While health care reform has been a topic of conversation for years, the issue was further catapulted into the limelight during the 2016 presidential election and the recent passage of the American Health Care Act by the House of Representatives. Much of the partisan discussions surrounding health care has focused on the supposed shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare.
Though the ACA certainly has its flaws, the law has helped millions of Americans gain access to health care. Should access to affordable health care become more difficult to obtain — or individuals with preexisting conditions become more vulnerable to insurance regulations — we could see more stories like Steven Noa's. Before you frantically Google the name, you should know he's a fictional character from a short film. But that doesn't mean his story isn't real.
The name Myles Humphus is unlikely to ring a bell, either, though you've probably seen him on your TV screen or in theaters. A former pro football player, Humphus is a stunt double who frequently stands in for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. His credits include stunt work in films like Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious and the upcoming Baywatch.
What does any of this have to do with health care? And who is Steven Noa? Well, in a short film that premiered recently on Short of the Week, Humphus stars as Noa, a former pro football player who's out of work, has no health care and must pay for an expensive operation on his knee. The short, titled I Don't Make the Rules, is directed by Law Chen and was inspired by Humphus' career search following his short stint in pro football.
"With I Don't Make the Rules, I wanted to tell the 'unsuccess' story," Chen said in a statement. "The underdogs that never won. The ex-football players that never made it into the league, who now have to work blue collar odd jobs to make ends meet. Their bodies have taken a beating through training, games and working manual labor jobs."
While I Don't Make the Rules runs just over 12 minutes, the story is quite powerful. Humphus' Noa is seen passing out fliers for a gym, getting rejection calls from recruiters and staring down a $20,000+ hospital bill. Noa is desperate for a job — not for riches, but to get by. And his desperation may lead him to make decisions he would otherwise never consider. The film forces viewers to contemplate what they would do in the same scenario.
"I wanted to explore ethical decisions in the face of desperation," Chen said.
If you're in need of a job to support a family or pay the bills, what would you be willing to do? How far would you be willing to go? Would you screw over a fellow human being in order to get it? What if they needed it more than you? If it's survival of the fittest, is it okay to do whatever it takes just to survive? Ethics and morals enter a gray area when need and desperation trump right and wrong.
You can watch I Don't Make the Rules in its entirety below: