John Q Movie Essay

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The astounded father can only say "But I have insurance," in response to the news that the critical transplant is not covered.

His next panicked move is to convert virtually all of the family's saleable assets to cash to meet the hospital administrator's requirement of an up-front deposit to assure a place for the boy on the transplant list.

Key Words: Health care, health insurance, medical ethics, film criticism.

When working parents discover that their son needs a heart transplant, they turn to the insurance provided by the husband's employer.

For movie watchers able to suspend their disbelief, identify with the human dynamics of the story, and tolerate a one-sided caricature of health care—particularly with respect to HMOs—John Q provides suspenseful entertainment.

In response to its absence of thoughtful critique on the shortcomings of the of the U. health care delivery system (arguably, not the task of this movie), viewers may wish to consider the central issue of the movie from a more ordered perspective. The purpose of this reflection is to provide a more nuanced context for viewers who want to think in greater depth about family responsibility for health care.

Free public education up to grade 12 is provided for those who wish to attend and because of its importance, it is mandatory up to age 16.

When medical care is seen from that perspective, public policy would have to determine the limits of "basic medical care." What would be comparable to "grade 12"?

A multitude of additional questions can be identified in relation to this case: In order to begin thinking about these questions, some basic distinctions are helpful.

As a starting point, are we thinking about medical care as a right or as a commodity?


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