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Breaking Bad and Saw facing the American health care system

What do have Walter White – nicknamed “Eisenberg” from the series Breaking Bad – and John Kramer – also called “Jigsam” from the films Saw- in common?

They have both a cancer and did not find any insurance company willing to cover their medical fees! From then on, a mere sick chemistry teacher became a drug dealer in order to pay for his medical costs. He also became crazy about power. As for Jigsaw – John Kramer – who was an engineer initially, he admitted it: he did not really need any insurance company to provide for his needs. But as a matter of principle, he killed dozens of people, including the employees who refused to insure him. Finally, that’s not a big deal…

To be insured, you’d better not be sick!

The United-States are the developed country where medical costs are the highest! Indeed they amount to 17% of their national GPB. In France it represents about 11.7%. In the US, there is no equivalence of the “Carte Vitale” or the “Sécurité Social”. The American health system is complex and much categorized. But it can be roughly said that it depends on:

Your job. Indeed your company has to provide you with a medical insurance. But – of course – not every firm offers you a full medical coverage.

Your age. If you are more than 65, the government can finance your health costs thanks to the MEDICARE program.

Your revenue. The richer you are, the more you can afford a good insurance. Conversely, the poorer you are, the more you are entitled to the MEDICAIRE program, which is a public health insurance.

Your health! Indeed and that’s the main difference between the US and France. In France whether you had a cold or a STO ten years ago, it will not have any influence on your medical coverage. In the US, however, if you had had a cold ten years ago, that can put your insurance at risk.

Worst still if you have a cancer. An insurance company can refuse to insure you. They can even cancel your contract if they consider that you are in a medical predicament. In other words, you’d better not tell that you are sick. Insurance companies pay people in order to get this kind of information. That is why John Kramer – from Saw – could not get a medical coverage. But he took his revenge: so that’s ok.

What can do the people who cannot get an insurance?

Before the Obamacare in 2012, you could only prey for never getting sick. But since the new program, the government ensures to cover a maximum number of people. But they who are too poor to afford a good insurance and too rich to be entitled to the Obamacare are stuck. Plus, the new health reform enacts that if you are not insured, you will be fined. This is supposed to push you to buy you an insurance! Even if all is not rosy, the Obamacare has enabled to insure nearly 90% of Americans! However 30 million people remain without any medical coverage…

Anyway. What is the solution? Instead of becoming a drug dealer or a murderer, many associations advise to go back to college! Indeed, students can benefit from an interesting medical coverage which can cover up to 80% of health fees. That’s better than nothing. Walter White and John Kramer should have had to go back to college…

Cyril Garrech-Casanova
Suivez-moi !

Cyril Garrech-Casanova

Fondateur et rédacteur en chef d'Economyandco!
Étudiant à Sciences Po Paris, diplômé du CELSA-Sorbonne et de l'Institut Mines-Télécom Business School.
(Promis, j'arrête bientôt les études)
Cyril Garrech-Casanova
Suivez-moi !

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