A documentary made by an emergency room physician would seem have an edge at giving viewers an up-close look at the pressures faced by doctors from insurance and drug companies. And this film, titled Health, Money and Fear by Dr. Paul Hochfeld is an intelligent and incisive analysis of the myriad problems facing the healthcare industry in the United States.
The documentary is ninety minutes of well-done analysis and interviews with physicians and other health care professionals about the reasons why healthcare costs are out of control. The list includes:
- Insurance and Administrative Expenses: Processing costs eat up too many healthcare dollars and are inefficient.
- Malpractice Issues: Fear of being sued leads most doctors to order unnecessary tests just to cover themselves.
- Medical Records Chaos: Paper records are prone to errors and are not shared in a timely fashion with emergency or other providers.
- Pharmacy Costs: Pharmaceutical companies claim that drug prices are high because they need to recoup research expenses, yet marketing expenditures are twice what is spent on research.
- End of Life Care: If an elderly person develops a grave illness like a brain tumor, should we spend a half million to a million dollars on surgery and therapy, or just make them comfortable?
- Primary Care Crisis: The lack of new doctors going into primary care means that no one is encouraging positive lifestyle changes that could keep symptoms from becoming chronic diseases.
And the completely rational proposals to solve each of these problems are:
- Adopt a Single-Payer Health Plan
- Liability Reform
- Electronic Medical Records
- Disallow Mass Marketing of Prescription Drugs
- Public Education
- Funding of Primary Care
Stay tuned to the end of the DVD where the single-payer plan is compared to a Prom Committee that can negotiate better prices, and more efficiently, than many payers each trying to contract for different services from a plethora of providers.
More information on the Single-Payer plan is available online at: Health Care Meltdown by Bob Lebow from Amazon.com, Single-Payer FAQ from pnhp.org/facts/singlepayer_faq.php, and Campaign for a National Health Program at cnhpnow.org.
The 48-minute DVD, Health, Money and Fear is by Dr. Paul Hochfeld and produced by Dr. Graham Walker. It is dated February 2009. Dr. Hochfeld can be reached at phochfeld @ msn.com. More information is available at ourailinghealthcare.com.