John Q. brings American health system to light

With the possible privatization of the Canadian health care system in the news every day, Denzel Washington’s new movie John Q gives us a view of what could happen if we went that way.
With his sick 9-year-old, Mike, in the emergency room waiting for a new heart, John Q. Archibald (Washington) takes matters into his own hands when he takes an entire emergency ward hostage.
But what could lead him to this?
Archibald was forced to try and raise the $250,000 price tag for his son’s new heart. His numerous attempts to get financial aid proved futile. His anger towards the system was evident as he lashed out at one of the financial aid workers. “My son is dying and I’m broke. If I don’t qualify, then who the hell does?”
Archibald is a reflection of the second tier of America. He is a poor, part-time factory worker with no assets, minimal insurance and no hope.
He does, however, have love and a gun.
With the hospital about to release Mike because John Q. cannot afford the $75,000 deposit the hospital requires for heart transplant surgery, the fuming father declares that his son is going to get on the donor’s list, “or someone will die.”
Hospital director, Rebecca (Anne Heche) holds the line that medical care in the U.S. is not free and that John Q. must pay the money or Mike is out.
The movie also stars Ray Liotta, James Woods, Robert Duvall, Kimberly Elise, Eddie Griffin. Shawn Hatosy, Daniel E. Smith.
It carries a strong social message. It makes you think twice about private health care. It shows how hospitals in the United States are now run more like businesses instead of care-giving institutions.
One scene in the movie, involving doctors complaining about the system, makes that point loud and clear.
The movie tugs at your heartstrings and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster.
The outcome is not important here. What is important here is the point the film makes, a message that has increasing meaning today.


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