Health care in the USA


This is a longer term project with both a written and oral assesment available.

Students will gain an understanding of how Health Care is organised in the USA, the values behind this and how it affects the society.

Resources for the following elements are available here:

  • Vocabulary and learning terms
  • Understanding the Health Care system in the USA: who pays and who is covered?
  • Health in Crisis - working with resources that tell individuals' stories and societal consequences
  • Dental care - consequences of lack of preventative care
  • Written assesment
  • Oral Assesment

Students begin this section of work by practicing work with a dictionary to translate terms that they use in their vocational subject. See document "Vocabulary list for Health". Note that English translations are not given. Students should use this vocabulary list actively for the rest of the unit.

Students will then read through an introductory text about how Health Care in the USA is organised and financed. See document "US Healthcare". This should probably be read through as a class as some concepts will require further explanation.

Value line activity: The teacher will give pupils a statement to consider and form an opinion about. Students must stand along a physical line in the classroom that signifies to what extent they agree or disagree with the statement, eg. those that completely agree should be at one end, those that completely disagree should be at the other end and so on. Students must be ready to defend their opinion. It is a good idea to start with a practice round such as "I could not live without chocolate." These statements can be used to discuss what students have learnt so far about health in the USA.

  1. A person's health is their own responsibility.

  2. I don't want to have to pay for anyone elses health costs and I don't expect anyone else to pay for mine.

  3. If a person smokes, or eats poorly then they should have to cover their own medical costs.

  4. It is very important to be able to choose your own doctor or dentist.

After these discussions students will start a section of group work. There are three stations so students should be divided into three (or six or nine) groups. For this set of work there are three stations where groups should work for approximately 40 minutes before moving to the next station with their group. At each station the students will work with different resources (videos or articles) before discussing and answering the same sets of questions for each set of resources. The aim of this exercise is that students will understand the many aspects to the issue of health care and the effects that lack of preventative care have on the individual, families and society.

The three stations and the resources they will work with are as follows. All resources can be found on the links on this page.

Dentists and Dollars: Why Trinity can't go to the dentist (4 min video), Tragical Results when Dental care is out of reach (News article)

Obesity and Diabetes: Saving Carla (25 min video)

Health insurance complications: Uncovered: Critical condition (5 min video), Losing cover: Uncovered Twins (18 min)

Questions – discuss and write responses to each of these questions at each of the three stations you visit:

  1. What is the problem you have watched/ read about?
  2. Who is at risk?
  3. What preventative healthcare measures could have reduced the problem?
  4. Where these preventative healtcare measures available? If not, why not?
  5. Could the system be improved to prevent these health problems? How?

The next section of work looks specifically at the wider spectrum of results of the lack of preventative health care in dentistry. Students will watch the video Report from a Dental fair and answer questions in the worksheet "Report from a Dental Fair Worksheet". It would be wise to read through the vocabulary list and the questions before watching the video. It may also be necessary to watch the video twice.

Attached are two assesments to use with this section of work. The first, "Dollars and Dentists task", is a written task that students should be given two lessons to complete. The second task, "Muntlig Vurdering", is an oral task involving students having a five minute conversation with their teacher in which they can show their understanding of health as a social issue in the USA.