ideal of individualism. Yet, in market justice, instead of having the best interests of people as a whole, the interest lies more in the bottom line of corporations. It leads people to believe that however they end up economically or health wise in life, it is their own fault and “the choices we make.” It does not take into account any circumstances surrounding a person or the reason for their decisions like background, socioeconomic level, or level of education. Instead, it says that “people who are financially comfortable have earned that comfort. Likewise, people who are less comfortable have earned that situation.”

There is also less government regulation in market justice, much to the benefit of large corporations that target certain people so that they buy their products. An example of this would be cigarettes. Cigarettes tend to target people with a low socioeconomic status and young people as it is depicted as “cool” and a stress reliever. Even though going to the gym is also a great stress reliever, buying a pack of cigarettes is cheaper than a gym membership even if the impact on a person’s health are completely different in the long term. Despite the fact that cigarettes are bad for people’s health and can lead to lung cancer, there is indeed big business in it, and it is likely that this industry won’t be going away as it generates a lot of money for the corporations.

Social justice may be regarded as deviant as it has a more community oriented ideal rather than solely focusing on the individual. Yet, it sounds like this concept has a person’s best interest at heart. It focuses more on the “collective good” rather than the “rugged individualism.” Overall, social justice seems to be the better concept that should be more widely followed since it believes that people should have an equal opportunity as much as the next person, it believes that people should have “basic benefits,” and does not blame people for the way they live their lives the way they do.

Thinking & discourse: here’s a joke about it not being a ‘table for one’

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in congress, there has been a seemingly never-ending tirade by republican congress-members to repeal and replace the ACA. Studies by economists and other people in-the-know seem to show that these would drive up healthcare costs or make people lose insurance, but with pressure from the president and seven years of supposed planning for this VERY moment… and congress is choked on this issue. With people’s insurance (and midterm elections, can’t forget the politicians self-interest in this) on the line, it’s safe to say this is a hot button issue.

I’m also very much a rhetoric fan, so this is falling right into my wheelhouse. We’re working with phrasing in the prompt I’m choosing to tackle, which is the one about the ACA and how people express different preferences for it, or similar healthcare interventions, through the use of language. Polling is a big piece of this, typically. It’s a known fact that voters aren’t always the most informed about the repercussions or stipulations with things that they claim to support or not, and that the basis of familiarity in branding something – even in questions, a classic example of bait and switch – is so important.

So when you look at this particular example – the first discusses Medicare and expansion to all Americans. It has a significantly higher approval rate than the other question, even though it is the same question, logistically. With 60% of responses being validated as positive – it’s important to note the semantics and details presented, as well as the relatively small percentage of those who disagree with it altogether.

If we break it down, it offers a program that already works – Medicare is a popular program, especially for those who benefit from it. It’s inexpensive, compared to normal healthcare, provides quality care for senior citizens and tends to be relatively uncontested – there’s different reasons for this, one of which being that voting blocs can skew older – but it’s generally a program deemed a success. LBJ, my personal favorite president, did really well on signing that bill into law. (With the whole ‘not MY president’ thing of the last two presidencies, is it acceptable to claim someone who’s been dead for years as ‘my president?’)

The other question brings into the spotlight, however, something that some American citizens are not as comfortable with, into the equation: single-payer; taxes. When you include the words ‘single-payer’ and ‘taxes’ into an equation, there’s a good chance you’re sending at least 35% of the population into a tailspin of screaming about “SOCIALISM!”, you can take it from here.

I wouldn’t say one is clearer than the other, just that they introduce and utilize words that people are either more or less comfortable with than others.

The framing of this particular question shows the importance – there’s a disparity in the two, and the familiarity of the former and the words taxes really make people think in certain ways, and makes rhetoric and wording so important for those who are planning on making people vote or respond in their best interest. Whether it be dogwhistling (my personal favorite thing to look out for in communication about political matters) or straightforward word choice, the ability to be able to choose your voice in response to making people respond in a certain way is so incredibly important.

Thinking and Discourse Prompt One

Q1: Do you favor or oppose expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American?

  • 60% Favor strongly or favor somewhat
  • 23% Oppose strongly or oppose somewhat

Q2:. Do you favor or oppose creating a single-payer health care system, in which all Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan that is financed by taxes?

  • 44% Favor strongly or favor somewhat
  • 31% Oppose strongly or oppose somewhat

 

Thinking and Disclosure prompt one asks us to compare the two above polls. This prompt is very interesting in that the questions are essentially asking the same thing, only with different wording. Both questions are in regards to providing healthcare for all Americans, question one phrases itself in a simplified way. It almost seems like a morality questions. Do you think all Americans should healthcare? Of course more people would approve of everyone having health coverage, but that question does not provide a clear scope of what is being asked of the voters. When we look at question two we receive a clearer picture of what is being asked. If you look at the verbiage of question two in comparison to question of you can immediately see that more detail is stated and that it states, in a basic form, what exactly would happen with the expansion of Medicare. When the basic details are revealed you can see a definite shifting in the voters responses, the favorable votes fell by almost 20% and the oppositional votes had an increase of almost 10%. What is interesting is when I read the questions the first questions is an automatic yes for me, but the second question made me pause and think for a moment, specifically the financed by taxes part. Language and phrasing are really important and can actually influence decisions and beliefs of consumers. I think that phrase is mainly what influenced the shift in the polls. Money is a huge influence in decision making and will generally make people think twice before jumping into a decision. I would say that the second question is a better source for gauging what consumers actually believe in regards to the national healthcare issue.

Thinking and Discourse Prompt 2

The piece of Social Justice vs. Market Justice explores how these two concepts influence ideas which then influence language and actions. As stated in the article, Market Justice has become somewhat of a “default” for the American society. Market Justice is the belief that people earn what they have received in life; for example, if someone were to choose to not attend college, they deserve a lower paying job as they did not put in the effort to obtain a higher paying job. Therefore, those who believe in Market Justice believe that what happens in a person’s life is directly related to the choices that that person has made. Social Justice is the belief that not everyone had the same starting point when they were born, therefore, basic benefits should be assured to level the playing field. For example, if someone could not afford to attend college due to their socioeconomic status growing up, why should they have to live with a lower paying job? They were never even given a chance to go to college without falling in major debt. Social Justice would put community wellbeing before personal wellbeing to bridge the ever-growing economic gap.

A large health area of concern for me is nutrition. I am fully aware that not everyone is able to afford healthy food all the time, nor does everyone have the time to make healthy food. For instance, a prepackaged salad at Fred Meyer costs $3 to $4 for one serving, whereas a frozen pizza costs about the same, but contains two to four servings. In Market Justice, it would be argued that those who choose the salad are opting for a healthy lifestyle and therefore are choosing the health benefits that come along with that. If someone is unable to afford the salad due to their economic status, that is also on them as they have chosen their career and how much they are paid. Those who are choosing the pizza are opting for an unhealthy lifestyle and deserve the health problems that come with that.

In contrast, in Social Justice, it is recognized that for some, this is not a choice. For some, it is not possible to spend $4 on one person’s meal, so they must choose the pizza for economic reasons only. If this leads to health problems, then so be it, there was no choice to be made. Social Justice would argue that economic status cannot always be determined by an individual. Based on the earnings of the parents, some people may have to start working at an early age to help their parents afford basic necessities, therefore they may neglect school, and may not be able to attend college. This can be traced back several generations. In 1865 to 1867 when slavery was abolished, former slaves were not given much, if anything, to live on, so they had to work and were only able to afford basic necessities, therefore, their children had to work and were also poor, and so on and so forth. So, according to Social Justice, why should people now have to live with the choices, or forced choices, of their ancestors?

I will be able to use this knowledge of Market Justice vs. Social Justice in my future career as a Registered Dietitian from an economic standpoint. If a client is unable to afford healthier foods, I should be able to make suggestions of foods that are commonly carried at a food bank, and point them in that direction so that they are able to make healthier choices without too much strain on their income. In nutrition it is very easy to get in the mindset of “you have chosen to eat poorly and now you have poor health.” However, it must be recognized that health is a combination of factors, one of which being genetics. So again, why should someone have to live with the choice, or forced choices, or their ancestors? In Market Justice terms, the answer would be that it is the individual’s problem to fix any health issues afflicting them; in Social Justice terms, the individual does not always get the opportunity to fix their health issues, but they should be given one.