Health Care Consumerism and the Role of Legislation Federal and state health care policies and legislation have a significant impact on the ebb and flow of health care utilization. Current trends suggest that rather than referring to people who utilize health care services as patients, it is more cost-effective to refer to them as consumers. By using this seemingly clever terminology, administrators hope to reduce health care utilization spending, believing that people will think in more detail before opting to use services. Though this may appear to be a good idea, it does raise questions as to whether this scheme is appropriate or misleading. The use of verbiage should be carefully weighed and evaluated to determine if it’s only purpose is to save money or if it intended to, truly, empower the people. Federal and State Policies’ Impact on Utilization For more than decades, those utilizing health care services have been referred to as “patients.” Recently, legislature has pushed to shift that term healthcare “consumers.” As the new term has been creeping into the embracement of the population, trends appear to be shifting, which only denotes the powerful nature that legislation can, and does, have on the trends of health care utilization. If one were to consider consumer spending psychology, it has been countlessly suggested that prices ending in the value of .99 are more persuasive to buyers, depending on the setting (Chang & Chen, 2014). This type of psychological manipulation has proven to be extremely, though debatably, successful. In terms of health care utilization, when individuals view themselves as patients needing services, they will likely seek medical care; however, when individuals perceive themselves as consumers, they may be more selective and reserved in utilization of care (Pearl, 2015). This cautious behavior embodies the intentions of recent federal and state legislation efforts to reduce healthcare costs and, so far, it appears to be working (Hempstead, 2014). This slowdown in utilization is likely a trend that, so long as the term “consumer” and “consumer-based” health care persists, will result in a continued slowdown of service utilization. The slow-down in utilizing health care services demonstrates just one example of the incredible power legislature, both state and federal, have on the healthcare market. Efficient or Manipulative? By identifying a patient as a consumer, he or she may question whether they really need medical care at any given time. This could be a significant barrier in seeking critical treatment because cost, versus need, has now been brought to forefront thought. Consumer thinking can have devastating effects to individual’s health statuses, leaving them vulnerable in instances where medical intervention was necessary as they debate financial losses over seeking treatment. Although the use of different terminology is not a crime and as such has resulted in lower spending, ethical questioning should be considered in the potential consequences of this tactic. Conclusion Although it is important to control healthcare spending, careful consideration is needed when confronted with the present underhanded push to reduce utilization. Instead of using terminology that hinders an individual’s already depleted sense of power over their health, alternative methods of deterrence are in order, such as better utilization of gatekeepers and referrals for services. Through these different means, although it would result in more time to receive the necessary health care, it would still prevent overutilization, socialized medicine, and disempowerment of the patient. References Chang, H., & Chen, F. (2015). When is a 9-ending price perceived lower than a 0-ending price? The moderating role of price consciousness. International Journal of Business and Information, 9(1). Hempstead, K. (2014, September). Early trends in health care utilization in the commercial market. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Pearl, R. (2015). Forbes. --- The above is an assignment and we were encouraged to post on a message board, so here I am. Fire at will.