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Who Plays God? (Being Uninsured)

by Linda Ghent

What happens to the uninsured in the United States? Who are they? This segment focuses on two groups of individuals, the "working poor," who earn too much for Medicaid but do not get health insurance coverage from their employers and those individuals who end up using emergency rooms as their primary medical care.

Once again, we can see the issues of equity and efficiency. But is there necessarily a tradeoff between the two here? Is it efficient for individuals to wait until they are very ill before trying to obtain basic medical care? Is an emergency room the best place for the uninsured to receive primary care? These are some of the issues considered in this segment.

One of the most interesting (and possibly controversial) scenes is an interview with a physician who refuses to treat a patient because of an outstanding medical bill. The doctor points out that his time is not free - he has an opportunity cost.

Who Plays God? (Being Uninsured)

This is a clip from "Who Plays God?" that focuses on those without insurance in the U.S. One of the families interviewed find themselves too wealthy to be eligible for Medicaid, but too poor to afford health insurance because it is not available through an employer. While the focus may seem to be on equity and fairness, students must also consider the inefficiencies that exist when a considerable portion of the population is without health insurance.

from Who Plays God? (1996)
Creator: Larry Klein
Posted by Linda Ghent
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