Film warns of U.S. health care system failures


Denis Perez / The Advocate

denis perez / The Advocate Filmmakers Tyler Sterrenberg (left) and Laurie Simons introduce the film “Now is the Time: Healthcare for Everybody” during a screening in Fireside Hall on Thursday.

By Jessica Suico, Advocate Staff

The Community Organizing Political Action (COPA) Club at Contra Costa College hosted a screening of the documentary “Now is the Time: Healthcare for Everybody,” and an open forum with the creators after the film on Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Fireside Hall.

After the film, the documentary’s producers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg answered questions the audience had about different health care systems, deadlines and the possibility that healthcare will become even more privatized.

Sociology major Tiana McKneely said while students are able find information on their own, getting questions answered by experts is necessary for some people.

“I would love to see more events on campus like this because not everyone knows how to get information and having informational events like this is helpful,” McKneely said.

“It was positive because it encouraged me that it is possible to get affordable health care for everyone. Standing up and using your voice could get you there.”

The documentary explained how implementing a single-payer health care system would provide an affordable option for millions of Americans.

According to the documentary, there are 28.6 million without health care in the U.S. and if former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is repealed 30 million individuals would lose coverage.

Simons and Sterrenberg said a single payer system would have the government subsidize the cost of medical insurance through taxes instead of the current system that allows companies to monopolize the industry.

The documentary also highlighted hybrid systems, like the Affordable Care Act, that offer people coverage with private and public insurance.

COPA President Alex Walker-Griffin said discussions like these are important because Donald Trump has promised to remove the Affordable Care Act and millions of individuals could lose health insurance.

“We could see unfortunate services (regarding) people’s healthcare plans and increases in deaths,” Walker-Griffin said.

“The elderly, children and poverty-stricken areas will get sicker and possibly start dying off because of no help.”

He said health care resources should be available for people that don’t have health insurance because health is a natural right.

“It takes people standing up and showing they have a voice to be heard,” Griffin said.

Health and Human Services Club President Denise Mills said, “It would be terrible if millions lost their health insurance. There would be a lot of hardship and patients would be shipped around to different doctors because of overcrowding.”

Mills said there should definitely be more resources for people who do not understand health care because they don’t have health insurance.

She said a lot of people don’t take care of their health because of the costs associated, but if it was affordable maybe people would start caring more for their health.

“I pray our country makes health care affordable for everyone because we do have the resources and money to do so,” Mills said.

Simons grew up in Canada and Sterrenberg, her husband, grew up in the United States.

Simons said when she and her husband moved from Canada to the United States they were blindsided by the complex healthcare system.

She said that is the reason why they produced, “The Healthcare” movie. Simons admitted that learning enough about the United States health care system to be able to make a feature length documentary “was very confusing to me at first.”

“When I lived in Canada I never had a thought bubble with money in it when I needed medical care,” she said. 

When they came to the United States, they said they suddenly had to start worrying about medical bills and dealing with insurance companies.