Elizabeth Pendo, Images of Health Insurance in Popular Film: The Dissolving Critique, 37 J. Health L. 267 (2004) (reprinted in Bioethics and the Law (Janet L. Dolgin & Lois Shepherd, eds.) (Aspen Publishers)
Health insurance, managed care, uninsured, underinsured, physician incentives, employer health plans, consumer directed health care, film
Several recent films have villainized the health insurance industry as central elements of their plots. This Article examines three of those films: Critical Care, The Rainmaker, and John Q. It analyzes these films through the context of the consumer backlash against managed care that began in the 1990s and shows how these films reflect the consumer sentiment regarding health insurance companies and the cost controlling strategies they employ. In addition, the Article identifies three key premises about health insurance in the films that, although exaggerated and incomplete, have significant factual support. Ultimately, the author argues that, despite their passionately critical and liberal tone, these films actually put forward solutions that are highly individualist and conservative, rather than inclusive and systemic.