As a medical drama, Breaking Bad is pretty great, says one practicing MD

I will never not laugh at the Tio picture, Xeni. Your eyebrows are just perfect.

[this is good]

If he wasn’t worried that getting treated for the cancer would bankrupt his family and leave them horribly in debt when he died, then he could have kept his job as a teacher and avoided the whole drug empire thing.

I grew up in the USA, but now live in Finland. One night while we were watching Breaking Bad, it occurred to me that for people who are not familiar with the insanity that is healthcare in the USA, the entire concept of the show must seem alien. In a lot of countries, the story would go just like the Canadian meme: Walt is diagnosed, Walt gets treatment through social healthcare, the end. Considering that none of Walt’s decisions would have been necessary, I wonder how viewers in cultures where social healthcare is the norm see Walt’s motivations and actions. If anything, I would think the lack of a need behind his actions might make Walt even less of a sympathetic character.

OT: I just went back and read the premise of the show. I missed a few episodes before this season. Did we ever find out what the deal was with Gretchen and Elliot, and why Walt left Gray Matter Technologies? He left for “personal reasons”.

I don’t think it’s ever been explicitly mentioned, but the theory I had was that Walt and Gretchen were an item, or at least on their way to becoming one, and then Gretchen and Elliot became an item, prompting Walt to leave due to his hurt pride.

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I wonder if this will be revisited, or if like The Sopranos with some plot angles, it will be completely abandoned and never answered.

See my comment above: despite the lack of social healthcare, there was STILL a lack of need behind Walt’s actions.

I have a feeling that it’s one of those “We’ll just leave that in the past, Walt has more pressing issues at the moment” plot angles. Unless Gretchen and Elliot are at Walt’s funeral in the last episode. :slight_smile:

It might interest you that there is an association for getting medical scientists to consult on tv shows such as this. you should go do this if you are interested in hollywood’s fictional medical dramas.

from their website: HH&S is a program at the USC Annenberg
Norman Lear Center that provides entertain-
ment industry professionals with accurate
and timely information for storylines on health
and climate change

That is the thing I never understood. He was a public school teacher. Teachers unions provide fabulous insurance benefits. Our district, (I checked) also provides disability coverage. My wife has been battling lung cancer for the past three and a half years and our insurance (which isn’t as generous as the one provided by the school district), covered everything with the normal deductibles. Our out of pocket was several thousand dollars, which included a five hour surgery, chemo and radiation at a cancer center run by a prominent medical school.

“Teachers unions provide fabulous insurance benefits”

In AZ?

If Walter had life insurance like he should have, his family would be taken care of financially.

[quote=“dmills, post:35, topic:9517, full:true”]
If Walter had life insurance like he should have, his family would be taken care of financially.
[/quote]How much do you think the average life insurance policy for a 50-year-old public school teacher would pay out? (Hint: it’s not enough to support a family of three indefinitely and put two kids through college.)

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And “Teachers union” insurance questions aside - it sure seemed at the start like Walt was working two jobs and they were still going paycheck to paycheck, juggling bills and making excuses to creditors… Where exactly would Walt have gotten the money to pay for life insurance?

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Exactly. My wife and I are both educators and have to work three jobs between us just to cover all our family’s basic expenses. If I suddenly got a debilitating illness I’m not sure how we’d even cover the medical costs, let alone how my wife might send our two kids to college after I was gone. And Skylar was a stay-at-home-mom with a baby on the way when the show started.

I think some people may have an unrealistic idea of just how financially secure the average public school teacher in this country is.

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In that case, maybe you could speak to flyoverland’s comment regarding how awesome the insurance benefits are for you as an educator?

Thankfully neither my wife nor myself have ever had cancer so I can’t speak to specifics on that front, but in my experience the insurance is “good, not great” by American standards. Certainly it’s more than possible for a very ill teacher to face medical bankruptcy, insurance or no.

It’s in New Mexico I thought. Same issue for both states anyway. Walt’s union obviously doesn’t seem very good anyway. Even ignoring the shitty health insurance, if I’m remembering correctly, his school essentially fires him for taking too much time off for cancer treatment and recovery.