Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Question for Readers: Who Would Be the Best Superhero Spokesperson for Health Care Reform?

(The person who comments with the best answer to this question will win a prize, which will be a comic book of his or her choice for under $20, assuming it is available at my local shop. Please note, we will not ship internationally. Also, one comment per user please!).

reprinted from static.guim.co.uk

Last week, we had asked Ezra Klein of the Washington Post the who he thought would be the best superhero spokesperson for health care reform. This was his reply:

Spiderman! People forget this, but Spiderman 3 was mainly about the need for universal health care. The Sandman had turned to a life of crime -- which eventually led to Uncle Ben's death, not to mention untold innocent lives and millions in property damage -- because he was unable to afford medical treatment for his daughter. If we'd had a saner system, his daughter would've been eligible for treatment and Uncle Ben would be alive today.

Plus, imagine Sandman and Spiderman appearing at a Health Care For America Now rally together. That's bipartisanship America can believe in.

According to Ezra, it would seem that Spider-Man would actually back the public option!

However, there are many other superheroes (maybe even some supervillains) that would likely be in favor of comprehensive health care reform. Frank Miller's left-wing Green Arrow would certainly support a national single-payer referendum, though I suspect he would also be fine with the recent House bill (except, of course, for the abortion concessions). Daredevil could possibly serve as an advocate for a more effective delivery system, more innovation and research, and better public health initiatives, if not for insurance reform altogether. After all, there was once the scare of Karen Page contracting HIV. Not to mention the fact that Murdock's current wife, Milla, is suffering from an incurable disorder as a result of her recently being kidnapped by Mister Fear. I bet Daredevil would like it if the medical community had the resources to remain technologically ahead of supervillain fear gas.

Then, of course, there's Superman. Here is the Man of Steel himself on the subject, explaining the importance of the US welfare and health equality. (HT: ComicMix):

So, today's question for readers: who would be the best superhero spokesperson for health reform and why? Remember, best answer wins a prize!


Sasha said...

"best comment" !!!!!!!!!!

stuclach said...

Luke Cage. He is a relatively young, relatively undereducated, family man from the "ghetto". Health Care Reform (if structured properly) is most likely to help individuals with his background (since, most of them don't end up with superpowers).

The fact that he is very protective of people in similar situations suggests that he would fight for any policy that could potentially improve their standard of living.

Chris Gwinn said...

Iron Man / Tony Stark. He has major business management experience, first-hand experience with major medical crises and can speak directly towards the need for addiction/mental health counseling. You need a counter to the whole "health care reform will stop medical innovation" argument? Tony's your guy.

ryan said...

When Darkseid finally gets conquering the Earth right, he'll want the population to be as healthy as possible. Working in those fire pits can be a bit of a strain on the cardiovascular system. The better the population is doing when he gets here, the longer they'll last as slaves to his will.

Alex said...

Mister Immortal.

Because if anyone's going to try and sell health care reform, it might as well be a superhero that dies often.

Erik Siegrist said...

"Hi. My name is Wolverine. Thanks to my incredible healing ability, I can get stabbed..."

[gets stabbed]


[gets shot]

"...hit by a car..."

[gets hit by a car]

"...infected with any number of deadly diseases..."

[gets injected by someone wearing a biohazard suit]

"...and still go about my day with no need for medical attention."

[pauses while his injuries heal on camera]

"You don't have my healing ability. And neither do your children. Any of those medical crises I just shrugged off could bankrupt you if they happened to a member of your family. That's why health care reform is so important. Affordable health insurance for all won't give you a mutant healing ability, but it will protect your family's future."

Anonymous said...

I think the most apt would be Deadpool. He has a ll the atributes of wolverine given by Erik and would deliver those lines better, but he also suffers from a pre-existing condtion of cancer, so I imagine that health care is pretty tough for him to get. As of late he has been shown to be rather poor, yet in the past has made a considerable some of money, and probably wouldn't quailfy for medicade so I think health care reform is made for him. That saidd any of the non-team affliated ( I assume Xavier's school and X-factor offer insurance like most similar institutions) would be great spokesman since many have very abnormal health concerns that most insurance companies probably frown upon.

Michael T said...

The flip answer might be to go with Infectious Lass (sometime Legion of Superheroes reject/sub last seen in the thought-provoking meta-series Dr. 13 Architecture & Humanity a couple of years ago), or anyone else with disease-inducing powers.

The more serious answer depends on the role this rep will play. The question was posed in the context of acting as spokesperson, which implies someone that supports the initiative and backs the idea of health care reform. It does not require partisanship, and in fact should eschew it because that means a large portion of the population will disagree as a reflex. This lets Green Arrow and Iron Man out.

Superman looks good - nobody ascribes political motives to him. But his invulnerability means that you have to take anything he says about human health with a grain of salt. That goes for any hero with healing factor or alien immunity or such (e.g., Wonder Woman, Wolverine, and such).

Instead the spokesperson should be a human, perhaps with powers but preferably who made his/her own way entirely by skill and effort. Batman is the torchbearer for this in the DC universe, but he's too scary and his alterego is a billionaire. Captain American might work - nice patriotic touch - but that super-solider serum is clearly not going to be available as a pharma benefit.

The final factor is to find someone with medical knowledge. If "I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV" can sell drugs, then "I am a doctor and a superhero" should go over big.

Thus: Doctor Midnite. He's human. His sole meta-ability is to see in the dark, and really it's nothing that infra-red goggles can't do for anyone. He's overcome great hardship: blindness, losing his medical license. Yet he continues to serve the superhero community as resident physician, and devotes his entire remaining life to a free clinic, foregoing any personal gain.

Will said...

Dr. Strange brings the unique perspective of a man who was a doctor (leading neurosurgeon), a patient with a pre-existing condition that affects his employment options, and, currently, lost his job as Master of the Mystic Arts. I have no idea what health plan the Master of the Mystic Arts has, but he had access to a great deal of resources now not available. Here is how I see his ad going: "Hi, my name is Stephen Strange. To many, I am known as Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts. Unfortunately, like so many Americans I have recently lost my job as Master of the Mystic Arts and, in the process, I have lost my health insurance. With my numerous enemies, injuries, possessions, and other hazards, my premiums are far too high for me to afford and I am left uninsured. As a former neurosurgeon, I know the cost to the hospitals and the medical system of uninsured like me and that cost is also felt by you. Please join me in trying to end this broken system and, by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, we can have an affordable public option that insures all Americans."

Lemming said...

It's a pity that it's limited to super _heroes_. The best advocate I can think of is DCAU era Mr. Freeze.

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