Hey everyone, just one last quick question regarding some interesting news I heard about this week about ObamaCare. It seems that ObamaCare enrollees will be paying even higher premiums next year, even though the number of applicants has skyrocketed this year. Does anyone have any insight as to why these premiums are rising? I read that the Cadillac Tax is getting cut, which is meant to expand healthcare to those who cannot afford care, so with that tax getting cut and rise of premiums, where is that extra money going?
As the semester nears its end I am realizing how this course came full circle. It all comes back to the fact that American health care is inherently bad. This happens in many cases where criticism overpowers progress being made. This course has brought to light every negative aspect and stage of our healthcare system. This started from the misguidedness of early homeopaths to the profit-hungry insurers and the limitations of government assistance in Medicare and Medicaid. This is compounded by all of the tables and figures showing how awful our system is from costs, medicalization and rankings compared to other countries. In many ways, I’ve found that this system is truly broken. For example we are one of only two countries, along with New Zealand, that still allows direct to consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals. Also in a general view the fact that not everyone has a basic coverage of healthcare is clearly a problem. With that being said, if there is one thing that makes this country great it is choice. While it may not even be an idea for some, people in the US have the choice to seek out alternative therapies or plastic surgeries. They also had the option to be covered in a very limited way if they think they will be healthy, or extensively if they can afford it. There is of course a fine line between what is right for this country and what keeps our freedoms available. The discussion of how to walk this line is always a great point of discussion and must remain in discussion for years to come. It is what made this course so interesting and relevant in today’s society. The reminders of how bad our health care system has been are important but we must use this information now to move forward and make it better.
I really enjoyed being in SO215 this semester. I can definitely say that I have learned so many things about our health care system that I was completely unaware of before. I think it was really important for me to take this course because my goal is to one day become a doctor. I believe it’s important to know the origins of the modern health care system and what the current state of affairs is in order for future doctors to be able to bring about effective change. This course has opened my eyes to the imperfections of our health care system but has also shown me that there is hope. There are activists and nations out there who have already begun the next step in our health care system’s evolution and I hope that by the time I enter the medical field, I will be able to do so with pride. I think one of the things I learned about our health care system is that, with the right conditions, reform is possible. I have to say that my least favorite part about this class was learning about the negative aspects of our health care system, simply because I was so unaware of many of these facts before (for example, the existence of the chargemaster). Perhaps one day I will have the chance to be a part of the change that minimizes/eradicates the profit-seeking, corrupt, and unjust aspects of our health care system, and takes it back to its initial beneficent and altruistic roots.
We live in a society where death and dying is better off unmentioned. We understand that everyone lives and imminently, dies but we don’t seem to understand the lurking process of dying. At the start of the semester, I had in my head that my ideal death would be in sleep or while singing at church. I never gave much thought about the present condition of my body before then or the extent that my deteriorating condition would have on my family or even the bills that would need to be paid to sustain me. I never really considered dying as a process that should be planned or even discussed with my family. I just assumed it wasn’t an option. However, I learned in this class that dying can be the most costly and painful experience and that most likely, I will end up dying in a hospital and not the place of my choice with the other 70% of Americans. I learned that I live in a society where the people who should be working to sustain my life can’t even empathize with me and consequently, see me only as a barrage of vital signs. Dying is a time that should be when a person is surrounded by those who care but instead are alone and feel purposeless. I live in a society that would make it hard for me to “age in place” and solely, wants to “make gray gold”; a society that forces young women to be the primary caregiver of her elderly parents because she cannot trust that the people who are trained to take care of her parents would actually take care of them. One thing that is worth taking away from this class is making sure that I know the wishes of my aging family members. Although, having this conversation makes the inevitability of death more real, it can serve to bring our family close together now which is what really matters.
Coming into this class, my knowledge regarding the U.S healthcare system was limited. I would see articles online and hear stories on the news about Medicare, Medicaid, and rising health care costs and have superficial understanding of what this truly meant. Being a pre-med student I have been exposed to various settings in the healthcare field but have always been a one-sided observer, seeing only what was clearly presented to me. For example, during my senior year of high school, I shadowed with nearly twenty different healthcare providers, ranging from a cardiologist to an oral surgeon to a pathologist who performed autopsies. After being presented with the various facts, statistics, and personal accounts shown in class I often find myself reflecting back on those shadowing experiences with an entirely new perspective and noticing things I did not notice before. For example, while shadowing a veterinarian I remembered being asked if I would like to stay for a luncheon and presentation provided by a drug company, not knowing the Big Pharma’s manipulation of healthcare providers. Moreover, I also shadowed an ER physician in a public hospital located in a poverty stricken area. I remember seeing one child on the entire floor of the ER and reflecting back I realized that this public hospital, rather than a private hospital with a pediatric ward, was probably one of the few places in which the parents could afford to take their child and their insurance would be accepted.
There are certain statistics as well personal accounts from this class that I will not easily forget. This includes certain facts such as how much the U.S. spends on healthcare and how little we receive in return compared to other countries, the existence of overtreatment and a chargemaster, and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry in medicalization and drug pricing. I also did not realize the tremendous amount of people underinsured or lacking insurance all together. Next year being the first time I can vote, this has greatly influenced my candidate choices. With that said, the portion of this course I found most interesting was the beginning of the course, involving the high costs of healthcare and the role of commercialism and consumerism in the healthcare field. This has given me an entirely new perspective on the healthcare field and at times has made me reconsider if I want to be part of this “business.” I have concluded that when I do enter this field one day, I want to avoid the profit driven mindset existing in modern healthcare.
All in all, this has been one of the most informative and eye-opening courses I have taken at BU thus far. I would highly recommend this course not only to those who are health majors but also to anyone who has limited knowledge of the healthcare field.
As some of my classmates have mentioned, I was initially interested in taking a sociology course. Being a psychology major and having done extensive work in social psych, I assumed I already knew everything I needed. I think I may have been unsure about what sociology actually meant, and did not think it would be applicable to my career path.
During the course, I was pleasantly surprised. While there was a lot of reading, a lot of it was really interesting stuff that I would have never been exposed to in other classes. Most of the things we learned can be applied to a vast number of professions in the medical field, and I often found myself thinking about it in specific terms of clinical psychology. I definitely became a lot more educated on the structure (or lack of structure) of the health care system in both the U.S. and in other countries. Though I am not headed to medical school, I enjoyed learning about the hidden curriculum and other aspects of medical education that I was not familiar with. Being a psych major, my favorite conversations were definitely those about stigma and mental health issues.
In closing, I enjoyed the course a lot more than I was expecting to. I learned a lot and I think the course is a valuable one for anyone planning to work in the medical field.
Coming into this course I was under the impression that I had a decent amount of knowledge on the current state of our healthcare system….boy, was I wrong. Can we even call what we have right now a healthcare system? When I think of a healthcare system I think of a system that focuses primarily on providing affordable and easily accessible healthcare. Instead, our healthcare system places great emphasis on making money wherever it can, allowing the patient’s (consumer’s?) health to come second. What puzzles me the most is knowing that having somewhat an ideal system is achievable. If Canada, Germany and Great Britain can then why can’t we?
The most shocking issue that we covered was end-of-life care. I never realized the amount of mistreatment and just lack of care the elderly experience. Throughout the time spent on this topic, I found myself questioning whether or not my own relatives had encountered the harsh treatment experienced in these facilities. This course touched upon a great deal of topics that had never crossed my mind. Learning about the effects of SES on healthcare was pretty eye opening as well. I think it should be a mandatory course for anyone considering a career in healthcare. Most universities emphasize the science component behind this field but it goes beyond that. Maybe this is why we see such a great deal of disconnect between a patient and his doctor. I also believe that in order improve the field that you’re entering in, you should make yourself aware of the current issues at hand. My favorite component of the course was discussion. Although information from lecture was often reiterated, your enthusiasm for the content was refreshing and helpful! This has been one of my favorite courses thus far at BU, and this is coming from someone who could not make it past 3 lectures of SO 100!
Looking back on this semester, I can safely say that this class has pleasantly surprised me. To be honest, I was not looking forward to taking a sociology class because of the daunting amount of reading and writing, something I thought I’d be done with after freshman year writing classes. It’s hard for me to think abstractly about themes and ideas and I would much rather write a scientific article than an essay. However, the topics discussed in this class have been so fascinating to me that I actually enjoy reading and writing about them.
This class especially has given me a critical eye on medical school. I have always thought of hospitals as such magnificent places where some of the smartest people in the world work. Medical school has always seemed like the place to be, and it has been my dream to attend medical school and then one day work in a hospital. Because of the competitiveness and high standards of medical school applications, I have always had the utmost respect for medical students. However, after learning about the hidden curriculum and the socialized dominance of medical students and professionals, I see them all in a new light. I wonder if being a doctor will really allow me to help individuals as much as other professions do. I have definitely reconsidered my decision to attend medical school. There are so many other medical professions and settings that would be just as rewarding as being a hospital doctor. I have a friend who is a nursing major at Northeastern and she is only a sophomore but has already taken classes that are directly applicable to the hospital setting. If we were both thrown into a medical situation she would know exactly what to do in the moment, and the most I could offer would be some basic biology facts. It really is interesting to compare different health professions, especially how they are socialized and taught in school. This class has guided me to rethink my career choices by taking a critical approach to the medical world.
Throughout the course of this semester, we covered a very broad range of topics. I feel as though I have come out of this class more educated about healthcare in general. I also feel as though I am more aware of the many problems that we currently face in terms of healthcare, and what potential problems could develop in the future. Before taking this class, my knowledge of healthcare in the U.S. (and the world in general) was sadly lacking, and I feel that the information I have learned is definitely important. In my personal opinion, every person around my age should be aware of the issues that we discussed in class; we are going to be able to vote in the 2016 election, and soon enough it is going to be our responsibility to face and try to solve all the issues that are developing in today’s society.
Looking back over the semester, I think the idea that stands out the most to me or that is most shocking is the disparity between how much money we spend in the U.S., but how bad our health outcomes are in comparison to countries of comparable economic status. Studying abroad in France made me somewhat more aware of how our system here rations healthcare, but this class has truly opened my eyes to the disparities in healthcare in our own country. The fact that the United States, a country considered to be a world superpower, does not guarantee healthcare to all of its citizens is completely stupefying to me. What is a basic human right, if not the access to healthcare? This is just one of the upcoming problems that we face in this country, and it is going to be an especially important topic in the upcoming 2016 election.
At the beginning of the semester, I was not very excited to be taking a sociology class, to be completely honest. For starters, I wasn’t completely sure what sociology was. The study of society just did not seem appealing to me, and it definitely didn’t seem like something I wanted to spend time learning about. Many upperclassmen scared me off from taking sociology 101 because they told me it was very mundane and even boring, especially if taken right after psychology 101. Their warnings are what brought me to this class, the sociology of healthcare. I was cautious at first, expecting class to be tedious.
However, I quickly learned that although maybe sociology isn’t the most riveting subject for some people, it is fascinating to me. Continue reading “Reflecting on the Semester”