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?
This piece is cross-posted at The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and at The Christian Post.