One of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time just ended. Breaking Bad’s series finale has left TV fans wondering if another television show of its caliber will ever be produced again. What made this television show Emmy-worthy was its ability to question humanity’s moral compass and critique America’s flawed health care system.
For those who have not seen the show, Breaking Bad follows Walter White, a middle-aged man who is diagnosed with cancer. Due to his current financial situation and his astronomical medical bills, White enters the world of drug production to fund his cancer treatment and ensure his family’s financial future.
The show perfectly exemplifies what Americans have to tolerate when they fall chronically ill. It is not out of the realm of possibility for an American facing a wall of medical debt to find themselves in a situation similar to Walter White’s.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say.
This Editorial Board believes the entire health care system is flawed, and needs some revamping.
According to an article published by CNN.com in 2009, a study was conducted which concluded that more than 60 percent of American bankruptcies are caused by overwhelmingly high medical bills.
It gets worse: three-fourths of the 60 percent had health insurance. Insurance companies are already charging their clients huge monthly fees, and when their clients actually get sick, enormous deductibles and uncovered expenses put these people in unimaginable debt.
When people with private insurance get severely ill, they cannot continue to work, therefore losing the insurance that was provided through their employer.
The lead author of the study — MD Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School — is highly critical of the American health care system. She said, “You’re one illness away from financial ruin in this country.”
It seems the best way to avoid devastating medical bills is to live in a bubble. Even routine outpatient medical procedures can cost thousands, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid debt.
An Article on CBSnews.com from Sept. 6, 2012 is perfect evidence of routine medical procedures costing Americans thousands of dollars they don’t have, even if they do have insurance. The article details an Arizona woman who was stung by a scorpion. She arrived at the hospital after being stung, and was administered two shots of anti-venom.
The bill for her treatment totaled $83,000, at more than $40,000 per dose. She had insurance, but it only covered $57,000 of the total bill. That left her with an out-of-pocket expense of $26,000.
Not many Americans can pay these high fees. Life is already expensive enough as it is, and medical expenses can easily ruin lives in a blink of an eye. Not to mention, insurance is supposed to serve as a security blanket for the ill, but evidence has shown that in some cases it serves little purpose at all.
Suffering such consequences for being ill is completely unfair. Insurance does not work either, so it is time to hypothetically flush the whole system down the toilet and start over. Right now, chronically ill Americans have two options: obtain thousands of dollars of debt or die. There is something seriously wrong with that.