The healthier everyone is, the more we all benefit
Last Spring, I enrolled in a sociology class called Society, Culture and Health. Part of our final for the class was to watch a documentary and write a lengthy research paper. After much deliberation, I picked a documentary that demonstrated the challenges of living with medically undiagnosed illnesses. Though my original intent was to complete the assignment to the best of my ability and move on, I quickly became invested in the messiness that is our healthcare system and the lives it affects.
There are many physiological needs, like water, food, shelter and sleep, that are essential for our survival. Luckily, most of the time we are able to access those resources easily. However, resources that can be life-saving such as doctor’s visits, MRIs and medication are less readily available for the majority of the US population.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few barriers to receiving proper health care. Most establishments won’t schedule an appointment without a silly, plastic insurance card. A card that proves you have insurance and that ensures establishments receive money for their services. Not to mention, it’s become increasingly apparent that factors such as race, gender, weight and ethnicity determine the quality of medical attention you recieve.
If you’re lucky enough to have a doctor’s appointment, it’s not guaranteed you’ll receive the answers for which you were looking or any answers at all. There is an abundance of individuals who live with symptoms that are undiagnosable and sometimes untreatable. They receive countless negative tests and quickly get lost in the sea of unknown. After multiple unsuccessful doctors visits, these patients lose hope and so do their medical professionals––creating a tumultuous relationship that further prevents proper care.
This is not to say that all experiences are negative and that all doctor’s actions or beliefs are the same. I realize how much work, time and effort goes into the profession and I am grateful for all they do. I do, however, think many people have been swept under the rug and haven’t received the attention they deserve.
I may be biased, but I, like many others, have been left with no answers and no hope for a solution. It doesn’t take an expert to see there is a clear problem with how our healthcare system operates. It is a basic human right to have access to health care, yet the majority of people are not receiving the care they are promised or even the care they need. It’s not fair that something that is necessary for life can be so unattainable.
This problem is not an easy fix. There’s a reason it’s a topic of debate and so many people are divided on this matter. We need to look at the big picture and see that the healthier we all are, the more we all benefit. That’s because health doesn’t just affect the individual, it affects communities and the world at large. To have a functioning society, you need healthy individuals who will build social capital. We can’t have healthy individuals in a society without proper and accessible health care.
Written By: Kacey Cain –– firstname.lastname@example.org