The political pundits say they didn’t see it coming. Donald Trump is running roughshod over the Republican presidential field by laying rhetorical waste to every institution in sight: the White House, Congress, the media, corporations that export jobs and hedge fund operators, not to mention women. And on the Democratic side, self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is speaking to enormous crowds about how the nation’s financial and political giants are taking advantage of average Americans.
Instead of preparing for an expected reprise of Bush versus Clinton, reporters and columnists are marveling at the rise of this new populism across the land and wondering just how it happened.
If they had paid closer attention to what’s happening in the nation’s healthcare system, they would have seen it coming. The electorate is angry; so are the e-patients.
For generations, the relationship between patients and healthcare institutions was defined by passivity from the former and unquestioned authority assumed by the latter. Patients did what their doctors told them, assumed every treatment decision was in their best interests, paid what they were told to pay and didn’t presume to challenge the system because they didn’t have the knowledge or information with which to do so.
In healthcare, however, we started seeing a consumer uprising a few years ago, powered by the Internet, information technology and an innovative consumer sector — and it’s continuing to grow in intensity.