ESCAPE FIRE: THE FIGHT TO RESCUE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE Image

If you thought that last year’s Supreme Court 5-4 ruling that affirmed Obamacare was the last word on the subject of American healthcare, then you will be in for a surprise with Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke’s documentary.

According to this film, the U.S. spent $2.7 trillion on healthcare in 2011, and the spending levels are expected to grow even higher in the coming year. The problem, as presented here, is a skein of grossly misplaced priorities – particularly in having federal spending programs that emphasize the quantity of patients being treated instead of the quality of care being received. Holistic health leader Dr. Andrew Weil, who is featured prominently here, cogently observes, “We don’t have a healthcare system in this country. We have a disease management system.”

Some of the arguments presented in the film – the suffocating control of the pharmaceutical industry on the healthcare debate, the reluctance of insurance providers to embrace so-called alternative treatments – have been covered in similar documentaries. However, hearing a condemnation of the system by Donald Berwick, President Obama’s Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2010 to 2011, is certainly not an endorsement for Obamacare as the cure-all prescription.

This provocative and often disturbing production is highly recommended, and should be seen as the starting point for a mature new debate on the subject.

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