At the beginning of July this year, I happened to be involved in a car accident. I was driving for fun and accidentally hit on a bump and lost control of the car and rolled over once. My left foot and some of the ribs were broken, and I was rushed to the hospital where I got admitted. In my case, I am covered by my parents medical insurance, and therefore, the expectation was that the medical payment process would be smooth. I stayed in the hospital for four weeks and was discharged on the fifth to receive the remaining part of the recovery at home. Though my parents wanted me to receive physical therapy from the hospital under the cover, they were told that they would have to pay the bill from their pockets since the insurance could not cover that claiming that it was a different requirement from the treatment. With that, I was enrolled in another facility for physical therapy until I recovered fully.
Upon watching Sicko, I was struck by the feelings of anger and pity. Anger on the healthcare and insurance institutions and pity on the patients and their families who go through agonizing and frustrating experiences in the hands of healthcare providers and insurance companies. One story that stirred up anger with the healthcare providers was that of Cynthia Kline who suffered a heart attack but could not be attended to by her hospital since the casualty department was overflowing. She ended up dead before in between calls to medical facilities, even though she had medical coverage. This and other instances reveal the incapability in our healthcare system.
The challenges in our healthcare system are several and intertwined such that a solution to one does not bring about efficiency in the system. As has consistently been said, the healthcare costs have been on the rise over the years. The high costs have made a lot of people to not apply for medical insurance preferring to cater for hospital bills from their pockets upon visiting the doctor. Additionally, most of the people with medical covers often experience the strain, and a significant number is worried about being unable to afford the cost of the high insurance over coming years. The other problem is with the hospital procedures. Millions of Americans struggle to have treatments approved resulting in a situation where medical problems go for a long time without being attended until they reach a crisis point. Due to such delays in procedures, or delays by patients themselves to seek medical care early, they tend to rush to casualty departments at critical moments, thus overwhelming the system.
Another huge problem is in the bureaucracy that exists in the medical insurance companies. A good example is the Sickos Elizabeth Hilsabecks story of her baby boy who developed cerebral palsy due to premature birth. The insurance company failed to cover the babys therapy despite the couple being insured, claiming they did not cover such kind of therapy. Another case in Sicko showing bureaucratic insurance policies is that of the hospital worker whose husband needed a bone marrow transplant, but the insurance company refused to cover the operation citing that the treatment was experimental. The husband ended up dead. In other words, the problems in the healthcare system revolve around the government, healthcare providers, and the insurance companies.
I find some of the stories in Sicko resonating with me. One of the stories is that of Cynthia Kline. It is saddening how a patient can die while in the hands of healthcare providers even when the system has provided a promising procedure to caring for patients. She had faith in the hospital when she was making the call, but the same hospital failed her shoving her from one facility to another and losing her life in the middle. The other story is of the agony endured by the Hilsabecks family with their child. The insurance company frustrates them to the extent that the babys problem is not resolved and they are involved in protests and selling their home to cover costs. This is a sad story considering that the husband had been contributing to the insurance premiums. A process they expected would be smooth turned out to be a nightmare for them.
The stories from the movie changed my perspective of the healthcare system in our country. Initially, I had a belief that America had the best healthcare system in the world. This belief was greatly shattered with the comparisons of our healthcare system with that of Canada, UK, and France. I realized that our system has a lot of improvements to make to be considered among the best in the world. It also showed how the system provides poor services even to those with medical covers especially when they have pre-existing conditions. It is noted that the insurance companies use the pre-existing conditions as a means to deny their clients medical cover. These conditions are important since they determine to what extent a patients medical condition can be covered by the insurance company.
In conclusion, the government should be responsible for a guaranteed national health insurance system and quality healthcare for every citizen in this country. Other countries like Canada have managed it, and America has all the capability to do it too. I and I believe many other citizens would be willing to pay higher taxes to have an efficient healthcare system that provides quality services when needed.
Hacker, J. S. (2007). Healing our Sicko health care system. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(8), 733-735.
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