Last night, I watched a movie that I had never seen presented on one of the TV cable channels. The movie was entitled, “John Q.,” and starred Denzel Washington, James Woods, and Robert Duvall. While the actors are talented indeed, the underlying theme of the film caused me to wonder if citizens of the USA should be required to earn a Ph.D. before viewing anything produced by Hollywood.
John Q. is an American dramatic film following the harrowing experience of John Q. Archibald played by Washington. The plot is simple: John’s son is diagnosed with a rapidly failing heart and he can only be saved with a heart transplant. Of course, he cannot receive a transplant because HMO insurance will not cover the expense. John decides to take a few patients hostage in a hospital until the administrators agree to proceed with the operation.
What prompts me to select this movie as the subject of a post was the fact that cameo appearances by Hillary Clinton and a dozen Hollywood activist wackos, who would rather grow pineapples on Mars than live in capitalist America, implied that health care reform, in the nature of Obamacare, would resolve the problem. Although the movie preceded our new healthcare system, the message is clear. This type of reform is a panacea.
We need health reform in the United States. It is disgusting that in the richest nation on Earth, 20-30 million citizens are without healthcare. I hate insurance companies as much as the next guy. I have no love for the greedy medical profession. I have plenty of sympathy for the plight of the poor. What I find distasteful is watching politicians and Hollywood elites that couldn’t care less about the average American attempt to fool misguided, ignorant, uneducated, or misinformed citizens into believing that a plan such as Obamacare is the solution.
In reality, the current attempt to provide insurance coverage to 30 million Americans lacking it has thus far resulted only in denying coverage to 15 million additional citizens previously enjoying benefits. Now, we have 45 million Americans without adequate health care, and no one knows what is yet to come.
But it has begun. Currently, cancer patients are being denied coverage. The government is determining which tests are the most cost effective before approving cancer treatments. The Hollywood hoax that implies Obamacare recipients will now receive heart transplants without resorting to hostage-taking is shameful.
America should assure its citizens that children will not die because they are poor. Heart surgeons earning $2 million dollars per year working at hospitals with $100 million dollar profit margins should perform their skills at cost for the impoverished. However, the problem is much deeper than rhetoric in election years. When millions of people flood into emergency rooms each year for free cold treatments and bandages, the system is not sustainable. When innocent people bleed for hours at the ER because the doctors on duty are treating drunks picked up by the police, hobos with headaches, and homeless citizens looking to escape the cold, all at no cost, the system is not sustainable.
By all means, build homeless shelters. Definitely provide clinics so the poverty-stricken in our country can receive flu shots. Help those unable to help themselves. Rein in the lawyers filing excessive malpractice claims necessitating every conceivable medical treatment know to man since leeches each time a patient has a pain. Rein in the doctors galloping to the banks. Regulate hospitals releasing patients too soon in order to increase profits. Require plain language insurance contracts that ordinary people can understand, and that are actually binding on the out-of-control insurance conglomerates. Just do it in a way that makes sense.
The line from the movie that sickened me came when John Q. told the hospital administrator that his work hours had been cut, but he was still working part-time and was not on welfare. She responded, “That’s too bad.” At least on welfare, he would have had coverage. That, my friends, is a failed political ideology that has never worked in any country and will not work in the USA.
Yes, we desperately need an overhaul of the healthcare system. However, pulling the wool over the eyes of simple folks who rely on the rhetoric of politicians is a national disgrace.
. . .