Sick around America
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The documentary “Sick around America” draws the viewers’ attention to one the most important issues in the modern American society. It is an issue of health care system and areas related to it. The film uncovers some rather alarming practices that exist nowadays and often thrive on the pain and suffering of an average citizen. After watching the documentary, it became clearer that current system with a variety of private insurance companies is flawed because of the underlying market principles which guide it.
There are several ways in which Americans can get a health insurance. The options are the insurance provided by the employer, the private insurance market, the programs like Medicare and Medicaid or the absence of insurance altogether. The absence of comprehensive public health care insurance and the lack of governmental regulation leave the well-being of people in the hands of businesses. The insurance field, like any other form of business, strives to maximize the profits. This results in a paradox, or hypocrisy, when insurers refuse their services to people with preexisting medical conditions or with a risk of having one in future; negating the very purpose they seem to serve. Moreover, the current law allows such companies to rescind the coverage under certain circumstances. The documentary gives one example of a woman, who lost her insurance from a private company because she allegedly failed to indicate that she was in a risk of getting cancer. Interestingly enough, this happened after she went through a costly treatment and was expecting the reimbursement from her insurer. (Frontline, 2009). This example is but just of many similar cases that leave people with empty hands in the time of greatest need. Obviously, the free market approach in health matters is questionable.
Furthermore, the insurance provided by the employer does not also guarantee the feeling of security. The case of the family who were able to save their prematurely born son with the help of Microsoft insurance plan is a lucky exception from the rule (Frontline, 2009). However, not all the employers offer wonderful insurance plans; and it is a challenge to find a workplace with decent insurance conditions. The most dreadful scenario here is the economic crisis. Under the existing business model, there is little governmental support for companies in times of economic slowdown. As a result, the employers would lay off workers or cut their social benefits. As one can see, this is not a sustainable way for social or economic development.
Finally, it is important to address the issue of being uninsured and the consequences of such choice. There is a part of the American population that does not own any kind of insurance. This is not even to mention the illegal immigrants who are severely disadvantaged. Those American citizens, who do not have insurance plans, face the everyday risk of becoming sick. In a lot of ways, it seems like walking on the blade and gambling one’s own life. Some people interviewed in the film acknowledge that are either consciously putting off the treatment or just hoping that they will not get sick, at least not until they qualify for Medicare (Frontline, 2009). The consequences of this kind of lifestyle are constant stress and a sense of inevitability or despair when the need for hospitalization does arise. So, focusing on doing business turns the attention from the human side of the problem.
The documentary provided with some valuable insights into the shortcomings of the current insurance system. Sadness, fear, doubt, anger, and insecurity without leaving positive thoughts were provoked after watching it. It is a common expression that you cannot buy health, but some of the businesses seem to believe this is something they can sell. What needs to be done – is the common effort of the society to build a system that cares for its citizens.
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