All posts by mwalker92

Glossary Building Post #2

Glossary Terms:

  • Direct To Consumer advertisement (DTC)
  • Cesarean Birth (C-section)
  • Cord Blood

Parents, and soon to be parents, are vulnerable consumers. They are often bombarded with new fads in childbirth, some new product, etc. Many times these products or services being offered to them are unnecessary, fake, or not truly safe for their children. Terms such as fertility treatments, cesarean birth (C-section), and cord blood are thrown around often these days, but do these consumer truly understand what these terms mean?

Consumers who wish to be parents but are experiencing difficulties conceiving may often seek fertility treatments. Many fertility clinics post DTC advertisements on the web targeting those with difficulties in conceiving. “DTC ads are responsible for 12 percent ($2.6 billion) of the total growth in drug spending in 2000” (Walden 2017). These advertisements tend to overstate treatment benefits, misleading and manipulating consumers to believe that their specific treatment will guarantee results. “47 percent described their success rates as “superior” or “among the best”, without indicating what they were comparing themselves to” (Walden 2017). What vulnerable consumers do not hear about with these advertisements is the actual success of the advertised product. Many times the product has a very small success rate, but vulnerable consumers do not know those details they only see that the treatment is supposed to work. Many consumers end up spend exorbitant amounts of money with little to no results to show for their effort. Consumers should be aware of DTC ads and should look into the advertised products success rates before they buy into the product.

Consumers who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant should also know about the cesarean birth (C-Section) option. C-section births have become a very common method of delivery, though in many cases the procedure is not even necessary. Consumers should also know that in many cases if a woman has had a C-section in the past, then they are at risk to lose the option to deliver their next child in a different way. “in some parts of the country, women who have previously had a cesarean are denied the option to try for a vaginal birth because of hospital policy or because they can’t find a doctor who will agree to the option” (Roan 2017). Consumers should be aware of this term because by doing a cesarean birth option they could potentially lose their choice of birthing method for their next child.

Consumers should also be aware of terms such as cord blood. A consumer may be offered to save and freeze their newborns umbilical cord because the stem cells could prove to be useful in curing any complications later in their newborns life. This new fad is not all it seems though, there is no real guarantee that spending the money on saving the cord blood can actually help. If the newborn is born with a disease, then the cord blood is likely to have the same contaminates. The consumer is not informed of this issue though, they are led to believe that they have secured their child’s future in case of the worst.

Resources: 

Moninger, J. (2017). The Cord Blood Controversy. Parents. Retrieved 23 October 2017, from http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-baby/cord-blood-banking/the-cord-blood-controversy

Roan, S. (2017). Birth options: More women should have choice of vaginal birth after C-section, panel says. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 October 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-0323-hosp-vbac-20100323-story.html

Walden, Rachel. 2017. “Direct-To-Consumer: Fertility Clinic Advertising On The Web – NWHN”. National Womens Health Network. https://www.nwhn.org/direct-to-consumer-fertility-clinic-advertising-on-the-web/.

 

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Finance Matters Prompt 1

I am a typical young adult, and like many other young adults these days I have college debts, bills to pay, and a job. I have always considered myself as okay with finances, but I have never considered myself a knowledgeable source. After reading the articles I have realized that I actually know very little about finances and I feel that there are some matters that are important to share with consumers. For example, consumers should know that for student debts it is better to pay off your bigger loans before your smaller loans and that it is better to pay on your loans while you are in school if possible. Student debt can be crippling, especially if you are not keeping track of your loans. It is important for consumers to keep track how much they owe, make payments early (if possible), and to know the grace period once out of school. Consumers should know if they are facing a difficult situation where they cannot make payments or cannot find a job that they can often contact lenders and place a deferment or forbearance to pause payments for a short while. This can help give the consumer time to sort out this situation, though they should know that interest will still be added to the loan amount during that time.

Also consumers should know that if they are seeking employment then they should be look closely before accepting contract work. Companies are dubbing employees as contact workers when they technically qualify as full-time employees. By labeling their employees as temporary or contract workers the companies are saving revenue while depriving employees of workers compensation, medical leave, unemployment insurance, and other benefits. Misclassification of employment is an illegal practice that is unfortunately common and is slow to fix. This will take effort from both consumers and policy makers alike. Consumers should look into the job before they accept it, and report the company if they believe the job to be misclassified. Policy makers should crack down harder on companies who participate in this illegal practice so that employees are not cheated out of their legal rights. With combined efforts of both consumers and policy makers in these matters, there can be change.

 

Early Life and Childhood/Youth Prompt 1

Parents or parents-to-be are vulnerable consumers, same as everyone else. There are many unnecessary or unsafe products being marketed towards them. I do not have kids at this point in my life so I had never really thought about this issue, but in reading the articles there is a surprising amount of unnecessary practices and products being marketed to parents. For example, in the medical field, childbirth is stereotyped as this painful, scary process, but it is not always like that. There is also a pressure on women to do a cesarean delivery rather than a vaginal delivery, and most hospitals do not give them an option if they have done a C-section on a previous birth. Most women do not know that, I certainly did not before reading the articles. I always thought a C-section was only if it was really necessary, but I was surprised to find how common a practice it is these days for something that is not needed in most cases. There are now people who post videos of their childbirth process to show that there are other options, and that it is a common thing that there is choice in.

Another example of parent consumer vulnerability was shown in the article The Cord Blood Controversy by Jeannette Moninger. The article details the new fad of parents having their baby’s stem cells frozen on the idea that if the worst happened then the stem cells could be used to help save their lives. The Dones family chose to do this for their newborn, and when the newborn was sick and needed the stem cells, the stem cells were found to have the same genetic defect the baby had and were thus unusable. The cord bank never mentioned to the Dones family that the cells could be diseased. They were taken advantage of through false advertising and fraud in this situation.

I believe parents and pre-parents should have information available to them and someone to talk to about their options. Those giving birth should know that C-sections are not generally necessary, and that doing one could prevent you from other birth options in the future. They should know that there is an option of home birth or that Washington allows consumers to choose the services of a certified midwife if they wish. Parents should also be aware of the dangers of products and services, nothing should be taken at face value. Parents should look into a product and see what they are actually getting before they commit to it.

Resources:

MacGregor, H. (2017). The birth of a trend: Posting childbirth videos online. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 October 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-birth-movies-20120809-story.html

Moninger, J. (2017). The Cord Blood Controversy. Parents. Retrieved 23 October 2017, from http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-baby/cord-blood-banking/the-cord-blood-controversy/

Roan, S. (2017). Birth options: More women should have choice of vaginal birth after C-section, panel says. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 October 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-0323-hosp-vbac-20100323-story.html

Walden, R. (2017). CDC and Consumer Reports Track Cesarean Birth Rates. Our Bodies Ourselves. Retrieved 23 October 2017, from http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/2014/06/ddc-consumer-reports-track-cesarean-birth-rates/

CP & R Prompt One

How well do you believe you are protected as a consumer in that area? What do you know and not know? What agency or law would probably be most relevant to learn something about? What’s most important to share with other consumers about this issue area and the consumer protection it appears we have or don’t have?

Safety recalls are very important, and as a consumer I would hope that when there is a significant safety issue with a product that the solution would be put in place as soon as possible.  After reading a few of the articles I both do and do not feel protected as a consumer. I feel protected in that the safety regulations are being put in place, but the length of time it takes to implement updated safety regulations or fixes to products is a bit concerning. There is also the issue that companies generally do the bare minimum when dealing with a safety recall. For example, in reading about the recall of Toyota cars, I like that the solution has been put forth, but its implementation is taking a long time to actually solve the issue. It seems like the idea of the fix is there, but it has not been executed in a timely manner. As a consumer I know that products can be recalled, nothing is perfect. I also know that companies are consistently working to make things safer for consumers. A relevant source for learner further about this matter would be the NHTSA as they issue motor vehicle safety laws to Congress. If I were to educate another consumer on this issue I would provide them details regarding safety regulations and recalls, refer them to look into the NHTSA and current updates to safety laws, and I would express to them how important it is to pay attention as a consumer as safety regulations are generally a bare minimum effort to keep a company from falling into legal trouble.

Health Care Prompt One

I have never really looked too closely into the health care issues before this point, I had a basic understanding of what is currently in place but no in depth knowledge. In reviewing a few of the provided articles on the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and health care reform possibilities I learned a lot of details that are very useful in understanding exactly what the ACA does for us and what reform could mean for health insurance. If I were to share this knowledge with a friend of mine then I would share with them the details of the ACA, how it currently effects us and how reform could affect medical insurance for the nation. For example I would tell them how the best aspect of ACA is that it prohibited annual and lifetime limits of coverage with insurance companies, and puts a cap on out of pocket costs for patients. This helps people with serious health conditions like cancer receive and keep their coverage without falling into unpayable medical debt. I would also tell my friend that the ACA could be improved by expanding Medicare more, so that more people can have access to more affordable coverage.

I believe the most important thing to share with my friend would be the possible reforms to the ACA that may happen in the future and how that may effect them. My friend would likely have difficulty understanding why women could possibly have to pay more then men for health insurance. If my friend was interested in further research then they could refer to reputable news sources, look up health insurance companies to see what they offer, and look over the ACA herself and see exactly what it covers.

Resources:

Belluz, J. (2017, March 23). The Republican attack on “essential health benefits,”

explained. Retrieved October 06, 2017, from

https://www.vox.com/2017/3/23/15031322/the-fight-over-essential-health-benefits-

explained

 

Lueck, S. (2017, March 23). If “Essential Health Benefits” Standards Are Repealed, Health

Plans Would Cover Little . Retrieved October 06, 2017, from

https://www.cbpp.org/blog/if-essential-health-benefits-standards-are-repealed-health-

plans-would-cover-little

 

The Sycamore Institute. (2017, August 07). AHCA vs ACA: Tax Credits, Insurance

Premiums & the Big Picture. Retrieved October 06, 2017, from

http://www.sycamoreinstitutetn.org/2017/03/16/ahca-vs-aca-individual-market/

Glossary Building Post # 1

Glossary Terms:

  • Market
  • Health
  • Consumer

The terms Market, Health, and Consumer are important in the subject of Consumer Health. All three of these words may seem to be basic terms, but they actually present multiple meanings depending on the context they are used in. As a student of Consumer Health, and a consumer myself, I believe these terms are important for people to understand as they are words that come up often in regards to this subject.

One of the first pages I read in this course talked about the Market in regards to consumer health. When a person mentions the word Market these days there are many meaning that can come to mind. Are they talking about going to a location where products can be bought? Or perhaps they are thinking of ‘the market’, i.e. the stock market or housing market. A market used to simply be a place where you went to buy produce or products, but now it has expanded to encompass many meanings. The word market went from being a noun to being a concept that covers many ideas. I had not really thought about how the meaning of market had changed so much over the years before I read that article.

Health and Consumer are also very important terms as they also encompass multiple definitions depending on their context. Health is not a straightforward word in today’s world. The word health can be used in regards to describing what is believed to be ‘good’ for a person, but does not always encompass its actual meaning. When I think of healthy I think that it should be something good for me generally, but if a consumer does not make smart choices then what is considered healthy may actually be bad for them. For example, foods that are considered ‘healthy’, items that list sugar-free, fat-free, or gluten-free are not always the healthier choice. When looking at healthy choices in food the consumer needs to look at dietary information, ingredients, and make the choice individually if the product actually fits their healthy lifestyle. In regards to the term Consumer, the term could be in context of an individual or a company. This term is important to note because it is seen and thought of every day. People and companies alike are consumers who think “what do people want to buy, intake, have, etc.”.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Introduction Post

Hello everyone,

My name is Mikaela, I am new transfer to CWU and am currently a Junior pursuing my bachelors in Social Science. I am planning to graduate with my Bachelors and enroll in an accelerated nursing program through (hopefully) UW. I really love working with and helping others and actually spent the last few years providing 24/7 in home care for my grandfather who has dementia. I am hoping to become a registered nurse within the next few years and ideally would like to work in a hospital setting. I live a pretty good lifestyle in my opinion, I eat healthy foods, exercise every day, and take my vitamins (vitamin gummies all the way lol).  I try to make good choices and tend to research something before I just dive into the latest craze. I do not think I am too unhealthy in regards to my consumer health, but I also do not fully understand all that encompasses the subject. I am greatly looking forward to learning more about the matter and how it effects our society and socialization.

If I had to pick two values that are important to me then they would be honesty and drive. Honesty is key in my opinion to healthy relationships, its difficult to build trust with or respect others without it. Drive is important because it symbolizes progression and how hard we will work to obtain our goals.

Two rights that I know we possess are Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Two rights that I believe we should have are the right to privacy and the right to a higher education. Privacy is a hot button these days, and there is an overabundance in the sharing of personal details. Peoples social media profiles, and sensitive information are often hacked or stolen with little to no consequence. There is little in place to prevent a person information from being stolen. For example, the recent Equifax hacking in which millions of people’s personal information was stolen with minimal backlash was not shared with the public until months after the fact. When it was shared it was handled sloppily and no real solutions or efforts were put forth to the fix the situation or prevent it from happening again. As for education, I believe that there should be something put into place that makes higher education available to those of lesser incomes without putting them in substantial debt.