The United States pays twice as much for healthcare as any other industrialized nation, yet it still does not provide care for all or its citizens. While the Affordable Care Act has helped some people, many of us are feeling the pinch of rising costs and narrowing networks. Polls show that 58% of Americans favor a nationally funded public healthcare program. So why has the U.S. Congress not yet passed-or even considered-such a plan? This documentary delves into what single payer health care is, how it saves money, and what behind-the-scenes heroes are doing to clear the fog of misperception that keeps us from moving forward.
Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg, filmmakers
Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg are a married couple of mixed cultural heritage. Laurie is Canadian, and Terry is American. From 1982 to 1992, Terry joined Laurie in Canada and their two sons were born there. When they moved to the United States in 1992, they experienced the culture shock of switching from the worry-free health care system in Canada, to the complicated, expensive, and anxiety-provoking system in the United States.
While pursuing their careers in counseling (Terry’s specialty is couples, Laurie’s is children with challenging behaviors), they discovered a passion for filmmaking. Laurie completed an Associate Program in Video and TV Production at Bellevue College in 2004, and began creating short films. She and Terry worked together to produce their first feature documentary, The Healthcare Movie (2011). Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland and used by healthcare advocates throughout the U.S., this film revealed the story of the battle for national health care in Canada, and the decades of propaganda that has been prevalent in the U.S. to dissuade the public from supporting national health care.
Then, Terry and Laurie both had their own personal health crises. When the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was implemented, they could see that insurance-based healthcare was not effective for keeping costs down and giving everyone access to needed medical care. They saw that polls indicate that the general public supports the idea of national, universal healthcare, yet the idea is still not being addressed in the United States. NOW IS THE TIME: Healthcare for Everybody shows what has happened to the idea of a Single Payer healthcare system in the U.S. and what we can do to ensure a healthcare system that works for everybody.
Mike Huntington, M.D., organizer, Mad As Hell Doctors
Mike grew up in Southern California. He attended Oregon State University and the University of Oregon Medical School, now Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). He was an Army flight surgeon in Viet Nam in 1969. He received his residency training at OHSU, was a Radiation Oncologist for 35 years, and was Medical Director of the Radiation Oncology Department at Samaritan Regional Cancer Center in Corvallis from 1984 to 2006.
Since his retirement he has joined with physicians and other activists in Corvallis and Oregon to engage colleagues and the public in discussion about the urgent need for health care reform. The group has co-sponsored public forums and given talks to civic groups in Corvallis over the past eight years. In 2007 this group became the Oregon Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. He was President of Health Care for All Oregon in 2012.