Monday, September 29, 2008

Critical Condition: A Look at America's Health Care System

Critical Condition, a look at the American health care system and crisis, begins airing tomorrow on PBS. Locally it will air on WVPBS beginning Tuesday, September 30 at 9pm with follow up broadcasts on October 1, October 6, October 8, October 13.

View the film trailer and learn more. Below is a synopsis of the film:

Roger Weisberg's Critical Condition is a powerful, eye-opening look at the health care crisis in America. In an election season when health care reform has become one of the nation's most hotly debated issues, Critical Condition lays out the human consequences of an increasingly expensive and inaccessible system. Using the same cinema verite style he employed with Waging a Living (P.O.V., 2006), Weisberg allows ordinary hard-working Americans to tell their harrowing stories of battling critical illnesses without health insurance.

The four people profiled in Critical Condition live in places as diverse as Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; and Bethlehem, Penn., but they face distressingly similar obstacles to surviving without health insurance. It is through their eyes and words that we are taken through the gaping holes in the health care system, where care is often delayed or denied. Ultimately, the unforgettable subjects of Critical Condition discover that being uninsured can cost them their jobs, health, homes, savings, and even their lives.

Critical Condition dramatizes how health care is rationed based on ability to pay. "It's your money or your life," says one of the film's subjects, who courageously lays bare the uncounted cost in pain and suffering that is borne by millions of uninsured Americans

As the film illustrates, the country spends over $2 trillion a year — over $6,000 per person — on health care, yet is the only major industrial nation without universal coverage. Forty-seven million Americans live without health insurance, and 80 percent of them are from working families who either cannot afford insurance premiums or lose their insurance exactly when they need it most: when they fall ill and can no longer work.

Despite spending 50 percent more on health care than any other country in the world, America ranks 15th in preventable death, 24th in life expectancy, and 28th in infant mortality. The struggles of the four families profiled in Critical Condition put a human face on just what these statistics really mean for ordinary Americans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Majority of burden for paying for Healthcare in this country has been placed on the shoulder of the Employer. Because people are not directly paying for the services but rather deferring to their Employer Sponsored/Paid insurance program, there is little to no incentive to seek treatment from both Quality and effecient providers.

Providers, Insurers, and Insured all need to be held accountable for our uninsured population. In many, not all, cases the Unisured American has made a lifestyle choice to not participate in a plan when they are healthy but rather to enjoy a new car, house, etc. If we are only insuring these people when they get sick why not get car insurance after an accident to cover the damage.

For others there are goverment sponsored plans. We need to develop a plan that adresses the people that truly have no access to insurance or healthcare. I am not in favor of placing that burden on the American employer or Federal Goverment, but rather looking for solutions at the State level. In Michigan we have a carrier of last resort, BCBSM, that get tremendous tax advantages and other benefits, in return for covering all commers at community rates.