Staff Column-Awareness necessary in health care debate

Katie Bultman

We are in college. We are growing up. We are still learning, though, which means we shouldn’t have to worry about government affairs, right? Not so fast.

Katie Bultman Sports Editor
Katie Bultman
Sports Editor

It is hard to take in everything life starts to throw at us when we stop to realize all of the responsibilities we are carrying. There’s a lot to be done to prepare for our futures and to be ready for the difficulties we will surely face, particularly financial difficulties.

I recently watched the 2007 documentary “Sicko”. “Sicko” is a documentary by Michael Moore which discusses the health care system in America and some of the negative impacts it has on United States citizens. Sound boring? I thought it would be.

Having never even considered the topic of health care — I wasn’t concerned about it during the presidential debates — it was something that never really crossed my mind. I thought it was something I didn’t have to worry about, because like many of us, I am on my parents’ health care plan for the time being.

However, this documentary brought to my attention the importance of health care and what it means to live without it. “Sicko” discussed in detail the difficulties of U.S. citizens who do not have access to health care.

Insurance companies are notorious for finding the biggest and best excuses to shy away from paying for their customers’ medical bills. The documentary may have been a bit exaggerated, but it touched on the fact that there are citizens in the U.S. who do not receive the medical treatment and attention they need because they cannot afford it.

They can’t pay for it with insurance when companies decline their medical bills for crazy reasons, with one example including an individual who was documented as having a non-life threatening disease prior to signing with her insurance company. Many of these same people are unable to become healthier because there is no way to pay for a cure.

One family in particular continues to burn in my mind.

The father was in need of a procedure to live, but his insurance company refused to pay for the medical fees because it was seen as an experimental procedure that had no guarantee of working. The family had no means to pay for the procedure, and in the end the man passed away.

Again, the documentary may have been exaggerating to some extent in that there were no other options for the man. However, the gist of the clip is that this man could have had the opportunity to survive if his health care had covered the costs. Today, this same procedure, as the documentary later pointed out, is a common practice that is no longer considered experimental by doctors.

The documentary also addressed the health care challenges faced by U.S. citizens compared to other nations.

Two primary examples that Moore used in establishing this point were Great Britain and Canada. In both nations, the documentary filmed several examples of individuals going to the hospitals, receiving the care and service they need and not having to pay a dime. The nation provides health care to everyone, with the same free service as that of a public library here in the U.S.

Of course, there are still some negative impacts to free health care.

Fees and taxes are much higher across the nation, and some could take advantage of this free access without having to pay. However, everyone is covered. Everyone receives the same services without a charge. I could not believe, after just that one documentary, how eye opening the topic of health care really is.

It made me realize that despite the intimidation factor of topics like health care, this issue and similar issues are important and should be considered by students, even those that may not be directly affected by it.

The movie also brought to my attention the endless possibilities of topics I had never considered, or, admittedly, never cared to consider. And it made me wonder: what else will I need to start thinking about as I grow up, as I move on and begin to live on my own?