Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Roger Weisberg helmed this provocative study of today’s U.S. healthcare system. The film argues that the intentional over-treatment of patients is driving up healthcare costs, and that the system is designed to offer financial incentives based on the quantity of patients being treated rather than the quality of treatment being provided.
Two well-known hospitals – Intermountain Medical Center in St. George, Utah, and UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles – are held up in a compare-and-contrast measure of fiscal and ethical considerations that go into today’s healthcare decisions. The Utah facility, which spends about one-third less than its California counterpart, is presented as being the superior of the two in regard to the quality of care; the UCLA leadership, not surprisingly, sees nothing wrong in its operations and insists that it is doing everything it can to keep costs down.
Whether the problems plaguing the U.S. healthcare system can be blamed primarily on over-treatment is debatable – issues ranging from physician ineptitude to questionable pricing by medical insurance companies certainly warrant consideration. Nonetheless, Weisberg raises a number of disturbing and compelling questions that are not easily answered. And the renewed focus on the subject following the Supreme Court’s affirmation of President Obama’s healthcare reform legislation will ensure that this film remains timely for the near future.