In Elysium, Med beds were sufficiently common and presumably affordable, that every household had one.

Since profit was part of the society's motive, why weren't they renting time on med beds at exorbitant prices?

Or, how come no philanthropists from Elysium tried to help people suffering on Earth?

Having even a few med beds on Earth would also help prevent the suicidal shuttle runs that Terrans made towards Elysium, which were sufficiently politically difficult to deal with that a sleeper agent on Earth had to take care of them.

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    What really irked me about the whole situation was that Elysium apparently had entire bays full of medical shuttles, each one of which contained dozens of med beds and was autonomously operated by robots. Why on Earth (or Elysium) would they have something like that in the first place (one or two hospital shuttles makes sense, but an entire fleet of them, on perpetual standby?)? And if they have it, what plausible rationale is there for not using it?
    – aroth
    Jul 21, 2015 at 14:25
  • @aroth the only rationale I can think of is a form of population control - make sure the poor masses are manageable so as to not overpower the elite.
    – Alex
    Jan 30, 2018 at 1:02

2 Answers 2


In-universe, because the people living on Elysium were greedy and wanted to hoard the technology for themselves.

Out of universe, it's because the beds aren't intended to be real. According to the film's director Neil Blomkpamp, they're just a metaphor for medical poverty:

So, on Elysium you can imagine that if you went totally speculative sci-fi in the year 2154, the film becomes different, then you’re making a film about speculative ideas of what society might be like and what will happen is they’re no longer rich. Now it’s more like Star Trek, like there’s something else and the link between, ‘Oh, they’re rich people with pools’ has been lost.

So the medpods weren’t there for science fiction reasons, they were there just to represent that the poverty stricken person from El Salvador could go into parts of LA to get better medical attention or medical care for their kids. Medical aid is one of the things the First World has and longevity if you just look at the stats. So it was more a metaphor tool, but you are right in the sense about … like, well how far do they go, at what point is it just immortality? I think they probably live a few hundred years and then they die in the construct of the film.

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    Although I kinda liked the movie, the fact that there were all these fully functional medical shuttles lying around in storage because no one had the decency to send any of them down to Earth seemed a bit far-fetched. The causes of real-world medical poverty are a bit more complicated than sheer greed/laziness of the rich.
    – Ixrec
    Jul 19, 2015 at 10:48
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    @Ixrec - The fact that they only had a few dozen strikes me as a recipe for civil unrest. Are they literally gonna cure the whole world with 20 beds?
    – user7812
    Jul 19, 2015 at 10:57
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    The way the movie ended heavily implied "yes", which is exactly the problem I was referring to.
    – Ixrec
    Jul 19, 2015 at 11:49
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    @Ixrec - I think the beds were intended to mark a new spirit of engagement rather than those beds literally being the be all and end all of their involvement.
    – user7812
    Jul 19, 2015 at 11:51

If you want to use Med beds you must be a cityzen of Elysium (the beds look for a tatoo-bar code connected to you DNA), and only rich people could be cityzen.

I assume there were no philantropists, since the rich people wanted to defend their status. Maybe there were also some laws against the smuggling of med beds and healt care.

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