Health Insurance
The Uninsured
Managed Care
Long term & Chronic Care
Healthcare Timeline
Glossary of Terms
Asking The Tough Questions
Interview with the Experts
Classroom Materials
Production Credits
How to Order A Tape
Broadcast Schedule
Site Credits

Dr. Fix-It Subjects: Health, Government

Estimated Time of Completion: 3-4 days


• To research the critical problem that approximately 1/3 of Americans are without adequate or any health care insurance.

• To propose solutions to the problems of the under- or uninsured members of our society.

This lesson addresses the following national health standards as established by McREL at

• Knows factors that influence personal selection of health care resources, products, and services

• Knows local, state, federal, and private agencies that protect and/or inform the consumer (e.g. FDA, EPA, OSHA, local prosecutor's office)

• Understands the cost and accessibility of a variety of health-care services(e.g. Health insurance coverage)

And the following national government standards established by McREL at

• Understands how participation in civic and political life can help citizens attain individual and public goals

• Understands how individual participation in the political process relates to the realization of the fundamental values of American constitutional democracy

• Understands what distinguishes participation in government and political life from nonpolitical participation in civil society and private life (e.g., participating in a campaign to change laws regulating nursing homes as opposed to volunteering to work in a nursing home), and understands the importance of both forms of participation to American constitutional democracy

• Knows the many ways citizens can participate in the political process at local, state, and national levels, and understands the usefulness of other forms of political participation in influencing public policy (e.g., attending political and governmental meetings, demonstrating, contacting public officials, writing letters, boycotting, community organizing, petitioning, picketing)

ISTE Technology standards found at

• Routinely and efficiently use online information resource's to met needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications and productivity
• Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving and decision making in content learning

Tools Needed

• Video: "Healthcare Crisis: Who's At Risk?"

• Web sites relating to issues addressed in the video, particularly, "Tough Questions" and the web sites list (Link to web site list here) concerning "government involvement," "presidential debate," and "possible solutions."

Glossary of terms in this site as well as the terms section of the master web site list.

• Computers with Internet access

Procedures and Activities

• Ask students to estimate how much their grandparents or other retired senior citizens earn each year.

• Ask what they think these senior citizens might spend on prescriptions in a year. Do they think the average senior citizen could afford $13,000-$14,000 per year on prescriptions?

• Explain that today's video will show several families who spend that much.

• Why do some prescription medicines cost so much? Brainstorm a list of possibilities on the blackboard or overhead projector. How do people pay for expensive prescription medicines? If students suggest that health insurance covers these costs, ask what those without insurance would do. Explain that 1/3 of our nation has no health insurance.

• Tell students that after viewing the video, they will be asked to do a project with a partner. They will prepare a presentation as if they were Dr. Fixit, appearing before the Congress of the United States. Their charge is not only testifying about the problems of the under- or uninsured, but most importantly giving suggestions for solutions.

• Suggest to students that they divide their note taking into the following categories:

• Past attempts to create a federal, national health care plan. Why did these attempts fail?

• Current problems with health care coverage:

1. Indigent
2. Unemployed
3. Medicare prescription coverage

• Who is at risk?

• What's happening in Congress now?

• How do the presidential candidates propose to solve these problems?

• Ideas for solving the problem of Americans with either no healthcare insurance or not having enough.

1. The doctor during the Gilberts segment
2. Doctors talking about transplant problems
3. Near the end of the video, Dr. Murray again speaks of solutions involving costly drugs and treatments.
4. After the Alicia segment, a woman doctor also offers possible solutions.

• Their notes and the Web site list may be used to research and develop a solution to the healthcare problems plaguing our country.

• Students view the video: "Healthcare Crisis: Who's At Risk?"

• Students have at least two class days to research their topic and prepare their "testimony."

• Suggest that partners divide the research topics so as to do more complete research.

• The Web site accompanying the video "Healthcare Crisis: Who's At Risk" would be an excellent starting point.

• Students must type their "testimony" and finish it as homework.


The attached rubric may be used to assess students' "Congressional appearances" (this should be given to students on the day they begin their research).


1. Cause of failure of past attempts at a National Health
Care Plan 10

2. Current problems 20

3. Who is at risk? 10

4. What's happening now:
• Presidential candidates 10
• Congress 10

5. Solutions:
• Video 10
• My own 20

6. Solutions are possible and practical 10
Total possible points 100

Extensions and Adaptations

• Students may volunteer to share their presentations with the class or numbers could be drawn to select presenters.

• A class discussion following the "hearings" focusing on the merits and/or drawbacks of the solutions proposed should also be held.

• Members of the public health department, managed care administrator, local insurance agents, parents and doctors might also be invited to listen to the "hearings" and comment following the presentations.

• Students might also encourage their parents and relatives to write their legislators asking for a solution to the crisiss

• Students themselves might write letters to their Congressmen or to the editors of their local papers.

• Certain students or groups of students might take on the role of federal Medicare/Medicaid administrators, physician association leaders, private insurance company lobbyists, senior citizens lobbying groups, and other interested parties, preparing Congressional testimony from a variety of perspectives.


Back To Top


sponsored by