The Cost of Healthcare in the U.S. Game
My group’s Twine game assignment was on healthcare costs in the United States. The goal of the game was to give a basic idea of what costs could amount to in the case of an injury based on a person’s insurance status. Reflecting on the assignment, I thought we succeeded in creating an interactive, well-researched and journalistic game that included some well-placed multimedia. In my opinion, however, it is not something that I could see a professional publication using based on its limitations.
Twine gives users tools to create basic linked web pages through coding without having to know a lot of advanced code languages. Some code languages don’t function fully through Twine, and the platform does not host the websites on its own server. That created some frustration for me as the person in our group who was in charge of putting the game together. My two group mates provided me with some of the research for the pages, and most of the GIF pictures. I filled in with more research and the sound and video multimedia as I created the game pathways. I would have liked to have more help from my group-mates.
It would have been nice to use a platform that hosts all coding languages without bugs, and hosts the files as websites to make them fully functional and link-able. I also would have enjoyed using a platform more likely to be used by a professional publication so that I have training and experience that I can use in the field after I graduate.
The game engages with healthcare as an issue that everyone I know struggles with at some point. The cost of healthcare services in the United States is enormous and outrageous. Even people who pay monthly premiums end up responsible for the costs of testing, procedures and medications that can amount to thousands or tens of thousands in certain circumstances. I have covered many stories about people in communities facing healthcare costs for themselves or their children who could never possibly have the resources expected of them by the government and healthcare industry. Those who are uninsured can become victims of this system. In some cases, American citizens die from a lack of care for fear of the costs, or go bankrupt over unpaid bills for necessary medical services, medications and procedures. Everyone knows someone who is uninsured, avoiding medical care due to the expense, or paying high premiums for an insurance plan that still forces them to pay 10-25 percent of incredibly inflated costs.
The ballooning cost of healthcare in America is no secret, but healthcare reform on the federal level has been eluding leading politicians for decades. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, healthcare was the top issue for voters in America, with 80 percent considering it important to their vote for Congress that year. Most lawmakers agree that change is necessary, but nobody seems to agree on what the solution is. Perhaps the only certainty with regard to health care reform is that the longer we wait, seemingly the worse it gets.
This issue expands to the greater issue of wage inequality in the United States. As the rich grow richer, and the poor stay receiving the same federal minimum wage that has stagnated since 2009. Though the House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act in 2019, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, the house bill will likely not be passed by Senate Republicans, leaving minimum wage behind in the early 2000’s.