A California consumer group is using online game technology to protest skyrocketing costs, poor patient service and a cold shoulder from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
Nurse Avenger, offered by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, is played in first-person shooter style, allowing players to blast away at health insurance representatives who are drawn to look like mobsters. The idea is to keep the reps from reaching the patient's bed. If they do, they'll issue a denial of needed healthcare services and the player will lose a life. After five such denials, the player dies. If the player beats the game, he or she unlocks universal health care.
Between levels, players are treated to messages such as:
"HMO's and health insurers waste 25% of our money on overhead and profit"
"HMO's and insurers look for any way they can to deny coverage for treatments we need"
Nurse Avenger is one of the better online political games we've seen, incorporating sophisticated features like power-ups, bonuses and level bosses. The effort is in part a protest of Gov. Schwarzenegger's plan to veto universal healthcare legislation proposed by State Senator Sheila Kuehl (D).
"Whether or not Schwarzenegger signs the bill, the game is the same," said Foundation spokesman Jerry Flanagan. "Employers and patients can work out their frustration with big health care bills by zapping insurance reps online. All fun and games aside, we hope that they'll also sign up for the real fight for universal health care reform."
GP: A shout-out to Matt Paprocki for steering us to Nurse Avenger.