Have you seen the movie, John Q, starring Denzel Washington and Robert Duvall? The movie is about a man (Denzel Washington) who is down on his luck, whose little boy needs a heart transplant, and his insurance company won’t cover the operation. In his desperate situation, he takes desperate action and takes hostage a hospital emergency room until the doctors perform the operation.
While some may find the story far-fetched, John Q does raise far-reaching questions bearing on health care reform. Questions that arise include: How accessible was the necessary healthcare to the boy and his family? How affordable was the healthcare to the boy and his family and to the American taxpayers at large, who may have ended up having to pay the bill since the boy’s family’s insurance company wouldn’t cover the cost of the operation? And how did the situation bear upon public health in our country (if the boy had died, how would his loss have impacted not only his family but the public at large)?
Do you think we could all agree that we all want more accessible healthcare, more affordable healthcare, and better public health? Are we individually and collectively entitled to these three values? Could we ever realize these values as a society? Do we have examples elsewhere in the world where all three are attained?
One of the public health concerns I have today is that we need to cultivate an open, healthy conversation as the American public on healthcare reform, not try to shoot down one another’s positions, but seek to find a way to work together to attain all three values: more accessible healthcare, more affordable healthcare, and better public health. On October 19, The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins will host a conference on healthcare to do exactly that. We invite you to join us for open conversation, learning about the healthcare needs of our community and efforts to address them. Register for the conference before October 1 to take advantage of early bird rates (just $20 for general public and only $5 for students!). Hope to see you there!
This piece is cross-posted at The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and at The Christian Post.