253883 Back to the ‘70s: Reflections on the 1970s consumer health “revolution”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM

Nancy Tomes, PhD , Department of History, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
In the 1970s, the convergence of patients' rights and consumerism produced a new model of the patient as “shopper.” Policy makers and health educators alike embraced the idea that better choices by “educated” patient-consumers could correct key dysfunctions in the American health care system. This talk will provide an overview of the 1970s consumer health movement and the paradoxical impact it has had on health policy in the late 20th and early 21st c. This presentation will reflect on why the shopping model has remained popular despite its obvious imperfections, already in full view by the late 1970s. I am particularly interested in the policy discussions focused on the limits of the shopping model for groups euphemistically labeled “low income” or “limited literacy” consumers. Finally, I will look at the ways the shopping model continues to shape contemporary policy solutions as varied as the medical savings account, electronic personal health records, and First Lady Michele Obama's plan to eliminate food “deserts” in many parts of the United States.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain how the convergence of patients’ rights and consumerism produced a new model of the patient as “shopper” in the 1970s.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PhD in history
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.