The debate over health care has been at a fever pitch around the country since The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) became law in 2010 and went into full effect in 2015. Rather than argue its merits, let’s all take a collective deep breath and allow movies to solve all our problems.
Note: If you’re actually in need of medical attention, please see a doctor! Even if you’re completely healthy, you should still create an Advance Directive so you have control over the treatments you want.
Okay, enough serious talk. We identified a number of health care concerns and how popular movies dealt with the problem in their own magical (and completely unrealistic) ways. Let’s get on with the fun.
1. Rambo (Yes, all of them)
The Health Care Crisis: Lack of coverage will cause a reversion back to primitive medical practices.
The Diagnosis: That wound won’t stitch or cauterize itself. Bite the bullet and DIY. Plus, if you’re interested in fresher skin, Rambo also recommends regular mud baths. [Photo Source: Lions Gate]
2. The Doctor
The Health Care Crisis: Patients have growing concerns that doctors have lost all sense of empathy and compassion.
The Diagnosis: Doctors themselves must become gravely ill to learn that patients are more than just notes on a medical chart. [Photo Source: Touchstone Pictures]
3. The Hunger Games
The Health Care Crisis: Government subsidies will no longer be available to those who can’t afford medication or treatment.
The Diagnosis: The less fortunate will have to use their wits, wiles, and marksmanship to earn funding from wealthy sponsors. It also helps to have Woody Harrelson on your side. May the odds be ever in your favor. [Photo Source: Lions Gate]
4. Article 99
The Health Care Crisis: Bureaucracy prevents war veterans from getting proper treatment, angering doctors and patients alike.
The Diagnosis: Fed up veterans will, literally, form a human chain link fence around hospitals until their demands are met. As for the response from frustrated doctors: You know when Kiefer Sutherland grows a mustache he means business. [Photo Source: MGM Pictures]
The Health Care Crisis: The elderly will become neglected and left to waste away in retirement homes.
The Diagnosis: Simply take a dip in a pool with alien cocoons. It’s like Geritol x1000. When all else fails, leave Earth for planet Anterea. [Photo Source: 20th Century Fox]
6. John Q
The Health Care Crisis: Your employer will choose the cheapest insurance option available, denying you the most important benefits.
The Diagnosis: Regular working-class folks will be forced to take hostages to obtain proper treatment for their family. [Photo Source: New Line Cinema]
7. Patch Adams
The Health Care Crisis: Lack of proper funding will replace “medicine” and “treatment” with “clown noses.”
The Diagnosis: Laughter will, indeed, prove to be the best medicine. Now just sign here and ignore that painful throbbing in your entire left side. [Photo Source: Universal]
8. Iron Man
The Health Care Crisis: Research into artificial heart and pacemaker technology will be put aside due to budget fears.
The Diagnosis: A car battery and some magnets will do the trick, right? [Photo Source: Paramount Pictures]
9. The Constant Gardener
The Health Care Crisis: Drug companies will resort to extreme measures in order to ensure their research and development sectors are constantly pushing the envelope.
The Diagnosis: Thousands of “disposable” poor people will die, but if just one wealthy white doctor’s wife is killed, action will be taken. [Photo Source: Universal]
The Health Care Crisis: We aren’t making enough innovative advancements in helping those with spinal injuries and other forms of paralysis.
The Diagnosis: Allow those suffering from these ailments to transfer their consciousness into a giant blue alien warrior body. [Photo Source: 20th Century Fox]
11. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
The Health Care Crisis: Less cut-and-dried disorders such as mental illness will not receive proper care or attention.
The Diagnosis: You’ll eventually become a lobotomized shell of your former self. But there’s an upside. You may inspire a giant Native American to finally do something about his lot in life. [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
The Health Care Crisis: Tort litigation—a system of compensation for harm done to a person or their vested interests—will be limited, denying victims of malpractice or discrimination justice.
The Diagnosis: Even with tort reform, an earnest lawyer with a good heart can fight the system and win every time. (Denzel, is there anything you can’t do?) [Photo Source: Tristar Pictures]
13. World War Z
The Health Care Crisis: The zombie apocalypse we’ve always feared is finally upon us, and these frantic monsters can infect healthy humans in a matter of seconds.
The Diagnosis: First, stay away from Brad Pitt. He seems to initiate chaos everywhere he goes. Next, get sick. Really, really sick. These zombies completely ignore people with terminal or chronic illnesses. It’s like the ultimate good news/bad news diagnosis: “You don’t have long to live…but at least all those zombies won’t be hassling you.” [Photo Source: Paramount Pictures]
The Health Care Crisis: Women finally put their foot down and demand men start giving birth.
The Diagnosis: A research geneticist (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his colleague (Danny DeVito) devise a fertility drug, which results in the first male pregnancy. Upon deeper reflection, the whole male-pregnancy concept is a lot more believable than Schwarzenegger being a research geneticist. [Photo Source: Sony Pictures]
The Health Care Crisis: The military will want to weaponize deadly diseases, even if it means letting thousands die to protect the nefarious secret.
The Diagnosis: A Colonel working at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) must go rogue to find a cure before a small infected town is obliterated. In the process he also has to capture the source of the virus to create an antidote, which happens to be an adorable monkey. He may be deadly, but he’s still so cute. [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
16. Logan’s Run
The Health Care Crisis: To curb overpopulation and an aging society, all humans will be terminated at a specific age.
The Diagnosis: It’s all fun and games until you reach the ripe-old age of 30. Then it’s time to run. In the process, you realize that with age comes wisdom. The first sign of wisdom? Refusing to allow yourself to be killed simply because you aged. [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
17. Lorenzo's Oil
The Health Care Crisis: When big medical companies fail to treat lesser-known diseases, people will be forced to seek out their own unorthodox treatment options.
The Diagnosis: That olive oil you’ve been using to sauté veggies might just be the cure you’re looking for. [Photo Source: Universal]
18. Little Shop of Horrors
The Health Care Crisis: With the focus on hospital care and internal medicine, dentistry will be a forgotten footnote.
The Diagnosis: If you happen to love being tortured by sadistic dentists, this is good news.
19. Minority Report
The Health Care Crisis: Major surgeries, such as transplants, will be completely unavailable to normal, middle-class Americans.
The Diagnosis: Affordable back alley transplant doctors will set up shop in an apartment building near you. Just remember to pack your own sandwiches. [Photo Source: Paramount Pictures]
20. Forrest Gump
The Health Care Crisis: After the loss of a loved one, the grieving are left to fend for themselves.
The Diagnosis: Run, Forrest, run! [Photo Source: Paramount Pictures]
21. Repo Men
The Health Care Crisis: While we make great strides in artificial organs and medical technology, the expense is too high for average people to benefit.
The Diagnosis: Everyone can buy shiny, new, perfectly-functioning artificial organs on credit. However, you better keep up with the payments because repossession can be quite unpleasant. [Photo Source: Universal]
The Health Care Crisis: Mysterious “voodoo” medicine will replace time-tested techniques.
The Diagnosis: One hot bath, a few aromatherapy candles, and voila! Even gunshot wounds are instantly healed. [Photo Source: Universal]
The Health Care Crisis: Lack of oversight will allow doctors to experiment with unsafe theoretical practices.
The Diagnosis: You’ll be forced into near-death experiences, which will result in all of your past sins coming back to haunt you in really creepy ways. This will definitely take your mind off of whatever was bothering you before. [Photo Source: Sony Pictures]
The Health Care Crisis: A worldwide epidemic will kill millions while the Center for Disease Control is baffled when it comes to finding a cure.
The Diagnosis: Where is Gwyneth Paltrow right now? If she’s anywhere near contaminated pork, quarantine her. Immediately! [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
The Health Care Crisis: Science will trump nature and offer parents the option to have genetically modified children.
The Diagnosis: Scientists use eugenics to cultivate the best hereditary traits from both parents, creating seemingly perfect kids. Children born the old fashioned way will be considered second-class citizens (“in-valid”) and have to work extremely hard to prove the human spirit is more powerful than a meticulously-crafted DNA strand. [Photo Source: Sony Pictures]
26. The Cannonball Run
The Health Care Crisis: Unnamed medicine will be forced upon unsuspecting patients.
The Diagnosis: Who cares? One shot and you’ll be giggling until you can’t feel your face. Good times! [Photo Source: HBO Studios]
27. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Health Care Crisis: Drug companies and hospitals will partner with corporations to mass market medical care.
The Diagnosis: “Windex Spray-On All Purpose Healer” will sell like hotcakes. [Photo Source: HBO Studios]
The Health Care Crisis: Hospitals have become too profit-focused.
The Diagnosis: When healthy patients mysteriously slip into irreversible comas at an alarming rate, it’s revealed that hospitals are making a fortune selling organs on the black market. Luckily a not-yet-corrupted Michael Douglas comes to the rescue. (He may always plays the bad guy now, but there was a time when he was really sweet.) [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
29. The Island
The Health Care Crisis: Rich, famous, and powerful people will fund unnatural, immoral medical practices that will sicken everyone who isn’t rich, famous, or powerful.
The Diagnosis: There will be a secret bunker filled with brainwashed clones so the ultra-wealthy have access to a stash of fresh organs whenever they need to freshen up their insides. Just don’t let Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson escape or everything will be ruined. [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
The Health Care Crisis: Doctors will ignore very rare illnesses, like the one where people are rendered catatonic (“encephalitis lethargica”), because they don’t affect a big enough group of people.
The Diagnosis: A hopeful doctor will work tirelessly and find a temporary miracle cure...until the drugs wear off and the patients are sadly back where they started. [Photo Source: Sony Pictures]
31. Spies Like Us
The Health Care Crisis: Medical fraud will run rampant.
The Diagnosis: Regular people will be permitted to perform appendix surgery if they simply call themselves “doctor” while in the presence of other real or pretend “doctors.”
32. Dead Ringers
The Health Care Crisis: The increase in workplace stress will result in doctors becoming overworked and possibly suffer mental breaks with reality.
The Diagnosis: It’s not good. Bizarre gynecological equipment is definite a red flag. As are identical twins. [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
33. Joe Vs. The Volcano
The Health Care Crisis: Unqualified physicians will begin making up diseases when they can’t figure out what’s wrong with patients.
The Diagnosis: “Brain clouds” and other phantom ailments may actually inspire patients to ditch the cubicle, take risks, and engage in life. [Photo Source: Warner Brothers]
34. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Health Care Crisis: Organ harvesters and grave robbers will run rampant after medical institutions collapse.
The Diagnosis: Ladies, rejoice. At least one of them will create a blond Adonis for relieving “tension.” [Photo Source: 20th Century Fox]
35. Pet Sematary
The Health Care Crisis: Sometimes we lose people too soon and want them back, regardless of the consequences.
The Diagnosis: Sometimes dead is better. Seriously, trust us on this one. [Photo Source: Paramount Pictures]