|Posted on October 11, 2008 at 11:43 AM|
John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington) is struggling through a recession trying to provide for his son Mikey (Daniel E. Smith) and his waitress wife (Kimberly Elise). Mikey collapses at a Little League game and is rushed to a hospital. The situation is bleak. Only a heart transplant will save Mikey's life. John's HMO refuses to cover the expensive surgery. With the hospital and his insurance provider unwilling to help and his wife pleading with John to act, he takes matters into his own hands, holding the hospital's renowned heart surgeon (James Woods) and several others hostage in an emergency care wing until the surgery will be performed. The film criticizes hospitals and health care providers for working in collusion against the working class.
The problem with managed health care (HMOs) is addressed only tangentially, with a small point that Mike's problem could potentially have been detected if proper testing was done. This is one of the major problems with the health and insurance industries and if you're on an HMO plan, it behooves you to be aware of your own health and ask the doctor to make the required tests. Failing that, there are plans (with a higher premium) that'll provide the care you need. The bigger and more general problem, that of universal health care for those who can't afford quality insurance, which is convoluted by the HMO issue in the film, is addressed directly with a lot of preaching, but no real solutions are proposed.
Its message is true -- HMOs are inherently evil.