I took the assignment to address the question: What would Lincoln or Dr. King say if they were ePatients? What kind of manifesto would they subscribe to? I was quite familiar with Lincoln and so decided to listen to Dr. King speeches for the last several weeks. It’s very difficult to concisely summarize his thinking — he was a brilliant and compassionate man. It would be correct to state that he wanted full equal rights for African Americans, but then Dr. King would surprise you by going even farther:
I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.
The most shocking thing I noticed was that probably more powerful than his eloquence was his courage in telling the truth as he saw it. Remembering that about Dr. King, if I were to formulate a manifesto it would be something like this:
1) All individuals in the American healthcare industry should have the same rights and protections as individuals in any other industry.
2) All groups in the American healthcare industry should have the same rights and protections as groups in any other industry.
The shortened version would be “equal rights for patients”. The second part of that equation is necessary also as a precaution for protecting patients. For example, if you represent a health insurance company and the government passes a law that will hurt your business, but that only applies to health insurance (not to auto, disaster, or other insurance companies) how will you respond? I would not blame you if you responded by trying to protect yourself and offset the value that you’ve lost by transferring the loss to someone else. Not surprisingly healthcare organizations are tempted to take the value they’ve lost away from those with the least ability to protect themselves — patients. This is why equal protection for organizations is extremely important as well.
These ideas would certainly involve radical changes, but I don’t think I’m radical…just maladjusted.
…there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of goodwill will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self defeating effects of physical violence.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Junior