The culture of biomedicine is an important one to recognize. I feel that we make a lot of assumptions in our healthcare system that should really be critically analyzed. As was stated in lecture, the biomedical institution is as significant and influential as any other here in America. But it is also just as significant that our mainstream culture is reflected by the institution itself. One of the most glaring examples i can think of is the unique free market approach to medicine our country has deemed efficient. Even with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, we still offer healthcare on a fee-for-service basis. I believe this to be a reflection of our broader philosophy of economic liberty and free market trading. However, I do not agree with the idea that this makes our healthcare system more efficient, affordable, or even humane. This philosophy, as applied to medicine, furthers the commodification of healthcare, and just like any other product, is only available where there is a substantial demand and people who can afford it. This can lead to shortages of lifesaving products and services, overprescription of profitable drugs, and entire classes of people who simply don’t have the money to be healthy. If we live under the assumption that biomedicine is value neutral, we mistake the idea that it does not value money.
The dichotomy between health and sickness is extremely vague and unique to every individual. As was discussed in the lecture, it really comes down to the patient. If a patient feels sick, a patient will go to the doctor and expect to be treated. Not many would be satisfied if the doctor simply said they were healthy and sent them along their way. Certainly not if the patient paid a lot of money to see the doctor in the first place. It really seems to be the patient who determines if they are healthy or sick. I believe this dichotomy is accepted for the same consumerist mentality I described earlier. If you want something and can pay for it, then it is validated in our society.