Friday, August 21, 2009

Roger Weisberg's "Critical Condition" POV shown on Bill Moyers Journal


Bill Moyers Journal on PBS tonight (Aug. 21) presented a documentary by Roger Weisberg, “Critical Condition” that resembled a 2008 documentary by Sanjay Gupta on CNN. The program covered several people with inadequate health insurance.

One man had gross liver failure without obvious cause (no alcoholism, no hepatitis) and lost his job for non-performance and then health insurance. He bought and took less insulin than needed and reused needles. A Hispanic man had severe back problems and almost died from bleeding from misuse of pain medication; he was lucky enough to get some care for free at UCLA. (I recall this patient from CNN.) Another woman had a major cancer, and would then cut off her phone to stop the calls from collection agencies. I recall when I worked for a collection company, I was acquainted with the medical division, but did not work there; the argument was “you used the services, so …”

We’ve seen previous PBS documentaries (“Sick Around the World”) showing that people do not have to go bankrupt in Europe over health insurance.

The viewpoint of the documentary is that we do ration care in the US – by ability to pay.

At the end of the 45 minute documentary, Bill Moyers followed up on the patients. The website and trailer are here. Next week Moyers will present “money driven medicine”.

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