W2 Activity: Not Just a Paycheck

I can confidently say I got a 50% on the Health Equity Quiz. I managed to get every other question right which I would say is pretty good. I think the most surprising statistic I came across on the quiz was that the U.S. spends two and a half times as much per person on health care compared to the average of the other industrialized countries. I figured we paid more given that people seek care for the most minor things but I didn’t know it was so much!

The case study I am choosing to summarize is titled, “Not Just a Paycheck”. I am particularly drawn to this film because money is something I take very seriously when it comes to spending where the rest of my family is very careless in regards to it and are most likely naïve to the things mentioned in the film. This case study talked about a large plant in Michigan being closed down to relocate to Mexico so the company could end up making more money. In the eyes of most it seems like an easy problem, a large plan closes and all the workers are out of a job and therefore out of a paycheck but that isn’t actually the case. The employees ended up being left with an array of health problems that weren’t existent before their unemployment. They started to become stressed and depressed because they were out of a job and had no income so some people started gaining weight from excessive eating, drinking and smoking to cope. These behaviors along with others started to effect their health in negative ways and could have ultimately developed into diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease, stoke and kidney disease. They could have also developed behaviors that lead to suicide. The video came to a close by asking the question, “Why are the unemployed in America forced to fend for themselves?” This is such a real question because it shouldn’t be the jobs of the unemployed to find a new job and security and benefits. Their company left them with literally nothing and now all the employees are suffering in more ways than one. The company did send three million dollars for start up businesses to try to help but they mad little to no difference.

I believe the observed health disparities from the film can partly be explained by non-genetic factors. A lot of what is going on in my opinion is due to environmental, social and cultural factors. The newly unemployed are used to working all day everyday in a plant that most likely exposes them to harmful chemicals which puts a toll on the body. They have also transitioned from being mobile for a majority of the day to sitting around and doing nothing waiting to find a new job. One lady in the film mentioned that she is at the highest weight she’s been in in her whole life because she isn’t working which again, puts a toll on the body. It also seems like a lot of the unemployed are friends and continue to hang out which means they are all dwell together and have similar habits being without a job. Having other people who engage in the same behaviors as yourself makes it really hard to stop engaging in it.

3 thoughts on “W2 Activity: Not Just a Paycheck

  1. I too am extremely cautious with my money. I suppose growing up in a small town in the thumb (Brown City) has made me that way. Seeing how people were affected by our last recession, it has also made me sympathetic to the problems that can arise when the jobs suddenly vanish. And while it’s immoral for a company to fire their employees and relocate to another country, its sadly perfectly legal for them to do so.

    I feel there needs to be more programs in place to help those who suddenly find themselves unemployed. Perhaps a guaranteed buyout for the affected employees to provide them a sort of cushion until they get their next job lined up. Health insurance would be another factor to consider since I’m assuming many of those who lost their job also lost their health insurance plans. I’m not sure off the top of my head if there are any programs that exist or if Medicaid would cover them.

    Ultimately we’d be relying on lawmakers to ensure these plans are in place the next time this happens. In addition, doctors (mainly primary care physicians) would have to be aware in the change of employment so they are able to discuss with the patient how to avoid some of the adverse health effects associated with it.

  2. Hi Courtney!
    Your post on “Not Just a Paycheck” was enlightening. I did not personally watch the video, but I may have to check it out. I would like to say that the solution to this problem would be to keep jobs on American soil, as the positives of keeping employment domestic are greater than sending them internationally. However, the cost of employing Americans is significantly higher than moving a business to another country and paying someone a fraction of American wages, and that is a big enough draw for companies. While we may not be able to stop companies from going abroad, we may be able to put better programs in place to help those that have been left behind, either with finding employment that is comparable to the job they had or emotional support. The vast array of health problems that stem from losing your livelihood is extensive and can be a beast to tackle. I imagine that these people also feel unvalued, like they are expendable, and without a purpose and it adds to the stress.

    Creating a program that would encompass support in the basic areas, political, individual, and economic would be a good place to start. Companies should be more responsible for the care of the employees they leave behind when closing a plant like this. Perhaps advisors or another company could offer plans to help with this process. Many offer a severance package, and some people can be on unemployment, but that still leaves them without a job and prone to these negative effects.

  3. I defiantly agree that these people’s health problems are not genetically linked, rather they are socially linked. The entire layed off work force are coming to grips with the reality of having everything taken away from them and starting over. I do believe as you stated that most of these people’s health problems are related to stress and depression. There are a couple ways I believe these problems could be felt with. First solution is political as in to get rid of the North American free trade agreement. Since it has been in affect it has helped businesses but not the people. Meaning that businesses now just move their factories to countries like Mexico where the labor is cheap to maximize profits with no reprocess ions like tariffs to hasten the flow of jobs out of this country. The next solution would be economic providing new training and educational opertunities for the affected people. This should help with the people’s stress and depression by getting them active again and moving them towards finding a new job. I believe that the government should be the ones to elevate this health disparity because they are the ones that ultimately caused it because of the North American Trade Agreement. Then everyone wonders why the national unemployment rate is so high.

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