Access: YouTube (clip 1; clip 2)
Summary: This clip from Michael Moore's Sicko tells the emotionally-charged stories of several Americans who have struggled to get adequate health care from private, for-profit health insurance. It weaves their stories with private interviews with former workers within the industry and official testimony from industry insiders who have spoken out against the industry. Before showing the clip in my Social Problems class, I facilitated a debate on whether health care is a privilege or right, then asked students to pretend they were a business executive for a for-profit health insurance company, asking them how they might maximize profits in their health insurance plans when health care is treated as a commodity. Finally, after showing the video, I asked the class: what techniques were used to increase profits? Does the problem stem from individuals working in the health care industry or from the health care system itself (linking it back to notions of health care as a right or privilege)? I put this in the context of the three health care models (national insurance, social insurance, private insurance) discussed in James Russell's (2006) "Social Policy in Health Care: Europe and the US" (excerpted in this Social Problems book).
Submitted By: Paul Dean