Ask the Filmmaker: Critical Condition’s Roger Weisberg

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Veteran filmmaker Roger Weisberg, who also made the 2006 POV film Waging a Living, turns his lens on uninsured Americans in Critical Condition to give us a powerful, eye-opening look at the health care crisis in America. In an election season in which 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. The film profiles four people — Joe, Karen, Hector and Carlos — who experience harrowing stories of battling critical illnesses without health insurance. It is through their eyes and words that we experience 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 airs on most PBS stations on Tuesday, September 30 at 9 PM. (Schedules vary, so check your local listings.) The entire film will stream on the POV website from October 1 to November 11, 2008.

Director Roger Weisberg says that he chose a cinema verité style for filming Critical Condition because personal stories can be more convincing than statistics. In his letter to viewers, Roger says:

Instead of interviewing experts or policy makers who would tell you what to think, I wanted these disturbing stories to unfold through the experiences and words of our primary subjects. I believe that these narratives of uninsured patients in the midst of their own medical crises will engage viewers far more effectively than yet another recitation of grim facts and statistics.
No matter how staggering it is to learn that 22,000 Americans die every year simply because they lack health insurance, that number is still only an abstract statistic. However, a single uninsured individual who dies prematurely after you’ve grown attached to him is a tragedy.

Read more from Roger’s interview, in which he speaks about what he wants viewers to do after they watch his film.

Do you have a question for Roger? Enter it in the comment field below, and he will select a few questions and answer them the week of October 6, 2008.

Added October 22, 2008: Roger answered viewer questions about about what they can do to help, alternative health care and what role personality responsibility should play in the lives of uninsured Americans. Read his responses to viewer questions.

Ruiyan Xu
Ruiyan Xu
Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.
  • Robert Schultz M.D.

    FOREIGNID: 17100
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Mr. Weisberg: I will view your film, “critical condition” tonight, but I know very well what I will be seeing in advance. Having worked as a Pediatrician for more than forty years in institutions such as Bellevue Hospital in New York. The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimre and finally at major regional hospitals in south Florida, I have had the misfortune to observe the decline in sesitivity of healthcare providers, failing of a culture of safety and a pre-occupation with bottom line medical care. The effects of all this relate not only to those uninsured patients but to all patients who enter the healthcare arena. Waiting for the healthcare industry to change will take an endless amount of time with many more lives being wasted in the meantime.
    A movement spearheade by a populist group, representing the consumer can demand the changes necessary to improve healthcare in this country.
    Showing this film to folks like me is the equivalent of preaching to the choir. Show the film to those that parade through the halls of congress; our representatives who have guaranteed health care for life!
    Thank you for all your efforts on behalf of those in need.
    Sincerely,
    Robert B. Schultz M.D.

  • ruth Scott

    FOREIGNID: 17101
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    How do we get those who can make changes for the uninsured when they have access to state of the art medical care and have no idea what it is like to have little or no hope?

  • ruth Scott

    FOREIGNID: 17102
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    How do we get those who can make changes for the uninsured when they have access to state of the art medical care and have no idea what it is like to have little or no hope?

  • Margo Bondi

    FOREIGNID: 17103
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I knew our health care system is in dire need of change but after watching “Critical Condition” I became outraged and appalled. I even started crying watching these beautiful people suffer with thier conditions with no recourse and hitting a “dead end” each time trying to get the necessary medical help they so needed.
    I am tired of writing to my congressman and Washington only for my comments to fall on deft ears…this has been going on for too long. What can I and others “really” do to help change this antiquated system we call health care?

  • gary

    FOREIGNID: 17104
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    great film to bad it wont change a dang thing im grown man and this movie mad me cry. And even more saddening is the fact this will not probably not change in my lifetime.Remember Bill clinton how he was elected based mostly on his preachin and preachin to change health care? Im 42 and cannot think of a president that didnt base some of their campaign on healthcare soley because thats what people want to hear and as we all know absolutly NOTHIN came about. Its almost a joke how people fall for the lip service theese candidates dish out every 4 years. they will say anything we want to hear to get elected. They are rich people who want power its a great ego trip to get elected.Sure they will give a tiny effort in their first term because they will want to get reelected but nothing of any substance.Then in the 2nd term like EVERY other president the word healthcare will never pass their lips againElect Obama or elect Mccaine but one thing is certain NOTHING will change.Im not jaded im a realist . im not stupid i can remember every election promise over all the years and i can see where we are now.The only possible answer i can think of would be to fire everyone from president down and start over the present government is to far gone to expect it can be repaired by replacing a few people each year. its a rich mans game strictly for their pompass ego purposes not for “we the people” like it was intended. so i say obama or mccain or ron paul…who cares!!!!!! itll be more of the same. if you dont believe me then your in denial about ALL the proof from campaigns-to-presidencies past

  • Scarlett

    FOREIGNID: 17105
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I do not consider what we get here as health care-it is sick care at best and most-and then only if you can afford it! You mention the stats on where we stand in longevity, infant mortality…etc-but is anyone looking at what those countries are doing that are in the top ten? That way we could look for a solution as to what we will have to do to get better-no need to reinvent the wheel! Look at what they did, then adapt and adopt. When it comes to something as important as our health, there is no such thing as plagiarism-in this case it would be a good thing. Also, I bet when it comes to preventive and alternate medicine, we are dead last or at least in the bottom ten, which is a direct correlation with our rankings in the other categories. While I do not get the best care in the military (I never knew that Motrin was a cure-all for any and everything, and many of the military doctors truly ‘practice’ on us-before going to that swank position at a big ‘renowned’ hospital), I am still thankful for what care I do get as it beats anything else that is out there. This was an intense eye opener and I prayed for them all and vowed to stop complaining about a myriad of things. PS-pls tell me where I can look at the stats and compare countries with the best health care-the real kind-so maybe as I am approaching my retirement years, I can consider that I might be better off to move to Sweden or Germany, so I can be treated with some dignity and not just another bothersome person with too little or no health insurance, not worth anyone’s time unless I am about to croak dead at the emergency room entrance-and then only to treat me minimally, to keep me from croaking and getting smacked with a big law suit for denial of care. I am sure Hippocrates would turn around his own staff in agony over the state of our ‘sick’ affairs.
    Then again-as I was watching Boston Legal on Mon night-the big pharma mega-concerns have no real interest in seeing us healthy. That would cost them way too much. It is in their best interest for us to stay sick-preferably with a chronic disease. It guarantees long-term (chronic) income.

  • Scarlett

    FOREIGNID: 17106
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I do not consider what we get here as health care-it is sick care at best and most-and then only if you can afford it! You mention the stats on where we stand in longevity, infant mortality…etc-but is anyone looking at what those countries are doing that are in the top ten? That way we could look for a solution as to what we will have to do to get better-no need to reinvent the wheel! Look at what they did, then adapt and adopt. When it comes to something as important as our health, there is no such thing as plagiarism-in this case it would be a good thing. Also, I bet when it comes to preventive and alternate medicine, we are dead last or at least in the bottom ten, which is a direct correlation with our rankings in the other categories. While I do not get the best care in the military (I never knew that Motrin was a cure-all for any and everything, and many of the miltary doctors truly ‘practice’ on us-before going to that swank position at a big ‘renowned’ hospital), I am still thankful for what care I do get as it beats anything else that is out there. This was an intense eye opener and I prayed for them all and vowed to stop complaining about a myriad of things. PS-pls tell me where I can look at the stats and compare countries with the best health care-the real kind-so maybe as I am approaching my retirement years, I can consider that I might be better off to move to Sweden or Germany, so I can be treated with some dignity and not just another bothersome person with too little or no health insurance, not worth anyones time unless I am about to croak dead on the emergency room entrance-and then only to treat me minimally, to keep me from croaking and getting smacked with a big law suit for denial of care. I am sure Hippocrates would turn around his own staff in agony over the state of our ‘sick’ affairs.
    Then again-as I was watching Boston Legal on Mon night-the big pharma mega-concerns have no real interest in seeing us healthy. That would cost them way too much. It is in their best interest for us to stay sick-preferably with a chronic disease. It guarantees long-term (chronic) income.

  • Pam

    FOREIGNID: 17107
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    the only answer is HR 676 – national non-profit health care. get rid of the insurance companies. half of bankruptcies caused by medical bills and half of those have health insurance. they deny care to make money. they cost physicians a bundle to process claims, etc. HR 676 would save lives, money and the economy. call your representatives and ask or demand that they support HR 676. and the government would not stand between you and your physican like Senator McCain says. the government would simply collect the money from us via payroll taxes and pay the bills. one dollar out of every three dollars we spend on health care goes to the insurance companies! please call congress and tell them support HR 676. thank you.

  • Pam

    FOREIGNID: 17108
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    hr 676 is the answer – national non-profit health care. please call congress and demand that they support this bill and learn the truth, not the insurance companies’ spin, about HR 676 by going to Health Care Now or Physicians for National Health Care or California Nurses for HR 676. thank you.

  • Peter J. Sullivan

    FOREIGNID: 17109
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Excellent film! Besides the need for insurance, there is also many alternative treatments that would be significantly less expensive to implement. For example, I saw a video of a man who had diabetes and had gangrene in his foot. I believe it was in Korea. (Like the gentleman in the video.) He was told that it would have to be amputated. He was planning on committing suicide since he knew he would be unable to work again. Fortunately, he was sent to a hospital that treated his condition with only water. His foot was soaked in acidic water and had to drink many quarts of alkaline water. This healed his foot and he was able to walk out of the hospital after only weeks of treatment. I showed this video to a podiatrist who has recommended amputation to several clients. His response to my video was that he was not interested. Obviously because he can make more money by doing the amputations.
    If you are interested, I will try to help you get access to this video. How much pain and suffering could be avoided if this could be done in the United States? Sadly, this will never happen. But lets bring it to the public and the medical establishment’s attention.
    Thank you.
    Peter J. Sullivan

  • Ana Campodonico

    FOREIGNID: 17110
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Excellent film!!!! i cry like a baby and like i said in the blog , early today i met a woman with her son at a dentist office and i saw her cry trying to cover her face because she did’nt have insurance and she coudnt afford the treatment for her boy,trying begging for a payment plan for her son,and when i talk to her she told me the she works full time and her husband too,but their jobs doesn’t offer insurance,they have an old car,and they make enough to pay for rent,car insurance…and i felt so bad and mad and sick to my stomach…having to see this woman crying beacause she can do nothing about it,is time we wake up and change this……..

  • BEA

    FOREIGNID: 17111
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.

  • Adam Kirkland

    FOREIGNID: 17112
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Is there any way I can send a few dollars to Carlos?

  • Renee Satterlee

    FOREIGNID: 17113
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    why is it that in this country we have the right to legal representation and if we can not afford a lawyer one will be appointed to us? Should it not be the same with medical care. Lawyers are required to represent so many cases for free(depending on their community). They still can afford to live quite nicely. Why cant physicians treat just 1 patient per month for free. It most certainly wont alter their lifestyle. It is sad to think of people from other countries who think this is the land of golden opportunities. Our health care is worse than many 3rd world countries.

  • Chris

    FOREIGNID: 17114
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This program was a heart-breaker. And a fury-maker. When in blazes are we going to be organized enough to have the collective voices of Americans heard AND heeded????!! What kind of grassroots ACTION can individuals take to get the ball rolling??? And that failing; kindly name the top ten countries & their immigration processes. Enough is enough & we are WAAAY past there.
    And I have another question that puzzles my sense of responsibility. The man with the spinal disease had no insurance, three kids – and a pregnant wife. I don’t get why people with inadequate means to care for themselves continue to have children they also cannot care for when/if the need arises. Can someone explain this to me??? Call me an ogre, but I believe this “Verboten” subject needs a program of its own.

  • Ivan

    FOREIGNID: 17115
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    If there is a glimmer of hope for us, it’s in the form of a man named Barack Obama. He really cares.
    Please, no more republicans! They are the most evil thing to happen to the USA. Worse than the dictators in some countries, because they commit their crimes openly and still get away with murder. Pry them out, and replace them with a real American.

  • Dana Mehen

    FOREIGNID: 17116
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for making this documentary!Many people do not understand the difficulty, fear and uncertainy of living daily life without medical insurance.I grew up in a union household and then as an adult worked for a major airline for 25 yrs. and had medical insurance for myself and family.When I became ill from two fire accidents and the DDT pesticide spraying of the aircraft also the other extremely toxic air quality issues onboard the aircraft, the company launched a harrassment campaign ,which included 24 around the clock surveillance.They filmed my two daughters 11/15yrs. on a picnic with their Father..alleged that I was the 15 yr, old(I’m 45 yrs.) and terminated our med. ins.!!!I am very ill and never left the bed and was not in the surveillance video.I have been in Federal court fighting my employer over this issue it has been 8 yrs. without med ins.I have medicare thankfully but my family has been without. I am pro se (without an attorney)My oldest daughter has a kidney disease along with my illness they got rid of us!!!It’s done everyday.We paid Cobra for 18 mos. @475.00 mo. and they never paid the medical bills and won;t have to as they are”self Insured” which means you cannot file any complaint for not paying the med. bills It’s very upsetting!! Iworked hard for the benefits!!!!They will get away with it,Non union Delta Airlines. Dana Mehen

  • BEA

    FOREIGNID: 17117
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for your efforts.
    I have a grown child with disabilites & our last year our state started a state run health plan which i planed to sign into .
    until our govenor cut funding to the dissabled by discrimanating & therefor
    i had to supplement my daughters houseing = i then could not afford the health care then & soon after i learned i had cancer = Thank god for the hospital saveing my life but & Doctors because i had no insurance it cost taxpayers half a million dollars ! where is the reason in making poor people evan poorer ? just spread the cost so other people have to pay ? . should i be ashamed of the system or am i missing the real reason why thngs are this way .

  • Joel Gordon

    FOREIGNID: 17118
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    The pervasive extent of human suffering appalled and saddened me. Health care providers are fun not by compassion health care providers like doctors and nurses, but by Administrators trained in economics. Schools are the same: Administrators set curricums based on economics not on human beings. We could spend twice the amount but unless the system is “humanity centered” it won’t matter. Until we stop looking at health care as profit centers,—and making funding decision thereupon based—no plan will change it.
    Unhealthy uncared for human beings cost us more money everyday in every way. The Abolitionist Frederick Douglas said it best: “it is cheaper and better to build strong children than to repair broken men.” The French system is the best, because all patients see doctors on demand. Repeat: ALL PATIENTS WHO NEED CARE SEE PATIENTS ON DEMAND.
    All the gobbledygook about socialized this and expensive that is meaningless. A country takes care of its own….and we don’t. It is a shameful shameful thing.
    The end product is what counts and we need to move backwards so that the system creates and moves towards the end product, to wit: Every human being who suffers sees a doctor within a reasonable amount of time. Sure, each family can pay, but it, like taxes should be based on ability to pay and it should change as family needs and conditions change.
    Economically dirven health care is wrong. The care isn’t getting to the people who need it the most which signifies a failed system. Start from the end product, and move backwards.
    Joel Gordon

  • larry stegr

    FOREIGNID: 17119
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    as depressing as it was for those individuals to live and die through their exprericiencs, Why did not you and PBS not pick up the tab for the necessary medicines and COBRA payments these people needed? Did they get any monies for this film? Or was there a deal between these people and PBS not to pay them so a story can be told about health insurance.
    IT seem one sided about private insurance not stepping up, when in fact Medicare a government PROGRAM didnt step up or did Social Securty.
    People in this country think that government can step up are not realistic. Via mortgage Fannie Mae meltdown.
    IT would have been a better program if you had the courage to find out how government programs work and private insurance works and the currnet laws. I had taken out COBRA insurance when i left my company to start my own business. Durring that time my wife contracted cancer and died. Without the COBRA i would have been a victim like the ones on your program.
    There was a statement of 22,000 people dying prematurely because of no insurance. there are hundreds of thousands of people die each year with insurance. There are no guarnetees in LIFE. No insurance company saved my loved ones that passed away in my life time.
    We should all have health insurance because of the non competitive health markets. OF the 47 million, how many are here illegally in this number, how many decline to pay for insurance but could afford it but refused for material goods. There are jobs in america which dont pay very much to afford insurance and something at that level should be done. But people need to take responibility to have themselves insured. I sacrifice now for my insurance and i have a good job. God have peace on those loved ones left behind in their crisis and i hope the money made from this program pays for all their outstanding debts and give them a new road to health, happiness and prosperity.

  • David B

    FOREIGNID: 17120
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I want to congratulate Roger Weisberg on putting the health care crisis in stark personal terms. I have moved from sheer frustration to outrage and will make all of my friends aware of this documentary and seek political change. The only thing that is universal now is dissatisfaction with a system that is not only inadequate but cruel and uncaring. People most in need are bled of their resources by collection agencies while suffering or dying, when pre-emptive early care might have resolved their problem.
    The problem extends beyond the uninsured and underinsured. Those who have resources anxiously cling to the safety net of their own employment or the employment of a spouse. I know many high-level professionals who have worked for 20 years and cannot get private health insurance after a change in employment situation. I was unable to get private health insurance after leaving my job even though I am in the best physical condition of my life. I train for triathlons, yet because of a shoulder injury less than a year ago, now completely resolved, underwriters refused my application.
    We need to mobilize to fix a national disgrace – not just inadequate care and coverage but the runaway costs, bureaucracy and inefficiency.
    The way to take on the health care industry is through grass roots awareness transformed to political action and a transparent political process. Thank you again for this documentary.

  • Jonathan Radding

    FOREIGNID: 17121
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Roger Weisberg,
    I had already began to ask how I might be able to affect some change in healthcare in the United States after having been through my own crisis.
    I am drafting a document to my State Seantor. I am trying to get peoples assistance with crafting a bill to oversee how the State of Maryland spends it budget on healthcare.
    I have personally been the recipiant of more than 500,000 dollars from state funded healthcare.
    It turned out that I was not diagnosed correctly by over 18 physicians. Each doctor used the previous doctors diagnosis.
    I suffered immensly because of their lack of thouroughness, and due diligence.
    It turned out that I actaully had no illness at all. All of the symtoms I experienced were due to side effects of medication.
    In the bill I am proposing to my Senator for whom I am already corresponding with I am suggesting a oversight committe be set up for the state to monitor expenditures.
    I need your assistance with resources for critical date regarding this.
    I was cycled through the system so many times and I want to help stop the madness.

  • Chris T.

    FOREIGNID: 17122
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I just have one question and that is where does Alternative health care fit into this equation? Many Alternative health care options are available and are a great avenue for preventative care. Chiropractic for one is a great choice and is relatively low cost. Many low-income families could use Chiropractors as their primary care physician and be referred out to MD’s when something serious came up. This would help a great number of patients on the front end of care before they progress with a disease.

  • Keith Dunford

    FOREIGNID: 17123
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    No doubt that our representatives in congress give lip service to fixing the health care system in America that protects all who become ill and deserve the best care that the wealthiest country on the planet can and should provide. Our representatives have a healthcare plan – and it could be extended to all. However, let us not fall into the trap of nationaized service as in Europe and particularly the UK, where a two tiered health care system operates. This is jokingl refered to as “nash or “cash” if you can fford topay you get the best, if not you are subject to inneficient, sub-standard governemnt run service where you may wait years for treatment that is available here in days or weeks.

  • Lori Bell

    FOREIGNID: 17124
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    All I can say as an RN. Is that I am deeply saddened everyday by the lack of coverage to all including the ones with insurance. People pay into their insurance thinking they are covered only to find out when they go to the hospital this “item” is not covered. Shame on insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and politicians. They ar driven by GREED and we all pay for it in the end. My heart is heavy with the lack of love and care for our fellow man. We are all created equal and should be treated as such.

  • Anthony Howe

    FOREIGNID: 17125
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I’m growing rather weary of “gotcha” documentaries that continue to erroneously refer to the 47 million uninsured. First, well over ten million of these “uninsured” are immediately eligible for coverage but have simply failed to enroll. Usually these healthy uninsureds have little or no need for services. Second, the explosion in insurance mandates have driven the cost of insurance high enough that people, usually younger and healthier, are choosing to direct their dollars elsewhere (joining the uninsured but doing so with careful deliberation about the costs and benefits). Third, the population of uninsured is not stable nor stagnant. Many of the uinsured regain coverage as the result of new employment and, naturally, many formerly insured lose coverage as they lose their jobs. There is constant churn. The point is that nearly one third of the 47 “uninsured” will regain some coverage within one year. So with these qualifications that 47 million figures sure looks a whole lot less eye-popping; it includes temporarily uinsured, unenrolled eligible for coverage and those capable of affording insurance that believe it’s a bad deal for them to join the risk pool.
    Is all fine then? Of course not. But we cannot honestly debate a solution (e.g. sharply rationing care for the last 6 months of life where we spend over 30% of our total healthcare dollars) unless we’re honest about the problem. Thus far, few have been willing to abandon sound-bites and half-truths. This documentary continues this pattern.

  • Rhea

    FOREIGNID: 17126
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watched the program and thank you for airing it. I was just as saddened and outraged as I was when I watched Michael Moore’s “Sicko.”
    There was a program after “Critical Condition” entitled “RX For Change” with both the McCain and Obama people discussing the health care proposals from both candidates. Both candidates are looking at this issue from the standpoint of getting health care “coverage” for everyone. We all have to start looking at the real issue as regards health care in this country: Health care is big business. The insurance companies have complete control over our health care system. Both candidates know that the insurance companies are rich and have a lot of lobbying power and they know that whatever plan they come up with must include a way for the insurance companies to still make profits.
    America is the only major industrialized country that does not have nationalized medicine. Instead, because the insurance companies have literally bought our government and politicians, this country’s health care system is in major crises. We can be in denial and put as many bandaids on this problem as we want to but as long as insurance companies are involved in our health care, people will still lose their homes, their life savings and their lives because they got sick in a system that has absolutely nothing to do with the health of the people in this country, and everything to do with building big profits for rich and powerful insurance coroprations.
    I believe that when it comes to health care, insurance companies should be taken completely out of the picture and health care should be nationalized. However, I wouldn’t know the first thing about what steps need to be taken to work toward nationalizing health care in this country. Any suggestions?

  • Charles McEniry

    FOREIGNID: 17127
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for this remarkable film about the uninsured. What struck me most is the importance of hope in each of our lives. It is what gets us through the most difficult of times. Unfortunately, this nation’s health care system has taken more than just our money, it has stripped so many people of hope. It is interesting how many providers accept the assignment of benefits as defined by Medicare and other payers. Medical bills can be heavily discounted for those who have insurance. For those without insurance, there are no discounts, just a bill that no one could ever afford or pay. Medicare and insurance companies have leverage, power and money. They call the shots and get what they want. The poor bloke living marginally at the lower end of the pay scale, has no leverage, no power and no money. How did we ever let a health care system become the monster it is? It seems that when Blue Cross Blue Shield came into being, health care was about value for the dollar spent. Now it is about services and how much money can be made.

  • Melissa Bright

    FOREIGNID: 17128
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was embarrased by our governemt after watching last night. There is no way this should be happening! Is this governments “Polite” was of having population control?!?! I am for Barak Obama, although I think they need to reconsider McCain’s appraoch to healthcare. I am currently on the AHCCCS program here, in Arizona since I am low income, family of 5, and a fulltime married college stuent, trying to succed as a future special education teacher, living off of a income of $13,000. The AHCCCS PROGRAM IS A SUCCESS, and without it I would have been lost durning my 2 month stay in the hospital last year before the arrival of our identical twins. REMEMBER the program works, we need to incorporate it around the US. Now what about DENTAL? That is our families biggest concern. We need care but have no coverage. WHERE DO WE GO? Am I supposed to just let my teeth fall out since the care is too expensive? I would lose my job, etc…. WE NEED DENTAL TOO…….. Thank you Roger for the eye opener! Now if you can cure the dental issue you would be a miracle provider!!!!

  • BOB

    FOREIGNID: 17129
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Remember what the French, Russians, and early Americans settlers did back in the day, they got rid of all the fat cat government people and had a REVOLUTION, and socialized medicine…FOR ALL!

  • Phil

    FOREIGNID: 17130
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    The Goverment sees it like this: if you cannot afford insurance than your not making that much money and not paying that much in taxes so you are “EXPENDABLE”. Gov sees it like ”We don’t need these people” they are a drain on the system and are EXPENDABLE just like Germany did in the 40′s
    “The rich get richer while the poor get poorer”

  • Jim

    FOREIGNID: 17131
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Even better, I have an answer to your question. What happens if you fall sick and are one of 5% of people legally in America without health insurance? Why, you go get medical treatment. And what if you encounter the myth that medical treatment is not given to the uninsured? Why, ka-ching, you’ve just been put on the path to lawsuit riches, yee-ha!
    Okay, I do have a question after all. What if you choose to not pay for health insurance but instead choose to have four kids years after your debilitating illness start?

  • Cyndi

    FOREIGNID: 17132
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was disappointed at how one sided the documentary was. As a health insurance agent for small businesses, I’m always shocked at employees who choose to drive a fancy car and keep gas in their boats, yet they refuse to pay $10 per week for quality health insurance provided by their employer. In the case of Carlos, when you make a personal choice to continue to procreate and can’t afford to provide health care for yourself let alone your family, it is difficult for me to have compassion. Our citizens need to take responsiblity for our actions and stop asking the government for assistance.
    Don’t be fooled by the 47 million uninsured Americans number referenced by the media. Over 40% of that number are 18-34 year olds who choose not to covered. Over 20% of the 47 million make over $75,000 a year and can afford it, yet choose not to take it.
    I do agree that we need to do something, but let’s not forget the 257 MILLION Americans who currently have coverage. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

  • Katrina

    FOREIGNID: 17133
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    It’s a lovely and powerful film. So empathetic and for that reason both heartbreaking and infuriating. I echo the earlier person, who asked what can we do? I mean really. I work in medicine though I am not an MD and this question flummoxes me. A new administration is likely useful, writing reps is likely minimally useful, but beyond that, how to effect systemic change so that doctors are not having to fight for the Carlos of the world one at a time. I disagree with the earlier commenter who said the film won’t change anything. All of these efforts raise awareness and with that momentum things do change, eventually… or so I have to believe,

  • Paul

    FOREIGNID: 17134
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Great Film Roger, this is the serious version of the film “SICKO” I am a 49year American male who recently found myself in a situation like Carlos and was in deep trouble and nearly died, I was in the movie biz for over twelve years and lost my SAG insurance cause I didn’t MAKE enough money the last couple years.repeat cause I didn’t make enough money the last couple years so I was cut off and screwd. Small business people,actors,you name it cannot afford insurance from privte insurance co. because its to damn expensive so to all you people who think the employer saves the day, its not true, there is to many independant business people out there that can’t make those high payments.

  • SM

    FOREIGNID: 17135
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A large number of posters seem to be commenting on the size of Carlos’ family and his wife’s pregnancy before he went for surgery. I do not think that is the point of the documentary, although I agree with your statements. It does seems a bit ridiculous as a taxpayer seeing families with so many children who are then crying for any sort of financial aid. On that same note, if we are discussing large families, then why not obesity? However, was that really the point of this documentary? I think not.
    As a Canadian having just watched your film, I have never felt more thankful or proud to be a Canadian citizen. My heart ached and I was in tears for these struggling people and their families.
    I pray that in the upcoming U.S. election there are some serious CHANGES made and Corporate America will not be the only population benefiting from the government.

  • EL

    FOREIGNID: 17136
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    What happened to Hector? Did he ever get a new prosthesis? I was so impressed by how he kept going and going trying to find work.

  • carlos and keysha

    FOREIGNID: 17137
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    What can we do to help we seen the film and brought us to tears its so sad
    people get treated that way.This film reminds me of michael moores film sicko
    Are they trying to pass a bill we can vote on, whats congress doing….anything
    This is an outrage how humans are handled because of insurance. WE ARE ALL EQUAL. No one deserves any type of treatment patients in this film received.
    I just pictured any one of my family members in there situation, just to imagine what they went through HURTS We pray for all the people in the film in hopes that god will look down in sadness and bring them happiness and help them to grieve

  • Tom Spring

    FOREIGNID: 17138
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Excellent film. Deeply moving and unsettling.
    Where can I find the references/authorities to support the statistics given early on in your film about the sad state of health care in the United States compared to other countries?
    Thank you for an incredible and much needed documentary!

  • DR

    FOREIGNID: 17139
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for the documentary! It was good to see that some people realize the impact of not having healthcare, unlike Cyntha above. At least those who “choose” not to pay the $10 for healthcare have a choice. I had health insurance until a year and a half ago, and then became too ill to hold down a full-time job. I still try to work as much as I can but benefits are not offered to me. I’ve tried every resource I could find and those that doctors have tried to find themselves. Without treatment, I may not be around next year. I’d gladly pay for individual health insurance, if a health insurance company would accept me, especially with my pre-existing conditions. If they would have, I would’ve been able to receive preventative care in the early stages of my illness.
    Thank you Roger for all your hard work. Much appreciated!

  • ron edge

    FOREIGNID: 17140
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You should mention how much money is spent on: 1… Insurance executive salaries, perks and bonuses. 2… The amount of money paid to stock holders (making sure you point out that THEIR profits go up the LESS that is paid out to their “customers” which means that their REAL “customers” are the stockholders). 3… The number of workers, and the total cost of hiring them, who spend their time attempting to prove that their company shouldn’t have to pay anything.

  • Doug Count

    FOREIGNID: 17141
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To: Richard Weisberg, Director, “Critical Condition”
    From: Doug Count
    Oct. 7, 2008: Some comments about the P.O.V. show called “Critical Condition,” which aired on PBS on Tuesday, 09/30/08. The program moved me to tears — tears of sadness, anger, outrage and frustration Why can’t this country reach a humane and civilized consensus as to how to solve this medical crisis. Is this medical crisis just a symptom of this country’s lack of universal health care, or is this medical crisis just one symptom of a much larger problem? I cast my vote for the latter.
    Here’s why. It’s another example of how this country’s ruling class have moved away from “for the people.” Is it related to the recent bailout? Absolutely! Whether it’s the current medical crisis or the bailout plan, I see the same lack of caring and understanding. How about bailing out the underdogs instead of the overdogs? The real “bailout” is that we have bucketed our common sense and then “bailed out” our sense through the nearest window. How have our values and social consciousness become so twisted that we as a nation have turned our backs on the very “common, ordinary” people who fought so hard to achieve this nation’s independence, and thereby established our great equality: “By the People + For the People = AMERICA.” I believe this equation is even more powerful than Einstein’s. When we truly understand this we can build and drop a Humane Bomb on Washington. Then, this country needs to put usury laws back on the books. What do Usury Laws have in common with our Great American Equality? They are the Foundational Bedrock Principles of a civilized and humane American society. Without this solid foundation we are and have been walking on quicksand. With this solid foundation in place our social consciousness will shift so that our insurmountable medical crisis will be seen for what it is: a surmountable conscious and social crisis that we as a nation MUST Overcome!
    This country does not need a big dose of mega vitamins. It needs a Mega Dose of “Founding Fathers Fortitude Elixir.” (not foundering fathers like we have now). The formula is locked away deep inside our hearts. Lets open our hearts and restore the “for the people / by the people” balance this country used to have.
    This is my short list.
    Sincerely,
    Doug Count