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Wealth=Medicine

      The medical world has become a monopoly, as technology advances and new techniques emerge in health care there is a constant push for the next million dollar idea. Paul Farmer explicitly states that  we have an awesome responsibility “to prevent social inequalities from being embodied as bad health outcomes.” Social inequalities in hospitals highlights the evident segregation that exists based on socio-economics. The most heartbreaking aspect of the medical institution is that as technological advances keep improving, the world will continue to become more monopolized reinstating the constant notions of institutionalized racism that keeps social inequalities alive and evident. When I say that healthcare is becoming a big business, I am touching on the simple medical aspects, insurance and medication. These aspects of medicine are in themselves corporations thus in order to take on that responsibility that Paul Farmer professes about preventing social inequalities we must first begin in controlling these institutions. People are dying not because there is no existing cure, but because of the inability to have access to medication that is affordable to families of low income. Because this access to medication is not prevalent in the low income families we see the bad health outcomes; families of specific minority groups are dying and contributing to a statistic that may only exist because of community struggle. Our responsibility  to prevent social inequalities from becoming bad health outcomes is not based on health itself but rather corporations. The end of medical inequalities will come when monopolies in medicine seize to exist.

      Additionally, we can see that being wealthy aside from the luxury also has the benefits of having great care, and in some cases the best technology to fight off diseases. Magic Johnson a legendary Laker was infected with HIV in 1991, 21 years later, he is still alive. Most people, just the knowledge of the contracted disease will send them straight to their death bed, however to Johnson’s peace of mind he is a multi-billion dollar entrepreneur that can afford the top of the line health insurance. While most are test subjects in labs to gain access to low cost medicine, Johnson has a team of top notch doctors taking care of his disease. Magic Johnson’s survival shows that HIV is not a disease of the poor. Such an instance provides the insight that money allows for survival for a health being, however those who are infected tend to be of low income backgrounds, thus can these social inequalities ever be eradicated?
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One response to “Wealth=Medicine

  1. Rebecca W

    I liked your example of Magic Johnson because he is often used as a poster boy for living with HIV. Because he is a famous person, people feel sympathetic about his disease and admire his fight to stay alive. However, his wealth and privilege is usually overlooked. As you point out, Magic Johnson can continue living his life even though he has HIV because he can afford the best healthcare and medication. Meanwhile, millions who are not rich or famous are living with HIV or AIDS and no means of getting treatment.

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