Healthcare, County Hospitals, and the American Way

By Kristen Johnson

Code Black is a fantastic documentary providing an in-depth look at the work of doctors and other healthcare professionals in Los Angeles County Hospital’s emergency room. It is gripping, emotional, heartbreaking, and the politics surrounding it enraged me.

Although I think every American should see this film, I think that, in particular, every single Republican in Congress who has fought so hard to dismantle Obamacare should be forced to watch it. In addition, every person out there who voted for Donald Trump should be forced to watch it. Be forewarned, watching the working poor wait in the emergency room for 18-20 hours because they can’t access a regular doctor will make you angry and depressed, as it should.

What’s particularly shocking about the documentary is the amount of time overwhelmed doctors and nurses must spend on paperwork, forms, and regulations instead of attending to needy patients. Unfortunately, though we need and want privacy and security for our medical records, our over-regulation of the system has cost a lot of time and money. It’s also shocking to find out that only 2% of the hospitals in the U.S. are “public” hospitals, meant to serve the community.

The best part of this film is watching the absolute love, dedication, and commitment to service that each and every single doctor and nurse has towards their patients who are suffering. They don’t care about insurance, personal wealth, or status. They really and truly live to serve the public. The entire time I spent watching this film, I kept wondering where their angel wings were. Truly, these tireless healthcare professionals are saints. Listening to their struggles with underfunding, understaffing, and their struggles with the politics in the background is heartbreaking. Again, it made me incredibly angry to think about ridiculous arguments in Congress over who “deserves” healthcare in this country. Politicians disgust me.

Clearly, our call-to-action here is business as usual. We absolutely cannot give up the fight for single-payer healthcare in this country, no matter how completely ridiculous it is that the argument exists at all. Fight, fight, fight the politicians who are playing with people’s lives.

God does not see us for whether we are a “have” or a “have not” and neither should politicians who are so arrogant as to think they have a right to dismantle our fragile healthcare system. Shame on Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and so many others. Surely we can do better.

Proverbs 14:31 (NRSV): Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him.

Serve all with love.

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