Essay on Sociology of Medicine


The contemporary health care system is capable to provide health care services of the high quality. However, today, many people suffering from chronic diseases still face considerable problems because often they cannot afford covering their health insurance and health care services. Moreover, even if they can cover their health care costs, they still may suffer from discrimination and social exclusion. In such a situation, the assistance both social and financial is often essential for people with chronic diseases, since they face the problem of the limitation of their traditional lifestyle because of their chronic diseases and they may also develop other health problems provoked by their chronic diseases. In such a situation, the provision of patients with chronic diseases with social and financial assistance is essential and the community, social workers and health care professionals should unite their efforts to provide patients with chronic diseases not only with health care services of the high quality but also with social and financial support, if necessary.

Financial impact

The high costs of health care services make them unaffordable for many people and they need Medicare and other programs that cover their health insurance and health care costs. Today, costs of health care services keep growing and this trend is particularly dangerous for people with chronic diseases. For instance, many people could not afford health insurance anymore since the beginning of the economic recession because their financial position has deteriorated while costs of health care services have increased substantially. In actuality, there are such programs as Medicaid and Medicare which can provide people in need with coverage of their health insurance and health care services but still these measures are often insufficient and patients have to spend a large part of their earnings on medication and treatment of their health problems as is the case of Sarah, for instance.

Hence, the treatment of chronic diseases, such as arthritis, affects not only health of individuals but also their financial position since they have to spend considerable amount of money on medications and procedures which they need to cope with their health problems. For instance, Sarah has to buy gels, some medicaments and spend her money on the treatment of her health problem, even though she uses Medicare coverage. The financial support is crucial for patients with chronic diseases because they need to spend considerable funds on their treatment and medication and they cannot stop medication as they run out of money (Weitz, 94). Instead, whether they have money or not but they have to carry on their treatment. Otherwise, their condition will deteriorate and without proper treatment they can eventually die.

As a result, patients with chronic diseases look for social and financial support because often they cannot afford covering their health care costs, while the exclusion from the social life makes their life unbearable. As their physical condition deteriorates, they have to spend more and more financial resources on the treatment of their health problems. Hence, their financial position deteriorates even more and they look for financial assistance to ease the pressure on their family budget. Similarly social exclusion puts patients with chronic diseases into a desperate position and they need the help of their community, family, social workers and other people to cope with their problems. In fact, they just need to feel being a part of their community.

However, even if the financial position of patients is stable, as is the case of Pete, they may not need the financial support but still the social support is always essential for people with chronic diseases (Conrad & Leiter, 115). In addition, the discrimination is one of the main problems of people with chronic diseases because they feel discriminated as they are limited in their activities and their chronic diseases always pose some limitations on their life.

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