What’s Your POV About ”Critical Condition’?

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Joe, Karen, Hector and Carlos are just four of the 47 million Americans who do not have health insurance. Their harrowing stories of battling critical illnesses without health insurance are portrayed in Roger Weisberg‘s film Critical Condition, which dramatizes how being uninsured can cost someone his job, health, home, savings and even his life.

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.

“It’s your money or your life,” Carlos Benitez says during the film. Carlos is an uninsured chef at a French restarurant. He has had a severe back deformity that has caused him 15 years of unbearable pain and taken seven inches off his height. Unable to afford a surgical procedure or the time away from work, Carlos resigns himself to a life of pain.

Dr. Patrick Dowling is the Chief of the Department of Family Medicine at UCLA. After meeting Carlos at a local health fair, Dr. Dowling arranges for a private orthopedic hospital and a team of surgeons to waive their $300,000 fees for Carlos’s operation. Dr. Dowling is “very pleased that we could help this one individual out,” but laments that “we can’t do endless surgery on uninsured patients; it begs a national solution.”

Karen Dove’s deteriorating health forces her to quit her job as an apartment manager; she loses her health insurance as a result. She begins to have severe, recurring abdominal pains, but the doctors she contacts refuses to treat uninsured patients. A year later, after she finally finds a gynecologic oncologist willing to treat her, she is diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer, which is almost always fatal. Karen says, “It shouldn’t matter if you got a $20,000-a-year job, your life is just as important as somebody else’s that makes a lot of money.” Unfortunately, her story, as well as the stories of Joe, Hector and Carlos, make it clear that being uninsured in America when you’re sick makes life extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Have you ever been without health insurance? Were there any additional resources Joe, Hector, Carlos and Karen could have turned to? Why do you think the quality of health care in the U.S. is lagging, despite the fact that we spend more money on it than any other nation? What do you think the solution to the health care crisis is, and are either of the presidential candidates offering a legitimate solution? Share your thoughts about Critical Condition with us in the comments.

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.
  • pat

    FOREIGNID: 17144
    i saw this on channel 44 in boston last night, it is the best p.o.v. yet. makes you really sad, but hopeful that maybe obama can do something about this healthcare crisis that has been going on for much longer than the financial one. with about 2% as much media coverage.

  • Jennifer

    FOREIGNID: 17145
    Once again, this “documentary” is blatant political propaganda from your station, designed to turn people towards the candidates who will promise universal healthcare. Your station pretends to air factual information, and it is always, hopelessly politically biased. In Canada, where they have universal healthcare, people flock the Us for treatment – due to limited resources, only certain people get treatment – you cannot even pay for treatment if you are able to – the governement decides who gets what treatment, where, when, from who. Many people die from simple, highly curable things because they cannot get treatment because the government will not LET them. Universal healthcare is NOT the answer. We should put helathcare back in the hands of the individual – not the government, not the HMO’s. People should be able to make their own decisions about healthcare, put their hard earned money into individually chosen benefits spending accounts based on their own familiy’s needs. Each family coud decide on their own how to save for healthcare, which type of service they need. This way, people would not have to pay huge premiums, but could pay just for the type of service and coverage they need. This would be more affordable than the huge premiums that we fork over to let the HMO’s make healthcare decisions for our family. We should also stop paying for medical care for illegal aliens who do not pay taxes -this money should be reserved for US cicizens who cannot afford healthcare. Universal healthcare sounds great in theory. But from a practical standpoint, it cannot work, and NO ONE will get quality medical care. Taxes would skyrocket, and only a fraction of the population would recieve care. And the government would decide who recieved the care. Further, the government will pay doctors so little, that people will not want to be doctors or medical researchers anymore, and there will not be smart, dedicated, life-saving doctors anymore. The whole medical system will fall apart as it has in communist countries. The healthcare of the country, and the country itself, is much more at risk with a nationalized healthcare system. The answer is to totally privatize healthcare – no HMO’s, no government – just each individual/family. Then, without waste and corruption that is rampant in the HMO system and government, most people could afford healthcare, and as a country, we could afford to offer medical care to those who really can’t afford it.

  • Cho

    FOREIGNID: 17146
    I am catching POV on channel 25 in Cleveland. Unfortunately I believe the man with ankylosing spondylitis was not given the proper advice to go see a rheumatologist rather than to pursue a surgical solution. We now have good medicines that can control the inflammation in the spine and provide symptomatic relief. I wish you could pass this information on to him.

  • Robert

    FOREIGNID: 17147
    Jennifer is obviously a mouthpiece for the medical insurance industry. This documentary shows exactly what the corporate, for-profit medical industrial complex does to people. It is morally bankrupt. It is evil. Insurance only wants to cover healthy people who don’t need medical treatment. As soon as you get sick, they yank your coverage and the medical industrial complex sucks up everything you own, have owned, or ever hope to own. Ultimately, it can cost you your life. The fact that this kind of thing goes on in what used to be the richest country in the world is just a disgrace. And the callous comments by people who obviously have never dealt with it are just beyond shameful. They argue against national healthcare. They raise the specter of rationing. Care is already rationed in this country based solely on your ability to pay. And pay. And pay. Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. None of the candidates is offering a true solution; as long as a single-payer system is off the table, as long as insurance companies’ profits stand between people and the basic care they need, there will be no solution. For a real solution to this nightmare, check out Physicians for a National Healthcare Program at http://www.pnhp.org/

  • Russ

    FOREIGNID: 17148
    I live in Canada. Here we have a health care system that is flawed, yes, and some who do not need critical care have to wait. ER waits are an issue. Bed shortages are an issue. The costs? Minimal compared to similar services in the U.S., and that is the difference. I pay for my health care through my taxes KNOWING that if I need to access the system, it is there. Greed is the only thing that prevents a workable universal health care system in your country – greed of the HMOs, drug companies, insurance companies, suppliers, and on and on. This is your national disgrace! Forget the Wall St bailout, forget the volatility of the stockmarket. People are dying in your country for the lack of a universal health care system…Shame, shame on you!

  • jeanette

    FOREIGNID: 17149
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    I’ve been watching your heartbreaking special on health care. These are seriously ill individuals that require medical care. Unfortunately, there are little or no resources available to them.
    Part of the problem we see in the emergency department is overcrowding. We are absolutely drowning in patients that DO NOT require emergency care, but require a clinic. Patients often present with extremely MINOR issues resulting in depleted resources for those that truly need care.
    Many patients have not made any attempt to treat their symptoms at home, ie Tylenol/Motrin for new onset fever or minor aches from unusual activity. Vomiting once is NOT a life threat!! Two episodes of diarrhea is NOT a life threat. Chronic migraines, while uncomfortable, is NOT a life threat!! Superificial cuts to head, hand, knees, etc is NOT a life threat. Obtaining a pregnancy test is NOT a life threat (Yes, many Care source patients utilize the ER to obtain “free” pregnancy tests. Clue….birth control is cheaper!!).
    Take some responsiblity. Stop wasting health care dollars on every little variation from perfect health by running to the emergency room! Care source and Medicare patients are draining the system by over using it needlessly!
    Less abuse means more resources for everybody…………

  • Chico Colvard

    FOREIGNID: 17150
    I am outraged and embarrassed to live in a country that will spend 10 billion a month a war we should not be fighting and now prepared to spend an estimated 1 trillion dollars on a wall street bailout, but still can’t manage to insure those most in need. The problem seems to me that those in a decision making position simply can’t identify with those in need of health care, but very much identify with wall street. “Change” is public policy is much needed. Obama has a better health care plan than McCain. My vote is for Obama.

  • Jim

    FOREIGNID: 17151
    Just saw POV Critical Program on 25 out of Cleveland OH. Thank you for this forceful and personal look into a national tragedy. I would only hope that President Obama can make some strides towards correcting this problem.

  • marjorie

    FOREIGNID: 17152
    Jennifer, where do you get your information about Canada? It is not accurate. My family lived in Canada for 27 years, and the health care is universal and very good. This is the model the US should use. No, it is not perfect, but it is far and away supeirior to what we see happening here, as shown in this film.
    One of the big problems here is insurance. There is a huge industry siphoning money and giving no benefit. Eliminating the insurance industry, along with other factors, would allow everyone to get health care.
    Jennifer says: “Each family coud decide on their own how to save for healthcare, which type of service they need. This way, people would not have to pay huge premiums, but could pay just for the type of service and coverage they need.” This is unrealistic. Who knows what type of service and coverage they will need? Illness and injury come unbidden.
    As we see in this film, even middle-class, working people can’t afford the care they need, let alone people working minimum wage, or those who can’t work.
    A compassionate society should make the decision that all its members will recieve the health care they need without becoming destitute. The money is there. We need to look at the countries that do it and simply resolve to get it done here. The situation in this country is a disgrace.

  • Florence

    FOREIGNID: 17153
    Nobody seems to talk about forcing prices down, and putting a cap on them.
    In some europeans countries there is a cap on what procedures can cost.
    There is nothing wrong for doctors, heatlh care providers and hospitals to make a living, but the prices are COMPLETELY overblown, inflatory, outrageous causing DEATH, unnecessary pain, bankrupcy, loss of jobs to cheaper countries,…
    We have to change this addictive habit in this country to always want to suck as much money as we can from ANYBODY. It is our disease, our cancer.
    It got to stop and the culprits have to be forced to do so.

  • Chelle

    FOREIGNID: 17154
    I totally support universal health care, and have since even before Senator Hillary Clinton tried to extablish this while her husband was in office. Other countries have universal health care, and I believe that this is a basic right that all people are entiltled to. The cost to society is too great without coverage! I cannot stress the importance of this issue enough!

  • Debra

    FOREIGNID: 17155
    This film touch me deeply, because this is my story. I was diag. with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 45yr.old I have no health insurance, can’t get all the medication I need for my illness. I lost my home not being able to work. No help in Fayetteville, NC for disable people. Thank You

  • paul

    FOREIGNID: 17156
    I think this documentary adequately shows the dilemmas in current health care systems. I am an RN with decades of experience in those systems. The bigger issues of disease prevention and poverty prevention through sex education, diet education, family planning and other measures were not discussed. It was perhaps beyond the scope of the filmmakers. Looking at the film gives a view of a broken system with broken attitudes among consumers and providers. In dealing with universal health care, this society will have to deal with poor education, immigration, disparity in wealth. Those in power do not want to open that Pandora’s Box, because it will jeopardize their access to billions annually in corporate welfare. Some of that corporate welfare now goes into the pockets of insurance executives, hospital executives and some doctors.

  • samir

    FOREIGNID: 17157
    i watched the critical condition program and i saw Joe that died that could be prevented and cured and i was discussed that how people have no health insurance and die from all of the diseases and cancer problems that could be prevented and cured.im only 12 years old and i understand all of this.when i become a doctor im going to help the ones that have no health insurance.

  • Anita Brandariz

    FOREIGNID: 17158
    So is this the American dream? We are dinosaurs in the care of our citizens. Medical care in European countries surpass our profit driven system. Everything in the USA is about the bottom line for insurance companies. How can we continue to allow this to go on? Our “Democracy” is falling apart and the least able to afford it are the ones that will have to foot the bills.

  • ricky

    FOREIGNID: 17159
    just saw critical care on pbs,nasville,tn.my wife has tumor on brain no health care.

  • William

    FOREIGNID: 17160
    I saw Critical Condition tonight and found myself so outraged that our Government can offer to come up with 700 billion dollars to bail out wall street, but cannot find the money to care for it’s own citizens. It will be the greed of this this government and corporate America that will ultimately cause the downfall of this country. When will this government get it’s priorities straight?

  • http://www.montyland.net Stephen Montagna

    FOREIGNID: 17161
    Thank you so much for producing and airing such a touching, insightful piece.
    I am on the cusp of joining 47 million of my fellow Americans; I lost my job in May of ’07, and have been job hunting ever since. Though currently covered by COBRA via my former employer, that coverage runs out in Nov. of this year. I have applied to my previous insurer, the company that had covered me through two different employers for the past fifteen years, for a private policy and was denied coverage.
    I am thirty-nine years old. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, have no chronic illnesses, I exercise every single day (biking, ultimate frisbee, Aikido), and am in the best shape in my life. You would not find a better, healthier male in my age bracket. Being denied, as a white male, with a college education and middle-class lifestyle only illuminates for me how hard it must be for some of the people depicted in this piece, many of whom have dependents, more serious health issues, and perhaps more of an uphill battle in terms of education, access, and racism. It is incredibly sobering.

  • Jue

    FOREIGNID: 17162
    Does someone have an answer for why medications are so much more expensive in this country than in others? I’m not just talking of those from south of the border. Not all of these “cheaper” medications must be fakes. So…

  • Cheryl

    FOREIGNID: 17163
    Some of the reason behind Canada’s problem with their Universal Healthcare is the fact that the doctors can easily move to the states to make more money. If we had a universal care system where the rich aren’t the only ones getting adequate care we all would be better off. People would be able to get preventative care earlier when the costs are not as exhorbidant Seems to me we have lost sight as to what it truly means to be a nation where all are created equal. The almighty dollar unfortunately rules the day.
    To those who comment that this a left wing propaganda tool, I pray you never have to walk in the shoes of those in this movie.

  • Ted

    FOREIGNID: 17164
    Typical leftist/socialist PBS crap. There is never any balance to these supposedly unbiased programs. Millions of people are uninsured simply because they choose to be unisured. They would rather spend their discretionary income on other personal luxuries like cable TV, high speed internet, multiple cell phones and the upgraded car or SUV. We all have to make choices in life and set priorities. Many people are too often looking for the rest of society to constantly provide them benefits that they have no right to. I’m just curious why the left in this country doesn’t just set up a special fund to pay for health care for their constituency. There have to be millions of socialist leaning individuals who could afford to donate money to take care of the uninsured. Problem solved…right! Ah, but no. They leftist want to take it out on the backs of those who are responsible and work hard. The reality is that those people who really are poor and can’t afford heatlh insurance can get health insurance that is paid for by the government. It’s called Medicaid for you uninformed socialists. Everyone has the resources to buy it they just CHOOSE not to.

  • jason

    FOREIGNID: 17165
    its funny to me how some people can call this situation “propaganda”.. some people have never had to deal with this sort of thing like robert said. how can you make a judgement like that. i have insurance now but i didnt for several years i’m young and the workforce these days for us doesnt like to provide health insurance. even the small things i neeeded to go to the dr for were costing me tons of money and i still owe and always will owe some dr’s and hospitals money that there is no way i could pay unless i struck it rich. its sad when you work hard everyday to support your family and when you need help there is nobody there that can. if anyone can tell me how i can help make a difference please do and dont say get out and vote cause we all know thats a joke theres gotta be somethin we can do to let the government know we’re serious, short of a civil war of course

  • Judith

    FOREIGNID: 17166
    The sitatuation of healthcare in this country is beyond shameful. A great percentage of the insured are already covered under a single payer system, i.e. medicare, federal employees, etc. A single payer system is the best way to cover ALL americans. Single payer is NOT socialized medecine as many would have us believe. It woulld cost us much less in the long run, cover all our citizens and make us a much healthier nation.

  • Sarah

    FOREIGNID: 17167
    I watched the documentary, and I am outraged. I have been outraged for the last five years, because I have no health insurance. How could we let this continue? It is a travesty against the citizens of America. We need to come together to devise a solution to this problem. What is a country without its people?

  • Rhonda

    FOREIGNID: 17168
    Insightful program tonight. Everyone in this country should be outraged by the non-existence of a national health care plan.
    But, I am confused by Carlos, the man with the back deformity because he was struggling with paying for his surgery and medicines, although it appears his wife is very pregnant as he goes into his free surgery at the end of the show. If I can’t pay my bills I don’t think I’d be considering expanding my family.

  • Tom

    FOREIGNID: 17169
    I just finished watching the program. How sad. I am 53 and facing the same challenges. I have had insurance all my life and have been gainfully employed. I am now unemployed do to an injury at work. Instead of getting help with workmans comp they fired me. I had to have surgury and now facing the unknown. Have bills and cant find work. I dont want to lose what we have worked our whole life for. Married 32 years, raised a family, and now what. I want to work and have insurance. The whole system is broken, and I am afraid it is to far gone to fix. We need help. How do we get programs like this out to the people who make the decisions. Do they just not care. They have theirs so the heck with the rest of us? The fox watching the hen house.

  • J

    FOREIGNID: 17170
    Carlos and his FREE BACK SURGERY comment:
    I saw this tonight and very honestly I am angry. I am a 44 year old “healthy” ex athlete who lives with cronic back pain 24/7. I have health insurance and HUMANA has deemed me as uninsurable due to back disorders. I have been diagnosed with DDD. I am ANGRY that I see this person that is 100% uninsured and got a FREE 300,000 back surgery . Why is that fair? I have insurance and pay every month only to be rejected for my severe back disorder? SOMETHING must be done.
    PS No more fre hand outs to ANYONE that is not responsible to PAY for insurance. AND Congress needs to step up to the plate to defend anyone that DOES PAY FOR INSURANCE to be sure they get it when they need it.

  • Shirley

    FOREIGNID: 17172
    I was very sad and I cried watching this program. I can’t believe this is happening here in America…………….

  • Linda

    FOREIGNID: 17171
    If we don’t have preventative health care it isn’t even worth having any. Most deseases caught in the early stages can be cured. Most of us with no health insurance can’t really afford any type of payment for health insurance every penny we have goes to daily living. Why are we the riches country in the world and yet we can’t take care of our people’s health. It is just inexcuseable. Is the profits of private health care companies and drug companies more productive then having healthy citizens. Ever since privatization of healthcare started our country’s health has failed dramatically. What good is insurance when most of the bill isn’t even covered. EARLY DETECTION & PREVENTION IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOOD HEALTH. What is so complicated about paying less to care for someone then more after it is too late. Most insurance simply covers the DYING costs of the sick.anyway, what is the logic behind that (PROFITS)…DAH!!!

  • PAUL

    FOREIGNID: 17173
    I am a 50 year old male, highly educated with impeccable credentials out of what was once our manufacturing sector.
    Not too many years ago, one of my responsibilities was to direct the Human Resources and Benefits functions of a very well know international manufacturieng company. Each year I watched the premiums rise by 15-20% and each year we were financially forced to reduced coverage, incrase deductibles and pass more and more of the ever increasing cost of insurance to our employees.
    That was 15 years ago. Today I own a small company that struggles to provide for my family and our limited employee base. My wife, a teacher of 20 years works in a nearby school system as a language teacher. Years ago the decision was made to swtch our familes medical coverge to the school systems plan. Each year more of the same; reduced coverage, increased premiums, and higher deductibles for basic medical care. The school system long ago gave up providing any dental benefits.
    My brother, a physician blames the insurance companies;, the insurance companies blame the drug companies and providers, and so on and so on.
    Socialized medicine appears to be the only answer to cut through the bull and get us back onto a reasonable platform. My brother argues that there will be lines, I say that atleast you’ll have the knowledge that you are qued up in one of those lines with an expectation for competent care.
    The winners, the majority of the US population, The losers the financial planners of these overpaid group of physicians. Nowehere else in the developed world are physicians put on such a financial pedestal.
    Time for change!
    For over 15 years henearly 15 years this spiraling out , and larger to switch thc My brother, a MD pecialist My wife, is

  • Karen

    FOREIGNID: 17174
    Why is that in our country we wait until a crisis before anything really gets the attention it needs? Health care costs are outrageous and even those like me who make 50,000 a year have trouble paying my medical bills. I have 2 kids and between the 3 of us, with insurance, have monthly drug costs of over 300 dollars. Then I have medical copays and deductibles on top of what I pay for the actual health insurance! We are being punished for using the health care system! I am also a nurse, and pts are coming in sicker and sicker because they cannot afford the care. It is sad that people who have state health insurance and dont work get everything covered, yet those like me who work every day are struggling to cover the costs of insurance! I wish the politicians lived in my shoes for awhile. Maybe they would truly understand! Something needs to change–even a little change would be better than doing nothing!

  • Richard G

    FOREIGNID: 17175
    I am a 50yr old disabled Vet, I have had 7 spinal fusions to repair a problem sustained while on the job. Workers Comp waited for several years to address the problem. My spinal surgen told me point-blank if the problem had been addressed earlier that most of the surgies could have been avoided. Now I am 100% disabled and in constant pain. Social Security, after numerous appeals (2 1/2 yrs) finally approved my disability pension. Now I live in constant pain 24/7, I have no insurance because I make too much money ($655 a month)
    I am down to 118 pounds from 170 because in order to pay my BASIC BILLS (Lights, phone and car insurance–no cable, cell phone, Ipod…) I cannot afford to eat every day. The cost of living has soared in the last several years, but my cost-of-living increase this year was $16.00 a month.
    I actually am much better off than most as I have no children and was divorced 2 years after my injury. I live 30 days from foreclosure every month. All of the debt on my credit report is all medical bills, I have a dozen or more leins on my home from medical bills.
    WE as a nation owe it to OUR citizens to provide some kind of medical care. The medical insurance companies are getting rich off of the backs of our suffering citizens.
    What is wrong with this picture???
    We can spend billions on other countries and now on a politcal\religious war, but yet refuse our citizens of just basic medical care. The Government seems to be able to give themselves quite generous salary increases (with our tax money) and we as a Nation are quite willing to take our tax money to help other countries, but yet every day children are dying for the lack of the most basic medical needs.
    This show brought tears to my eyes, I feel so helpless.
    I wish I knew the answers, but I don’t. All I see is our Government (REMEMBER: BY THE PEOPLE-FOR THE PEOPLE) spending billions and billions on others, It’s time to wake up and take care of the people who through blood, sweat and tears made this Country what it is.

  • Walter

    FOREIGNID: 17176
    Critical Condition is a powerful documentary looking at the lives of four uninsured patients, two who eventually die directly related to their lack of health insurance. I personally felt angry, depressed and disgusted that we debate health care reform ad nauseum, but do nothing about it. We have spent millions on study commissions and still nothing! Unfortunately, without dedicated political leadership, we will not solve this problem.
    Now the solution is pretty clear. It is one embraced by every other civilized society that wants to ensure all of their citizens at an affordable price.
    It is national health insurance. The only affordable way of doing this is through a single payer plan, i.e., public financing privately delivered. In each of the stories of the patients it would have made a huge difference in their health and maybe even their life. The final case of this synopsis of the documentary illustrates how valuable health insurance is in affecting the lives of Americans.
    I am disgusted that Bush has ignored health care for the past eight years adding 12 million to the ranks of the uninsured. People forget that medical bills are major cause of personal bankruptcy. Let’s hope our next president makes national health insurance the cornerstone of our economic recovery plan.
    For the four uninsured patients, it would at the very least, allow us to intervene at a much earlier, and possibly curative stage in their illness. My synopsis of the program.
    POV features four uninsured patients, Hector Cardenas, a diabetic with a devastating infection in his foot, peripheral vascular disease. He works as a warehouse manager who needs to work to keep his benefits. He needs months to properly care for his infection, but his insurance is limited and it ends at end of the month. Given his limited choice, he decides to have his foot amputated. He takes nine medications and has diabetes out of control. The county health center has a one month wait and he needs his medications. His prosthesis is $9000 but his insurer denies payment retroactively and he is stuck with the bill. He is $20,000 in debt and loses his apartment.
    Joe and Dale Stornaiulo from Bethlehem, PA. He has liver disease, diabetes and unable to work. As a result, he loses his health insurance. He is overweight, has fluid in his legs, and finds that he is ineligible for government programs. He needs a liver transplant and unable to afford it. His hospital bills are over $60,000. They are overwhelmed from their medical bills. He falls and sustains a spinal cord injury. The hospital transfers him to a nursing home. He finally qualifies for Medicaid, two days before he dies.
    Karen Dove is unisured and finding she is denied services. She was a former apartment manager but she was unable to handle the large apartment and lost her job and her insurance. Her husband makes $14,000 a year which is insufficient to afford insurance. She has an ovarian mass and needs surgery. At surgery, she is discovered to have ovarian cancer with metastases to her abdomen. She starts chemotherapy, but the medications are $2500 a month. She qualifies for Social Security disability, but loses her Medicaid because she makes “too much” which is $720 a month. She has to wait two years uninsured until she can get Medicare. The bill collector calls so often that she disconnects her phone. She sells off almost everything in her home to pay her bills. She is facing bankruptcy. She dies at the young age of 50.
    Carlos Benitez works as a chef diagnosed with severe ankylosing spondylitis and back pain. He takes analgesics but it has caused bleeding in his stomach. He was admitted to the hospital for transfusion treatment. After nine months he sees an orthopedic doctor and he is told he doesn’t need surgery in Los Angeles, but he is in pain and travels to Mexico for another opinion. They want $40,000 for surgery. Finally, because of the efforts of his family doctor and that he is being filmed in a documentary, private orthopedic doctors at UCLA agree to take on his case and donate the surgery. They straighten his spine with a very complex surgery valued at $2-300,000 and he gains three inches. He returns to his pregnant wife, happy knowing that he can stand up straight and finally breathe easier. Had he had insurance, he would have been operated on at a much earlier and at a less risky stage.

  • Sarah

    FOREIGNID: 17177
    I am 25 years old and have no health insurance. I am in college, and currently have no income. I am suffering from some ongoing health issues due to an injury I received at work five years ago. My workers compensation was denied, and I was terminated from my position.I am outraged that AMerica would commit such a travesty on its people! We need to act now to save our citizens. This is completely unacceptable.

  • Cathy

    FOREIGNID: 17178
    It’s sad that people’s lives are endangered because they do not have insurance coverage. I have lost one sister and I am losing a brother now to cancer – Why? Because treatment was delayed and they did not receive good care because of no insurance!! Each person should have a right to decent health care but I don’t believe a universal health care plan is the answer because we would lose our ability to make choices as to what doctor or hospital we would want to use, etc. Instead, I believe health care should be affordable so all Americans can pay for their own. I don’t know what the answer is, other than to put more value in a human life than on the value of a dollar. I do not believe that the government should control healthcare, but rather have more control over insurance companies! The companies tell doctors what to do, what can be done, and how to do it, rather than leaving the patients in the hands of their own doctors. They are the ones trained to treat the patient so let THEM DO IT! Preventative care is what each individual deserves and is a MUCH BETTER CHOICE than treating the patient after it is too late! What gives an insurance company the right to determine who deserves to live and who should die? In essence, that is what they are doing!

  • Howard

    FOREIGNID: 17179
    The problems of healthcare in this country I was well aware of before watching this. The most depressing thing for is that this shows me the road I am now going down. I have been in and out of the hospital for the last 18 months. I no longer have a job and can no longer work. This of course means I no longer have insurance. No income means I can not afford medicines. They tell me I do not qualify for any type of aid. The medical bills continue to pile up. The phone calls to pay the bills add enormous amount of stress. After working for 45 years and paying taxes this i s no way to spend your final time on this earth. Our country has let us down. We are the only modern country that does not have a health care for their people. (Tailand I believe has one of the best)I am beginning to have thoughts I thought I would never have. Would death be a welcome relief?

  • kitty

    FOREIGNID: 17180
    You may use HTML tags for style and links. I’m sorry that I did’t get to see the whole show, but the last scenes of the poor guy with the cruved back and the gentleman dying because he didi’t have insurance is appalling to me! After viewing some of the others comments about the USA being able to afford to fund a war for millions of dollars a day, we need to wake up america to the fact that if each state took it upon themselves to start up their own form of universal health insurance. Here in Wisconsin, we have a system called BADGER CARE. You can sign up for the insurance on line if you happen to lose your insurance. Another fact is noted that we in america don’t have enough doctors available to care for all sick patients. On average 1 doctor can see as many as 25 people in a day. How can hospitals say they are non profit when they make sure you get a bill from them within days of leaving the hospital! Our candidates need to put forth their plans for the country immediately so voters can make the important decision of who gets the ball rolling for universal health care for america.

  • Michael

    FOREIGNID: 17181
    It’s a disgrace, that the most powerful, and richest country in the world, can’t make basic healthcare available to all its citizens!

  • Emily Kaminsky

    FOREIGNID: 17182
    Thank you for airing this show. I’ve always known that we have a problem in this country but I didn’t realize how bad it was/is. Knowing that the personal stories that we saw are just a very small percentage of all of the other stories out there made it all that more powerful.

  • F Field

    FOREIGNID: 17183
    I cried throughout the entire programme. How can America stand by and let these people suffer and die. Healthcare for all should be a right for all citizens and the person who implements that deserves to be President.I am just hoping that its not just all talk and that Obama holds true to his promise. Just look at the amount of money spent on NOT looking after these people. Its true, it doesn’t matter if you work hard all your life and pay your taxes, your life means nothing , money is everything. If even one third of Hollywoods elite contributed one films salary they could save many many lives. c’MON Hollywood, get off your golden thrones and save some lives.

  • Nay Lam

    FOREIGNID: 17184
    Healthcare is not only about insurance. It is a shift in perspective by a mass population to take preventative measures before their conditions worsen and forces them to the emergency department. Chronic diseases are another issue while the average American continues to work longer hours, is more stressed out in a volatile economy, and their health does not improve but rather becomes exacerbated in this environment. The costs for acute and chronic care is inadequate and is nearly impossible to support with the failing economy. Neither presidential candidates will be able to provide an immediate solution to the healthcare problems in America, and the millions of Americans will still suffer. A subsidized health plan leads to a costly business in insurance and it will be absorbed somewhere else in our economy. Tax breatks along with mandates for better health would be a strong move for individuals to manage their own health with some government support. Healthcare comes with a cyclical set of complex problems that are not easily resolved with additional care or umbrella plans. It requires awareness, education, and action from each individual American to change the healthcare issues we are facing today. Thank you for Critical Conditions…it starts with awareness…

  • Henry Lewis

    FOREIGNID: 17185
    I continue to hear all sorts of reasons and excuses for not having universal health care for every citizen. My question is very simple — why not? What are we spending money on that is more important?
    We tie health care to the economics of jobs, income, the ability to pay, corporate revenue, profit and risk, wealth, power and priviledge. Why isn’t health care a basic human right in the greatest nation on this earth?
    The arguemnents are old and obsolete — we need to move into the 21st Century – we need new models for health care and economics in general. It won’t be long, technology, the Internet and global popuation growth are going to change everything.

  • norbert S.

    FOREIGNID: 17186
    After watching this documentary, it made me realize how greed is ruling this country called AMERICA. Medicine in the states is probably one of – if not THE most money-making business.
    In a country that boasts to be the world leader in many areas it is disgusting to see that people need go to their poorer neighbour country like Mexico to buy the same medicine for just pennies which can cost hundreds of dollars back home.
    And to see senseless and untrue propaganda from the leading politicians using scare tactics about “unsafe” drugs from outside the country to keep its citizen in need of it from crossing the borders to buy them, is only to help lining the pockets of pharamaceutical CEO’s by making people spend outragious amounts of hard earned money for drugs that should be available at a reasonable cost.

  • ann

    FOREIGNID: 17187
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.Health care is in crisis. The insurance companies take 30% for administration of health care costs . As seen in Michael Moore’s”Sicko,” it shows how administrators of the insurance companies denied coverage and got greater compensation for those denials and this sitituation is for people who have coverage.That 30% could be used to give people who don’t have health care coverage. Many western industralized country have health care, sick leave, materinity leave WHY don’t we. We the people pay the taxes and what do we get? I’m tired of hearing that this would be socialism ,what do you think medicare is? Medicare and social security works very well for millions of Americans. I would shutter to think of my parents without both of those “ENTITLEMENTS” that they paid for in taxes. We can bail out the crooks on wall street but not give health care for main strret.

  • Jane Freeman

    FOREIGNID: 17188
    Mandatory universal health care is essential. We have universal health care now in the form of Medicare, and it works. It needs to be fully extended to those under 55. Neither candidate’s plan achieves this national goal, although Obama’s comes closest. Only Hillary Clinton’s plan provides a true unioversal solution to this uniquely American tragedy for the 46 million uninsured.

  • Jamie

    FOREIGNID: 17189
    To repeat what was said so succinctly in another post:
    “A compassionate society should make the decision that all its members will recieve the health care they need without becoming destitute. The money is there. We need to look at the countries that do it and simply resolve to get it done here. The situation in this country is a disgrace.”
    I was fortunate at one time to have done some research on FDR who said that when lying in bed unable to move his toes, he realized that things happen to people through no fault of their own.
    This epiphany enabled the man to have compassion and understanding for others outside of his class.
    That we talk about liberty, democracy and the pursuit of happiness and tie an inalienable right—access to health care—to money is unconscionable. Disease knows no class, no race…How can we call ourselves civilized, human, compassionate?There is great hypocracy when those who call themselves good Christians, Jews, Moslems, etc. etc. reject the basic tenets of these faiths…
    As many point out the challenges would be huge to come up with a national health plan, but (just as with a bailout plan), there is more to lose if we do not. If we focus on the difficulty it won’t happen. But If we wouldmake a commitment and say YES, we want to solve this problem and YES we will solve this problem, that would be the beginning. When people agree, much can be done.

  • John Chiappetta

    FOREIGNID: 17190
    Roger Weisberg your film brought tears to my eyes. Job well done. I am appalled that one of the richest countries in the world has such a poor health care system. I myself feel privledged that I can see a doctor or hospital at anytime without being turned away or personally billed for services. I am a lifetime resident of Ontario Canada and yes I do pay for these services through my taxes. I really am confused as to why USA has not and will not adapt a similar system. Roger thank you once again for opening my eyes,but more importantly the eyes of those who make policy in the USA.

  • Keith Dunford

    FOREIGNID: 17191
    An excellent documentary unfortunately over politicized. It most certainly illunuminated one of the most important issues of our time – health of the nation which has been erroded by junk food, poor diet, and self inflicted obesity. None the less we as a nation need to address this costly problem, but not to copy Europe or Canada where policies similar to the of Obama cretaed two tier health services. I n the Uk its refered to as “cash” or “nash” -meaning if you can afford the best in health care you pay for it.f not you are subject to an inefficient and infoerior national health service. ! Wake up America to the Obama health care falicy.

  • http://www.ellensherfey.com Ellen Sherfey

    FOREIGNID: 17192
    By the grace of God, I have health care through the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP), sponsored by CareFirst Blue Preferred because I could not afford two other health plans when those plans I inquired of raised the base insurance rate when I reported my pre-existing conditions.
    The plight of even one (yet so many) dear, loving people precariously close and closer to the edge of utter ruin should-must-will (I pray) stir the few souls we’ve entrusted with the responsiblilty to act on behalf of all of us and provide the assurance of unbiased care.

  • Mountainbiker

    FOREIGNID: 17193
    Don’t forget the political-fiscal strategy called “Starve the Beast” (From an unnamed Reagan staffer quoted in a 1985 Wall Street Journal). The idea is to cut taxes at the same time you grow the debt (The debt never gets paid off from an expanding economy as promised). Eventually the debt becomes so large that congress can no longer allocate money to social programs. Government shrinks.
    How far away is such a reality? Presently we service interest on the debt equal to Defense Department appropriations. And our war costs and Wall Street bailout are being added to the debt, not pay as you go. None of these costs are on the taxpayer’s back, just added to our ticking time bomb.

  • Amy Travetti

    FOREIGNID: 17194
    This documentary was excellent, well researched, and absolutely spoke the truth. My own husband died earlier this year, and his death was a direct result of continued denial of basic healthcare that he should have received but did not. He was 49 years old, and never lived to see his 50th birthday.

  • dd10120

    FOREIGNID: 17195
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    Funny, how so many people in government jobs – which are the only “good jobs” left tend to be happy with the current health care system where the greedy get richer and the poor get poorer! Yes, it is true the current health system is fed by greed! All the talk about abortion, what about all the people are dying because the have not had the advantage of health care.

  • Cynthia

    FOREIGNID: 17196
    After watching tonight’s show, I am truly outraged by the lack of available healthcare for more than 47 million Americans. For anyone who thinks that this is a liberal bias should spend an evening in an ER or watch families try to pay for healthcare on minimum wage. I am sadden that those who want us to believe that they are caring are more interested in attacks than helping their neighbor.
    I have health insurance but I know that in this economy I could be anyone on the show tonight except by the grace of God.

  • Jamie

    FOREIGNID: 17197
    To repeat what was said so succinctly in another post:
    “A compassionate society should make the decision that all its members will receive the health care they need without becoming destitute. The money is there. We need to look at the countries that do it and simply resolve to get it done here. The situation in this country is a disgrace.”
    I was fortunate at one time to have done some research on FDR who said that when lying in bed unable to move his toes, he realized that things happen to people through no fault of their own.
    This epiphany enabled the man to have compassion and understanding for others outside of his class.
    That we talk about liberty, democracy and the pursuit of happiness and tie an inalienable right—access to health care—to money is unconscionable. Disease knows no class, no race…How can we call ourselves civilized, human, compassionate?There is great hypocracy when those who call themselves good Christians, Jews, Moslems, etc. etc. reject the basic tenets of these faiths…
    As many point out the challenges would be huge to come up with a national health plan, but (just as with a bailout plan), there is more to lose if we do not. If we focus on the difficulty it won’t happen. But If we wouldmake a commitment and say YES, we want to solve this problem and YES we will solve this problem, that would be the beginning. When people agree, much can be done.

  • Keith Dunford

    FOREIGNID: 17198
    An excellent documentary unfortunately over politicized. It most certainly illunuminated one of the most important issues of our time – health of the nation which has been erroded by junk food, poor diet, and self inflicted obesity. None the less we as a nation need to address this costly problem, but not to copy Europe or Canada where policies similar to that of Obama created two tier health services. I n the Uk its refered to as “cash” or “nash” -meaning if you can afford the best in health care you pay for it. If not you are subject to an inefficient and inferior national health service. ! Wake up America to the Obama health care falicy.

  • fitzmiller

    FOREIGNID: 17199
    Normally, I am proud to be a citizen of the greatest country on Earth. But after watching Critical Condition, I am ashamed of a health care system based on greed and a government that pontificates fine points of solutions while doing nothing.
    “Health care for everyone, PERIOD” ought to be the mantra of any candidate running for any political office.

  • Ana Campodonico

    FOREIGNID: 17200
    I was devastated watching this documentary,is depressing but completly true,this is the richest country in the world and people go with out health care!!! come on people wake up!!!……i’m a Canadian citizen for the last 14 years and i experience the health care over there…iand iget sick and tire of hearing people here in the United States talk bad about the health care system the they have over there….for experience i know what i’m talking about,i was diagnose when i was still living in Canada with cancer of the cerviv by my family doctor by a pap smear,my family doctor call me at home at 9:00 pm to give me the news next day he send my to one of the best gynecologist oncologist and they saw me faithfully every week for byopsis until a series of radiation therapy and surgery cure me and i went in complete remssion…and I DID’NT HAVE TO PAY A DOLLAR…why because they have health care provided by the goverment the yes comes from my taxes….and i don’t care because is the best feeling in the world when you get to get help when you feeling ill..and nobody have to ask you if you have insurance and if you don’t have it they don’t even look at you twice…so please people wake up

  • Ravi

    FOREIGNID: 17201
    /As I was watching this documentary, I kept thinking about how “market force” zombies would be reacting to all the pain and suffering that was being depicted on the tube. Would they be moved at all by this pain and suffering Then I got to the comments page here and I saw the same old incoherent rantings from an unthinking, brainwashed, member of that tribe – Jennifer. I guess that answerd my question!
    To briefly react to her rants: I have family in Canada, and they are of an age when they have to constantly deal with the medical establishment there. Believe me, in spite of all the delays and problems that they have to put up with, they thank god every day that they are dealing with the Canadian system rather than the US system.
    And I could waste my time reacting to the rest of her stuff, but I will not. There is more than enough evidence to demonstrate that our nation managesw to deliver the worst medical care to its residents per dollar spent than any other western nation. We need to reverse this situation now, But with the financial well-being of the nation at stake, it is not clear if anything will be done about this for a long time. I am afraid we are in for very rough times. And the uninsured are in even more trouble, regardless of who gets into the White House.

  • Mary

    FOREIGNID: 17202
    People are horrible, I cried for the patients that lost their lives.

  • Johnnie

    FOREIGNID: 17203
    In answer to Henry’s question… why not? What are we spending money on that is more important? The answer based upon the spending habits of most uninsured persons that I know is eating out, cable television, new car payments, cigarettes, designer clothes, jewelry, drugs (not prescription), etc.
    Stephanie, the aged population you work with probably doesn’t spend their money on these things, but they used to.
    Marsha, I bought insurance for less than 130 a month. It came with a high deductable but that’s what a medical savings account is for.

  • Ronin

    FOREIGNID: 17204
    Regarding the POV presentation “critical condition” was very compassionate look at the the effects of s society that neglects citizens that simply by happenstance find themselves just another commodity in the scheme of what it means o be an American. Nothing will change for the better until we as a collective conscience look at the fundamental weakness of our culture… it is based on the theology of the founding fathers.. the then new wave philosophy of John Calvin… set down in “scripture” in 1776 by devout Calvinist – Adam Smith and his Wealth of nations… the “bible” used to justify every social injustice that may arise. As long as America continues it’s desire to live in a “theocracy” we will never solve the issues addressed in the POV documentary… as those disadvantaged seriously ill patients are relegated to their marginalized existence as the aggregated mainstream citizen sees those needy patients in terms of Calvin’s “not chosen” model thus are not to be given sympathy for to do so would be a “sacrilege” to the “chosen.” How disengenuos it was to listen to the Heritage Foundation spokesman to declare a wishy washy response.. one that said nothing. it was the Heritage Foundation that laid out a scolail agenda that is designed to further disenfranchise those among us that are not “chosen” and thus are left to fend for themselves. it would be kinder in America to acknowledge the fact that culturally we are “not all in this together” as to do so would be antithetical to Calvin’s teachings.. the fundamental theology of the oligarchy.. the ruling class… as they all cling to the notion of being “chosen” and thus entitled to more… and more means they are faith bound not to share. America is not for everybody… just the “chosen” and by their wealth you shall know them. It would be kinder just to implement euthanasia as the “cure” for those that cannot afford their own medical care. Darwin and Calvin… the two main architects of American culture… survival of the fittest and they are revered as chosen for being economically fit. Thus they are entitled to survive. May God damn them all for their lack of humanity.

  • Barbara

    FOREIGNID: 17205
    I really feel that this POV speaks out in a very personal and human way about the uninsured people in this country. It is saying hey politicians, listen to me, I count too. This country really needs to take a look at itself. Don’t just feel grateful that you have something someone else doesn’t have or pity . Feel ashamed that a political system can waste billions of dollars every year and still let good people die needlessly. I am one of the 47 million uninsured. I used to take it for granted when I had insurance. I could go to the doctor when I felt sick or injured. Now I cannot even have an x-ray when I break a bone or have a blood test done to check for diabetes or have an examination to check for breast cancer. All of these things are so far out of reach for me because of the cost. I have been told that I need to have a mammogram because I am turning 50 years old this month but when the decision is put food on the table for my 5 sons and my husband and myself or get a mammogram you know that is not a hard decision. The funny thing is my husband works full time for an insurance agency and his employer does not provide insurance. Another funny thing is that my wonderful husband is from Canada. All of his life he has never had to wait to be seen by a doctor and when he had surgery on his hip a few years ago it was scheduled quickly and he had the best of care. I am grateful that my husband was able to move to the United States to be with me and my four sons, and after we married we had a fifth son together who is now only four. I live in fear everyday that my husband or I will either become ill or will have an accident and all that we have worked so hard for will be taken away. My husband and I are hard working people. We are not stupid. I have my Masters Degree from Rutgers University and I still cannot get a job that gives me benefits and will provide enough money to also pay for full time child care. My youngest son has insurance through NJ Family Care and it is spectacular. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this program. Why can’t a similar program be created for adults. I hope that this upcoming election will see a brighter day for the uninsured in this country. By the way John Mc Cain the average payment per month for a single person to have insurance coverage is over $850. If a person is making only $2000 per month I guess they can either pay for monthly insurance or buy groceries after paying for rent every month and gas for the car they need to get to work. Do the math!

  • Randy Smith

    FOREIGNID: 17206
    Thought about shedding a tear for those of us having to foot the bill. I agree with Rhonda, who do you think is going to pay for this next brith and probably education.

  • Pat S.

    FOREIGNID: 17207
    Healthcare for all humans should be a moral issue – not an issue of economics or politics. IImagine if the world community was able to come together and combine resources and knowldege to serve all humans. We have allowed money and power to become the currency to determine who has the right for the chance to live. That humans are allowed to lose everything including their lives because we have not evolved spiritually to understand that we have to care for each other is not worthy of what we can be. Lstening to the debates on healthcare has become increasingly horrific. We as humanbeings should value life itself and that includes the lives of others. We have people who fight and have killed others for the right of a fetus to live. If we could only direct that passion to include the right for every human who was blessed with life to live then we will be on the evolutionary path to reaching the greatness for which we are all capable.

  • Hooti

    FOREIGNID: 17208
    What a great film about the true America, the America that few see, fewer understand and even less care about until they become the patient; America is a disgrace with the greed, waste, fraud and abuse of the existing public and private insurance and medical systems.
    When you get sick or hurt even if you are hurt at work where Workers Compensation is supposed to pay for basic medical bills your life is ruined as W/C will fight you for decades and if you are hurt bad enough you loose everything just as the people in the film.
    Social Security Disability is not any better as most loose everything before you receive a penny; once penniless you must remain penniless or loose the benefits you need to survive, if you have family that are able to help then you may get back on your feet if you recover from an illness but few are able to recover when a catastrophe strikes.
    Indiana threatens to stop Medicaid coverage every year and you live for months at a time without coverage or if lucky you continue coverage until an Administrative Law Judge decides your fate which can take months so your life with Medicaid is in constant turmoil with uncertainty for most of the year.
    This is how Governor Daniels handles those that he believes does not bother to vote as his Major Moves is not efficient, not responsible and a joke when you try to get information it is like speaking with a 5-year old just as it is with SS Disability … not a darn person can give you an answer and you loose it all before, during or after you get … HELP …
    Carlos is such a nice guy as was everyone but I also have spine problems and could not believe how much pain he lived with and I have serious doubts that he will ever live a minute without pain; the screws in his back will eventually work loose and he will hurt much worse I really feel so bad for the man.
    I lived in pain for years and know it well, I could not imagine living with Tylenol and over the counter pain medications; actually 16,000 people a year die from gastrointestinal bleeding every year, a lot of Drs do not prescribe morphine until a person is ready to end their life; it can be expensive, Patient Assistance Programs difficult to qualify for until you have nothing but people need to try to find a good Dr and the medications as nobody should live with extreme pain … if anyone does it should be by informed choice!
    I could feel the hurt of each person as I live in a handicapped building and see it daily and YES our government can become your biggest threat to life as you know it and they do not give up, like a gang of dogs nipping at you day after day looking for any spare crumb that you may find as they want it back!
    For those who shout about doubt and put others down I will not argue as your hide and is not worth my time but you too shall learn and the pill will be very bitter to swallow as you are so shallow … I accept my condition and strive to be a happy but private person as others can be so cruel.

  • Danny

    FOREIGNID: 17209
    What bothers me is health care providers charge much higher prices for the same services to the uninsured, who are usually poorer than those who are insured. Why can they live with and accept lower payments from the insurance companies as reasonable charges but can’t do the same to those uninsured?

  • Richard G

    FOREIGNID: 17210
    This was a very well put together film. I think it portrayed the medical crisis in this Nation and hit it right on the head. Our Political leaders should be ashamed, and we should be ashamed for voting for them in the first place.
    With the current situation in this Nation, I think it’s time for another “Tea Party”. I agree with Garys post, no matter who gets elected nothing will change because the Ultra-Rich already have theirs and they mean to keep their wealth at all costs.
    I have worked in the Health Care system and I know how bills to Medicare/Medicaid, HMO’s are manipulated. Our standard tests were around $12-15 a piece, but when it was presented to the above groups we would bill almost triple what the average cost was.
    HMO’s and the Medicare/Medicaid system is corrupt from top to bottom.
    IT’S TIME TO GET MAD AMERICA!!! Enough is enough, If I make a bad business decision (and believe me I’ve made a few) I have to live with that decision and hopefully learn from it so as not to make the same mistake again. Now we have major companies, who have not handled their finances well at all, being bailed out WITH YOURS AND MY TAXES ( and our children and probubly their children).
    We need to stand up as a Nation and say we’ve had enough. Personally I think the White House and everybody in it needs to be fired–and no pension and try again
    People think this kind of greed and corruption only happens in third world countries, think again. It could be you next!!!

  • Paul Blauser

    FOREIGNID: 17211
    With the cost of the war in Iraq and now the proposed $700 billion dollar bail out for Wall Street’s wrong doings, there will be little discretionary funds remaining to even consider such items as universal health care, improvements of our public education system, rebuilding of decaying roads and bridges, and on and on. Perhaps a starting point for redressing this sorry state of affairs is to really reconsider the nature of the proposed $700 dollar bailout. It may have to be done but not in its current form of insufficient accountability, oversight, transparency and real protection for the American taxpayer against potential hidden loopholes for abuses within the bailout as proposed. It is extremely difficult for the average citizen to obtain objective information on which to make informed choices. Transparency of operations, procedures and accounting is essential for obtaining the kind of information that can lead to objective prudent judgment and meaningful reform. I would propose that all government expenditures for all programs, agencies, contractors and subcontractors, including any bailout for Wallstreet, publish ALL LINE ITEM accounting entries on the web for public review. In this way we may discover and discourage imprudent expenditures in all governmental expenses and perhaps find some room in the budget for such essential public interest items as improvements to our health care system making care more available to more people and address other essential public services that will contribute to our nations long term survival and well-being.
    Respectfully submitted.
    Paul (OKC)

  • Ana Campodonico

    FOREIGNID: 17212
    WAKE UP AMERICA!!! this is a disgrace,health care is not a luxury is a got them Right,let’s do something about it….Just today i saw a mother cry at the dentist because she did’nt have insurance to help her pay for the treatment for her boy the was in pain,and i was talking to her and she works full time and her husband to but the ca not afford insurance and they don’t provided any insurance in any of their jobs…it makes me so mad,sick to my stomach….

  • Deborah

    FOREIGNID: 17213
    I was very moved by this documentary. It’s a shame that people do not receive the care they need because they are uninsured. I thought healthcare providers take an oath to “do no harm”. It seems to me that refusing to treat people is very harmful. What is it going to take to change things? How many more people will die prematurely before things change? Why are costs so high? Could the high salaries of Pharmaceutical and Insurance executives, along with shareholders profits have anything to do with it? It seems to be another symptom of “Wall Street” madness—it’s all about profit. It’s an attitude that says all for me and no concern for the other person. No one should lose everything they worked for and die prematurely because they have no insurance. It really is a disgrace. Also, private health insurance is not affordable….how many people can pay 1,000 a month? Not your average person. Healthcare should be a right.

  • Chris

    FOREIGNID: 17214
    Universal health care could work. There is no real ‘perfect’ way to have it I believe but what about taking ideas from all the different types of Uni care from around the world? Canadian health care has some good ideas, incorporate it with something from the English, German, Japanese, and Swiss type systems. The type of government we have that allows lobbiests to push and buy their way of thinking is appalling. The Capitalist system is not the only way as we’ve been told to believe. We’re being run by corporations and by government. Compromise is in order. Not greed. Not profits. Not Wall Street. Not Government. I would be happy to have my taxes go toward this type of system instead of funding a war, or subsidizing sugar cane growers, or a bail out for executives who pushed for profits instead of common sense.

  • Johnnie

    FOREIGNID: 17215
    Nadia, give me a break. Hitler? You have got to be kidding me?

  • Nada King

    FOREIGNID: 17216
    To see a post like Jeniffer’s just makes me realize even more how cruel and out of touch with reality our present system is, and the people who are endorsing it, justifying it and thinking we are the greatest country in this world, with privileges no one else has, are equally having part in this shameful tragedy..!
    This story is reality, it is not made up, politically slanted propaganda. When H. Clinton tried to pass national health care in the 90′s, the present establishment went on systematic media blitz, playing on people’s fears of unknown, and told lies, upon lies. I’ve seen them. I know what universal health care is, like European countries have it. And they are good systems, not based on greed as here.
    The government of this country has failed it’s people, and this country has become a spectacle to the rest of the world, because of it’s hypocrisy. How can we demand other countries to honor human rights, while in our own country it’s citizens are being treated as refuse and left to die, unless they can pay the prices which are astronomical? Maybe that’s the way they, the wealthy elites intend to do away with the poor and working class!!? Hitler did it in camps, but we here have little less obvious ways, yet same effective!. Rather slow, painful death. I am ashamed of what this country has become. American Dream has become American nightmare…
    Thank you PBS, for film that you’ve shown. Do not stop. Let those facts stare our lawmakers in the face, let them see it , and see it till they see those images before their eyes in their beds before they go to sleep Because life is supposed to be sacred, and people valued above the greedy gain….
    But just to let you know… and you, Jennifer should know too, that this post is not written by a Democrat, or Republican, but a person with a conscience, because I can not shut my eyes to the injustice and ignore pain of those who are in need but are being refused and turned away, or treated but charged so much that they can’t hope to pay it tin their lifetime. I am ashamed before God and the rest of civilized world for what this country has become and how low it has fallen!

  • Richard G

    FOREIGNID: 17217
    Our health care crisis is shameful. If we don’t take care of our own, and all the money flows up eventually the middle class will collapse and then who will pay??
    The only thing this Government understands is force

  • Chris

    FOREIGNID: 17218
    Universal health care could work. There is no real ‘perfect’ way to have it I believe but what about taking ideas from all the different types of Uni care from around the world? Canadian health care has some good ideas, incorporate it with something from the English, German, Japanese, and Swiss type systems. The type of government we have that allows lobbiests to push and buy their way of thinking is appalling. The Capitalist system is not the only way as we’ve been told to believe. We’re being run by corporations and by government. Compromise is in order. Not greed. Not profits. Not Wall Street. Not Government. I would be happy to have my taxes go toward this type of system instead of funding a war, or subsidizing sugar cane growers, or a bail out for executives who pushed for profits instead of common sense.

  • Maureen

    FOREIGNID: 17219
    I am a senior citizen, and the daughter of Irish Catholic immigrants, (from Northern Ireland, where they were discriminated against because of ther Religion) who came to America, became naturalized citizens, worked hard all their lives, and put six children through private schools. Because my parents lived the AMERICAN DREAM, I was always proud of our country.
    After watching this program, I feel ashamed to be a citizen of a country that spends billions of dollars on wars and armaments, and is trying to spend a trillion to bail out greedy investment banks and irresponsible citizens who live beyond their means, but allows hard working people to suffer and die unnecessarily because of a lack of insurance.
    I also know that people who qualified for Social Security Disability used to be automatically enrolled in Medicare. Why is there now a two year waiting period? Shockingly, because during those two years, there is a good chance that the person will die for lack of health care, due to lack of Health Insurance. SHAME ON US.
    The GREED in the Medical Community also contributes to the problem.
    Finally, the VERY GREEDY Insurance Companies who put Profit above Human Life, which is also apparently condoned by our so called leaders.
    We seem to have foresaken our values, in favor of making a buck.
    On the other hand, did any of these people appjy for Medicaid?

  • Elizabeth Rosenthal, MD

    FOREIGNID: 17220
    The film, Critical Condition was excellent and really showed what happens when you are uninsured and you get really sick in this country. It is a disgrace how poorly we take care of our citizens!!! There is one very obvious solution to this mess and all other industrialized countries have figured it out: single payer national health care. But not one of the people at the round table discussing this after the film even mentioned this possibiltiy. The majority of us want it but our legislators don’t hear us. Is it because the voices (and money) of the private health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry are louder? Private, for profit health insurance adds Cost but NO VALUE to the system. One cannot make a profit insuring sick people, you can only make money insuring health people. We need government funded, privately delivered health care: an expanded and improved Medicare for all. This plan is outlined in HR676 already co-sponsored by 90 legislators. Why was this never mentioned in the discussion?


    FOREIGNID: 17221
    This was my Mother on the show and that Freakin doctor that turned her away in the beginning basically killed my mother buy just turning his nose up to the uninsured!!! I miss my momma so much and I pray to God that whoever does have to go through this is strong and blessed because thats all there is!! They did a great job thank you for giving my mom this chance to show what a GREAT women she was!!! And to make people aware!! And all the negative commenting people GOD LOVES YOU 2!!

  • Nash

    FOREIGNID: 17222
    For those who believe a tax credit for individuals/families withiout requiring insurance companies to provide the coverage is the answer, try getting a health insurance company to cover you unless you have a prognosis of near-pristine health. There must be some required access as well as affordability.
    When self-employed, the insurance company I had paid full premiums to for 4 months cancelled my policy just as soon as it appeared that a serious and chronic condition MIGHT be looming (a neurologist ordered MRI’s and spinal tap). They even cancelled it retroactively and returned the previous month’s premium payment. Ultimately the diagnosis was MS but only after thousands of dollars of tests. I empathise with the people in the documentary and their Catch 22. situation. I also am currently employed but uninsured and can’t afford the $1,100/month for the ONE medication needed to reduce the impact and progression of MS.
    The sense of anger, despair and outrage I’ve felt for several years about this issue just increased to a level I didn’t think was possible. I don’t even care anymore what happens for my own sake -but I’ll be doing anything and everything I can to make access to health care a reality for everyone.

  • Johnnie

    FOREIGNID: 17223
    DOVES, God bless you and your mother.

  • Chris

    FOREIGNID: 17224
    The only viable solution is universal health care. The democrats need to revive HR676 and just solve the problem. Free market idealism applied to Wall Street is fine, people gamble on the stock market, they might make a little money, may loose a little money, but they won’t loose their life in the process. Its a completely different ball game when people’s lives are on the line. People are dying so the health insurance companies can pad their bottom line and spend millions on lobbying to make sure the system doesn’t change. To get HR676 passed they need to flat out ignore the industry lobbyists and anyone else with a profit motive at the expense of people’s lives.
    One thing that really makes me sick of the politics around this is its the right wing who advocate free market solutions to the health care system, effectively putting a price on people’s lives. At the same time those same people claim to be “pro life”. Next time someone claims to be pro life and against universal health care just ask them how much their children’s lives are worth, and not some abstract notion of being invaluable, get a dollar figure. Then compare that dollar figure to the per tax payer cost of universal health care.

  • Jean

    FOREIGNID: 17225
    I found this program to be amazing. It really brought the reality of health care in this country out in the open in a very human way for all to see. I am so angry that so may people suffer in this country in so many unspeakable and unnecessary ways. As for the post that states that everyone can get medicaid if they can’t afford to pay for insurance on their own and are too ill to work, the falsity of that was accurately brought out in the program. Several were denied or made to wait for approval. One got it two weeks before he died, I believe. I know this is accurate from first hand experience. The program also mentioned Social Security Disability. This benefit is based on past work history and contributions into the system but it’s notoriously difficult to get approved for. Nonetheless recipients have to wait two years before they qualify for medicare insurance and many if not most cannot get medicaid in the interim. This is an outrage. My only comment is that no mention was made of Vocational Rehabilitation services provided by a state agency that I believe exists in all states. ( I work for DVR in NJ.) We pay for a wide variety of services for people who have a permanent disability that affects their ability to obtain or maintain employment. For instance, we would most likely be able to pay for a prosthesis if it were necessary for a person to work (as was the case in this program). Also, in NJ, there is a way for people with disabilities who are working to obtain medical insurance (medicaid). Our health care system is a mess and needs to be addressed on a national level, but there also needs to be an easier way to let people know about the services that do exist.

  • Ashley

    FOREIGNID: 17226
    POV program great but
    Rx discussion last straw — will no longer support PBS.
    I would like to comment on the program which on many stations appeared after the
    POV program, specifically, the discussion program about the candidates positions.
    The POV program was as usual excellent and painted the true story of whats going
    on with health care in this country. The problem of waste could be explored much further
    of course, doctors over way over charging Medicare, the Medicaid asset transfer loop hole, etc…
    But the Rx discussion following the program, putting on professional pundit mouth pieces for least worst campaigns only to be “held to account” by blowhards from corporate funded think tanks was frankly a slap in the face.
    There are other candidates who support and have supported universal health care,
    have the support of nurses associations, have well thought plans to reduce costs, etc…
    but we don’t get to hear that. In the POV program, the facts are important, but in the
    discussion program — nothing but hot air.
    The broken health care system is primarily the fault of not the doctors,
    not the politicians, not the insurance companies, but the American people.
    We are not really willing to vote for something different when it comes to health care, and so nothing ever changes.
    But the media shares a small part of the blame, because as you demonstrated with this program, PBS and other prominent media outlets will not bring themselves to consider
    anything beyond what the two major parties (and there sycophant think tanks) are willing to give us. You are saying, “Hey here is the problem” and then “Oh sorry, not
    a thing you can do about it.”
    Gee thanks. I suggest however that these discussions are better suited
    for lobster and wine dinner parties. You might also consider discussing
    that fact that you were having the same discussion back in 1992, 16 years ago.
    Perhaps invite James Carville and Ira Magaziner, the principles who destroyed universal
    coverage back then.
    Might also suggest David H. Koch? I am sure he’s good for another $150. I hope
    so, because you’re damn sure not getting another dime from me.

  • Jesse

    FOREIGNID: 17227
    It is amazing that there are people like Ted and Jennifer in our country. Do they really take themselves seriously? Do they have any empathy for human beings? There are so many examples even of individuals who have health insurance who are denied the care they need when these companies decide against it. There are people who are hard working and fiscally responsible who lose their jobs, either for no fault of their own or because their ill health prevents work. Then, try to pay hundreds of dollars a month for COBRA when you have no income. And if you pick up independent health insurance, they will tack riders on to exclude your preexisting conditions. Corporate greed and lobbyists run the country and our health care system.

  • Rachael

    FOREIGNID: 17228
    I’ve never had a program affect me more. My heart was torn at the way these men and women were/are treated. Is this what I will have to look forward to? What we all have to look forward to? All I can say really is that my heart has been touched by these families. I thank you for the courage to allow this documentary to intrude upon your lives at such a difficult time. You made me realize that this isn’t something that just ‘happens to other people’. I was thinking as I was watching, ‘what would I do’, if it were me and my family? Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer. I will walk away from writing this with the same fear that I felt as I watched your lives unravel on this program. My heart was especially touched by Karen from Austin, Texas. Maybe becoz I too live in Central Texas. How would I be able to contact her family? Her doctor was the kindest and most compassionate they showed. I’d like to thank her! May her family know that my heart was touched deeply by her life story. America must do something. As Karen said, we are all just living to die. How sad, sad, sad that people have to choose between health care and basic living. Thank you so much for touching my heart. What can any of us do? Does anyone have answers?

  • Robert

    FOREIGNID: 17229
    I want to know who is paying for carlos’ wifes medical bill for the delivery of their baby, he got a free 300,000 dollar back surgery. is he getting the kid delivered for free to.

  • Johnnie

    FOREIGNID: 17230
    The government needs to stay away from healthcare but perhaps not the insurance companies. Government guaranteed insurance, where people still buy it but the prices and acceptance are controlled, could probably work. But I certainly don’t want a physician who is making only 30000, a year due to government price control, operating on me.

  • Elaine Jackson

    FOREIGNID: 17231
    Thanks for airing this program. I live in a very small community in Western Massachusetts and it is interesting the sub-standard care that people tolerate. A healthy male was told after going for regular check up -he needed open hear surgery,. He had it done and now the family is second guessing the doctors opinion. Some elder patients were told that their conditions were critical and they should be checked into hospice as they will be dead in 3 month. Those same elderly patients are doing well after their families took them to different MD for care. These people never filed complaints with the massachusetts med board http://www.massmedboard.org
    We need to do a push back and don’t swallow what all doctors tell us — I question everything and state I don’t need MD’s for anything but a prescription when things get out of control
    I am 52 years old and in relatively good health except for degenerative back condition that requires Physical Therapy, Chiropractic care and vicatin . Well current MD will not give vicatin to me but states she does ‘drug contracts’ with drug addict patients. So to get care I need I guess should pretent to be a drug addict and possibly seek care for addicion only to get pain meds for my horrible back pain..
    People are starting to purchase the meds on the street from drug dealers. This is a real indicator that we can not get any lower than this point.
    Take back the control. Know your health condition and if the MD you are dealing with treats you like they are God and you are an ant to be stepped on — change MD’s. They are not Gods and they do not have the power to grant life and condemn others to an early death. The vad MD’s make it bad for all MD’s.. Sad !
    Stand up and demand what you deserve … when you are denied claims find a work around — keep trying .. make noise .. someone will hear and something will happen.

  • Marie P

    FOREIGNID: 17232
    I am in between insurance coverage right now. I am praying that I don’t need medical care between now and when my new coverage begins. I pray that new insurance does not decide to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. I dread the ordeal that may await me if that happens. My daughter lives in one of 5 states in the U.S. that does not require basic major medical insurance to allow an OB/Gyn doctor to be a primary care provider, nor requires the insurance company to cover maternity. The family makes $6K a year more than the poverty level, and yet does not qualify for medicaid. Medical bills threaten the family every month. It is an outrage that folks who have worked hard, as in the Critical Condition film, be denied the healthcare they need in this country. I demand as a taxpayer that the same healthcare package for the lawmakers of the USA, and the executive and judicial branches of this government, be provided for all Americans. I challenge the insurance industry CEOs and executives to live on the same budget (no access to their savings or other funds for one year) as the median income in America today and try to survive a year without healthcare benefits for themselves and their families. National Healthcare NOW. The way our citizens are treated by this industry is appalling.

  • Andre

    FOREIGNID: 17233
    I’m sadden because I believe all people should have health insurance.Without it,people are dying.This country can do better for it’s people.

  • Nada King

    FOREIGNID: 17234
    No, Johnny, I’m not kidding.
    Did he hot use people as objects and disregard them as trash?
    Cruelty and injustice has many faces but same effect!

  • http://letstalkarthritis.net VaLadi

    FOREIGNID: 17235
    I just watched Critical Condition and I must confess I am having a very hard time keeping myself from crying and not choke over the very large knot in my throat.
    Being one of the richest nations on this good earth and we ration out health care by who is insured and who has the best health care plan offends my sense of what is right and wrong and leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth.
    I am so angry at this minute that I could spit fire. We can spend 4 million dollars a week to continue the war in Iraq while Iraq sits on 79 billion dollars in their treasury and we can not even find away to take care of the sickest of the sick people in this country. If we can bring Iraqi nationals, who work for our government in Iraq, to our country and give them free health care, why in Gods good wisdom, can’t our government offer [b]her[/b] people the same respect?
    My heart goes out to all the families members of Karen and Joe. Lives that should have blossomed into glorious flowers but where thrown away as though they where not of any value, simply because they where not fortunate enough to have a health insurance plan through circumstances beyond their control and they had to forfeit their lives because of it.
    I must admit, with each passing day I get more and more angry at our countries inadequacy or unwillingness to come up with a way to see that every person in the United States has the ability to purchase some form of adequate of health insurance. This is not acceptable and is absolutely appalling.

  • Denise

    FOREIGNID: 17236
    I feel the papin of knowing you work all your life to have haelth care for your family,paying in thousand of dollars every years and then not being able to pay the bills. I recently took my daughter in for an abset tooth and we spend the whole night in the children’s hospital only to be seen for about 1 minute and a half, by a young doctor that had no compassion for his job and came in not able to really assist his patiences because he had a broken arm and they billed me for one xray and two tylenols and a 24 hr wait for an prescripton
    while I watched the nurse socialize while their where children waiting to be seen and on the internet shopping for purses and things of that natural, it was really bad care, but I guess that is what you get when your are laid off receiving unemployment and having no insurance. the bill was outrages 1170.00 to stay the night in the overly cold waiting room. and a minute visit with the dooctor. Only in America, you would think we live in a third world country. what is really going on in this society that we live in. It touch my heart to see this show where the peopled needed the operation to live, but because of no Insurance was not able to get good health care and then been qualified for medicad 2 days before the past, it is a shame that the land of the free will treat their citizen this way and send billions of dollars to foreign country for weapons and things of that nature. i pray for all those that are going through these situations.

  • Monique

    FOREIGNID: 17237
    I just finished watching this documentary, and this was an excellent documentary of putting real stories out there. It is true that patients are treated differently who do not have health insurance. I have personally experienced this. When I was going to graduate school, I did not have health insurance for a couple of years. The way emergency room health professionals talked to me, and the way I was treated when they were aware I did not have health insurance was very negative. Through conversation, once they found out I was working and going to graduate school full time their demeanor towards me did a 360! All of a sudden I was a “worthy” patient?! ?!
    The cost of my ER visit was 450.00. I was not even in the ER for an hour! I have chosen to work for the state because of the health and retirement benefits.
    It was scary not having health insurance, and while some jobs may claim they pay high salaries which should compensate for lack of health insurance…………it does not compensate. Without health insurance, hard working people are getting into debt because of medical care. I worked for a nursing home, and how ironic……..the nursing home corporation did not offer health benefits.
    I am thankful for my experience without health insurance, because it truly opened up my eyes to the realities of the numbers of hard working Americans who do not have health insurance. It makes you feel helpless and hopeless. I remember the fear that if I did get seriously ill, how would I afford the bill?
    And the other spectrum is that there are people who have Medicaid insurance who are also discriminated against due to the type of insurance they have.
    Ultimately, I believe a lot of Americans do not have health insurance because they cannot afford it. I looked into health insurance policies, and in reading the small print…………..paying $150 a month for “nothing”. A lot of these plans has so much small print, it was more beneficial to save the money, then to buy a useless health insurance policy that really didn’t cover much.
    I knew a lady who worked for insurance collections for a hospital, and she quit because she became angry at the system. Hard working people who have hard times, end up in debt with high bills……not because they are just not paying these bills…….but because they cannot afford them. Yet, all prisoners get free medical care, surgeries, treatments paid for! That is another blog.

  • Mark Lacefield

    FOREIGNID: 17238
    This was one of the most powerful piece of work I have experienced. I found myself drawn in and feeling the pain, anguish, frustration, dispair, disgust, hopelessness, and outrage that each of the couples in the film most certainly lived each day.
    I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that, until tonight when I watched this film, I never really gave much thought to this issue. Everyday, I go about my business…fat, dumb, and happy, with excellent healthcare and no sense of the “real world” nightmare 47 million Americans experience each day.
    This film has touched a chord in me that I didn’t know existed. Even and hour after the end of the show, I still can’t keep back the tears.
    What a disgrace for a country as bountiful as ours to have allowed our citizens to get to this point.
    Forget about being Democrat, Republican, Independent, Conservative, Liberal…how about being human. Perhaps we can all consider ourselves part of the human party and figure out a way to eliminate this “dirty little secret”
    If you haven’t seen this show, you MUST figure out a way to watch it. Once you do, I hope you will take action in helping do whatever you can to fix this terrible situation.

  • Rosie

    FOREIGNID: 17239
    I just finished watching Critical Condition and I am exhausted. I can not believe that we brag about being the richest, most progressive nation, and yet this is what we have to offer our citizens. These were hard working people until they became ill. Lost their jobs and the loss of insurance followed. It isn’t as if they were laying around wanting someone to take care of them. I think instead of talking about bailing out Wall Street, every politician should have to sit and watch this program. And no vote should be taken until they fix our health care system.

  • Elaine

    FOREIGNID: 17240
    Johnny is it not the salary an MD gets that make a doctor good or competent!!
    MD’s have signed the oath to uphold the care for the human condiition.
    IF EVERYONE DID A PUSH BACK AND REFUSED to be in this for the money – the system would fold and offer room for cures/changes.
    MD are rushing to see as many patienta as possible in a one hour period.
    A MD in my area saw my son and offered him meds without properly examining him. I am a pill person. He is not . He is only 23 and was so upset. So we are reporting the doctor for unethical behavior. Rushing parients in and out — no proper exam but you can be sure they promptly bill for $$. The care those get that have no insurance or are on public programs is strange in that many extremely poor individual get lots of care but it is given like trinkets tossed during Mardi Gras. The care MANY TIMES is not dished out witjh any concern to the person be ing human. Almost like treating a room of laborators subjects. We also need to consider the side of the equation where individual incarcerated can get a kidney or heart surgery befolre those that have worked all their lives and are waiting for the opportnity to return to healthy productive lives.
    Makes one sick to think of it all.

  • kim

    FOREIGNID: 17241
    I watched tonights episode and cried like a little baby. It hurts so bad to see our people have to go through these struggles, and our country it seems could care less about this problem. Our country seems to care more about sports, technology, and the rich getting richer. We need to do something about the rising costs in health care and the lack of health care and resources. I work in health care and see some of my patients realy struggle over even the smallest things that alot of people take for granted. I see alot of them having to come back for the same problems sometimes more than 3 times in a month because they can not afford their medications, having to make desicions like( medications or food for their familys?) This is not ok, we need to get our acts together and do something about this rising problem. Frankly it makes me feel ashamed and embaressed how this country treats it’s less fortunate people and our military men and women, and our children. The program tonight made a huge impact on me, and i feel the need to just help as many people that i can. I dont know what to do or realy even were to start, but the next person i come in contact with facing hardship i will go the extra mile to help them get through it. I myself stuggle with my own problems but you gotta start somewhere and i think that start is by helping others struggling as well. God has a way of working things out, but it takes us to take action.

  • Johnnie

    FOREIGNID: 17242
    Denise, Instead of going to the EMERGENCY room for a tooth abscess and being charged 1170, go to the neighborhood clinic and pay 50. You rented the time and equipment designated for life or limb threatening situations. Of course the bill was outrageous for a tooth abscess. If I want my car washed, I don’t call the fire department to bring their high powered hose, I use my garden hose.

  • Bianca

    FOREIGNID: 17243
    This documentary touched my heart, as I’m sure it did many. While others may see it as propaganda (and I can understand their reasoning), we must all admit that these situations are very real. I do agree that people can afford insurance more than they think but is it not reasonable, for a family barely financially making ends meet, to have insurance when they do not expect to become ill? That isn’t an excuse, of course. It should be priority because we never know what can happen. But, that’s for each individual to decide and know about the risks.
    Affordability, nonetheless, is an issue for many Americans. Coverage for all Americans would be amazing. I think that people should be free to decide whether they want insurance but the role of the hospitals should be set. We must all learn more about insurance, the role it plays with regards to our tax dollars, and look abroad to see what is working and what could work for us. We are in a health care crisis as well as a financial crisis.

  • s durbin

    FOREIGNID: 17244
    Again a great documentary from PBS. Thanks for the good work. Heath issues are not addressed until it happens to you. I am lucky to not have the serious problems you have centered on tonight but it may happen to me anytime.
    I feel our politicians are being bought off by the Drug companies and insurance to keep things the way they are. We are witnessing the Worst President in the history of the US. Get us out of Iraq and start discussing answers to the Health Issues please. What can i a common working man do to help to my part? If i knew i would try. Let me know.Thanks….

  • Maddie

    FOREIGNID: 17245
    Hello to everyone, and thank you POV for giving us a chance to post comments about the film “Critical Care”.
    A beautifully done film MR.Weisberg, letting us see what life in four American families was like without the benefits of health care. It made me cry!
    I am a 72 year old Canadian, and I thank my good luck to live in a country that has health care for all.
    I have had two “stents” put in to help my heart work better without having angina attacks, and I now require another angiogram, does my heart require another “stent” or two? I’ll know the result Oct. 16th.
    I have also needed two back surgeries, 95/97.
    My eyes are checked every year, prevention medicine.
    I see my family doctor whenever I need to. I get ALL my medications for a miniscule fee. All this care was provided for me by my country, without my worrying about bills, and more bills.
    Yes some services may cost a few dollars, like the ambulance to hospital, a mere $35.00, and yes sometimes you may have to wait a month to see a specialist, believe me I have never had an very long wait.
    No, I do not believe the goverment decides who and what care you can be given… our doctors decide.
    I feel that Canada chose the right program for the health of it’s people,. I am also certain that America can and should do likewise, your country is way overdue on a national health care program.
    I hope you will soon be blessed with a new administration who will tackle this problem once and for all.

  • Mark Lacefield

    FOREIGNID: 17246
    I will personally work to see to it that every member of congress and every member of the senate receives a copy of this film.
    Please check this blog tomorrow and I will post the donation details for those who care to contribute. I estimate we would need about $15,000 to cover the cost of the copies of the film as well as postage to each member of our Legislative branch.
    Maybe if we can get through the hardened and tempered exterior, we can find enough of our Legislators who still have a heart and would be so moved to put aside partisan politics for the good of this nation.

  • Terri

    FOREIGNID: 17247
    After watching this program I am even more scared for my children. I have a 23 year old daughter who has chronic back trouble and had back surgery at the age of 20. It was a long process getting her diagnoses with a blown disc because of her age, but she had been a dancer and had trouble with her back since she was 15. We had health coverage during all of her care, but she is about to age out of our health plan and I wonder if she will ever be able to have good health care. Because she is a college student we hope she will be able to obtain coverage at the university, but she still has on going back trouble. Our 12 year old son has been diagnosed with ADHD and is on three different medicines daily, monthly visits to the doctor and I wonder too if he will be able to find health care as an adult.
    With my husbands medical issues and my own added into the mix of our monthly bills, our current economic problems and the threat of losing our house, we had to declare bankruptcy. While this is helping to clear up the old medical issues and the few others out standing bills we had, the basic problem still exists. Medical expenses are dragging us down and even with both of us working we are always living on the edge. I worry that if something happens to one of us where we can’t work or have a serious medical issue we will find ourselves on the street and drowning in a sea of debt. I’m sure that may sound dramatic, but it is the case. My husband and I have always worked hard and have a very meager lifestyle. Most of what we have goes to pay medical bills, utilities, the house and food.
    Our daughter is forced to cut her ties with us in order to obtain money for college. Even with us in our current financial situation, the bankruptcy and medical issues, she was told that we make too much money for her to qualify for financial aid.
    As I see it, I am worse off they my parents were at my age. Now my parents are finding that because of the lack of protection of Dad’s pension and the increase in their medical, they too are in danger of not being able to meet their obligations. Dad always worked three jobs so my mother could stay at home, raise three children, care for her ailing mother and grand mother. Now he can barely afford the medicines they need.
    This is not the American dream I was raised to believe in. I resent the politicians dismissing the working people of this country. I resent the implication that the housing crisis, the medical crisis and the crisis in our educational system is our fault. I could go one a long rambling rant about corporate greed etc…, but I think others have already spoken for me in this area.
    Where is the leadership in our country to attack these issues and to do something, not just talk about it?
    Thank you for your film. I hope everyone in the “right” places sees it.

  • Karl

    FOREIGNID: 17248
    Great show and how sad the truth really is about this country. It’s really the story about how we live in a matrix of delusion that we are “free”, have it better than everyone else, are doing so much good in the world. Baloney, we have a big problem. Having lived worked and traveled to over 30 countries, I know Americans are pretty naive about the world. This isn’t the land where you could just go out and slaughter some natives, steal some oil, or dig up some gold, it’s crowded and living some myth that no longer exists. Our real story is more about thugs and ruthless gangsters than freedom and Christian values. It’s nice to be free to do whatever we want, but everyone knows that takes money-lots of it. Today if you don’t have the money you die. It’s not just healthcare but everything. We need to take care of each other first, stop spending trillions so the Rockefellers can corral oil pools on the other side of the world for EXXON and build the TAPI pipeline across Afganistan and we need to really stop and think about what has gone on. Here we have the best peice of real estate on the planet and can’t learn how to live together and share at least the basics? Ruthless competition is just the law of the jungle. We could all have healthcare, educations, decent housing, real jobs, and a good way of life or we can sink going broke and screw each other on the sad way down. Our choice. All this baloney about socialism etc. and how Canada is so horrible-heck if I could I’d move!(I have lived there and it’s nice!) Too old and sick now but Americans have got to stop this selfish nonsense, stop the insane military baloney, reign in the gangster capitalists and thugs and create the great country we could be. Healthcare shoud be a right as it is in Italy! To withhold treatment because of money is inhumane sorry Neo-cons and thugs, get over it and get it done. How about we talk about the fraud 911 attacks and the fraud war on terror or the phoney war on drugs too? Yeah, that’ll be the day like when maybe we tell the truth about JFK’s murder. That’s the problem. Have a nice day.

  • Charlotte

    FOREIGNID: 17249
    Critical Condition just went off a short while ago. I was so disturbed about the condition of health care in this country that I put me in high gear to finish preparing for tomorrow so that I could get on here. I needed to vent. The people with these unespected condition are the ‘average Joe’ to us but did you see the affect that being uninsured had on the families. I was moved to tears. My heart is heavy. I know that life isn’t always fair but these people were part of the working class people and yet the country failed them. My mother told me after I had my first child and was looking for employment ‘Girl, you better go and get some of my money. I haven’t worked and paid taxes for 20 years for my children no to benefit if needed. I in turn passed the samed message on to my daughter when she found herself without employment. Even on the level of the state, there should be more available. In the one case of the woman with the ovarian cancer. I could not believe my ears when I heard that she had to wait for two years before becoming eligible for medicaid and then only to find that her receiving disability compensation disqualified. WHAT!!!!!! Whoever heard of such nonsense? Understandably, it behooves us to always keep both medical and life insurance which is what I just talked to my son-in-law about, but when a person is working and has insurance thru the place of employment they should be able to retain that same insurance if they choose at least until they can find a private health insurance carrier comparable to the previous. My heart hurt for the lady who’s husband laid in the hospital bed and told her face to face “I’m finished”. I can recall when my father passed away. My parents ALWAYS had health insurance so the medical bills were not a real big issue. My mom left the hospital that night around 11p and we got a call at 2:05a saying that my dad was gone. I was waiting for him to come home so that I could have my 14th birthday celebration with him. It took me 6yrs to have any sort of celebration again. To see those grandchildren trying to celebrate Christmas thruogh the tears and to know that it did not have to go that way was both heartbreaking and maddening. There has got to be something done. Just think of how many other stories like these there are that never makes it to the documentary screens. Joe got sick because he couldn’t afford the medications need for the condition that he had. He would have had more time to spend with his family and so would the others. I was very happy that the person needing the back surgery ws able to recieve it but the Dr. himself said that it was only because of him knowing the ‘right’ people. This country should be ashamed of it’s non-benefical healtcare policies. I don’t care if you are Democrat, Republican, Liberal or anything at all but we should all be doing something to help one another and istead of bailing out Wall Street–let’s find a way to make the changes to bail people wh’s very lives depend on having the right people in office with the sensible and most doable plan to revamp health care for All people of this country. Far too many citizens of The grand United States Of Americalives are and will continue to be at stake if something is not done. Your nor my loved one should ever be with affordable health care

  • Dee

    FOREIGNID: 17250
    This is indeed a real problem for our country. But I can’t help but notice one big problem. If Carlos and his family has no insurance, why does he continue to have more children? Who is going to pay for her delivery? Be responsible and don’t have children if you can’t afford them.

  • Eduardo R Saavedra

    FOREIGNID: 17251
    It’s strange how the free enterprise system in our country doesn’t or can’t address the needs of a market of 47 million Americans without health insurance. It’s kind of like the market of millions of Americans who are demanding alternative fuels … and no one offers them … affordably. Lots of demand (and business opportunities) and no one to supply solutions.
    Why isn’t the American ingenuity, persistance, and ambition that made us a great nation, at work to solve monumental problems like this one? The answer to this question will give insight to the future of this country.

  • http://www.deliveringonthepromise.com/turbo1 Parker Broadus

    FOREIGNID: 17252
    I just got through watching Critical Condition and I must say, just like Sicko it really got to the meat of the problems in our Healthcare system. Presidents and administrations have talked for the last 20 yrs. about reforming the Healthcare system and no one has done anything. Consumer Driven Healthcare is the anwser. I’m not commenting here to promote me or the company I’m with. I just want you to know their is a company and 50,000 people nationwide who are commited to helping the 47million Americans who don’t have quality and affordable healthcare for their families. and the 100 million without dentalcare. Someone has qiut talking about it and has done something about it. The best kept secret in America. AmeriplanUSA. We are part of a massive movement to change healthcare in America. How people purchase and use benefits, putting the decisions about their healthcare back in the hands of the doctors and the patients. Low cost access to quality and affordable healthcare. Thank you for do your part to expose and make aware this unacceptable problem in our wonderful country. It is fixable. You will here about this company I can promise you this. God Bless America!

  • Ellen Mahajan

    FOREIGNID: 17253
    This country has very serious problems with our health care system. These problems are not just limited to the uninsured, but the entire system. Until our government stops allowing insurance companies to override common sense, things will not improve. For people who have insurance, their doctors are compensated for Evaluation and Management and doing procedures, and primarily use CPT Codes. Hospitals use ICD9 codes which primarily pay according to diagnosis. Those who are uninsured and poor enough to get Medicaid (or are on Medicare) use another bill coding system (HICSPICS). Once a service is coded, the claim can still not be accepted, creating layers and layers of paperwork having nothing to do with providing care to patients.
    Instead of paying to care for people we are mostly paying for overhead, with a lot of fraud and abuse, added for good measure. Things will not improve until we stop allowing Insurance Companies and other companies with a financial stake in the health care system to call the shots, and to use health care as a profit making enterprise. People who train in health care should make a good living, with good benefits, but care care should not be used to generate corporate profits. Health care should be about preventing disease when possible, and caring for people with disease when necessary.
    Neither of the health care plans (McCain’s or Obama’s) seem to really address these problems. Let us hope a solution can be found.

  • LAG1958

    FOREIGNID: 17254
    This is to the Jennifer’s of the world who most likely have the best insurance money can buy. I have worked from the age of 10 (yes ten) paid like an adult, until I was hit by a drunk driver who was never caught. My excellent health care maxed at one million. I have lost my entire pension, my children’s college fund, my home and land that was paid off, all of my student loans had just been paid, my ability to work, no care, Medicare is a joke, and Medicare D is pathetic. All of the people who are so against universal care spew all kinds of garbage you have no clue about. I don’t know who would leave Canada and come to the US for health care and pay cash. It cannot be done. I have a family who came from Canada to the US. When they spent a year trying to get health care coverage and how much it cost for a family of six, they refused to give up Canadian citizenship to be able to get health care, as did the family from England, and the family from Germany. I know them all, why, because I worked with them. They were sought out for their skills and forced to move here to have the BIG JOB. But they could not afford the insurance. Sometimes I wonder if this is the US goverments way to weed out the weak and make sure the rich survive. I can just hear the comments now, conspiracy theory. Right. They can’t even take care of the vets coming home. Just wait Jennifer. You better pray to whatever you believe in that you never get sick, an accident, anything. I was maxed in four months in ICU, on a ventilator. This is after I did another health care proxy making sure that I would be allowed to die if anything like this should happen. I would have died that night, had my family followed the proxy. They would stll have home, my insurance, retirement, the house, the land, all the gardens, and greenhouses, everything. When it happens to a person who thinks or works in the health care field and think you have great insurance max out. See what happens to your life after that. This country is a pathetic joke. But we are getting ready to bail out Wall Street who can afford to pay for their care without insurance. That 700 billion would pay for 8 years of health care for every single American. The war will cost over 3 trillion, just think what could have been done with that. What a god awful nightmare. Karl you are so right I could cry.

  • Anthony

    FOREIGNID: 17255
    Let me fists say that I am appalled at Jennifer’s comments and any other fellow americans who feel as she does. It sad to say that some fellow americans have no compassion for humanity. This is the Human Race and look at how we treat each other. How many times did you say hello with a smile on your face to a complete stranger or hold the door for woman or man. We care more about the health and welfare of animals on this planet than we do about our fellow mankind. “WAKE UP EVERY BODY! NOW MORE SLEEPING IN BED NO MORE BACKWARD THINKING TIME FOR THINKING AHEAD THERE IS SO MUCH HATRED WAR AND POVERTY” as Harold Melvin sung about. His liricks still cry out today for peace and love of they neighbor. You see my fellow americans the issues presented here tonight and other simular ones stem from a much deeper root cause. The lack of humility and this program personifies that. The wealthy people of this once great nation are out of touch with the average person that suffers from day to day trying to survive. It is said that weath on Wall Street has created more millionairs in the last 25 years than it has at any time in history. And my question is where are the philanthropic acts of kindness, the humanitarian institutions. Are you going to leave it all up to Bill gates and Warren Buffet….come on…you can do it…just open up your hearts a bit and you will be very surprised how good it feels…And that goes for all of us. When God wakes you up in the morning and you get ready for your day greet some one with a smile… it might just make your day and some one elses too…

  • irene

    FOREIGNID: 17256
    I have Cancer at 26 and I just wanted to say I was sick and worked on chemo had to lose everything and only make less then 800 dollars a month to have any government help. Now I have a preexisting condition in the eyes on the insurance company s. I can relate to this and we need to change the system. I would gladly give more taxes if I know its going to be there for me like S.S.


    FOREIGNID: 17257
    I wish this were a disturbing documentary. As a registered nurse for over twenty years, a prior Air Force officer for over five of those, and a previous welfare mom and single-mther college student with two children…….whose current husband has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s since 1995 and whose youngest son, Jonah, now 9, is a 6 year cancer survivor after a bone marrow transplant when he was barely 3 years old….I wish someone would ask my opinion. Because if you are secure in your ivory tower…you are clueless. Health care should not be based on income. We, as a nation, are only as noble as the care we provide the least of us.

  • Stuart

    FOREIGNID: 17258
    I have had Diabetes for two years. When diagnosed, I was flown to a hospital in a rural area. I was shocked to discover that the 150 mile air ambulance bill was 28,620.00. The two day stay for just tests was about 12,000.00. I took a crack at arguing over the air ambulance bill and the insurance company negotiated it down to only $20,000. These costs are way beyond any sort of reasonable basis. The medical care industry is like the mafia – able to say that if you think their bills are unreasonable you can just die. The costs are insane. The issue of pre-existing conditions is insane. The reality is that you have to contemplate at what point you are going to have to consider suicide, when that might be appropriate because the cost of care at some point can kill all hope you might have in allowing your family to have anything except unending debt. The wall street game players who are focused solely on profit factors are driving everything into a completely insane place. This has to change.

  • Sonja

    FOREIGNID: 17259
    As I watched (and am currently re-watching) this episode of POV, I want to cry for these people. The only thing I can think is “I’m so glad I was diagnosed when I was 14, and my diagnosis was for kidney failure.” If you don’t know Medicare covers end-stage renal failure to certain point. I lose Medicare on October 31st, 2008, because I have had a successful transplant almost 3 years ago. I qualify for Medicaid and SSI, but I don’t know how much coverage I will have without Medicare. I am in college, a senior at 31 years of age, hoping to eventually find a job that would cover my pre-existing conditions- including kidney failure, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, strokes (two, just months before I turned 19), osteoporosis, anemia, and with post-transplant, low immunity- anything from pneumonia to lethargy.

  • Rowan S

    FOREIGNID: 17260
    Ronin, I think you have touched on a core reason for the cruel health care situation in this country. An historically dominant biblical theology which ignores its presumed teacher’s mandate for compassion and embraces an economic religion which views wealth as a sign of God’s favour and poverty as a measure of unworthiness is bound to spawn unjust political and social policies. It appearsr that some posters here are trapped in this Calvinist Cage which divides humanity into ‘the deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’. In the context of medical care that translates literally into the ‘saved’ and the ‘unsaved’. That many of the ‘unsaved’ may work as hard as any good Calvinist and still suffer medical and financial ruin presents a cognitive dissonance too inconvenient to tackle. Instead, we prefer to punish the perceived ‘undeserving’ by withholding the gifts of Providence enjoyed by the ‘deserving’. These unacknowledged attitudes, as an old undercurrent in our national psyche, affect our ability to achieve a completely rational and humane system of healthcare and basic social services, try as we might.
    On another note: In NO discussion of healthcare (or taxes) have I heard a mention of the self-employed workers of this country, who in 2005 numbered about 15,800,000 * and rising, and who are solely responsible for our own FICA and health insurance costs. We have no sick days, no paid holidays, no unemployment or WC benefits. We are extremely vulnerable to medical or financial misfortune, and, it would seem, are quite invisible to politicians and policy-makers. What do we need to do to be noticed and included in the grand schemes?
    * Figure from “The Small Business Economy for Data Year 2005 – A Report to the President” December 2006

  • R. Tuckerq

    FOREIGNID: 17261
    Watched your documentary on health care, and was very sad to see some of these people wither away. However, where the hell was their planning for their future? Do they just expect that everyone else will take care of them? I, too, had no health insurance and had to take a job I hated just to pay for it. I see that Carlos is fine with having more babies whom I assume will also be uninsured–and he will expect the rest of us to pay for them., too. Maybe we can pay for all those who are too irresponsible to take care of business BEFORE they get sick! As for those who are born sick, maybe the parents should think about that possibility, instead of just blindly putting the burden on the rest of us. And if you think that sounds cold, just wait till we have socialized medicine, where you have to wait months or years for care. Oh, and the meds are cheaper in Mexico? Probably because they steal the formuations for medicine from the companies who spend millions and millions on the research.

  • Elaine

    FOREIGNID: 17262
    I am very upset and touched by these stories. If universal healthcare is not the answer, what is? What these people have dealt with, good working taxpaying people, is not acceptable. Combine this with our ‘financial crisis’ and I want to crawl under a rock, I am ashamed of this country right now.

  • Anna Alonzo

    FOREIGNID: 17263
    I’m part of a team that manages 5 community health centers in Phoenix, Arizona where almost 30% of the patients we provide services to are uninsured. We are a safety net for individuals such as Karen, Joe, Hector and Carlos. Although we encounter similar situations as theirs on a daily basis, we need to be reminded of our mission to provide services to those who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. I’ll be purchasing Mr. Weisburg’s film to share with our staff.

  • Edith Minde

    FOREIGNID: 17264
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    Thank you for broadcasting this gripping documentary! I wished that you could send it as often as possible just to bring these individual cases close to as many people as possible because each of these cases stands for thousands that are similar and/or even worse. We need the change that Hillary Clinton initiated (and for which she was ridiculed) in the Eighties, and that Obama hopefully will continue to fight for the millions of uninsured people in the United States.
    A message to Jennifer: You seem to a) never have been seriously ill, or b) have either a good job and good health coverage or have the means to pay for the horrendous bills, or c) are in close connection with the HMO system here in the states. In any case – you need a new heart!

  • Ron

    FOREIGNID: 17265
    As a social worker I have worked with many people with inadequate or no health insurance. Many times these are people who worked all their lives, did what they were supposed to do and could not believe or comprehend how they ended up in such a horrible situation. Unable to pay their bills or buy their medication. Sometimes they blamed others, thinking others got benefits they did not deserve while they had to do without. These people assumed that their hard work had insulated them from their current troubles. They had believed that people who faced such misfortune had only themselves to blame, and they had little sympathy for them. Now they were seeing things differently and they looked to the government for help. They found out the health care system doesn’t change because you are now the one seeking help. The all too many bad outcomes in our current system is not due to our individual shortcomings but to systemic failure to provide adequate care for all.

  • Chris W.

    FOREIGNID: 17266
    Okay, I read the majority of the post’s here, after I viewed the show on PBS. I watched in shock, dismayed by the fact that,here we are,in the land of plenty !!?? plentyfor whom ? I’ve worked all my life, and watched this show,people like you and I, working people,everday Joe’s, and it could happen to anyone of us, anytime, Think about it, and in comment on Mr I have to overpost, who cares what Canada has,let’s learn from there mistakes,and not allow anyone to make decisions for us,but us. I’ts sad, there must be a solution, certainly not one man can fix it all,but, I have to tell you, I pay a fortune for medical insurance I just realized I cant afford to use !! thats right, it costs so much,and deductibles are so Hi, I hope I never need it or don’t live thru it. This country has got to change, we as people,have the power to make that change, we pay them remember ??? don’t forget that, if we all said, ” were not paying you,we want something better” trust me,things would change radiacally. The beginning starts with one step,,lets all take that step together and turn around a system more corrupt than the Mafia ever thought of being…

  • Ann

    FOREIGNID: 17267
    I agree with universal healthcare, but I also notice more evidence of a lack of accountability/ concern among healthcare professionals in the US. Where we live, there is a shortage of qualified healthcare providers. The doctors here often provide a bare minimum assessment at top dollar, and will tell you to your face tough luck. Even as an insured patient I am denied specialists, charged for items not covered by insurance, and overcharged for medicatrions. It’s nickle and dime more expensive every year.
    My children will only be referred to qualified peiatricians when they are deathly ill. I was nearly killed by an incompetent anesthesiologist and know of a baby who nearly bled out because a nurse did not follow standard procedure. Charging a man $1100 for a necessary diuretic is unconcionable.
    My solution is to deal: with the fact I’m still lactating 2 years after my daughter was born, deal with the pain in my stomach, deal with my heart palpitations, deal with my endocrine problem, and not take my kids to the specialists they need. So far the doctors have taken my money, insurance has denied my claims, and I nearly died from incompetence. I won’t go back! I’m afraid for my daughter with food allergies because after 2 years it is obvious that no one will care until or after she is a carcass.

  • janice

    FOREIGNID: 17268
    I would like to see all elected officials forego health insurance for themselves and their families for one year, paying out of pocket as they go. Possibly there would then be some compassion for the under and uninsured and universal coverage would become a reality. I have health insurance, not HMO, and still need approval for this and that, and there can be hours spent waiting. Hospitals are now staffed with “contract” employees (doctors, anesthesiologists, etc.,)and it is up to these individual “contract” employees whether to accept offered insurance, or bill separately and completely for any provided services. I do not see how any countries could look to us for guidance on anything when we do not have basic standards of care for our citizens.

  • Oto

    FOREIGNID: 17269
    A brilliant documentary. A damning indictment of the American health care system. Who is the culprit? Just follow the money and their greed will show you.

  • http://pov@pbs.org Oto

    FOREIGNID: 17270
    A brilliant documentary. A damning indictment of the American health care system. Who is the culprit? Just follow the money and their greed will show you.

  • Mary

    FOREIGNID: 17271
    The European countries and Japan have longer life expectancy for their citizens than we do. Many countries have lower infant and child mortality rates. The Netherlands has universal health care, but everyone has to pay something towards insurance. There are many solutions, but we are held prisoner of interest groups who frighten us by talking about the US Gov’t becoming involved in our care. Well, guess what? One of the best health care systems in our country is the VA. Shh! Washington doesn’t want you to know about that. Check out the HEDIS scores, the superb nation-wide electronic medical records, the care for chronically disabled and ill. If we as a people can get Congress to vote no on the bail out, because we have called and talked about our feelings, we can do the same thing with health care. We are still a nation of one person, one vote, and no one is making you pay to vote. Just don’t be bought by fear mongers.

  • shawn

    FOREIGNID: 17272
    I watched this film through the tears in my eyes. I am speechless.

  • Laura Zell

    FOREIGNID: 17273
    I really enjoyed this program. I am 51 years old, unemployed and struggling to stay healthy and out of hospital while caring for my 58 year old husband who is on Social Security Disability for the last 10 years. We get extra help from Medicare to help with his prescriptions, and still have to get help from a private agency to pay for just one of his drugs(it costs $5500 a month and is for Leukemia). Because he gets Medicare and SSI–I do not qualify for any medical care–WE MAKE TOO MUCH INCOME. On what? I currently qualify for Unemployment, but when that runs out, I cannot get Medicaid because my Husband makes too much income on SSI-Disability. It barely pays the rent. He takes about six drugs daily and without hisMedicare and the extra prescription drug help, he could die. He was almost killed by the HMO doctors we had when he was diagnosed (10 years ago). HMO doctors do not give the proper diagnostic test. HINT-ANYBODY OVER 30 YEARS OF AGE SHOULD HAVE A CBC YEARLY (COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT)-a prick on your finger is not enough to diagnose nearly 80% of the medical conditions until it is too late. We argued the need for Universal healthcare whe3n I was i high school. We are still debating the issue. Jennifer should pray that she never gets sick, never loses a job or care for anyone with a chronic condition.. Jennifer cannot really believe what she writes. Do you Jennifer?
    I am counting the days to election day. Barack Obama is my man. He was supportive of the bill that got all children insured in the state of Illinois–unfortunately-they become adults at age 18 and than cannot get coverage nor could their parents unless they themselves qualify for Medicare. If Barack can get children covered-he will be able to come up with a plan to get everybody covered.

  • donna

    FOREIGNID: 17274
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    I have seen this on-going situation get much worse in the 31 years i have practiced nursing. To those who think we can’t afford universal healthcare, all you need do is look at any magazine to see how health care dollars are spent every 5 pages for Viagra. To the Jennifers of the world, I hope you nver have a heavy period on your health record because you too will be denied insurance at some time in your future as my daughter was at the old age of 22-no other health history!!

  • John Apthorpe

    FOREIGNID: 17275
    I viewed with interest the POV program on health care and insurance in the US.
    A couple of questions:
    1. The hispanic cook with the congenital back problem – a. spondylitis had three kids. He was a poor position to provide for them. Agreed? Why is his wife pregnant again? Who is paying for the support of those kids? The Taxpayer?
    2. The gentleman with hepatitis was morbidly obese as was his wife. With weight reduction he could have help his own situation significantly. There is a huge waiting list for liver transplants even if you have insurance. That would be his ultimate cure. Perhaps he could do better getting a transplant south of the border.
    3. The man with the foot amputation secondary to diabetes I have more sympathy for. I have diabetes and health insurance but still pay approximately $7-8000 yearly out of pocket in addition to $7000 in health insurance premiums to Blue Cross. I have to pay out of pocket for all the special shoes I need to keep working and remain a productive member of society. I also have a medication bill of some $600 per month. I do no like it, but still do it rather than go on disability and demand others pay to support me and my family.
    4. The lady with the ovarian carcinoma unfortunately has a bad disease. But her excuse of not seeking medical care when she first had symptoms and having yearly pelvic exams is somewhat lame. There are free women’s clinics readily available. She could have received initial care there.
    Our health care deliver sstem in this country is indeed in need of emergent repair. But how to pay for it. How much are we willing to pay for health care? How much of the GNP 35 – 40%? We waste enormous resources on futile care. Newborns of 24 -26 wks gestation that end up with severe lifelong maladies that eat up $$$. People in convalesent hospital out feeding tubes and ventilators that our covered with bedsores and brain dead for years. Junior and Sis want “everything done” as long as they themselves are not paying for it (but a third party or the government is). There arer hundreds of other reasons for the current cost of what is done to provide us with healthcare – lots of it completely unjustified.
    May be the profit motive should be taken out of the providing of health care. But should that include dental care (such as Great Britain)? And the pharmacuetical and medical appliance industry. And the pacemaker and and other type of adjuncts to deliver nirvana to the American population. (What about illegals?)
    Healthcare a real problem. I think personal responsibilty cannot be understated -but much more needs to be addressed. Our society worships (and grossly over- compensates the wrong icons).
    But I will continue to work in an ermergency room in California essentially giving two-thirds of my labors to those that either cannot or have no intent to pay compensation for services rendered.
    What are your suggestions?
    JRA, MD

  • Doris Sudduth

    FOREIGNID: 17276
    I just watched this show on PBS GA 8. It’s hard to stop crying because this is happening to us, too. I remember watching Sicko and being outraged. Now, I’m just depressed. Can anyone really change anything? Will anyone? It sure doesn’t feel like it. We do have Medicaid and they fight over every medication and service. They deny everything and make us go through an appeals process for everything. This means the doctors have to “pre-approve” everything, then send the Medicaid people tons of paperwork. This means we don’t get the medications we need when we need them, we have to wait 3-4 months just to see if they will cover it. They only do about half the time. I am seriously approaching the end of my rope. I would give up if we didn’t have two young children.

  • Peter Bresler MD

    FOREIGNID: 17277
    I consider myself liberal and a strong advocate for universal health care. but it is impossible to provide the entire population with everything that is available within the healfh care system. Therefore some system of rationing or tiered care needs to be devised. At present we have defaulted to using finacial resources. which is not the fairest.The quandry is that it becomes a political descsion on how to devide up the pie, and few are willing to say that health care must be rationed in some way. Another issue is our attidudes towards prolonging life at the extreme ends, which is qute rigid. Ultimately these are ethical problems which need to be defined and sorted out before a solution to allocating health care will be found.

  • Roland

    FOREIGNID: 17278
    While the documentary tugs at our compassion and makes a case with which I agree, there are several “bones to pick”.
    Karen, even with an earlier diagnosis, would have died from her ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease. It would have been better to have seen someone who died because of a lack of health care.
    Joe (and his wife) qualify as morbidly obese. They were significantly overweight even when they got married. If Joe had anywhere near a normal weight, the chances are that he would have never gotten as sick as he did.
    Obesity is a national epidemic. Look at primary school lunch menus and you’ll see one reason why.
    Using Mexican immigrants living in the Los Angeles area for 50 percent of the narrative eliminates any semblance of ethnic balance. Why not an African American? They suffer more than any other group from medical neglect.
    Thanks to the Canadians for debunking the lies spread about their health care system. By the way, the USA has universal heath care. It’s called Medicare and I don’t see any retirees (which includes me) clamoring for an end to it.
    Finally, for those of you who posted that your COBRA was running out and have been turned down for an individual policy: HIPAA mandates that your insurer guarantee you insurance after COBRA runs out. I had this for 3 years before Medicare kicked in. It wasn’t quite as good and was expensive, but it beat the alternative.

  • Stephen

    FOREIGNID: 17279
    I have to reiterate that much of what I hear or read from the U.S. regarding Canada’s health-care system, or that of other industrial nations, ranges from myth to ignorance to blatant lying. As has been stated in this blog, the Canadian system is not perfect. Both the Federal Government and Provincial Governments are constantly trying to improve the efficiencies or lack thereof in our health-care system. I have chronic diseases: Crohn’s disease, Diabetes Type 2, Peripheral Artery Disease and on and on. I am well cared for, have had over 75 hospital admissions since about 1995, ranging from a few days to as long as six weeks. These admissions included 5 bowel surgeries, a gall-bladder removal, angiogram, colonoscopies, gastroscopies, …and on and on and on.
    I have been, and am now, being cared for very well. I live in British Columbia, where the health-care system is basically the same as that of other Canadian Provinces. Many employers pay the monthly fees as employee benefits. For those people whose employer does not cover health-care, they pay a most reasonable premium per month, but premiums are capped, so those people earning much more money do not have to pay higher premiums. Can’t afford the monthly premium? No problem. Every Province has an income means test for health-care premiums and if you cannot afford to pay – you don’t – you’re automatically enrolled and covered anyway. The health-care card each person is issued is the same, so nobody ever knows if you’re paying your own premiums or if they are being paid on your behalf by an employer or by the Provincial Government. Citizens who want a bit more from their health system can get Blue Cross coverage to allow a person to, for instance, get a private room in a hospital as opposed to a four-bed room or two-bed room. Blue Cross plans will also take up any slack in prescription drug costs. Even then, the Blue Cross premiums are very low.
    Yes, there are waits sometimes, but if anyone needs attention immediately, they normally get it. If time is of the essence and the Province health system cannot take care of you immediately, you could be sent to the U.S. for the treatment to be carried out. It’s more expensive, but we believe we are all worth the extra costs if the situation truly demands that this is necessary.
    There is no doubt that a U.S. health-care system will cost hundreds of billions of dollars per year. That said, how can anyone ever quantify the financial return of such a huge outlay of money? Well, you really can’t. However, with a universal system, the lives of many people will either be saved or made better by treatment. Maybe one of the people saved from some terrible health crisis goes on to be the next Nobel Prize winner, or President of the U.S., or just an average person paying their taxes while making a life for themselves without any worry of losing everything because of a health condition.
    Universal health-care, I believe, shows that Governments care about their citizens and their well-being. The U.S. Government’s resistance to creating a system of universal health-care simply dumbfounds people from other countries. Capitalism certainly has its advantages, but citizens having to pay horrendous premiums for health-care, or losing their job because they’re too much of a health risk to a company health insurance plan, or they have to mortgage their house to pay for an operation – is Draconian – and that’s being kind. Do Americans really believe that Government health plans will make everyone “Commies?” A democratic society with a touch of social aspects to it is really not the demon it is made out to be. We are the people who elect our Government and we still decide just how much Government can be involved in our life.

  • Karen England

    FOREIGNID: 17280
    What a GREAT and TRUE show…Critical Condition. My husband is 50 and I am 47. Our entire lives we have worked hard and never had to ask for help from anyone. We owned 2 businesses and had our own insurance policies for years. The premium began lower than $300 a month. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis when I was in my 30′s and the insurance doubled. My husband had 5 heart attacks in a 2 year period. The insurance went up to $2400 a month. We paid that for several years complaining to anyone who would listen…congress, president, governor, no one cared. 2 months after having to drop the insurance I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I was blessed that my brother works for a drug company and knew they had programs for people without insurance. They furnished the $100,000 medication. My oncologist has yet to send a bill. They don’t even take money at the front desk. If it weren’t for them I would be broke or dead by now. A few months after finishing my treatments…a MRA revealed 4 brain aneurysms. Surgery was required…JUST AS SOON AS I COULD COME UP WITH THE CASH. Once again I was blessed by a family and friends with life savings that they loaned to me. I’ve paid them back but I’m still paying other bills like a $20,000 anesthesia bill, follow up test and visits, etc… Now, a month ago, I was told my leukemia is out of remission. We have decided to wait until I get sick to do the treatments. We don’t think we can get the free medication this quickly and I do NOT have $100,000 for the Rituxin that I need. I’m not sure what to do about this problem but Critical Condition hit it right on the head when it said people with insurance get treated better and have a lot better chance of living…AND NOBODY CARES!
    When you don’t have insurance you feel like everyone looks at you like you are trash. It’s humiliating, especially for someone who has always paid their way and never took a handout. We were the ones who always were able to do the hand outs but not any more. It just makes you not want to go back to your follow up visits because what if it’s worse then what?? Do you have the treatment and bankrupt your spouse or do you just die and be done with it? I don’t know yet. I’m still contemplating that question. Thanks again for showing me and the REST Of THE WORLD…I’m not alone.

  • Carla

    FOREIGNID: 17281
    Kudos to the producers of this documentary and to PBS for airing it. I would love to see a follow up to this on the part the immoral insurance companies play in this scenario. For those of you out there who think that you are somehow safe from being denied health care because you are insured, you are sadly mistaken. I was a claims adjuster for almost 20 years and worked in more than one Insurance Company. There once was a time when it was a good job to have but it got worse and worse as we were being pressured by our companies to find any and all excuses to deny people coverage for their claims. In fact at one companym which thankfully doesn’t exist anymore; we were told to look into the financial staus of anyone making a large claim. If it didn’t appear that they would have the ability to hire a lawyer to fight us, we were to deny their claim…period!!! Didn’t matter what for.

  • candace hall

    FOREIGNID: 17282
    im sure my opinion makes no difference but this film was so sad i have to comment. i always thought doctors become doctors because they want to make a difference and really help people, but turns out they are working for money just like everybody else. Everyones life outcome depends on how much money they have. Everyones life would be totally different depending on if they were rich or poor. what has this world come to when we dont even care that nice people that didnt decide to have an illness die. I cryed the whole time i watched this film and i dont even know these people. I just can not begin to understand why money determines our lives,paper, pieces of paper decide it all, it sickens me. I hope and pray to God my kids dont have to watch me die and can do nothing about it, or should i just teach them that if you have no money your life will suck?That money means everything in this world.Like i said it sickens me.

  • Donna

    FOREIGNID: 17283
    Excellent and heartbreaking documentary! We don’t have the best healthcare here in the United States at all — only the most expensive — and our system is horribly inadequate after having been raped by the insurance industry for the past 30 years. We can thank the Nixon administration for starting the travesty that is managed care. Be sure to watch the movie Sicko if you have not done so already. A nation who prioritizes Wall Street bailouts and illegal wars over its citizens’ basic needs is truly morally bankrupt!

  • Claude

    FOREIGNID: 17284
    “The hand that giveth is the hand that taketh.”
    This documentary did point out a serious hole in our system, but why are we so willing to let the federal government control our lives? Haven’t we learned our lessons (since the Roman Empire) that when an organization becomes too big it also becomes greedy and less efficient, e.g., FEMA, the Federal Reserve, Microsoft, Bear Stearns, etc….all doing a poor job because they got too fat – like so many people in need of health care in this country? The bigger you are, the more you are susceptible to internal corruption – a fact of human nature that will never change. The solution is to keep it small. I don’t want my hard earned dollar to get chewed up by our corrupt central government before the remaining few pennies get to someone that actually needs it. I’d rather see it go through my local communities hands (or even my states hands) where activities are more transparent and get to local people in need, not some obese couch potato with high blood pressure living thousands of miles from me. Over time, local states can compare and learn from the effectiveness of their neighbor’s public health plans and evolve to a better system.
    This country is about diversity and choice. We have the choice to smoke, eat McDonalds and live an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle, but I don’t want money to pay for the health care needs of some of these people. I know I can’t select exactly who this money goes to, but at least it would be spent in the same place where my local taxes, property, schools, hospitals, and elections play a role. And if my local community has a poor public health care system, then I should be able to choose to live in one that does a better job.
    I just don’t trust the federal government hand on my money and neither did our Founding Fathers. We’ve seen what federal government did with our tax dollars over the last three decades…do you honestly trust a federally controlled health care system.

  • Mary Margaret Flynn, MD

    FOREIGNID: 17285
    I just finished seeing this on PBS from 11PM to midnight. First Thank you so very much for making this film and for the patients and their families who let us follow them. Such courage, faith, hope and love they have. I have always worked in “Public medicine”–Army, VA, County Hospital. Army paid for my speciality training. THis situation of lack of health insurance proves the America I grew up “believing in” (I was born 1942) no longer exsists. I could never have imagined so many working uninsured citizens and people in AMerica would be allowed to experience this. I to know patients who died because they could not pay for their medications. We must change this situation. I wish this program would have been aired in Prime Time. I am going to tell everyone I know most of whom work and who are in bed from 11PM to midnight, to watch it on the internet. I hope I can forward this page to them so they can watch it. Again Thanks to the patients and their families, to the hospitals and doctors and to the camera people, producers and directors. I am going to give some money to PBS.

  • Anita

    FOREIGNID: 17286
    I watched the program tonight and am glad this was made to perhaps get people’s attention as to the attitude this country, and many people in this country, seem to have of not caring about people who aren’t blessed with the money to afford insurance or to just pay for medical treatment. The idea of waiting two years for medicare is also shameful. And I do believe the idea is that hopefully, the person will be dead before medicare starts. I am one of the uninsured of this country, and am also caregiver for my husband who had heart surgery and a massive stroke over six years ago. He had insurance at that time, but lost it when he couldn’t work anymore. Two years praying he didn’t need more surgery or hospital stay, while waiting on medicare. Couldn’t afford the medicine or seeing a doctor often. As for me, if I become too sick to treat myself, I will have to die at home, since ‘how are you going to pay?’ is the first thing asked when trying to see a doctor. What sort of country is this when the politicians don’t care-I know they talk a good game, but if they really did care, something would have been done long ago. All you hear is how much money it would cost to have a healthcare system that takes care of everyone, or that it would be socialized medicine and that would be horrible. They would rather have people die. So, what kind of country is this, that claims to be a christian nation, yet has so little care for all its citizens.

  • Ms.Iris MG

    FOREIGNID: 17287
    JRA, MD- you present a strong argument for ensuring the quality of the health care professional, because even with insurance being treated by a know-nothing quack is worse than not being treated at all. And, I’ve had more than my share of those people whom I’ve had to fire in favor of doctors who were A-students in their class. Saved my life.
    To add a little perspective to some of your concerns. The Latino couple may well be Catholics who don’t see children as a “punishment”. If they are not getting a good wage for their services, the taxpayer may well be at least giving just enough beans and rice to keep the children fed.
    If you had paid a little attention, you would have found the gentleman developed edema from not being able to afford medicine for his cirrhosis of the liver. Edema, as you well know, being a doctor, is the retention of fluid., and if one’s kidneys can’t draw it off, one can blow up like a balloon. No diet on his part would have helped, and I believe you answered your own question about the liver transplant. He didn’t have insurance, so the wait would have been even longer, and obviously, he didn’t have that kind of time.
    I think that if our schools are graduating people with as little compassion, let alone knowledge, as the JRA person above, we’ve got to overhaul the whole health care industry – not just insurance, but the practitioners as well. Get these arrogant people who think they have all the answers but who know nothing out of the system. People need to take a good look as to why they enter the field, why they become doctors and nurses. And maybe the revolution has to start from within the profession first and then work its way to Congress.
    Now I’m going to research how much insulin costs in Mexico. 700 billion, indeed.

  • Chris Hagel

    FOREIGNID: 17288
    At the http://www.pnhp.org website check out the article: “10 Myths About Canadian Health Care, Busted.” http://www.pnhp.org/news/2008/february/10_myths_about_canad.php.
    The percentage of Canadians who would trade their health care system system for our fragmented private insurance dominated non-system is always in the single digits. (That percentage represents the rich people if I remember correctly…It’s in this article.)
    Please do not be misinformed/uninformed by the fear and smear tactics of special interests.
    I have asked lots of people from other countries if they would trade their system for ours and it’s always “No”. Are other health care systems perfect? No, but they don’t experience anywhere near the health care woes we do here in America. There is more than enough money presently pouring into health care (about two trillion dollars annually) to avoid any significant problems if we phased in single-payer. The corporate media completely censored Dennis Kucinich who aptly put it this way: “We’re already paying for universal health care, we’re just not getting it.” What he means is there’s more than enough money in our fragmented private insurance dominated non-system to provide great health care for every American if we phased out the health insurance industry (20%-30% overhead) and phased in Improved and Enhanced Medicare for All (about 3% overhead.)
    We already have a great blueprint to work from, our beloved Medicare minus the health insurance industry. This “blueprint” embodied in House Bill HR 676 with 90 Congressional cosponsors, has tremendous national support and growing. HR 676 will entirely outperform any HMO, PPO, POS, etc. by every standard. It’s gaining tremendous support. So let’s get behind it everybody!
    Why in nearly every field of human endeavor can the U.S. do things as well or better than other industrialized countries (with health care for all) except provide an affordable high quality health care system for all its own people? Because health care in this country is a commodity and privilege, not a public necessity/service and human right!
    I feel this ties in a lot to what Ronin was Blogging.
    Yeah, get pissed off, scream, cry…but then get active. Sign the petition to Congress at http://www.healthcare-now.org. Healthcare-now! is an extremely good grass roots movement to get behind. Check them out, I think you’ll be very impressed and get excited about volunteering.
    Please get active. Thank you.
    Chris Hagel

  • RGB

    FOREIGNID: 17289
    With a Blue Cross network doctor billing me $120 for a 15 minute BP+ pulse (free at the local drug store) and abdominal prodding (free at home), and another taking as much for the visit and again for a ‘surgery’ (as the BC phone personality said “a surgery that isn’t surgery”) of ineffectually squirting warts with $400-a-can nitrogen (the 35% peroxide later took these- and their friends- out- online for $20); after I’d bagged Kaiser for their $323/month while they plaster the local subway with ads, buy ballpark billboards to remind us to eat fruits, or salute latinos on breaks during this presentation:
    This show (and some respondents here) hit a figurative nerve. We continue to cater to these sensational fees, saying we need universal health care to cough up the graft, when don’t we really need to rectify the fact of some free marketeers in certain sectors, including the medical profession, preying upon those in urgent need to save their own lives? With nurses and assistants in high demand on the job training sites online… why are medical billing specialists also on these lists? Why is getting the money out of the patient as popular a vocation as doing the noble work of healing the patient in the first place- or is it all one scheme?
    Sure- let’s attract the best and brightest to the Healing Arts- and let’s see them compete for a reasonable living wage, not thrive (as KP puts it) on the blood money of the public they claim to serve.
    As to the gripe with ‘socialized’ medicine (I see even ‘communists’ invoked)- how is it that Russia can deliver a child for a 20th of the cost in the US, while who looked to whom for their pioneering of eye and bone surgeries? As a common denominator, regardless of our personal preference in political party, immigration, or Darwinian theory, the problem isn’t so much with anyone’s fitness as with greed, and with a willingness to pander to that greed, isn’t it?

  • Ivan

    FOREIGNID: 17290
    Why do American politicians act as if they are above the rest of us? They might as well be on another planet. I guess they reach their goal of wealth, healthcare etc.,once elected, and forget why they were elected in the first place. And we are not blamless. Americans are an apathetic lot. That’s why politicians freely abuse and rape us without any fear of accountability.
    Obama is our only hope now.

  • Renie

    FOREIGNID: 17291
    It would take a novel to explain why I was both crying & jumping for joy that such a powerful film is showing up in peoples’ livingrooms.
    I don’t have room here for the worst horror story. The most recent one comes after having had insurance for years, then losing it.
    I was diagnosed about 2-1/2 years ago with an adrenal tumor. The ER told me to go pay for an MRI to confirm it, at a privately run office. I did. I was and am in pain, plus have very bad strange other problems stemming from it (look it up) & other health issues, like fibromyalgia & IBS (from a couple of colon resections). I owe three hospitals lots of money from 3 ER visits. None did anything but say that, yes, it’a tumor. And yes, I need to do something about it, but that I’m not going to die on the spot and their policy to only admit life-threatened uninsured patients for emergency surgery. If I wake up dead, I guess I won’t make it there in time.
    I’m glad I have strong faith in God. I sure don’t have that kind of faith in this country anymore or for a large part of the population who see us as idiots who want a hand-out. I started paying for their social security when I was 13, and I’m 54. I won’t live to collect, most likely.
    God help those who judge, having never walked the walk. And it’s hard to ask God for mercy for those who kill us with greed.
    This problem is REAL. We, the uninsured, are REAL. We have no source of alternative ways or we’d take it. I’d PAY for Medicaid Insurance, if they’d let me. I’m sure no one has Wall Street-sold stock in it, so it’d cost less than major healthcare plans. The quotes we got were horrible, and they weren’t even sure if I’d qualify at all. Too risky. And none of what I have now would be covered, yet the premiums are sky-high.
    It’s about pill-pushing, big insurance companies and filling alot of pockets in the name of “medicine.” Hipocrates is probably rolling over in his grave.

  • k8e

    FOREIGNID: 17292
    http://www.healthcare-now.org (Chris Hagel)

  • k8e

    FOREIGNID: 17293
    Single Payer is not the only way to achieve Universal Health Care. Try to see the Frontline special “Sick Around the World” to see how other civilized nations approached this problem, and what the pros and cons were of the various approaches. You can watch it online here:
    (I thought the Switzerland model was the one most likely to succeed here in the U.S: The Swiss example shows that universal coverage is possible, even in a highly capitalist nation with powerful insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Insurance companies are not allowed to make a profit on basic care and are prohibited from cherry-picking only young and healthy applicants. They can make money on supplemental insurance, however. As in Germany, the insurers negotiate with providers to set standard prices for services, but drug prices are set by the government.)

  • Damon

    FOREIGNID: 17294
    What an excellent documentary, and what a travesty. It makes me ashamed, angry and clearly illuminates the urgent need our country has for simple basic services. The basic services provided actually cut the cost of health care radically by stopping chronic conditions before they become emergency room admits which is how our system is set up now. It is also maddening that people who are productive members of society with one, two, three jobs sometimes can’t get the basic medical necessities provided to people in much poorer nations. It long past time to do something, hold your elected official accountable to responsible, ethical and humane health care.

  • Penny

    FOREIGNID: 17295
    What a sad situation people are in without health insurance. The next program should have the hospitals point of view. Then after that the insurers point of view.
    We are fortunate that my husband has health insurance through work. It is the highest expense that the company has after payroll.
    We have a Flexible Spending Account and I wish we could donate what money we do not use in a year to someone in need.

  • ourgalsunday

    FOREIGNID: 17296
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    I’m a retired RN, worked 30 years in hospitals & listened over & over to people who’d worked all their lives, may or may not have had insurance previously but had lost it with a lost job, got injured or old & couldn’t afford it & wouldn’t be able to afford meds, or physical therapy, or follow-up care. They went to ER only when symptoms got too bad, by which time a disease took much more time, effort & money to treat, if still treatable. My last 12 years were spent working on a psych floor. Saw many patients who couldn’t afford meds that helped them live more nearly normal lives free of voices or racing thoughts or depression but they didn’t qualify for help from any agency. One blogger here commented that “there are women’s clinics all over that Karen could have gone to for regular check-ups” No, that isn’t true. There are not a lot of clinics “all over,” & not all clinics can handle or look for all cancers. & an individual may not qualify for helpfor one reason or another. My machinist son in Detroit lost his good job of 10 years & benefits in 2007, since then has been unable to find a job above minimum wage that will hire a 45-yr-old. He needs BP meds. He lost his house to foreclosure & developed depression, fels like the lowest person on earth. My daughter in Detroit lost her job in 2007 also & now works at a low-paying job. She has asthma. Neither has insurance but neither qualifies for any health program & neither can afford doctors. County hospitals have long waiting lists & busy ERs. “Critical Condition” focused on poorly educated or uneducated people. The disadvantaged upbringing & social & economic positions of their parents, especially immigrants, are often factors that put the kids at a disadvantage in comparison to others as they grow toward adulthood. Maybe they’ll attend poor schools, learn nothing about the value of exercise & nutrition, stay with the high-fat, high-starch, AFFORDABLE foods their parents cooked, etc. They are unaware of options & ways to do things. I volunteer at a free clinic for people who don’t have & can’t afford insurance or doctor’s office visits. Most of them work at low-income, non-union jobs & can’t miss work because they’d lose pay or might get fired. The working poor. My own income is just above the poverty level now but it would be worse, living on their incomes. Their care is the time local medical pros volunteer & sample meds, free meds from drug companies, cheap meds from Walmart. What care isn’t volunteered, they don’t get. If they earn a bit too much money, tho not enough to be comfortable, they don’t qualify for us & they don’t qualify for medicaid or any other program. There is no psychiatric care. Hopelessness, worrying about bills, long work hours at low pay & illness can trigger psych problems.
    No one in this rich country should be without medical care. Kucinich is right; we’re already paying for universal care, we just aren’t getting it. We’re more than paying for it. Our Medicare system is a pretty good one, administering payment more efficiently & at less cost than commercial insurers do. I’d like to see it expanded to cover everyone. Insurance companies do nothing but add expense to healthcare because they are simply middlemen, taking large profits for their “services”, paying huge salaries, benefits, bonuses & retirements to upper-level officers, each office having its own large staff. If the middleman were taken out of the loop, hospitals & doctors could bill Medicare directly & be paid directly by Medicare, saving multiple millions or more each year that could be used to cover the entire population. As the documentary said, we already do pay a form of tax because the cost of our own insurance is raised to pay for the uninsured, but they don’t get adequate care, they don’t get it until it is too late, & it is too often thru an ER, the most expensive option.
    There should be reasonable caps on what hospitals, specialists & drug companies can charge. Several nations already do this, to their benefit. We ought to be taking the best points of healthcare from all those other countries & making use of it. First, though, we citizens have to show our outrage at our poor system as strongly as we showed it about the $700 billion bail-out & force our Congress to do away with private insurance companies. Congress will resist because the insurance industry contributes generously to political campaigns of both parties. Deep-pocket insurance company lawyers will fight it in court because it’s a cash-cow. But it can be done. Obama isn’t going to do it; check out contributions from insurance companies. He’ll give us tax credits to help us buy insurance but that doesn’t help those who barely earn enough to pay the rent & buy food. But it dan be done.

  • Paul

    FOREIGNID: 17297
    I was flipping the channel and came across your film just 9 minuets into the film. I was amazed and called the wife to watch and said “hey dear you have to see this, it is what were going through. Last September 2007 I had to make a choice as to pay my mortgage or health insurance. I was already 1 month behind on the mortgage. I July of 2007 I just had my annual check up at Roswell Cancer Institute and everything came back well. My wife’s health had always been good.
    In August 2007 a friend told us we would more than likely be approved for New York State health insurance. So in September 2007 we let our insurance laps and went to apply for insurance through NYS. It was either health insurance or our house. Pretty hard choice. I figured we could get by for a month or so without insurance and if we had an accident the auto insurance would take care of the related health bills.
    Back in 2001 I was put on disability for 2 years. When I was ready to go back they said they had nothing for me. It was then I had to start paying for my own health insurance. Then it was only $740 a month. By 2007 it had increased to over $1200 per month. I applied for many different Jobs and no one seemed to want someone who had been out of work for so long. So I started my own business and tried to make ends meet.
    I was now at the point in the fall of 2007 where I had paid health insurance for 20+ and had never been without. After applying for insurance in September 2007 our application took quite some time to process. By the end of November it was declined because we did have my wife’s birth certificate. I had told them I had ordered a copy and it should be in the mail within a week. They then told me that I would have still have to start the long application process all over again from the beginning, rather than just let me send the one document they needed.
    On December 7, 2007 My wife started complaining of severe chest pain so we took her to the local emergency room. The first Doctor told her that something was not right and that her blood enzymes were elevated and they were maybe going to send her to the county medical center for a more test. Later another doctor cam over and said they were just going to keep her over night for observation. The next morning a different Doctor came in and said she was fine and diagnosed her with heart burn and indigestion and released here.
    Over the weekend the chest pain continued. On Tuesday December 11th she went back to social services to reapply for our health insurance. When she arrived back home from applying she said the chest pain was so bad she couldn’t take the pain. I rushed her back to the same local emergency room. A different doctor came out to the waiting room and told me she was having a massive heart attack and they were going to mercy flight her to the county medical center. She was lucky to get treatment in the time she did. I was told if she had got the ten minuets later she may not have survived.
    When she arrived at the County Medical centre they did angioplasty and placed a stent in her heart. She spent 3 days in the Cardiac Care Unit. When they released her she they gave her prescription scripts and said without the prescriptions she could have another heart attack. We found out that the prescriptions were going to costs hundreds of dollars and we did not know how we were going to get them. One nurse was nice and gave her a one months supply for some of them.
    A couple weeks later we followed up with our primary doctor and he said he was amazed that they did not do more tests the first time she was in the emergency room. He also stated that with her enzymes elevated the way they were she should have never been released the first time. I just figured that she was miss diagnosed.
    We struggled to get her prescriptions. We used money for her prescriptions instead of paying the mortgage. We could not get very much follow up care for here after the heart attack. There was a free clinic that we took too and they would just do a couple of tests. We thought she was getting some care, but there was still allot of unanswered questions.
    I called social services and asked them if they could review our application sooner because of the situation with my wife’s health and that she was without many very critical medications. They said there was nothing they could do.
    By March 2008 we finally got approved for health insurance 7 month applying. We were not eligible for Medicare because we made a few hundred dollars more a year over the qualify income level for Medicare. If we had received the Medicare it would have gone back to the day she applied and would have covered the medical expenses of her heart attack. However we were just happy to get medical coverage.
    We had to change Doctors because our regular primary doctor did not accept our new insurance. The new insurance required a primary doctor first and then a refer from the new primary doctor for a cardiac doctor. We found a primary doctor but he had to see her for a physical first before he could refer her to a cardiac specialist. It took 6 weeks for her to get into to see the primary doctor and then another 6 weeks for her to see a cardiac specialist. During all of this time she was still having trouble and we found that her care was not complete. It took her six months from the day of her heart attack to see a cardiac care specialist. She was sent for many different tests to find she had damage to her heart. The specialist changed her prescriptions and she is now doing well.
    Over the past ten years I had paid almost $100,000 in health insurance and had I am sure tens of thousands more in health insurance over the previous years. I had never been without health insurance my entire life and paid into the system. Unfortunately I was without insurance for only 3 months and now we owe $100,000+ in medical bills. The three days at the medical center totaled $80,000+ The mercy flight was $8,000+ the ambulance to drive her one block from the hospital to the mercy flight wad $800+ the emergence room visits were over $8,000 Then there were miscl. Doctor bills and fees that were more than $10,000+
    I am thinking that if she had received proper care the first day she went to the emergence room she would not have suffered a heart attack for 5 days and would not have had the damage done to her heart and may have also avoided $100,000+ in medical bills.
    We learned and found to notice that if you do not have insurance you are only cared for well if you wind up in the ER and need life saving treatment. Then once they let you go. There is nothing there to help you maintain decent health. Like needed prescriptions. My heart goes out to those families in the film. If they can take care of those who need care before their health gets reel bad we would all be saving money. But money is not what is important here but the fact that we would be saving lives. I just cannot believe the United States can spend billions on space programs, and the way the government waste money. If they only managed their money better and put some of that better managed money towards health care.
    We consider ourselves now very lucky to have medical insurance and never knew just how bad the system is.

  • larry stegr

    FOREIGNID: 17298
    the program didnt mention about the COBRA program which extends health insurance for 18 mos after a person leaves their employment. Some of these people could have paid these premiums and received care. Of the 47 million people there are number of people do not wish to pay. When i was out of work i paid COBRA until i found work. It is however criminal that people without insurance have to pay more for medical care than with people with insurance. That doesnt make any sense. Doctors and hospitals would take more charity cases if their malpractice insurance wasnt so high. there is no competition in these health care plans because all procedures are set rates.
    there should be castrophe plans for people to buy and just pay as you go for regular type health problems. There also should be competition in the drug industry. If Mexico can sell the same medicine as in America for .10 to the dollar, then drugs can be sold here also for that amount.

  • Paul

    FOREIGNID: 17299
    I am the one who posted the seconed last post by “Paul” and wanted to make one other comment to my above post about my wife and her heart attack.
    When we did finally receive our insurance the insurance company would not pay for any prescriptions that were prescribed from our primary doctor. We had to get a new doctor and new prescription scripts. When I told them I had COPD and needed medications that I did not have and it would be another month before a doctor would see me they told me to go to the ER to get treatment. Those visits cots $2,000 for each visit. Rather than pay a couple hundred dollars for a prescription they would rather pay thousands. Does that make sense?
    We are now filing for bankruptsy and our home is in foreclosure. Now how much did this costs you do the math.

  • http://prov2024.blogspot.com Alexis Coleman

    FOREIGNID: 17300
    I can say that as a young woman in my twenties, working contracting positions for the last year-and-a-half, and worked temporary directly after I graduated college, contracting employees are not given the same generous health insurance packages that permanent employees receive. And if it’s offered, it’s almost not anywhere near affordable.
    I am just as good and as important as CEO and employees who’ve held jobs longer than I have. Having a price tag on my life is foul and disgusting. It’s wrong by every stretch of the concept. Insurance companies do not benefit Americans. They have not benefitted me. Every possible loophole is thrown in to trap and cheat the people.
    I sat down last night and watched this documentary and CRIED for the people who lost so much because America didn’t they were important enough. I don’t have health insurance, and the dental/vision plan I have leaves me to pay out more than I can pay to get 15 years worth of dental work completed. When I watched these individuals and their families, I felt blessed on one end that while I’m living uninsured nothing health-wise has been as devastating as theirs. And it frightens me to know that if I were to have a terminal or life-threatening illness, it would go untreated because I’m not good enough or have enough money to be treated.
    It’s wrong and if Obama’s plan doesn’t do it, we should’ve voted for Hilary. And I’m almost sure McCain could care less. Minds need to be changed, the fear of God must be realized, and we should all wake up.

  • Maggi

    FOREIGNID: 17301
    The United States should be ashamed at the very thought of other people/countries watching this programme. It seems that they cannot/will not give basic care to their own. I wept for those people last night, for them and their families.Great job Mr. Wiesman. Tell it how it is.
    I am Canadian. Sure, the health care is not perfect but it’s there and is accessible to all. ALL being everyone, regardless of the state of their health plan. Wake up US.

  • Alexis Coleman

    FOREIGNID: 17302
    And Larry, COBRA costs WAY too much when you don’t have your former employer paying the half of the costs as he/she did when you were their employee. It’s not feasible. You pay COBRA every month, but you don’t pay your mortgage or rent, or car note, or light or phone bill to be able to pay it. That’s why I couldn’t pay COBRA when they offered it to me.

  • Elaine

    FOREIGNID: 17303
    Powerful, effective, emotional – fantastic! I hope something gets done about this horrible medical system that we have in this country. Thank you for this wonderful program.

  • Judith

    FOREIGNID: 17304
    You may use HTML tags for style and links. The P.O.V Critical Condition was an excellent documentary that should be shown on prime time television. But I do not think it went far enough. I would guess that many in the audience empathized with the individuals being profiled but rationalized to themselves “that would never happen to me. I have a job. I make more money.” A nice follow up to this documentary would be one that profiled people that fall into that “comfortable” category who you would not think would experience these same issues with the health care system. For exampe the Washington Post did a nice article profiling a doctor and dentist. One had a child that required a kidney transpland and the other had a son with a chronic disability for which he would require health care services for life. These two indivividuals (who we would assume make a comfortable living and have good health insurance policies) were running up agaiinst significant bills, insurance denials and the on-going issue of getting coverage for a pre-existing condition. Bottom line is anyone of us can find ourselves in teh same position as the individuals profiled in P.O.V. Critical Condition. Something must be put into place NOW.

  • Gale King

    FOREIGNID: 17305
    I think while giving Carlos this free surgery, someone should have mentioned that having babies cost money as well and the hospital should have thrown in FREE advice on birth control.

  • Jeffrey Slott

    FOREIGNID: 17306
    I support the idea of making universal health care a reality but I do take issue with the way you presented some of your case studies. As a type 1 diabetic for over forty years I know that taking one’s blood sugars is not the most important action a diabetic must do; it is your balancing your medication and DIET.
    All of the people in your documentary seem extremely over-weight. I have met people like this. They try to get away with eating junk-food whenever they can and it is primarily that which increases their chances for trouble later on. Certainly insulin is more expensive for me than it used to be. There’s nothing I can do about that. But I am responsible for maintaining the proper balance between the insulin I take and the food I consume. I never eat junk-food of any kind. I try to consume proper proportions of vegetables, grains, and fruits at the proper times and I don’t snack on anything no matter how innately healthy it is. And whenever I get a physical, my doctor congratulates me on how well I am taking care of myself.
    I’m not trying to blow my own horn here. If universal heath care ever becomes a reality, I’ll celebrate with everyone else but in the meantime one is simply being childish if he or she deliberately and needlessly makes things worse by not following common sense in diet.

  • theresa

    FOREIGNID: 17307
    I’m facing the same problem as the above patients featured, I lost my job and carried the family insurance. My husband is dying and thank god our doctors were able to get us the $4 rx for his meds. We also started carrying medical provider of Ameriplan, you have no deductables, no limits and no need to worry about preexisting conditions. this for only $39.95 per month. It covers both medical and dental and no paperwork is involved, vision, chiro and dental with medical, if it wasn’t for this plan I don’t know what we would do, we still have medical bills but they aren’t much higher that ins deductables and co pays. IF you know some on look on my site savegasfireyourboss.com or call me at 972-886-5860. It made me heart sick that they could have probably been saved or at least not burden with all the medical bills piling up. Because like Karen said she was cancer free but all the stress wasn’t helping her condition at all. We all need to get with our congress and get everyone insured. They are bailing out all the greedy corporations that benefited from our loss of income, they should bail out people losing their lives and homes instead!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zach

    FOREIGNID: 17308
    I am very angry over so many Americans being w/o affordable health-care and being denied coverage. I am one of the 46 million Americans w/o health care. My company doesn’t offer health care and I have been denied coverage 4 different times for private health insurance by different insurance companies b/c I have an elevated cholesterol level – (which I regularly see my Dr and take medication for) and b/c I have had a deviated septum in the past. This is insane! !
    Even w/ the Presidential health care plans, what about people who have been denied private health insurance coverage? Can we be sure the health insurance companies will do the right thing and cover everyone despite their pre-existing conditions or past medical history?
    I personally am for universal healthcare. I spent 1 year in Canada and saw the homeless people getting better health care than most Americans. A nurse and Dr actually went out on the streets every week looking for the homeless to be sure their basic medical needs were met such as giving them antibiotics for a cold/flu or cough medicine for a bad cough, etc. Yes, you may have to wait for a few months for a surgery but AT LEAST YOU GET IT/medical treatment.
    Dr’s and hospitals offer free surgeries for people from other countries to remove tumors, etc and people here in our own nation are dying b/c they can’t get basic medical treatment.
    After watching the documentary, I was even more disturb that the USA- the country that is supposed to be the best country in the world actually allows this to happen to their people.
    Something has to be done soon!

  • Regina Hollrah

    FOREIGNID: 17309
    I cried upon the completion of this POV documentary. It is shameful that our country cannot bring health insurance to all citizens because it is seen as “socialized” when we are “socializing” our banking system as we debate this matter. It is long overdue when private sector insurance carriers and hard-liners hold the vast majority of our citizens hostage with old, outdated political rhetoric. It is time to bring our country into the 21st century and realize that the current “health-care” system isn’t working particulary now that most Americans cannot afford health premiums when we are making far lower wages than we once did. It’s unfathomable that anyone would be against a program that would save lives by providing preventive screenings, treatment and prescription drugs. But, alas, this is our reality.

  • rose sadoski

    FOREIGNID: 17310
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.the situation is a national disgrace, obama is our only hope.

  • Josephina Albertina

    FOREIGNID: 17311
    what a excellent vieuwing “Critical Condition”
    I am a migrant from Europe where not all is perfect either, the thing that gets me is the Attitude of the goverment in this country, why is it that they overlook their own people?? stick there nose in business where it ain’t belong meaning eg: the waste of money in Iraq, what is that all about?
    oh thats right all is perfect in the USA?
    the more I hear change…. I feel yes, we need change, not sold on Obama, he come acros just as scary as Bush did than, I just can only hope for the people here in this country it creates, frustration when I see special the ones who contribute their lives by hard work to end up in the gutter. Do we still learn? or do we still think USA our dreamplace to live?

  • Debbie Nelson

    FOREIGNID: 17312
    I too watched the p.o.v. and cried when I learned about the people in this stories plight. I too am unemployed and as a result have no health insurance. I havent been to the doctor in 5 years and at 53 I should be going at least once a year. I have had jobs offered to me without benefits and to me thats wrong. I mean arent we working to pay bills and have health insurance? I dont know whats wrong with the politicians in this country wanting to help other countries and not their own. Once a great and powerful America is now a sad and lacking place to be. I hope the government who can afford health insurance, vacations, more than one home,and get hefty pay raises every year can live with themselves, I know after watching this I AM SCARED!!!!!!!

  • Kristen Lawrence NJ

    FOREIGNID: 17314
    We have to advocate for ourselves in this country. I’ve signed petitions for national health care at the two sites mentioned by writers above. The extension of Medicare to everyone would be effective and desirable. People like to say we’re the “greatest country in the world”, but a country that bleeds its resources to war and corporate advantage but doesn’t guarantee the basic right to health care to everyone is not “great”. It is a disgrace in the modern world. Health care should not be governed by party politics. Thank you to PBS for airing this program.

  • Renie

    FOREIGNID: 17313
    I call it all “Ebenezer Scrooge Syndrome” and that means that it’s boiled down to decreasing the surplus population (baby boomers who didn’t have as many kids as their parents did). It has become a country that is getting away with “survival of the financially fittest” and down with the rest. Lawmakers who have benefits for life want to make sure that their “for life” benefits are funded, not drained. And that’s not even mentioning the favors to big business or the expensive lobbyists that insurance companies and the like pay for annually. We can’t afford health care, let alone lobbyists. Let’s put the 47 million and their families on buses to Washington. Talk about lobbying, right?

  • Paul

    FOREIGNID: 17315
    I have to say it was an excellent, factual report on the travesty of our health care system. I agree, we spend billions….. trillions out of country and on wall street and banking bail outs. Running for state assembly in Wisconsin, my opponent tells folks they need to be responsible for themselves. He says if you need to work 2, 3, or even4 part-time jobs to be able to buy your own insurance, then thats what you have to do! He is wealthy enough and hires the greatest percent of his employees part time. ??? It is way past time that th4e people rise up and demand quality, affordable health care that allows for pre-existing conditions! Life itself is a pre-existing condition. We CAN do better and anyone having seen this show needs to call their elected officials at ALL levels of government and demand the health care we deserve, or demand they suspend ALL health care privies afforded to them by us… the people!

  • Carlos Llanos

    FOREIGNID: 17316
    The Film was very well done, however my comment is that these patients also need to be more personally responsible fo their actions. Some of the patients that participated on the program sure lack some personal social responsability. Carlos, with his spine core problem, sure didn’t think much about stopping his wife from having more kinds. I only had one kid because I couldn’t afford two childrens eventhought we wanted more. Even when he was going to the worse time, his wife iwas pregnant with the fourth child. These people need to learn about social responsability. The same with the lady that lost her husband. Why? Why? did she has to get fatter and fatter. With these kind of citizens, we responsible citizens can’t not afford to pay for bail-out. This is what Wallstree also want. Please, Please, if you want to show responsible programs you must expose these malices . these are pure ignorance and ignorance is thes worse malices that would bring down any society.

  • Renie

    FOREIGNID: 17317
    The average lower-income person doesn’t have the nutritional education to put together healthy, low-cost meals. They shop the aisles, not the outer walls of the stores, where the fresh foods are. They cost too much & canned &/or processed foods are cheaper. They can’t afford beef or even chicken, so they buy hotdogs & beans or boxed mac’n’cheese & add a can of tuna to it. I know better, and even I’ve done that on occasion, just to fill up & feed my family. I’m glad to see that there are programs beginning to show up, teaching people on low food budgets how to prepare healthier, filling meals. People who’ve already gotten obese by eating what they could afford don’t have the money to join Jenny Craig or Nutrisystems, so they’ve got a long road ahead before the weight comes off. And for some, the damage is done. And now they have to pay for health issues instead of food and, AGAIN, the cycle repeats. Hotdogs & heart meds or chicken breasts & fresh brocolli and no meds.
    I’m sorry I’m posting so much, but this issue, including the obesity factor, has been a soapbox topic of mine for quite some time. I do what I can to show people that 1/4 of a chicken breast has more health than two hotdogs in some canned beans. There are healthier ways to eat while stretching a food budget. Some don’t know this and some are even beyond just having to stretch… they’re having to SKIP. By the way, not eating right, including skipping meals, puts on pounds. The body will start making excess fat when meals are skipped, trying to insulate itself. That’s a cycle, too.
    No, I’m not a doctor. If I was, I’d remove my own tumor.

  • Susan

    FOREIGNID: 17318
    I had to have a lung surgery in January of this year. I have no health insurance or as they put it in the medical industry, self insured. It has certainly ben an eye opening experience! I wasn’t out of the hospital a week before the bills started coming. By the time it was all said and done I had bills from 19 different doctors and service providers (x- rays, oxygen, etc.). If I paid everyone of them $25.00 a month that would have been $450 a month. I just don’t have it. And none of them seem to care that you have bills from any other provider or living expense. All totalled the doctors and service providers were about $18,000. And then the hosopital bill came, $62,000. Of course they tunrned me down for financial aid because I own 2 small pieces of realestate. So far I haven’t been able to sell either but at least I have them to sell. After watching last night’s show. I think I’m in a pretty good place. Although after I sell thses properties, I won’t have any retirement. I can’t get health insurance because I am overweight and have hypertension. I have never been asked if I manage it with medication, which I do. I’m told I need to check with the state for high risk insurance, $750 a month. If I was in a group it would be a different story.
    Also, there was non mention in the show of discrepencies for the unindured. We are charged 2-4 times what people with medicare and insurance pay. To make an office visit to my GP before my surgery, my bill was $68 for the visit. For my GP to stick his head in teh door and say hello. the charge was $270. I can’ t believe there was that much paperwork.
    Ther is a website that is supposed to help you negotiate your hospital bills (Dr. bills are not negotiable), it is called hospitalvictims.org. I am just beginning the process. Their information is very eye opening. If there was a way to just make the system fair for everyone and not allow insurance companies to cherry pick who they cover and allow hospitals to charge different prices to different people maybe we could get somewhere. As long as the people in power benefit from the way things are they will manipulate the system so they continue to get the big bucks.

  • Edward

    FOREIGNID: 17319
    I am a 14 year old Hispanic, this documantary made me realized that the stories that my parents told me about a country that strives for justice is to me a country that is going down hill. I am a christian boy that believes that we (citizens of the U.S.) should and must pray for this once Great Country. We should pray that God is our priority… we (nation) is under his command. Have we forgoten who brought us to this land of liberty? Who gave us the health to overpass disease in wars?
    -suggestions pls email me……. ehernandez41@miners.utep.edu
    -thank you all

  • Mandy

    FOREIGNID: 17320
    I too cried like a baby while watching this documentary. I’m mad as hell. The 700 Billion dollars we’re using to bail out shotty accountants is enough to ensure everyone twice.
    The fact that hospitals charge the uninsured 2.5x the amount they charge the privately insured blows my mind. You best believe that if anyone I love needs medical help and aren’t insured, I will be sitting in the hospital administrator’s office 24/7 to be sure the bill is the same as an insured patients.
    My parents retired in Mexico. Thank goodness I have a place to stay if I ever need to go down for REASONABLY priced treatment!

  • Lemastre

    FOREIGNID: 17321
    First off, why are the messages appearing three or four times? And then, about the POV show itself. The show is of course another well-deserved indictment of American health care, containing one especially illuminating and disturbing segment regarding the gentleman with ankylosing spondylosis: The first surgeons he visited did nothing for him — only suggesting he return in a year. Then he finds surgeons willing to relieve his pain and reduce his deformity, despite his inability to pay. What’s disturbing is to realize that the first docs fobbed the guy off because he couldn’t pay enough but didn’t actually telli him that was the reason, possibly leaving the impression there is no surgical relief for his condition. If they just can’t bring themselves to do the job themselves, they should at least help the patient find someone who will.

  • Audrey

    FOREIGNID: 17322
    I cried watching this. I think everyone running for office in this country , this should be a requirement to watch. Our only hope right now is to elect Barack Obama.

  • jill harmer

    FOREIGNID: 17323
    Please support a real feasible answer hr676 which already has 92 sponsors in the US ciongress. More information on http://www.pnhp.org. We all could have healthcare and save the us government 380 billion dollars per year.

  • Erma

    FOREIGNID: 17324
    Jennifer, I have no idea what your financial status is, but there was a time in my life when I was without healthcare and could not afford it. As a single mother I had a full-time job and a part-time job just to make ends meet. For some people healthcare would not be affordable no matter how inexpensive it is. Any extra money would be used for housing and food, the basic necessities of life, especially if children are involved.
    It’s time people did a reality check and thought about others and not just themselves and their immediate group of family and friends. We need to look at our fellow Americans as part of a whole and work together to have a better nation. Some may have to make sacrifices to insure the best possible outcomes for all.

  • Yamika

    FOREIGNID: 17325
    I watched the show on Sept 30 from your affiliate in Norfolk, VA. I was in tears just realizing how bad the healthcare and insurance problems are in our country. I thank God that I am able to be insured by my employer and only pay a small amount towards the monthly fee. You really need to send this to our presidential candidates, congress and all the others in Washington. There is a great disparity in our country and it could happen to any of us.

  • Diane

    FOREIGNID: 17326
    Critical Condition is excellent. The stories showed the real bravery of the people involved.
    I hope so much that we can have universal health coverage soon. I support a government entity rather than private for-profit health insurance which seems inefficient and untrustworthy.
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.

  • http://www.vim-clinic.org Jackie Mikalonis

    FOREIGNID: 17327
    A very compelling program. When I searched for clinics in my area – Lane County, Oregon, via the POV site, I noted that one is missing. The Volunteers In Medicine Clinic located in Eugene, OR is the only free medical clinic located in Lane County. We provide routine helath care to local residents whose income does not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and are currently medically uninsured. We also refer our patients to specialists who in most cases take our patients pro bono. Please add our clinic to your list. Thank you.
    J. Mikalonis, Executive Director

  • Kayla

    FOREIGNID: 17328
    I caught most of Critical Condition last night. It made me sad to see these people that seem to be in hopeless situations. We cannot imagine the pain, suffering, stress, and frustration that these people have, unless we go through it ourselves.
    I honostly don’t know what the solution is to our health care problem. And not just the United States, but all around the world. And no matter who we vote for,I don’t beleive we will see any major improvements anytime soon.
    Our money goes into some places it shouldn’t. It’s unethical to spend our money in the way this country has.Of course the war that most Americans don’t approve of.And our tax money dosen’t seem to go to places we want it. And it’s not just the governments fault, it’s our responsibility too. Look at how much money we give to the celebraties. By purchasing those stupid magazines, that we have no right to be even looking at anyways… giving them complete power by idolizing them and giving them an insane amount of money.
    I do know that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.How sad. You have no idea what problems poor people have, unless you are poor yourself.
    It is so awful that we don’t help people, because they don’t have any money. What ever happened to loving people? Helping those in need? We need to wake up and decide what’s important in life. Figure out what our priorities are.As a whole, this nation needs to stop being so selfish, and greedy, and angry. We need to make it our goal to love others, and work on being honorable and kind people.
    To those in seemingly hopeless situations, don’t give up hope. Turn to God for comfort.

  • Linda Jenkins

    FOREIGNID: 17329
    I really appreciate the time and effort on behalf of the filmaker and the physicians involved to shed a glaring light on the shambles our medical insurance structure is in today. As a government retiree I was fortunate to still qualify for health insurance through my former employer. However, with the ever increasing cost of premiums the rate of service has gone down. I really would like to see a health insurance that covers all medical needs ie. dental, vision, and physical from preventive to full care. Who are these people who decide what kind of care we can be covered for when every physical aspect of health care is from head to toe and all internal parts necessary to our health. People are literally dying from the lack of humanity because most of these insurance companies value money more than lives. Thank God there are still some physicians and media with their humanity intact.

  • Jan Mares

    FOREIGNID: 17330
    Many thanks to the filmakers and PBS for again bringing a very informative documentary to the public. My outrage and sorrow for those whose stories we heard is enormous. If the film could be somehow shown to our elected representatives to somehow get them out of the coma they are in, it could be a very effective tool. It should be circulated to the press or the media to educate the average citizen, especially who cannot relate to the plight of people who cannot afford, through no fault of their own, any health coverage. We have to collectively be able to make this injustice disappear from our planet. We have so much money going out to so many needless projects, our government should be ashamed!! Bring the professional health care individuals on board to help address the issues, most of the congress and senate have no idea how to begin to make changes without being political. This is a human issue, a moral issue, we all have to step up to try to resolve it.

  • Anna

    FOREIGNID: 17331
    I saw Critical Condition and I cried. I have no insurance either. I hope I can stay healthy cause if not, I might as well die. It’s GREED that drives this country, look at the bailout mess. Insurance companies can turn people down with pre-existing conditions. So basically, you gotta be rich to be sick or live in Canada, which I am seriously considering. I don’t think it matters what President we have, insurance co.s are going to want their money, cause that’s what it’s all about., MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.Pink Floyd said right in their song.

  • Paul Globus

    FOREIGNID: 17332
    Americans are asleep. I am a Canadian, living in a country where we long ago embraced the concept that basic health care should the birthright of every citizen. In this we are in the company of most civilized countries on earth. Only America stands apart, still clinging to the notion that profits and health care can somehow be made into a workable mix. They cannot. They are incompatible no matter how vigorously one tries to deny it. This wonderful documentary brings it all home. I cried for these people, who represent millions in the US whose only misfortune is that they aren’t pulling in six-figure salaries. One is perplexed why the health care mess does not foment a revolution, where there are calls to put the HMOs and private insurance companies out of business once and for all, and to jail the audacious profiteers running the pharmaceutical companies whose only agenda is to do their utmost to rip off as many Americans as possible in the pursuit of Everest-like mountains of cash.
    I second the suggestion of others that a DVD of this film should be sent as a Christmas present to every member of Congress with the following note: Dear Lawmaker. Instead of worrying about the American dream, think this Christmas about the American nightmare. The time has now come to heal the sickest country on earth.
    Congratulations on a splendid documentary.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17333
    Critical Condition is a great film. Overall it’s excellent, although I might be picky about a few points, such as 15th in preventable deaths. We were 15th out of 19th in minimizing the number of deaths due to preventable diseases. But that study was done again five years later and is now updated as per the updated report published early January 2008. Now the U.S. is dead last at 19th out of 19 countries in minimizing the number of deaths due to preventable diseases.
    For those of you who are concerned, please keep in mind that this program was the tip of the iceberg. You can see some overall numbers here

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17334
    Oops. Sorry about the broken link. Here is the link to the news report of the study published early January 2008 about the U.S. being dead last at 19th out of 19 countries in minimizing the number of deaths due to preventable diseases.
    .. and here what one of the researchers stated in that same Reuters report:
    “…“I wouldn’t say it (the last-place ranking) is a condemnation, because I think health care in the U.S. is pretty good if you have access. But if you don’t, I think that’s the main problem, isn’t it?” (bolding added)
    Note, also from that report: “… the researchers considered deaths before age 75 from numerous causes, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, certain bacterial infections and complications of common surgical procedures.”

  • donna

    FOREIGNID: 17335
    I appreciated this documentary so much. California Nuses Association http://www.cal nurse.org also has a web site for people with horror stories of their healthcare or lack of, so people can document what happened to them.Any Universal Healthcare program should include all politicians.If you think your healthcare isn’t rationed, just look at wait times in the average ER.If citizens actually had access to care, they might be able to get earlier intervention. Such as pre-natal care,management of diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions. All before catastrophic $ have to be spent way too late in the process, not to mention the compounded cost to society.

  • Chrysanne

    FOREIGNID: 17336
    What a touching show!! How could anyone watch this and not CARE about another fellow human being?! I am overcome with stress and grief because I am a working single parent with no insurance and I know I need a checkup right now for a health issue that has been there a year, but can’t save up enough money for just a doctors office appointment. God help me and all those who need to get help. Other countries can have a decent healthcare program with little problem. Why can’t we “Proud Americans” ie government do it as well.

  • Shaleigh

    FOREIGNID: 17337
    In addition to POV: Critical Condition and Sicko, the 60 Minutes piece called Lifeline (which has already aired twice this year) is also a compelling representation of the state of healthcare in the United States, particularly the fast-growing segment of UNDERinsured Americans. Basically it details what happens when a RAM unit (Remote Area Medical) designed to bring free healthcare to people living in third world conditions makes a stop in Knoxville, TN.
    Watch it here:

  • Jessie

    FOREIGNID: 17338
    I saw the documentary last night and remembered when I, and other family members were unemployed and without health insurance. At times we have had jobs (temp jobs) without any coverage because there just wasn’t enough money—PERIOD. When you are working 2-3 jobs TRYING to make some ends meet, it’s ROUGH!!!!!!! And, that includes people with college degrees! I have a sister with a Masters in Public Health and still can not get a job in the field that she is so passionate about. The job she has now is low paying and she is barely making ends meet. Although she has some coverage now, her employer is outsourcing jobs early next year so she will be unemployed–again–without health coverage; it’s a vicious cycle for working people with or without children. I am deeply hurt and saddened with what’s going on in this country…how can we not take care of our “born and bread” citizens who have, and continue, to be taxed to death and can’t even get basic preventive health care?
    I too wear an orthotic appliance on one of my legs and related well to the gentleman who had to wear his temporary appliance for so long because of cost, as I had one break and had to tape it together until I was able to get another one made. In the past, I’ve even had insurance, but had to pay 20% for a new leg brace that can cost from $800-$1000+ and this is for a short leg-brace! I know the prices are much higher now!
    This country does ration health care just like the physician in the documentary stated, and there are some doctors out there who really don’t care if you live or die…some of them think that some people just are worth helping–even though these doctors take an oath to care. The Greek God of medicine has probably flipped a thousand times over at the state of “lack of healthcare” in this country. I wish that I could be hopeful, but I’m not.

  • Gene Wine

    FOREIGNID: 17339
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    I leave it to others to describe a country which has the ability to provide health care to its citzens but refuses to do so because they don’t have the money.
    Your presentation erred in not presenting the single-payer system on the Medicare model. This is the most civilized and efficient way to provide health care. Keeping the insurance companies in it adds 20% or more to the cost, and often causes a great deal of unnecessary pain.

  • Amy Anderson

    FOREIGNID: 17340
    What society fails to address is the lack of individual accountability plus the unfortunate realization that we cannot “save” everyone. The women with ovarian cancer most likely was a former smoker. The gentleman with the severe spinal deformity decided to make an irresponsible decision to have more children instead of saving his money to receive his care in Mexico. If the cirrhosis didn’t kill the gentlemen with end stage liver disease, his morbid obesity would have eventually. Diabetics are at high risk for decreased circulation to lower extremities accompanied by infection and necrosis which ultimately leads to amputation. What factor, if any, did his lack of prudent dietary restriction over the years impact his health?
    I wish that POV would do a segment on the extraordinary expenditures allocated to the elderly and the premature. We continue to do hip replacements on 90 year old people who will die within a few days, months or weeks. We spend billions a year on neonatal intensive care along with whatever “special needs” care will be required throughout their life. As difficult as this may be, it would be better to allocate scare health care resources towards preventative programs.

  • HJV

    FOREIGNID: 17341
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    Thank you for once again airing a very compelling film regarding health care in the U.S. I have seen Frontline’s “Sick Around The World” also.
    Watching those individuals suffer needlessly is extremely deplorable to say the least. I have a relative in a similar situation. He worked all his life, then was diagnosed with an illness, was mired in medical bills, and now is living a very meager life. He has been harassed by collection agencies attempting to get money for bills that are just astronomical. Why? Because he committed the crime of getting sick?
    By the way, I highly doubt the “Hope” or “Experience” candidate will adequately address this problem. As long as big Pharma and big Insurance keeps filling congress’ pockets, not much will change.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17342
    The set of comments at this web page is a fantastic variety of opinions and sharings of information and stories/experiences. I rate it as one of the best I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen hundreds as part of my full-time research and activism on health care policy.
    I am treating this as a personal research project. I am studying all of your inputs and will try to provide informative replies for you. I’ll report my first one in my next comment, below. I’ll try to provide answers to at least some of your questions.
    Please keep track of the address of my new Replies web page,
    which is located at http://www.healthcareforallnow.org/pages/Replies-1
    I’ll try to have much of this project done by Saturday October 4. I hope that those responsible for this PBS web page will allow it to continue to grow in length for at least some more days.

  • http://pov KIT

    FOREIGNID: 17343
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.

  • Lemastre

    FOREIGNID: 17344
    Amy Anderson’s observations about the irresponsibility she felt was displayed by some of the subjects of the POV feature are well taken as a general guideline for designing a healthcare scheme. A well-designed universal plan must provide for preventing and interceding in disease before it becomes critical. Today’s Medicare, as valuable as it is, expends a lot of its funds on palliating conditions that could have been prevented or reduced in severity had the sufferer been brought aboard the healthcare wagon early in life. Health maintenance receives little attention.
    In such a system, the subjects of the POV feature might have been encouraged to make decisions directly related to their health. But since we have no healthcare system, the key to getting health care seems to be having a job with good insurance. And insurance companies seem to find it more profitable to drop you when you get sick than to try to help you remain well.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17345
    I have a reply to those who have stated their expectation or hope that Barack Obama will help solve the problem. Citizens gave him very clear input to him in his own health care meeting in New Hampshire on 4/3/2007. They expressed themselves very well in that meeting; they clearly told him that we want and need non-profit single-payer national health insurance. Unfortunately, the meeting video was posted and then within a few weeks was removed from his campaign website …. even though it’s clear that single-payer is what we want.
    Citizens are once again crying out at this PBS web page for the same thing: non-profit single-payer national health insurance. Barack Obama has no plans to lead on this, unless citizens follow his requirement, which he specified during that 4/3/2007 meeting: that citizens communicate to the U.S. Congress.
    Learn more at the replies web page. You can take specific actions to initiate his leadership on this. You will also see from the options listed at the web page that your actions and his response could help him win the election and also get the U.S. Congress support that is required for the Obama support … and … your inaction could cause citizens to vote for the two presidential candidates you’ll see listed that DO support single-payer.
    It’s your decision, Obama voters, take the actions specified at the link above (which follow his requirement) to not only help get the U.S. Congress support which will automatically fulfill Obama’s requirement for his support …
    … or …
    face the possibility of us not only failing to get the U.S. Congress to act, but also having votes drawn away from Obama and to Senator Hothead who definitely does not support single-payer. REMEMBER THIS Some voters who are on the fence or who did not know how very strongly Ralph Nader wants single-payer implemented quickly are reading these words.

  • diane

    FOREIGNID: 17346
    I saw your show last night and it is soo true in this country. if you just got off the boat from another country you get everything for free. Free medical care, free housing, and free child care. What does the working class americans who goes to work everyday? Nothing! Even if you go to apply for social services for help they tell The working class americans you don’t qualify for this service and that service. The working class americans who make this country what it is today should be worshipped the ground we walk on. Instead we as the working class of America gets treated like we are trash. Instead of bailing out the greedy corporations who mess the banks up should not be bailed out with the 7 billion dollar bail out. Our greedy poilticans should take the 7Billion dollars and help the working class of america who can’t afford insurance instead. In New Jersey there was some politican or some who was big in the state who got medicaid for their kids and the said part was that these people were making over $200,00 a year.

  • Ashley

    FOREIGNID: 17347
    I watched this documentary last night through Georgia Public Broadcasting and couldn’t turn away from it. It is time for Americans to stand up together and demand the health care we so desperately deserve. I, too, am one of the millions of people with no insurance. Breast cancer runs in my family and it scares me to death. I am so angry with this upcoming election because I know nothing will change, even though that is what both sides are trying to persuade us to believe. The only real change will come when we decide to stand together for change. My heart aches for the families that will have to bury their loved ones because they had no insurance. Other countries provide their citizens with proper coverage and I don’t understand why we don’t DEMAND the same. Thank you PBS for such a wonderful awakening.

  • Johnnie

    FOREIGNID: 17348
    Unlike health insurance companies where you pay a premium to the company and they, in turn, either reimburse you or pay the doctor or hospital, Medi-Share brings Christians together to share medical bills with one another. The key here is that medical needs are SHARED among members.
    Medi-Share supports biblical lifestyles.
    At Medi-Share, members are challenged to live their lives according to simple, biblical principles of health and wellness. By doing so, we strive to ensure that your share amounts aren’t going to fund unbiblical, unhealthy (and expensive) lifestyles, thus reducing the amount members are required to share.

  • Dan

    FOREIGNID: 17349
    As a registered nurse who has practiced for over 30 years I was not surprised by the film. I was deeply disturbed by the anguish and despair of the people filmed and their families. Ted thinks these people can buy insurance, but with a pre-existing condition you can not. If you can live long enough, you may quality for Medicaid after you have sold your house, cars and depleted your savings to less than $2000.00. Jennifer thinks that universal health care cannot work. EVERY developed country in the world provides universal healthcare to their citizens except the US. Many third world countries provide better overall healthcare than we do- even Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the US. No one in Europe could fathom the fact that there are many in the US would even ask the question of whether healthcare is a “right” or a privilege. I can’t see how a society that cares so little about 1 in 6 of their people can claim any ethical high ground. The people in the film are our neighbors, they were proud, they worked for a living and never asked for handouts. There is no pain like cancer pain and the woman with cancer was taking tylenol because she couldn’t afford the narcotics used to treat her pain. She and the man with liver disease died premature deaths robbing their families of priceless time together. Worse, their dying months were consumed with worry over money as they watched all they had worked for consumed by a profit driven healthcare system. Imagine the guilt of their families- knowing that the insured receive care with dignity but that they could not have it for their loved ones. Both political campaigns are blabbering on about how the working class is the backbone of our economy and how we value them. What a lie. As I write this there are tens of thousands of men a women who know they should seek healthcare but won’t because they don’t have the money- some are masking their pain with massive does of over the counter drugs, destroying their guts. When they finally do arrive in the Emergency Room they may already be on the downward spiral to their death. If not, our healthcare system and bill collectors will strip them of all they own, their dignity and any hope that they can leave their loved ones in peace. Had the two that died lived in Canada or even Cuba, they might be alive today- how sad for them that they were born in the richest country in the world. Shame on us.

  • Rhea

    FOREIGNID: 17350
    I watched “Critical Condition” and I thank you for making this documentary. It was very sad and I was just as saddened and outraged as I was when I watched Michael Moore’s “Sicko.”
    The reason that health care in this country is in crisis is because it is owned, controlled and operated by the big insurance corporations. Health care in this country has absolutely nothing to do with the health of the American people and everything to do with big business. Given our government’s mindset regarding disadvantaged people, (i.e., if you’re poor and disadvantaged, it’s your fault so you deserve what you get), it’s no wonder that it’s so easy for the powers that be in our country to let people die because they can’t afford to pay for medical procedures and/or medicines that will save their life.
    There was a program on after “Critical Condition” entitled “Rx for Change” in which the McCain and Obama people were discussing the health care proposals from both candidates. Both presented plans from the standpoint of getting “coverage” for all Americans, still including insurance corporations in our health care plans. I think that both McCain and Obama know how rich and powerful the insurance corporations are and how much lobbying power they have. The candidates realize that if they want to get anywhere with this, they will have to figure out a way to improve health care in this country while making sure that the big insurance corporations can still profit from the “healthcare business.”
    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. America is the only major industrialized country that does not have nationalized medicine and I think our time has come for this. Too many people are dying unnecessarily. I don’t know what you think should be done about the health care crisis in our country but what are your views on nationalized medicine? What are your thoughts on how one would go about getting some sort of grass roots movement to push for nationalized medicine started?

  • BRK

    FOREIGNID: 17351
    While my heart goes out to anyone who is suffering from any kind of illness, I have some questions about your presentation last night. The piece on Carlos especially. If heath care and pharmacy costs were so much cheaper in Mexico, why didn’t he go there and stay there to get his treatment? Why did you even bring that into the piece? If he can’t afford to feed and care for his family, why on earth are he and his wife having MORE??? Personal responsibility in all of these pieces play a part. Until this country gets that novel idea……….there will only be more pain and suffering. There is no way our middle class can support the numbers of irresponsible people as the numbers of irresponsible people just keep growing. No-one has give me or my family a hand out. I started with the same thing most everyone else does…not much of anything. I have worked smart, hard and learned how to take care of those I am responsible for. I would NEVER want or EXPECT my government or anyone else to be responsible for my own mess.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17352
    BRK, you remind me of what I think of constantly. I am retired, and I look forward to either being employed or being a volunteer in a health care position related to prevention. There’s a lot of education that needs to occur to help people know the importance of taking care of themselves so that they can be more responsible. But first I and thousands of others are in the national Health Care for All movement for non-profit single-payer national health insurance. We must make this change to non-profit financing of health care and shift over $300 billion dollars from administrative costs to health care. We need to spend most of our health care spending on health care. That will mean that more people can have more doctor visits related to prevention.
    Giving people access to health care is a starting point. The ultimate goal is good health for all.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17353
    To: Ashley (9/30 11:30 pm)
    You are on the mark. Yes, there was no mention in the follow-up program of what Americans clearly documented in 2007 in many polls about what we want: non-profit single-payer national health insurance (“single-payer”). Why was there no mention? Because neither of the U.S. Presidential candidates who support what we want (Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney) were invited!
    I can see why you would not support PBS any longer. I still support NPR and PBS, but I am very displeased with their non-stellar performance on health care. They have excellent programs on radio and TV, but then they mess up important details. It is amazing to me that Uwe Reinhardt did not emphasize the need for single-payer. Perhaps I missed that input of his, but it certainly was not in his initial remarks. (By the way, he’s not from a corporate think tank.)
    And, yes, “the broken health care system is primarily the fault of … the American people.” We must take the time to truly get educated and follow the million-dollar campaigns that call themselves grassroots!

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17354
    To: Ashley (10/1 7:32 pm)
    You wrote “It is time for Americans to stand up together and demand the health care we so desperately deserve.” and “The only real change will come when we decide to stand together for change.”
    YES! We need to take action! I urge my fellow citizens of all ages to please join me in taking action.
    You are invited to help get this nation peace of mind regarding health care by getting reminders to follow the schedule of communications. See the links below.
    We, too, can GET PEACE OF MIND regarding access to health care without worry about finances. Citizens in ALL other industrialized countries have this peace of mind except for us.
    But we need to communicate to our U.S. Representatives.
    For example, we can do the following …
    Sign-up to get reminders.
    follow the schedule.
    REMEMBER THIS —- The immense power of the health insurance companies must be overcome with the overwhelming force of thousands of educated constituents communicating to each of the U.S. Representatives, who love to report to the press that very strong input was received from their constituents on a topic and that they responded positively to the input.

  • Paul

    FOREIGNID: 17355
    I am a Canadian with a chronic medical condition. We have an excellent system and I cannot understand why you guys do not demand the same. I had to leave my job 6 years ago and never had to worry about medical bills. We choose are own doctors and I honestly have no complaints. As an example… my wife has been feeling dizzy, she seen a neurologist and got an MRI within 6 weeks, all free.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17356
    The set of comments at this web page are still fantastic, but whatever software supports this blog apparently goes crazy sometimes. I only submitted the above post one time, not four times! This is extremely unusual. — Bob

  • Renie

    FOREIGNID: 17357
    To Paul from Canada:
    I hope everything is fine with you & your wife. And I’m glad you get medical help free, but I am confused that a neurological issue was put on hold for 6 weeks. Are you folks allowed to go to the emergency room for things like that? I admit that I don’t fully understand how your system works yet. I’d have freaked out having had to wait 6 weeks. But hey, I don’t have insurance and I’m American, so I’d have to wait for, well, forever…to never be seen by a specialist. They’re offices ask about insurance before they ask about symptoms, so as not to waste their employees’ time. It’s over as soon as you say, “none.”
    Hopefully all of that will change soon and we, with pre-existing conditions, will be able to get health insurance and that it won’t cost as much as our national debt to have. We can’t even begin to afford even half of what the premiums would be.
    Again, hope all is well with your wife & that she was just ‘under the weather’ for a spell.

  • Susan Nikas

    FOREIGNID: 17358
    An interesting statistic that came out about the new “bail out” of Wall Street that just passed the Senate; the 700 billion dollars that is being pledged to bail out the greedy and the stupid would pay for health care for all the country for six years! And still the Republicans hold on to the ideology that to have medicare for everyone is socialism! It is so stupid that we are paying $6000 per capita and not insuring 47 million people. Other countries are paying $3000 per capita, covering everyone, and producing far better outcomes. the right wing ideology that has prevented us from doing the reasonable, must be changed. WE ARE SO STUPID TO ALLOW THE RIGHT WING TO PAY MEDICAL INSTURANCE CEOS BILLIONS AND ALLOW THE POOR TO DIE FOR LACK OF CARE.

  • s

    FOREIGNID: 17359
    First of all, I would like to thank you for this film being aired, I only wish all Americans could see it. I had worked in the hospital setting for five years, my mom also had a terminal illness on medicare still supporting me (since I was 14), and I am ashamed we can’t treat people better. I can rememeber many times that my mom refused to go to the hospital because of money and I have since lost her way too soon. I cannot count how many patient’s rooms I walked into and they were in tears worrying about money and how they were to pay for their stay and bills. Absolutely heartbreaking. What it should all boil down to is QUALITY OF LIFE. These doctors have too much on thier plate, hospitals are way understaffed, and too much politics goes on. Need I mention the insurance and drug companies?? I will leave that alone. It seems to me that if I can just get used to the idea of having kids without active fathers and live with 5 people , I could then finally get free medical. Instead I pay hundreds to never go to a doctor because I can’t afford the deductable, but God forbid, I get in a car wreck. You know, reading some comments above… crap happens( like you werent informed about planned parenthood or condoms), why shouldn’t everyone be treated???? We can fund two wars but not simple preventative healthcare for everyone? We are all human. I would be willing to be taxed to have everyone covered! Those doctors in France in “Sicko” didn’t seem to be hurting for much.

  • Irene

    FOREIGNID: 17360
    I am heartsick at how folks are treated in this country who have no medical insurance and little money. As one of the doctors in the film states, we are, in effect. denying care, and thus life, to those without health insurance benefits. Could universal, single payer healthcare in this country do any worse? What are we so afraid of that we are unwilling to give the insurance companies the boot when it comes to health care? Why can’t we be like other industrialized countries and have medical care through the government paid for by our taxes, available to all! It is a sad commentary when a country such as ours lets it’s most vulnerable citizens suffer and die.

  • Mike

    FOREIGNID: 17361
    47 million without health care is outrageous. We have a Universal Health Care for 36 million (Medicare), we have 100 million with health care that pays for the 47 million and 36 million. The most selfish not wanting Universal Health Care for everyone are the 36 million who have it. The 100 million are passive and don’t realize why their medical costs are so high. A point the lady made is if her husband had preventive care, he would not have degenerated so far that led to his death. When he qualified for Medicaid he had to have assets less than $2,000. Shame on us, the USA for allowing this. Before Richard Nixon promoted Kaiser and the health industry as a profit center, health care was fairly reasonable. In the last 5 years, health care costs increased by 38%, we have drug companies kicking back $18 Billion to doctors for drugs they prescribe every year. I met a fellow from Australia on a train in Austria, he showed me his Medicare card, he was 31 years old with a wife and two little girls. I asked him how he felt about the Universal Health care in Australia provided for all citizens. No complaints, he feels the medical care is adequate and reasonable. I have talked to Canadians, not all like the Universal Health Care, but the majority do and they are willing to continue to pay for it. What the hell is wrong with the USA. First of all, our medical system is “Profit motivated”. Since Tricky Dick and Kaiser led the way to “Medical Care for profit”, these past 34 years have been all downhill for the USA health care.
    The USA better get it’s act together and do something to give people the same Medical Care as the 36 million Medicare receivers or there will be hell to pay. This has to be fixed politically or we need to throw out our so called Democracy and get something new to get this fixed. Our government’s mission should be to look out for its people, not look out for the Profits of Business and the thieves who take advantage of those having medical problems. There is no reason or excuse for having 47 million people, one in SIX without health care in the USA. I want to remind those who don;t care about the 47 million without health care, “there for the grace of god, go I”

  • Jim

    FOREIGNID: 17362
    First rate propaganda piece! The unsourced deceitfully phrased stats were a bit hacky though. The propagandist did handle well a standard problem with this genre, he had 47 million [sic] people to choose from and yet he still couldn’t find a group of four that didn’t include a person who chose to have child after child after child after child while moaning about not having enough out of $45,000 per year to contribute to his own health insurance and a couple who clearly had not problem with food bills regardless of what they said. Also the propagandist had to deal with two of the doctors not following the implied script of blaming all one’s medical ills on health insurance.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17363
    To Renie:
    You wrote: “Hopefully all of that will change soon and we, with pre-existing conditions, will be able to get health insurance ….”
    I most sincerely hope that you see this, so that you can consider focusing on what CAN happen and what is NOT likely to happen. What is NOT likely to happen is that we not only keep all of the current bureaucracy (for-profit and government) AND add to it the huge expense of more government regulation on over 1300 for-profit companies for topics such as pre-existing conditions, which would be a HUGE increase in risk for any private company..
    We must be motivated to take action to get what will be the BEST solution. ALL of the alternatives will make things worse and mainly benefit for-profit companies at the expense of the average American. Private companies with their huge influence are never going to let the government clamp down controls on them, such as that example of the higher risk regarding pre-existing conditions. It might even sound great during most of the time leading up to the legislation, but at the end such legislation will never go into law.
    We, the citizens, must be focused on getting the U.S. to non-profit single-payer national health insurance. Any alternative will cause problems to increase, not decrease, via more and more bureaucracy at a time when we need to go to simplicity and efficiency, leading to cost savings while covering everyone!
    We must demonstrate that we citizens can unite on a common purpose and move to simplicity and efficiency, eliminating bureaucracy (costly complexity)..
    The desire for cost-efficiency has been causing corporations to move operations out of the U.S. …. and have us lose businesses and jobs.
    The demonstrated cost-efficiency of the U.S. finally going to non-profit single-payer national health insurance will be noticed by those same corporations … which will will very likely help us to regain businesses and recover jobs
    Smile. It will be great to have peace of mind regarding having no health care bills and financial-related worries.
    Please join me. We need to communicate to our U.S. Representatives.
    For example, we can do the following …
    Sign-up to get reminders.
    follow the schedule.

  • Mike

    FOREIGNID: 17364
    47 Million without health Care is outrageous. This is a sad state of affairs thanks to Richard Nixon who promoted his buddy Kaiser in the ealry 70′s taking medical care from service to a Profit Center for the Medical Profession and Wall Street. 250,000 doctors receive $18 Billion in kickbacks from drug companies from patients they prescribe drugs for. There are 36 million who have a Universal Health Care systemt (Medicare), 100 million that have health care paying for the 47 and 36 million. The 36 million don,t seem to care about the 47 Million and the 100 million are passive. I met a fellow on the train in Austria, he was from Australia, 31 years old with a wife and two daughters. He showed me his “Medicare” card he was given in 2000. Australia has a Universal Health Care for EVERYONE. I asked him about his care, he said it was good. I also met a Canadian, I asked him, he told me not everyone was happy with the Universal Health Care but the majority do and are willing to pay the taxes for their care. Before Tricky Dick and Kaiser started “Medical Care for (Outrageous) profit, the care in the USA was reasonable. Today, the health care costs have increased 38% the past five years. This has to be fixed, fixed by our government without drug lobbies and for profit health care bribing our politicians. If our present government cannot do so, we need to throw it out and get a new one, perhaps a monarch or a dictator like Castro. There is no reason why the USA has to be so money grubby.
    We need to undue what has taken place over the past 34 years before we have guns in the street. For those who don;t think we need Universal Health Care, look at this program again and realize “There for the Grace of God go I”

  • Clairvoyance

    FOREIGNID: 17365
    This is outrageous. I can’t even make it through the documentary without balling my eyes out!! What is wrong with this country?! A MAN CUT OFF HIS FOOT BECAUSE HE HAD TO RETURN TO HIS JOB FOR FEAR OF LOSING HIS HEALTH BENEFITS!! Carlos said it right: “Your money or your life.” Please don’t forget these people when you vote on Nov 4th!!
    Thank you to the FILM MAKERS!! As film maker myself I really appreciated the artful direction…albeit I was watching it through streaming tears. Great job. Will post more if I could just get through the entire program. Wish me luck.

  • Patrice Palmer

    FOREIGNID: 17366
    President Bush, VP Cheney, members of Congress, and all other elected officials should not be given any health insurance. As public officials, they should be required to use the same public health care system as do the 47 million uninsured. Methinks an emergency public health care package would pass as quickly as did the Senate vote to pass the emergency Wall Street Bailout a few hours ago!
    What amazes me is that our country can afford to spend trillions of dollars on a war in Iraq that most benefits the administration’s cronies, companies with no-bid, cost-plus contracts, and can bailout the administration’s greedy, irresponsible corporate cronies. We spend 20x more on defense, than on diplomacy to prevent war, with its ensuing casualties and high cost of lifelong health care of returning injured veterans.
    Then, we’re told we can’t “afford” to have high-quality health care for all citizens, including veterans. This country puts its money on who and what it values, passing policies and laws, and granting subsidies that only benefit high-paid corporate executives, corporations, and financial institutions. What is missing from this is the average American. The people of this country have been stunningly betrayed by those in elected office. If you are tired of this, vote out those who support this system. Remember this government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and FOR the PEOPLE.
    This country can do better. If we had health care for all, we would see more new business start-ups, people going to school to better themselves, and a more vibrant economy. Healthier, less stressed (not having insurance, dealing with chronic illness, etc. is very stressful) people who are no longer forced to take or stay in jobs just for insurance or who finally get quality health care, will be more productive, better able to handle problems, and able to be more creative and inventive. Imagine our country with a population like that!

  • C.W.

    FOREIGNID: 17367
    For people questioning Carlos’ decision to have another child… I’m assuming they are Catholic, a belief which forbids all forms of birth control as a sin… Which is something they have a right to believe and shouldn’t be punished for, no matter what our own opinions might be on it.

  • 51 year old in Illinois

    FOREIGNID: 17368
    In regards to the above comments about Carlos having another child, do you think the working poor should not be allowed to have children? Our country has no national health care, and the idea that Carlos could afford any kind of health care that would actually pay his bills is a joke. He is most likely uninsurable, anyway. Once you’ve been sick, the rates skyrocket, no matter what your weight or ethnic background is. Insurance companies do not cover the autistic, cancer survivors, or chronically ill. Whatever it costs for Carlos’s wife to have that baby is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to the emergency hospitalizations he would have suffered as the back condition worsened. Also, many people just assume that Carlos and his wife do not pay taxes from their labor. Most DO pay taxes. The stereotypes just abound. You might have noticed that they are also Catholic, and have very strong family values.
    I especially appreciated the attention that this documentary paid to people who are over 50 but too young for Medicare. We are incredibly vulnerable, and expensive to insure for businesses. I have met so many people who are educated, responsible, and under or unemployed in this age group. If I were an employer, I would rather pay insurance bills for a 25-year-old than a 51-year-old. Although this documentary focused on the working poor, a good many of us who don’t say we are working poor, in fact are. Many laid off 50 year olds will never have a well paying corporate job again, despite the fact that Medicare is a good 15 years away. The smaller companies might hire you. When you get sick, though, even if you are going to come back, they often fire you, because you are so expensive to insure. Our premiums are over $1,000 a month. One of the policies is adequate, and is subsidized by the state. The other has excluded anything slightly related to a possibility of a preexisting condition. All of it is so convoluted. Yes, universal health care will raise our collective taxes. But I am paying $1000 a month anyway. Maybe employers would be more likely to hire older workers (who cannot afford to retire!) who are too young for medicare.

  • Amy in Indiana

    FOREIGNID: 17369
    A friend of mine is planning to use the education outline offered here in her Current Issues class.
    The company where I work is encouraging employees to change from a traditional insurance policy to a medical savings account. The savings account looks good upfront because you can opt to pay less into it than you would pay into the traditional policy – but it’s a huge gamble. If something were to go wrong you would be stuck with huge bills, nowhere near enough to cover expenses – and the benefits that accompany that option are minimal.
    Each year our HR department has gathered us all into a room to tell us the bad news. The costs of medical coverage is going up and the coverage is going down. We’re all holding our breath for the day they tell us they have to stop offering us a healthcare option.
    People are suffering and dying. This is America – we can do better. It’s no longer an issue of political dogma – it’s an issue of humanity. An issue of morality.
    It’s time we took the high road.

  • Jerry in New Mexico

    FOREIGNID: 17370
    I watch this as someone that watches our heathcare system carefully. It is simply heartbreaking, but not surprising. The number of people that go through this every day is beyond most people’s ability to comprehend. I was brought up to believe that America was the land of opportunity, and yet I find myself in a country, in fact the last industrialized country, that believes that health care is a privilege and not a right. We trail the industrialized world in more ways then I care to think about. Are we on the way to third world status? We treat our people that way. As for the very few people that posted ridiculous talk-radio clap-trap, your eyes, too, will eventually be opened. By that time, it will probably be too late, however. With the current French Revolution-esque mood with the have-nots wanting to see the financial heads of the haves loped off, it might be wise to realize that the rich who enjoy great healthcare are massively outnumberd by an increasingly hostile and frustrated lower class.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17371
    To Jerry and to everyone else who thinks that the United States needs a major improvement in citizens getting health care:
    Jerry’s comments remind me of some specific research that I did two years ago in which I learned that there used to be a United Nations human rights vote every year. Our current U.S. President occasionally declares concern about human rights (This set of 4 words “president bush” “human rights” gives over 4 million hits in Google.)
    What a joke regarding health care …
    The United Nations human rights resolution that had this title The right to everyone to the enjoyment of the highest standard of physical and mental health.
    Every year, over and over again, the United States was the only nation among a group of dozens of nations to vote AGAINST the resolution EVERY year. (Here are a few examples: Resolution 2002/31, 2003/28, 2004/27, 2005/28 … the resolution numbers for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in those years)
    How is that for an embarrassment for us as a nation!
    The vote on the 2005 resolution …
    In favor (52): Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
    Against (1): United States.
    Please join me in taking action to get health care for all in the United States.

  • Jessica on the Outer Banks of NC

    FOREIGNID: 17372
    For those of you preaching about those who aren’t responsible enough to take out private insurance and instead have “luxuries” like cable and phone service, you obviously don’t live on less than $40,000 a year in an area that is continuing to become overrun with tourism – with a family. Private insurance for a family is well over $2,500 a month. I guess we could live under a bridge. I guess to you a bed and pillows is a luxury.
    Secondly, for those of us “lucky” enough to have insurance through our jobs, I still pay over $400 a pay period for it, making my bring home pay less than $500 a week not counting the $600/month I pay for childcare. I pay extra for “good insurance” in hopes that it would cover my pregnancy – sure it pays 90%. Great, except when you have complications like hypermesis gravidum. The medicene that prevents vomiting – Zofran – is not covered – and $600/month without coverage. I can’t afford that – what working class american can? So, as a result, I have ended up in the hosptial emergency room 3 times for IV’s because of dehydration from vomiting.
    So not only are there millions of uninsured, there are millions of people that pay tons of money for private insurance and still rack up outrageous amounts of medical bills because of companies refusal to pay.
    This – and a dying economy – is what DEREGULATION got us.

  • Lyndsay

    FOREIGNID: 17373
    I had to comment on this incredible documentary. Im so glad that someone has brought this issue to light. I seriously hope that a copy of this documentary has been sent to every major politician in the US to make the aware of how big this problem really is. Since they have health Insurance they dont know what it is like to be one of the millions of Americans to not have health coverage, myself included! It is very sad that each of those lives could have easily been saved just by getting the prescriptions they needed. It was just a downward spiral from there. EVERYONE should have health insurance! Thanks so much for sharing your documentary and I hope that something is done about this terrible issue.

  • Denise

    FOREIGNID: 17374
    While the film revealed how tough things can get for individuals without the proper insurance to cope with the reality illnesses, the real truth here is that everyone makes choices.
    While illness is not the choice, lifestyle, acquiring insurance-or not, financial priorities and preventive measures are. With only one exception, there does not seem to be any responsibility of the individuals for their situations. The gal whose husband passed away after being given unnecessary treatments was terribly obese. I suspect she will soon be counted among the unfortunate due to her unwillingness to take responsibility for her own health choices and make an effort to lose weight for instance. It is a hard choice, but a responsible one. The gentleman with the bad back and pain set his priority financially on having three children with a fourth on the way. Given it takes an estimated $250k to raise a child, he of course cannot afford any money for his problem. It was not clear if he was a citizen and why he did not attempt to acquire insurance. The cost to taxpayers for not insuring illegal immigrants have come to haunt us is by way of increasing emergency room attendance by the uninsured, a cost passed along in each and everyone’s premiums who are insured. The woman with ovarian cancer, while absolutely tragic, I cannot help but blame her for not going in sooner. She mentioned, had she had insurance, she may have gone to seek help sooner, but it didn’t mean she would have for sure. It would certainly not have cost she or her husband nearly as much had she just gone and checked the problem out when she was first aware of it which by her own admission had been some months before, no matter how much it cost out of pocket. Waiting cost them both dearly.
    The only gentleman I believe had a right to be in this profile regarding unfairness of the system really, was the amputee. He tried everything, wanted to go back to work ASAP and attempted to work within a very failed system. His story ended up the best because he took responsibility in spite of the all the odds not in his favor and was able to finally succeed.

  • Barbara

    FOREIGNID: 17375
    Just wanted to add an extra personal note about having a baby in this country and insurance. I had to switch insurance just before having a baby by C-section. I was told by the insurance company that there was a problem and that they were sorry but did not think I could deliver my baby under their insurance coverage because it was a preexisting condition. I did not know if I was covered or not going into surgery. Sure enough, the insurance stuck to their guns about the pre existing condition and would not pay until we fought the onslaught of bills. I think I would have opted for a natural child birth at home and saved myself aggrevation however I had already had other c- section births and this was not an option. I joked with the insurance rep before the birth saying what do you expect of me? Perform the surgery on myself. Their response, no comment. Ridiculous!!!!

  • Frances Sherman

    FOREIGNID: 17376
    We have been in support of a national health system for many years. My husband is originally from England and having lived under their system his growing up years and being in contact with his family in England, we are enviouse of their not having to worry about the cost of illness. At 80 and 77 we are still forced to work in order to pay our high medical premiums and we are amongst the healthy ones.
    Frances & Harvey

  • Noel Fernandez

    FOREIGNID: 17377
    We should have Socialized Medicine. This is one of the few countries that don’t seem to understand this basic ethic that normal countries give to their people to thank them for services and taxes rendered to the government. People should also be told that they have earned this basic care as a human being. Maybe if the government didn’t waste their money waging wars with underdeveloped countries they would have the means to take care of their own.

  • G. Marshall

    FOREIGNID: 17378
    You know, I was fine with the program until I saw that Carlos’ wife was pregnant with I believe their 4th child. You’ve got to be kidding me? This is the problem in our country. If you can’t afford to take care of yourself and your family, you should not be allowed to reproduce. I have worked full time since I was 15 years old. I have two children. I would have loved to have been able to stay home with my kids when they were young but both my husband and I needed to work full time to take care of our children and save for our future retirement. I normally don’t have time to watch TV because I work so much. I actually saw this show from a hotel in Philadelphia because I was out of town working!!!! Carlos and his wife had a choice to make – work to get the money for the surgery or have kids and deal with the illness. I am actually for universal healthcare because I feel I’m already paying for all the people who want to have their cake and eat it too. I understand some people get in a bind and those should be helped. But having 4 kids with no health insurance or money for a rainy day is completely irresponsible. Honestly, I would prefer we pay for worldwide birth control so that couples can better manage their situations and have a family when they are in a better position to support their offspring.

  • Shawn

    FOREIGNID: 17379
    Wow, I watch POV every week it is always very good. I wish they story had more investigation like the reason Mexico has such cheap medical care. I do not like the idea of socialized medicine though because of all the government intervention that it will bring.
    The US government has been shown to be brutal toward it citizens at times in our history. It has participated in genocide, internment camps, slavery, institutionalized racism, medical experimentation, torture, the list goes on and on and is added to every day. Sorry but I just can’t find comfort in the government we have here, I fear them more than I fear anything else and to put my health in their hands is just unthinkable even after the light you have shed on the problem for me.
    If I vote to surrender my medical records to the government what will they do with that information in the future? Is the first question I have to ask at every step. Technology is progressing every day very soon the capability of our government will surpass every worst nightmare I could ever have. A nationalized health care system will give the government a new power over its people and that always leads to new justification to control and even brutalize people it singles out.
    Give them an inch for security they will take your very last inch of freedom.

  • Kathy

    FOREIGNID: 17380
    DOVES: I went to school with your mother, Karen M., and we were very close friends. (Kathy Rogers) I was shocked beyond belief last night when I realized my childhood friend suffered as she did. I still have the notes we passed in class to each other, and I have been searching for her for about 5 years, off and on. I am heartbroken for you and your family, and I had always hoped Karen and I would meet again one day. (Your grandmother should remember me. She helped me get through home economics class, teaching me to sew!) I wish the world could have known Karen as I knew her: always laughing, mischevious at times, brave, strong, loving, and just a wonderful ray of sunshine. You are right, the doctor who denied her medical care due to a lack of insurance or money, should be held responsible for Karen’s early death. Know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers, and the world is a lesser place without your mother in it. I loved her dearly. Kathy R.

  • Ruby

    FOREIGNID: 17381
    I watched your show and felt like I could have been your poster child. I am a 49 year old who has worked my entire life paying taxes….my mistake was working for a small business for almost 20 years with NO health insurance benefits, I always thought I would have time after I raised my child and payed some bills off to get health insurance. Don’t wait people…get some now…I found out I had to have open heart surgery. I worked as long as I could when I finally quit it was because I felt too bad to work. I have always worked so I did not know how are system works. I thought I could draw unemployement benefits, I had never tried before, they told me I would have to be able to look for work to qualify. I quit my job because I was too sick to work…needless to say that was a NO. I went to my local DHS office, they said I either had to be 65yrs or older or have children living at home with me to get any assistance from them. I worked and raised my child….so that also was a big NO. I went to the social security office because gee…I have been paying SS all my life, surely they could help me. I was told you have to be disabled for 1 year or more to qualify. I went ahead and applied and was turned down 6 months later. I finally was accepted through a charity program at a large hospital 2 hours away to have my surgery. I am forever grateful for their assistance, I will probably be paying the rest of my life on doctor bills. Here I am 1 year later, with more problems with my heart, no health insurance, hoping I am able to start work within the next week. MY family and boyfriend has been paying all my bills up until now, I have no idea what I would have done without all of their help……what about people who dont even have a family member to help them out? I truly believe I would be out on the streets at this point. I worry about people like me who have no one to lean on. This has been so hard to understand because I always have been able to take care of myself and I always thought if I did what I was suppose to my government would do their part…….dont count on it. I would tell anyone it would be better to work for a larger company who carries health insurance than for someone who is small and dont. I have heard they have a program for small business owners to participate for their employees now…….I would strongly advise anyone who works for a small business to inquire about it. Dont think it wont ever happen to you or you have time to do something about it, whatever you do, dont think the government will help you…they wont.

  • Rhea

    FOREIGNID: 17382
    I am responding to Ted’s comments that started with “Typical leftist/socialist PBS crap . . .”
    Since YOU seem to be so uninformed, for your information, the people in this doucmentary were hard working Americans, not freeloaders as you obviously seem to think uninsured people are. There are many hard working people in this country who would love to buy their own health insurance but are not able to because insurance companies turn them down. By the way, not everyone as access to medicare.
    Whatever your political beliefs are, the plight of these individuals deserves, at the very least, our compassion.
    Before you start spouting off at the mouth and making accusations of Socialism and Leftism, get your facts straight and try to get in touch with reality.

  • Bob Guzauskas, DDS

    FOREIGNID: 17383
    I don’t have any sympathy for Americans complaining about our health care. Why? Because the people can change it. Here’s how:
    1) Strike down the doctor’s monopoly – the state license – as an unnecessary restraint of trade. Allow anyone to own and manage a healthcare facility, anywhere. That’s now illegal in 42 states.
    2) Strike down the insurance company monopoly as an unnecessary restraint of trade. Allow employers and groups to purchase services directly from clinics described in #1.
    3) The Clinics in #1 will compete for the business of #2. They will offer the current, very costly fee-for-service, or, less costly capitation programs advocated by Donald Berwick, or, the lowest cost Lease model advocated by me. Put the doctor on wages and benefits as a salaried, corporate employee. Today’s doctor is a salesman paid more for selling more.
    So why hasn’t our healthcare changed? Because the insurers oppose change; the doctors oppose change; the hospitals oppose change and the corrupt unions and politicians and MEDIA oppose change. And all of those together have mislead the public into believing that ours is an insoluble problem. I’m including this POV program. It’s junk.

  • Bob GuzauskasJL

    FOREIGNID: 17384
    My mother was told by her primary care physician that she couldn’t AFFORD to live. She died at 57 years old of congestive heart failure and complications of COPD. She never smoked a day in her life. She was born in a coal mining town and had scarlet fever as a child. She battled asthma and heart problems her entire life. The last 5 years of her life she didn’t have health insurance. The week after she passed away, she was approved for Social Security Disability.s.

  • Allen Roe

    FOREIGNID: 17385
    Why is the obvious so overlooked or never discussed. Why does a few hour surgery cost 300 thousand or 500 thousand or more? We all complain and lament about the high cost of care and insurance while the doctors and hospitals charge absolutely crazy amounts. We have all heard of the 100 dollar aspirins tc etc. The costs keep going up and we never ask or demand that they stop. The reasons for the several hundred thousand dollar bills and the 1000 dollar emergency room bills are very clear. The doctors and hospitals charge whatever they want and no one I have heard ever suggests to prohibit that. Its a kind of robbery and blackmail. Everyone keeps agreeing it costs so much. WHY? The suggestions of tax credits and government insurance just subsidizes the doctors and hospitals without demanding thay stop their robbery. The threat of liability and suits and forcing the se people to charge triple and more to protect against that. Why is there no system to allow us patients to agree not to sue. The care givers will still do their professional best and not be forced to charge triple or more.

  • helen williams

    FOREIGNID: 17386
    i just watched “critical condition”, it hit me just like michael moores’ film “sicko”. they both are my story. i am 62 yrs old, single, worked all my life & have had the misfortune of watching the health care system in this country go down the drain. health care in the 50s & 60s although not as advanced was better. the people in power dont live it like us underinsured/no insured folks do. i had so much hope when hillary clinton wanted to do something when her husband was elected president. it seems so hopeless. i will have on my tombstone “died because of no health insurance”
    thank you, helene williams, newburgh ny

  • William Arthur

    FOREIGNID: 17387
    An outstanding film “CRITICAL CONDITION”, which illustrates the health care crisis in this country. Sadly, our government have their priorities askew, they are more concerned with funding an illegal occupation of Iraq (to influence OPEC) than they are of taking care of their own citizen’s basic needs. The United States has spent nearly 1 TRILLION dollars funding the Iraqi conflict and subsequent illegal occupation of their country. I wonder how many Americans could have gained health care insurnace with those wasted dollars. I am saddend and sickened at Washington’s lack of focus and performance regarding addressing this CRITICAL issue,

  • Ruth Scott

    FOREIGNID: 17388
    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?

  • maria secord

    FOREIGNID: 17389
    after having watched your POV documentary on the health care system in the USA, it is shameful that the richest country in the world would treat their uninsured people so shabbily! All I can say is Thank God I am Canadian. Our health insurance may be not be the best in the world although manditory, however, the USA would be wise to start taking lessons from us and the Europeans how to look after their people especially the poor and the disenfrancised! Shame on your government to let this happen!!!

  • Judith Gedalia

    FOREIGNID: 17390
    The sitatuation of healthcare in this country is beyond shameful. A great percentage of the insured are already covered under a single payer system, i.e. medicare, federal employees, etc. A single payer system is the best way to cover ALL americans. Single payer is NOT socialized medecine as many would have us believe. It woulld cost us much less in the long run, cover all our citizens and make us a much healthier nation.

  • AL Gordon

    FOREIGNID: 17391
    It’s shameful that we treat our fellow Americans this way. Let’s look at the states who have a plan such as Massechusetts. I have seen a recent commercial by the AMA. So I think we need to elect a president like Barack Obama who has a plan and not just rhetoric from the republican candidate. Thanks for your focus on a real issue facing our nation.

  • Sheila Paxton

    FOREIGNID: 17392
    I’ve been disgusted with the health insurance crisis for years now. Having worked on the medical side for a time, I got to see the sliding scale doctors use for patients who have insurance vs. those who are uninsured. How they will accept $50 from Blue Cross, but expect the uninsured patient to dole out $100. How is that fair? It sounds like some sort of twisted discrimination. As an American, I’m outraged. What the heck is my government doing?? Where’s Congress? Did we elect them to office for them to nap?
    I think it’s a three-fold issue. First off, America needs to eat better. Many of the issues that we face are a direct influence of our poor diet and lack of clean water. If produce was be more affordable, more people would be able to eat better, therefore be healthier. Second, hospitals should NOT be allowed to charge uninsured patients more. It’s not fair, moral or ethical. Third, insurance companies should have some type of governing. They have spun grossly out-of-control lining their own pockets, stuffing their own gut.
    What can I do? I can talk, rant and rave – but do I make a difference? Who can we write or address? Being an American is often like being voiceless. The only difference I can truly make is during the voting process and that’s only if the candidate that I elect actually sticks to their word.
    Greed is going to bankrupt America.

  • Sam

    FOREIGNID: 17393
    The problems of healthcare in this country I was well aware of before watching this. The most depressing thing for is that this shows me the road I am now going down. I have been in and out of the hospital for the last 18 months. I no longer have a job and can no longer work. This of course means I no longer have insurance. No income means I can not afford medicines. They tell me I do not qualify for any type of aid. The medical bills continue to pile up. The phone calls to pay the bills add enormous amount of stress. After working for 45 years and paying taxes this i s no way to spend your final time on this earth. Our country has let us down. We are the only modern country that does not have a health care for their people. (Tailand I believe has one of the best)I am beginning to have thoughts I thought I would never have. Would death be a welcome relief?

  • Eugene Matarese

    FOREIGNID: 17394
    I watched Roger Weisberg’s film Critical Condition and can identify with the stories. My experience with coverage is probably unique.I was a volunteer in the Merck Hepatitis B Vaccine trials in 1979. I was even guaranteed medical care for the duration with primary physicians of my choosing if I volunteered. The vaccine was blood based and tainted with HIV.
    So first I want to address the issue of Pharmaceutical companies clinical trials. In my case, Merck should have been held responsible to provide the medical care that was in our contractual agreement.
    Second, Congress must prohibit Pharmaceutical Companies offering “hold harmless” paperwork when recruiting volunteers.
    The companies should be held accountable to put aside reserves for the volunteers who are negatively impacted and health compromised due to a derailed 3rd phase clinical trial. Why should Pharmaceutical Companies feel that Medicare is a landfill for their malfeasance. It is simply wrong that someone healthy like myself should have been infected with HIV by a pharmaceutical company.
    I have always worried if I would have enough coverage over 30 years because Merck & NY Blood Center acted “above the law”.
    Now I’m on Medicare Prescription Plan D. I struggle to afford it. In some cases I have to ration my medications because I have to pay a huge portion of my medications up front ($4,050) before I’m in catastrophic illness.
    Under the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 the Congress on purpose left out collective bargaining like the vets admin does because the drug companies didn’t want it?
    From what I can gather, Medco is claiming they have no control over price increases – even in catastrophic illness! That the drug companies control the price increases that they apply using a mechanism called AWP Average Wholesale Price. That Medicare deliberately never did collective bargaining with the drug companies to create the current uncompetitive price gouging by Medicare Prescription Drug D middlemen such as Medco.
    The AWP is controversial since it is based on price information “volunteered” by drug companies.
    In August just entering Catastrophic Illness category I ordered Kaletra and noticed a difference in the price I was quoted last April on Medicare.gov
    Kaletra April August
    Tabs 200 -50 mg
    30 day supply $9.39 $34.20
    90 day supply $28.17 $102.61
    I never recieve prior written notice of these AWP increases. From my perspective these increases are triggered whenever and as often as the drug companies wish. From perspective is that without Medicare having collective bargaining- the situation is completely manipulated by the drug companies and their pharmacies like Medco.
    I’m a long term survivor of AIDS and this is my 30th anniversary since I was infected by Merck. Now I find my health in jeopardy because of Congress’ pandering to drug companies lobbying!

  • Cecily

    FOREIGNID: 17395
    CRITICAL CONDITION made me cry. I’ve not been as sick as those featured, but I’ve been sick without insurance and sick with “cadilac’ insurance. The difference is huge, and being without any money and trying to get well is humiliating, lonely, and frustrating. Your program spread this message. I remember well the L.A. County Hospitals and the people waiting forever. The stress was exhausting.
    I wish the discussion after the film would have had a clue. Doesn’t anyone get it? Some people have NO money, NONE: they cannot pay anything for health insurance!! They can barely pay rent!!

  • mary monteith

    FOREIGNID: 17396
    I am a nurse practitioner and just watched “Critical Condition”. After 35 years in health care I have watched the system serve much sicker people over the years because of the failure of government to overcome the insurance and drug company lobbies. The escalation of oil prices is paltry in comparison to the rising costs of health care and the decline in overall health of our population. We spend trillions to achieve less and less in comparison to other civilised countries and thanks to the investment banking and mortgage meltdown things are about to get much worse. I feel angry and powerless. I thank you for showing the stories of four of the thousands of people who face these situations every day. I hope that results the upcoming election may provide a small chance of reversing the deadly downward spiral in the health of this country’s people.

  • Max Seivwright

    FOREIGNID: 17397
    Thank you highlighting the plight of Americans without health insurance. I am fortunate to be healthy, to have health insurance, and to be in a realatively secure job. But anything could happen and in a matter of time I would be in the same position. This documentary has touched me to the core as I see hard working Americans suffering, physically, financially, emotionally yet having no hope. Some of these conditions could have been addressed long before they got to a critical stage if only these people had insurance. What sense does it make to treat the problem at the end stage rather than take preventative measures which would be less cotly in all respect? Tonight I saw four Americans yet there are over 47,000,000 in a similiar position. Until tonight, sadly to say, I didn’t think about this much, now I do and when I make the decision as to who to vote for, it will be for the candidate who is making the best effort to address the health care issues for the majority of Americans.

  • http://http:/www.ellensherfey.com Ellen Sherfey

    FOREIGNID: 17398
    By the grace of God, I have health care through the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP), sponsored by CareFirst Blue Preferred because I could not afford two other health plans I inquired about since they raised their base insurance rates for me when I reported my pre-existing conditions.
    The plight of even one (yet so many) dear, loving people precariously close and closer to the edge of utter ruin should-must-will (I pray) stir the few souls we’ve entrusted with the responsiblilty to act on behalf of all of us and provide the assurance of unbiased care. The health of every community nourishes the whole.

  • Ruby

    FOREIGNID: 17399
    this is my second comment today. I have been reading the comments and there are a few people who sound hopeless. I dont know your situation but I can tell you if you or your loved one need an operation you might try what I did. I was told I had to have a major heart operation, I was beyond hopeless I didnt have insurance or any savings I was living paycheck to paycheck like most of us are doing. I am sure each state is different but if you can find a teaching hospital anywhere in driving distance alot of them have charity programs. It takes alot of paper work and waiting but if you qualify they will work with you on reduced payments. I know this is not an answer to the problem but this is for the people who have no hope at all. I was one of them and I had to drive over 2hours to get there and I had to rely on family and friends to even foot the gas bill but if you can get in that program maybe you can have a chance. Not all doctors are bad and I had a wonderful hometown doctor who cared enough about my situation to help me find this hospital. It was a very humbling experience, I thought I would never have to ask for help….but it gave me hope when I had none at all. My problems are not solved but maybe this will help someone out there who don’t know where to go or what to do. By the way…..some of us just got sick, we have taken care of ourselves and done everything we were suppose to, stuff happens and we can’t explain it, so if you are a healthy person don’t be so quick to judge us you never know when you might be walking in our shoes.

  • http://Charter.net Christopher Johnson

    FOREIGNID: 17400
    After viewing Critical Condition I was enlightened to the plight of untold numbers of Americans living among us. As citizens of, what we like to believe is, the greatest country in the world, we should all be ashamed of the state of health care for the uninsured in our nation. I was especially astounded by the knowledge that hospitals charge the uninsured 2 1/2 times more for their services than those with insurance. What kind of morality is in play with that practice? Don’t a great number of our nations hospitals have strong ties with, and, or owe their very origins to religious denominations? How much is a life worth? Better yet, how much is your life worth. Sadly we have come to a point where financial consideration, in the formula leading to decisions being made, is the top priority. A continuation of this flawed thinking will lead to the demise of all.


    FOREIGNID: 17401

  • halina

    FOREIGNID: 17402
    Clearly something must be done to create better outcomes for Americans with health issues, starting with widespread education about the fact that our healthiness is largely determined by our own lifestyle choices. The huge industry that is Health Care in this country is compensated primarily when people are ill and much more richly when the treatments are expensive. That is why healthcare is so expensive….moreover the really shameful thing about our system is that it wastes resources: if only conditions that could be ameliorated were given intensive treatment in those that could benefit from those treatments, most likely our resources would be sufficient to help most individuals. When end-stage cancer presents, palliative care only should be given. And hard decisions about the amount and type of care to be given in many dicey situations are needed. As long as we as a society avoid making those decisions (and we will as long as there is someone “else” to pay for them) we will not be able to rein in the costs we face today. In the documentary the only two cases where the outcome was a better and more productive life were the two hispanic gentlemen whose treatment resulted in their being able to resume jobs and family responsibilities. I believe there is a general lack of knowlege about what types of insurance plans families can have to protect themselves from bankruptcy by medical costs: major medical coverage is designed for that…..yes one still has to pay for care over and above the cost of the premium (i.e.. the deductible and out-of-pocket), but it is a very big misunderstanding of how a nationalized health care system works to think that it would be “free”……I don’t know the costs of the Canadian plan, but in Germany where such a plan exists it costs the employer 8% and the employee 8% of the gross wages earned with those not employed getting subsidies to buy the coverage…..Here we are already paying 13.5% of our wages to Social Security plus the federal and state income taxes that we owe……nationalized health insurance would add more to that burden but in a sense would be more fair because everyone with a job would have to pay the same percentage, thus contributing money to the pool of resources from which their treatment would come…..At the present time about 15.5% of our citizens are not paying anything toward their care (that’s 47 million people, many many of whom are children and young, healthy adults). Yes, we must change the system that exists and each of us has it in our own hands to make the biggest changes of all by exercising daily and eating healthy foods in proper portions and relieving stress and tension with laughter and social activity and mental engagement.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17403
    My apologies if some of my comments today get posted in different forms multiple times. I was running into the technical problems that this blog has experienced.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17404
    HEALTH CARE: A Financial Challenge or a Financial Opportunity?
    This is such an excellent set of comments on this web page … and peoples minds are on the current U.S. financial situation, so here are some related observations.
    Situation for decades —————-
    —– Our companies have been changing to more efficient manufacturing operations, which has caused and is causing the U.S. to lose our businesses and our jobs
    —– Our society not changing to more efficient health care financing is causing us to lose our health and our lives in addition to helping lose businesses and lose jobs
    Need ———————
    The U.S. must change to a efficient financing of health care
    Result in the future, shortly after we implement non-profit single-payer national health insurance, which is the most efficient financing of health care —–
    Lower cost
    Regain businesses
    Recover jobs
    Better access
    Improve health
    Save lives
    …. … and … Peace of Mind regarding financial security with respect to health care

  • gloria

    FOREIGNID: 17405
    i have the same thing i have copd the meds they gave me . Gave me diabetes INEVER USE TO TAKE ASPIN OR ANYTHING NOW ITAKE 4 INHALES 2TIMES ADAY AND I AM PREDSIONE DEPENDED SO NOW I AM SWELL UP MY FACE LOOKS LIKE A BASKETBALL ihave to watch everything ieat i have been in the hospital 15 times this yaer i owe about 240000 dollars i get a lot of telephone calls for the bill collects . Every time i go they put me in and put orgen on me , give me breathing treatment and other thing to help me breath after three days they let me out they never run test anymore .THEe last time i was in the doctor let me out when huricane IKE came ashore we just got home when our ligths went out we were luckey they came back on the next day around 4 pm the doc told the nurse for me to go hotel or shelter i was on machine that gave medicine for copd. Icould not afford ahotel .i dont have afamily doctor so you get who ever wants to play with you .the day i found out that i had diabetes i was put in immedite care the nurse came in to ckeck my blood sugar itold her that i was not diabete she told me it was stander for they to ckeck my sugar level was 345 so i got insluin iwas let out 4 days later . i had go to the clinic to get a prescription for iwas on sliding scale .i did not even know how to put the stuff up so i went back to the clinic for them show how tootake it . now iam on the pill for it and the shot too.Then I found out about aspatame now i dont know what to drink . ican not go to the nutritionists to find out what to eat or not to eat cause it costs 400 dollars. so i eat about the samething every day that i ate in the hospital i am sick of ckicken iam waiting to get feathers . We make 400 dollars to much for me to get help with ssi ithougth that if you work it was there for you but i geuss i was wrong . I CAN NOT GO to the stores because i wight caugth any thing so isit at home and cry alot thank you for letting me talk we do need some help in medical thing but if you notice that all the docs driving high cost cars

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17406
    Non-Profit Single-Payer National Health Insurance and the Average American Worker
    What the typical average worker WILL GIVE
    — 3.3 percent more out of each paycheck
    — additional payments?: very little or nothing
    What the average worker WILL RECEIVE
    — health care: whatever is needed through the end of our life
    — more frequent visits per year to the doctor, including getting more preventative care
    — longer life (the U.S. has dropped from 27th to 30th in life expectancy)
    — life with less pain and suffering due to better health throughout a longer life; how? by doctors preventing diseases much better (we recently dropped from 15th to 19th out of 19 countries for the U.S. ability to minimize deaths due to preventable diseases; the U.S. does great at treating cancer after it’s there, but the other countries avoid you getting cancer in the first place!)
    — payments automatically covered to the doctors and hospitals by the “single-payer”
    — national health card that gives us health care access
    — no major medical bills
    — no worry about future health care costs
    In other words, the average worker will receive excellent benefits plus the peace of mind similar to what citizens in other countries have had for decades.
    This is realistic! It’s been demonstrated for decades in other countries! This IS the way it works in the other countries that pay less than half per person with full medical benefits, and they have peace of mind! There are plenty of comments from Canadians above on this web page, above, that confirm what I am writing here. And there are a few statements about Canada that are not correct, but those statements are NOT from the Canadians.
    Please join me, and let’s get this!
    Go to http://www.healthcareforallnow.org
    and follow the link to the Schedule there.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17407
    How can we realize this future result that I wrote above?
    Implement non-profit single-paye national health insurance.

    — Move from complexity to simplicity
    — Move from inefficiency to efficiency
    — Eliminate the 3 types of bureaucracy
    … — Government Bureaucracy
    … — For-Profit Bureaucracy
    … —
    Supporting Bureaucracy
    — by implementing the following resolution into law in order to implement “single-payer”:
    U.S. House Resolution 676
    What is non-profit single-payer national health insurance?
    See how it compares to the current bureaucracy
    But what are the alternatives? Are there other options?
    Yes! So many they can’t be counted, but we have a glimpse at the alternatives
    Want to take action? Then you can join me in following the schedule to get health care for all in the United States.
    Want to act?
    Want to know why we need to follow the schedule? That’s here … The immense power of the health insurance companies must be overcome with the overwhelming force of thousands of educated constituents communicating to each of the U.S. Representatives, who love to report to the press that very strong input was received from their constituents on a topic and that they responded positively to the input.
    Have a nice day, because … . The roughly 205 to 277 people who die
    unnecessarily every day in the U.S. surely won’t (These deaths result from our extremely poor health care outcomes compared to other countries).

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17408
    This comment has been removed by the moderator for redundancy.

  • Jeanne , nurse, healthcare provider

    FOREIGNID: 17409
    1) Take away the benefits congress currently receives that WE pay for.
    2) Begin a healthcare system that is the most Cost Effective and provides quality care for all Americans. Call it whatever you want.
    3) Dismiss “solutions” such as tax deductable healthcare savings plans and tax credits which would provide a couple thousand $ per year at best for working families. Hardly enough to cover a few stitches in a Dr’s office, let alone a real health problem. And for those who lose their employment ??
    4) Promote healthy diets, exercise and preventative care. Recess and daily gym for school kids, Duh ! Reduce school bus use.
    5) Don’t blame Carlos for another pregnancy. Take that up with the Catholic Church and the Religious Right.
    Just a few suggestions. I can think of many more.

  • judy

    FOREIGNID: 17410

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17411
    I beg you to please read Jeanne’s and Judy’s excellent words over and over again!
    We are getting used to being bigger and bigger, more and more inactive, and sicker and sicker. The statistics were bad for many years; now they are getting more and more to (fill in your own word here: bleak? sad? ridiculous?). I use the title Health and Health Care Advocate because access to health care (health care reform) is a starting point.The ultimate goal is good health for all.
    I’m off to a 30 minute walk after a very light, healthy meal of fruits and vegies. I don’t always do those two actions; the important thing is that I try to get better and better. What did you do (or not do) today that is good for your health?
    Let’s get this health reform out of the way as fast as we can! Please! I want to spend all my (retirement) time taking care of myself and helping others take care of themselves! This is a very personal plea, as I have been working way too hard at this while also begging people to take action. Again I ask you, on my hands and knees, for heaven’s sake to please join me — Please get reminders to take action (some simple actions) to get health care for all in the United States.

  • Ralph

    FOREIGNID: 17412
    It would be one thing to claim that the standard of living in America has been in stagnation. But it isn’t even that. The standard of living in America has been on a decline. And has been for the last 8 years in what used to be a prosperous country. From education to health care, the job market, to assistance for the poor and the homeless right down to the current economic situation. These and many other issues have been in the substandard category in proportion to national wealth. The fact is more and more “parking lot dwellers” and “tent cities” are cropping up around our nation from Florida, west to Las Vegas, and further across to San Diego up north towards Seattle to name a few, due to job losses, foreclosures, and ultimately homelessness. The last time this country experienced anything comparable was the Great Depression. A significant gap between the wealthy and the poor has been on the increase for years now progressing the extinction of the middle class. This country’s infrastructure is in grave danger. And should concern us all into action. This documentary is a great example. It truly hits home I’m sure for most of us affected. Made me think. And cry. America’s health care or lack of is not only prejudiced but obsolete. It is on a par with third world countries. Not only is it embarrassing but downright, “horrific!” This should not happen. Insured or uninsured. And there is no excuse for it in a country of financial affluence. But despite economic downturn, corporations are still realizing and sharing in the profits. However, unlike gravity it doesn’t trickle down. At the beginning of this year I was stongly leaning towards Republican nominee, John McCain. However, the reality is that throughout history, Republicans are notoriously synonymous with corporations. Something needs to happen for the people. Cast political agenda aside. Priority now is of utmost importance. Accountability for our current crisis falls in the hands of Republicans. Something needs to change. Fundamentally, regulations and accountability is a start. I encourage you, my fellow Americans, friends and neighbors to the polls and vote this country back on track to its higher standards. Because not only its citizens but the world depends on it. This crisis influences my decision in who I vote for. More than ever! Because something needs to change!

  • Erica Anderson

    FOREIGNID: 17413
    I’m a college student and I remember watching something like this in my Sociology class and the things I saw made me really upset. There was this one family who’s husband had a medical problem, i think it was cancer i believe, and because they were denied medical insurance, he ended up dying. I know that’s not something new, but I think it’s horrible that it’s a common problem. When the doctor mentioned that they tend to patients based on their coverage, it really saddened me. It made me wonder what was going to happen when I’m no longer on my family’s plan and had to find my own kind of insurance. I’m only 23 years old and I thank God for allowing me to see 23, I just pray that my boyfriend and I will be able to see many more years and not have to have the worry of health insurance. My question is, what do these presidential candidates plan on doing about it? I’ve heard many people, including myself say, that we would move to places that would care for people regardless of their health care, places like Canada and France. I know that no where anyone lives is perfect, but come on. Right now the things that people are worried about are nothing compared to what they should be worried about. Excuse me, I mean politics. I know that they can’t solve every problem brought to them, however, they can try to do something about this issue, because the number of uninsured citizens is rising, which means that the number of deaths is rising as well. That’s all I have to say on that.
    All I can do is pray that this issue will have more solutions and less problems.

  • Erica Anderson

    FOREIGNID: 17414
    I hate that it feels like the world is just waiting for us to die. I don’t want you to think that I’m mad at the doctors, because a lot of them are opposed to this I’m sure, however, their jobs are on the line, so I can understad where they’re coming from. I just pray that in the future, my family, friends, boyfriend and I have something to look forward to, than just open caskets. That’s why we’ve really got to enjoy life now, while we’re still here, because the saying goes that life is short, however, it feels like it’s getting even shorter.

  • Fawn

    FOREIGNID: 17415
    This is such a touching piece. I still have tears in my eyes from watching it. It hurts me to know that people are dying because they cannot afford insurance. At my job, if I were to elect to have health insurance, it would take $3 off my hourly rate! Therefore, I myself, am one of MANY who does not have health insurance because of its ridiculously high cost. I am thankful that I am rarely ill, so it doesn’t effect me like it does for others, yet it still remains that I cannot afford it.
    I pray that things turn around. We are in a world full of greed. The rich keep getting richer, while the poor or even ‘comfortable’ people start falling off the radar and into the ground. Look at where our American dollars go–entertainment! Famous people spend $50k on just their teeth, while others could only HOPE to make that much in a year. What does that say about this great place some of us call home?
    For me, this has nothing to do with politics. I just see reality. Why do we have to go to Mexico to get reasonable treatment? Why do we have to choose to not go to the doctor for just a checkup? Why do we wait and wait until our condition just becomes unbearable before seeking medical attention? Why do people have to go on a 2yr waiting list to receive assistance from the government? Why do employers and insurance companies seem to ‘just not get it’? Why do people have to decide between having insurance or being able to pay a utility bill? Why do we have some of the most advanced medical technology, yet only a certain class of people have immediate access to it? Why does a family have to lose a loved one because they are unable to afford something as simple as insulin? WHY???
    This is unacceptable to say the least!
    I pray that the families affected and effected by these situations be blessed and know that they are not alone. I hurt for you. Sometimes you just have to stop and say hallelujah anyhow and know that God is in control.

  • Vivian King

    FOREIGNID: 17416
    The sad fact is that the rich are NOT going to pay for other people’s healthcare. Their money is going overseas before that happens. The working middle class would wind-up paying for this bill. Frankly, our backs are breaking. Eventually, there’s going to be only two classe the rich and the poor with one one in between. What’s going to be left is what you can do for yourself while you’re young. Watch your weight, stop eating fatty foods and start exercising. Long term, even the meds themselves can kill you. Once you’re older, take each day at a time. Even doctors are going AWOL because of the malpractice premiums. It’s not getting better but worse.

  • kerry c, smiley

    FOREIGNID: 17417

  • g

    FOREIGNID: 17418
    I’m very afraid about being able to afford health insurance now and in the future. But, I was a little angry that someone like Carlos and his wife can’t afford health insurance yet they are bringing in another child into the world. He was lucky to get a gratuitous assistance, but unlike myself, I put paying my health insurance at the top of my expenses with the mortgage, food and utilities. Everything else is a luxury. And if you can’t afford it, then don’t bring in another mouth to feed or expect society to take care of.

  • John Dibble

    FOREIGNID: 17419
    I’m tired or hearing about more health insurance coverage. That won’t solve the problem. The problem is that the cost is just too high. Other countries have much less expensive health care and there’s no reason we can’t also. We need to deregulate medicine. In other countries most medicines can be purchased over the counter and pharmacies have doctors working there who provide advice at NO COST, just like we can get free advice about home maintenance in a hardware store. State owned hospitals are inexpensive and available without appointments. If other countries can do it, why can’t we.

  • barbara

    FOREIGNID: 17420
    This film reinforced our commitment to give our 8 employees great healthcare coverage. For only $64 a month they get a great Kaiser plan. If we did not pay for this we could have an additional $10-15,000 a year IN OUR OWN POCKETS….but then we would be greedy scum. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. Even if some of them never go to the doctor….at least we know they would be OK if they ever had an accident. Thank you to the filmmakers for reminding us why we are DOING THE RIGHT THING in our small business. Businesses CAN AFFORD to offer it – they just have to redefine their definition of success.

  • gail

    FOREIGNID: 17421
    I just finished watching your film and do agree that everyone should be able to have health care. I only wish I, or someone, had an answer as to how this should come about. I work in an emergency department and witness people coming in without insurance everyday. I also witness an abuse of the system that raises our insurance rates and costs untold amounts of moneys. Perhaps if we could revise the system so that those that can and should work and contribute did, then they might be able to help at least some. If we had urgent cares or clinics where our STD checks could go it would cost less. Those with menstrual cramps and wanting pregnancy tests need clinics, not emergency rooms where the cost is higher. Stop the abuse of the system and save money for those needing it. Stop forcing doctors to do labs, CAT scans and every other test on those we know aren’t needed, but are done to prevent law suits. Let us say no to those we know are drug seekers.
    Get those off disability who are not disabled-often they have the most up to date cell phones and I-pods and better clothes than those of us working. Many of them are healthier than some of our staff.
    I feel for those who don’t have insurance and need it. l feel for the working poor. The system is broken-can someone fix it?

  • Harold Edwards

    FOREIGNID: 17422
    All of the individuals in your film made a cardinal error: They did not politically organize. If you have no health insurance or are under-insured, seek out organizations that will overthrow the present system. If you cannot find one, create one. Do not suffer alone, in silence. The rest of you, stop wringing your hands. It is time to stop this. Everyone should have basic healthcare. Do something about it. If necessary make trouble. As soon as people who have good healthcare are inconvenienced, this will stop.

  • rosa ranger

    FOREIGNID: 17423
    Until I watched your show I thought I was one of a few people going through this health care nightmare. A few years ago I would not have believed this could happen in America. I started working at 18 as a nurse aid while going to school to get my nursing degree. After getting my nursing degree I worked 60+ hours a week while raising my daughter, with no support from her father. I made good money and had good insurance and even had some savings in an IRA. Two years ago I got a pulmonary embolism, and an aortic aneursym and almost died, and was consequently unable to work again. Due to these medical problems I now have a bad kidney, that needs to be revoved(I am in constant pain) and I have continued to lose weight until I am now below 100lb. I have cardiac problems, and copd, and asthma, and severe depression, but can’t afford any of the medications because the insurance dropped me when I couldn’t work. I recieve disability but medicare won’t cover me for another year. The doctors that I can see will not even try to do anything for me because I don’t have insurance. I always thought that if you work hard and try to live a good life, your future would be secure. I now believe that in the richest country in the world the ill and uninsured are put on a waiting list to die, because if you are seriously ill you can’t wait two years for medical care. I am now on that waiting list!!! I hope the people that disbelieved your film never have to find out the truth like I did, but one day they can have a great job, insurance, savings, and a good home and one medical emergency can cause you to lose it all. The health care system in this country is a joke and the President, and health care community(including all doctors) should be ashamed to say they are Americans. The irony of this is I spent my life taking care of other people and saving lives and now when I need it I can’t get any care.

  • http://http:/www.ellensherfey.com Ellen Sherfey

    FOREIGNID: 17424
    By the grace of God, I have health care through the Maryland Health Insurance Plan
    (MHIP), sponsored by CareFirst Blue Preferred because I could not afford two other health
    plans I inquired about since they raised their base insurance rates for me when I
    reported my pre-existing conditions.
    The plight of even one (yet so many) dear, loving people precariously close and closer to
    the edge of utter ruin should-must-will (I pray) stir the few souls we’ve entrusted with
    the responsiblilty to act on behalf of all of us and provide the assurance of unbiased
    care. The health of every community nourishes the whole.

  • Rich G.

    FOREIGNID: 17425
    With the current situation in this Nation, I think it’s time for another “Tea Party”. I agree with Garys post, no matter who gets elected nothing will change because the Ultra-Rich already have theirs and they mean to keep their wealth at all costs.
    I have worked in the Health Care system and I know how bills to Medicare/Medicaid, HMO’s are manipulated. Our standard tests were around $12-15 a piece, but when it was presented to the above groups we would bill almost triple what the average cost was.
    HMO’s and the Medicare/Medicaid system is corrupt from top to bottom.
    IT’S TIME TO GET MAD AMERICA!!! Enough is enough, If I make a bad business decision (and believe me I’ve made a few) I have to live with that decision and hopefully learn from it so as not to make the same mistake again. Now we have major companies, who have not handled their finances well at all, being bailed out WITH YOURS AND MY TAXES ( and our children and probubly their children).
    We need to stand up as a Nation and say we’ve had enough. Personally I think the White House and everybody in it needs to be fired–and no pension and try again
    People think this kind of greed and corruption only happens in third world countries, think again. It could be you next!!!

  • Jean Shea

    FOREIGNID: 17426
    I broke my ankle in Toronto Canada about a month ago and had no problems getting treated without insurance. Had surgery and follow up care for a reasonable cost. Ironically here in the states I cannot see a doctor to continue treatment until an application for health insurance has to be submitted. Receiving treatment at the hospital where my grandfather treated WW2 veterans and others was more caring than any US provider has been thus far. Socialized medicine works and keeps costs down making health care costs more affordable. Social welfare protects everyone and makes everyone healthier. HOPE TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD INSURANCE.

  • Fitz Miller

    FOREIGNID: 17427
    Normally, I am proud to be a citizen of the greatest country on Earth. But after watching Critical Condition, I am ashamed of a health care system based on greed and a government that pontificates fine points of solutions while doing nothing.
    “Health care for everyone, PERIOD” ought to be the mantra of any candidate running for any political office.

  • steve waldman

    FOREIGNID: 17428

  • Amy Travetti

    FOREIGNID: 17429
    This documentary was excellent, well researched, and absolutely spoke the truth. The tragedy extends to both the uninsured, and the insured who are denied treatment for no good reason other than to line the pockets of the already bloated health insurance companies who continue to reap profits while untold numbers of victims die for lack of healthcare. My own husband died earlier this year, and his death was a direct result of continued denial by our healthcare insurer. He was 49 years old, and never lived to see his 50th birthday. We always paid for our health insurance out of our pockets, and paid a lot. Nevertheless, he was denied treatment for no valid reason whatsoever. Shame on the corrupt, for-profit healthcare lobby system in this country that excludes everyone who really needs healthcare, yet refuses access to this basic human right.

  • Ronin

    FOREIGNID: 17430
    Regarding the POV presentation “critical condition” was very compassionate look at the
    the effects of s society that neglects citizens that simply by happenstance find
    themselves just another commodity in the scheme of what it means o be an American.
    Nothing will change for the better until we as a collective conscience look at the
    fundamental weakness of our culture… it is based on the theology of the founding
    fathers.. the then new wave philosophy of John Calvin… set down in “scripture” in 1776
    by devout Calvinist – Adam Smith and his Wealth of nations… the “bible” used to justify
    every social injustice that may arise. As long as America continues it’s desire to live
    in a “theocracy” we will never solve the issues addressed in the POV documentary… as
    those disadvantaged seriously ill patients are relegated to their marginalized existence
    as the aggregated mainstream citizen sees those needy patients in terms of Calvin’s “not
    chosen” model thus are not to be given sympathy for to do so would be a “sacrilege” to
    the “chosen.” How disingenuous it was to listen to the Heritage Foundation spokesman to
    declare a wishy washy response.. one that said nothing. it was the Heritage Foundation
    that laid out a social agenda that is designed to further disenfranchise those among us
    that are not “chosen” and thus are left to fend for themselves. it would be kinder in
    America to acknowledge the fact that culturally we are “not all in this together” as to
    do so would be antithetical to Calvin’s teachings.. the fundamental theology of the
    oligarchy.. the ruling class… as they all cling to the notion of being “chosen” and
    thus entitled to more… and more means they are faith bound not to share. America is not
    for everybody… just the “chosen” and by their wealth you shall know them. It would be
    kinder just to implement euthanasia as the “cure” for those that cannot afford their own
    medical care. Darwin and Calvin… the two main architects of American culture…
    survival of the fittest and they are revered as chosen for being economically fit. Thus
    they are entitled to survive. May God damn them all for their lack of humanity.

  • Esther Confino

    FOREIGNID: 17431
    The Health Care documentary should be shown to every member of Congress to illustrate the terrible problems we have. I think next, that a documentary on HR 676, the Conyers bill, should be created and shown with an accompanying period for discussion by advocates of a single payer universal health program. You have put a human face on our problems in this area, Time should now be devoted to educating the American public on this most reasonable, logical bill, which, if implemented, would drastically change and improve the status of health care in the US. The public must be made aware that the basic premise of the Conyers bill is that of the already proven program, Medicare. If extended to cover everyone from birth to death, with the improvements written into HR676 that would add accountability, efficiency, the advantage of having an enormous risk pool, the actual savings that would occur from instituting measures contained in the bill etc., and the elimination of several other bureaucracies, e.g. no fault auto insurance, workmens compensation, etc. Also the much improved Veteran’s Administration health service provides a model on a smaller scale. It would, if properly analyzed, reduce the waste in the current system. PBS is the place for educating the public. Senator Obama’s plan has the right aim; universal coverage, but there are better ways to organize it. Any plan that includes private coverage as an alternative would dilute the accomplishment we know we need desperately. It might be expensive at the beginning ,but eventually would be the fairest system, one that this nation could be proud of.

  • Mike Zahlaway

    FOREIGNID: 17432
    Just watched the documentary “Critical Condition” It is a said commentary on how the uninsured are forced to “loose” everything before they can qualify for assistance . I have come to the conclusion, way to late in my life, that it is our elected representatives who carry most of the responsibility for this problem . They are in the pocket of lobbyist who in no way care about the general public or its health. The phrase “follow the money”, as in all things, will lead you tho the real reason this situation is not addressed . I am sure there are many ways to get medical treatment for those who are uninsured . For instance I just qualified for health insurance for the next 3 mths. through my union. My wife also has health insurance so why couldn’t some one who is uninsured use my insurance for at least the basics along with the discount offered on prescription drugs . Sort of a “pool” of unused insurance. There is just the two of us at this point in life and we only need one carrier . For that much I would like to give one of my children the use of my insurance while it is available . The costs are unacceptable and so isn’t the constant increases. With no other explanation than “it’s just going to keep going up” WHY ? It is a complex issue with any factors to consider but there needs to be limits on the costs and other ways of offering health insurance to individuals. I have to go to bed now, so I can go to work to get my health insurance, so I can help pay for all the uninsured and also the health care CEO’s and lastly, so I don’t get sick. Good Night. JMZ

  • Howard Emerson

    FOREIGNID: 17433
    I think all the talk of tax credits for people to buy private insurance – espoused by both McCain and Obama COMPLETELY miss what is needed. Private companies are THE problem, not the soultion.
    The soultion I prefer is universal health care provided evenly by the government (like Medicare or the VA). We already have the mechanism in place for those two.
    How would we pay for it? Stop wars of aggression….take some money away from useless high cost military projects….re-regulate industries such as insurance, real estate, and energy to bring costs down and raise revenues.

  • Dr. Ronald P. Hamberg

    FOREIGNID: 17434
    Saw your program on healthcare insurance. Don’t know the extent of your influence in the industry, however I have a partial stopgap suggestion following: The insured enjoy a discounted drug and procedure rate negotiated by their HMO, PPO, etc. The discounted charges are based on a fraction of the UCR for that procedure and that geographical region. The uninsured however, are the least able to pay, yet are charged the full maximum billable fees. This is driving those who want to make an effort to pay, into bankruptcy, loss of homes, chioces between food and medications, etc. Initially there needs to be parity so that the uninsured are charged the same fees as the insured for comprable procedures. This will not resolve the inequities, however it will lessen the burden while more equitable solutions are legislated.
    Ronald P. Hamberg D.D.S.,J.D.

  • Deborah O’Brien

    FOREIGNID: 17435
    The documentary critical condition really hit home for me. Both me and my husband are disabled. I am on medicare and my husband goes to the V.A. and yet we struggle to get the care we need. I have been in extreme pain for over 5 years now and undiagnosed neuropathy in both my feet and legs which has progressively gotten worse over the years. Years of medication which caused severe dry mouth and abnormal saliva caused my teeth to go bad. My husband also has severe dental problems and the V.A. won’t cover dental care. I tried to buy one of those dental plans which basically just get you a small discount. I live outside Austin and called dentists all over and none would even provide care unless I paid a 100% upfront which the estimations of care was $5,000 each. We finally got a suggestion from a doctor to go to the UT Dental School because my doctor was worried that all the dental problems could be causing my other conditons worse. Luckily we were able to get into the dental school and had to have all my teeth removed and get full dentures because I went so long without care. The school was great but very slow so I had to go almost a year without any teeth. Now my husband is going through the same thing and waiting for his dentures. It is so frustrating because my health just keeps getting worse and all I can get at this point is a lot of medication which is no longer working very well because I have been on it so long. Even with the medicare managed by Humana the copays and premiums are killing us. I am being seen by 5 doctors yet still don’t have a clear diagnosis. I finally got in the UT neurology dept which also does research which gave me some hope. That hope is quickly fading. The doctor ordered a lot of tests then I had to wait 3 months to get a follow up appointment. Initially she said she believed that I had diabetes but my other doctors disagreed. I got the sugar test redone by my primary care doctor who told me I didn’t even have pre diabetes. So the neurologist!
    a lot more blood tests but this time I have to wait 6 months for my follow up. The lab got several of my lab tests wrong. The pain clinic wanted to do injections into my spine to help with the pain. The first injection was supposed to be followed by physical therapy the same day while I was still numb. I waited for 3 hours because no one told the physical therapist that I had my injection and was waiting. The next day and for about a week my pain was dramatically better. After that my pain gradually went back to where it was before the injection., I was hopeful because although it didn’t last long I thought I was finally on the right track. When I went back for my next injection a month later the supervising doctor that I had seen previously was not there. I was also having a problem with my heart rate and blood pressure to the point I had to go to the hospital and get and EKG. My doctor told me if my heart rate was over the low 90′s they wouldn’t be able to do the injection. They told me to take my anxiety medication if my heart was racing to help calm me and bring down my heart rate.. The nurse had a little trouble taking my blood pressure so they just didn’t do my vitals. Even though I had an appointment with the physical therapist no one was there to give me my therapy after my injection. The intern told me that because my pain wasn’t gone in 15 minutes the 1st injection didn’t work. I have to drive almost two hours to get to these appointments but evidently can’t be sure that I will get the care I have the appointment for. At this point I don’t know what to think or who to believe because every time I talk to someone I get a different answer. The frustration never ends from getting the run around from the doctors, the crushing financial problems, and not being able to function to take care of my family or work. I haven’t been able to work for about 4 years now and am beginning to fear I will never be able to return to work. I am only 43 years old and can’t function as well as my !
    It isn’t just me either, both my sisters have had very similar problems with outrageous costs and very little success or in some cases gotten worse or new medical issues. The only difference is my sisters have private insurance instead of medicare. Our entire system is one big mess and needs to be completely over hauled. So many people claim we can’t afford nationalized healthcare but after working in the medical field for years including billing, I believe it would cost less than we are all paying now including the government and get better care. So much of the cost is because the administrative cost of healthcare is so high. We are paying more than any other country in the world yet we aren’t getting the care. When I worked for the city health department our main goal was to lower emergency room visits which is impossible as long as people are being forced to use the emergency room as their primary care doctor because it is the only way they can get care. Just the savings of getting people out of the emergency room and into the doctors office would be huge. I am not an economic expert, just someone who has worked in many different areas of the healthcare system and by being a patient and just common sense. As far as I am concerned getting medical care should be considered a basic human right not just for the wealthy. It would bring down the costs of businesses as well which would help create jobs. I just can’t understand why anyone who looked at this with an open mind could disagree financially much less morally which we try to tell everyone what a moral country we are. Getting people basic regular care and avoiding it turning into a crisis would also save money and suffering. Thank you so much for doing this documentary so people can see how real people are suffering and dying just because they can’t afford a doctor’s visit or medication. I pray that the people will start demanding the government to change this inefficient system. People who say they shouldn’t have to pay for other p!
    care with their taxes just don’t realize they already are. The hospital’s have to charge more to cover the losses of emergency care that people can’t pay. It also inflates the insurance premiums and costs of medication. So you are paying for it without getting the care.

  • Rich G.

    FOREIGNID: 17436
    Our health care crisis is shameful. If we don’t take care of our own, and all the money flows up eventually the middle class will collapse and then who will pay??
    The only thing this Government understands is force

  • Chris Allen

    FOREIGNID: 17437
    Universal health care could work in some form of fashion. There is no real ‘perfect’ way to have it I believe, but what about taking ideas from all the different types of Uni care from around the world? Canadian health care has some good ideas, incorporate it with something from the UK, German, Japanese, and Swiss type systems. The type of government we have that allows lobbiests to push and buy their way of thinking is appalling. The Capitalist system is not the only way as we’ve been told to believe, but there is room for for-profit companies to part. Compromise is in order. Not greed. Not profits. Not Wall Street. Not Government. I would be happy to have my taxes go toward this type of system if properly organized instead of funding a war, or subsidizing sugar cane growers, or a bail out for executives who pushed for profits instead of common sense. I see this every day, I work on Wall Street.

  • jlmeir

    FOREIGNID: 17438
    I found this program to be amazing. It really brought the reality of health care in this country out in the open in a very human way for all to see. I am so angry that so may people suffer in this country in so many unspeakable and unnecessary ways. As for the post that states that everyone can get medicaid if they can’t afford to pay for insurance on their own and are too ill to work, the falsity of that was accurately brought out in the program. Several were denied or made to wait for approval. One got it two weeks before he died, I believe. I know this is accurate from first hand experience. The program also mentioned Social Security Disability. This benefit is based on past work history and contributions into the system but it’s notoriously difficult to get approved for. Nonetheless recipients have to wait two years before they qualify for medicare insurance although many (and probably most) cannot get medicaid in the interim. This is an outrage. My only comment is that no mention was made of Vocational Rehabilitation services provided by a state agency that I believe exists in all states. ( I work for DVR in NJ. It’s called by other names in other states.) We pay for a wide variety of services for people who have a permanent disability that affects their ability to obtain or maintain employment. For instance, we would most likely be able to pay for a prosthesis if it were necessary for a person to work (as was the case in this program). Also, in NJ, there is a way for people with disabilities who are working to obtain medicaid. (The program is called Workability in NJ. I’m not sure about other states.). Our health care system is a mess and needs to be addressed on a national level, but there also needs to be an easier way to let people know about the services that do exist.

  • Rachel

    FOREIGNID: 17439
    Have just seen POV Critical Condition – Am shocked and in disbelief that such a wealthy country as the US would allow this immoral, abominable system of allowing people to go without appropriate health care and letting them die just because they have no money. Only a culture of EVIL would allow such a situation!!! SHAME on the United States! SHAME on ALL OF US who allow this situation to take place.

  • JF

    FOREIGNID: 17440
    Your POV program on Critical Condition is absolutely on the mark.
    I have friends who are born in America US Citizens that are in this very situation. It is discusting that the US spends so much on war and can’t take care of it’s own citizens.

  • Connie

    FOREIGNID: 17441
    I am ashamed to be an American. This country has become a disgrace based solely on greed and lining the pockets of the politicians and capitalists.
    The ignorant comments from the unabashed posters in this blog disgust me to no end and have no concern for the common good and welfare of their fellow man. Imagine if they ever suffer a travesty of this magnitude as these souls of mercy have as well as many others of us not known. These finger pointing holier than thous will be the first to cry foul.

  • Tim

    FOREIGNID: 17442
    I am 53 with Parkinson’s disease and no health insurance. I just hope and pray that my symptoms remain mild until I can get a better job that might have a good health plan. Right now most jobs offer health plans that have such high premiums so for a low paid employee the premiums are prohibitively expensive not to mention the deductibles. Many workers are facing whether to pay rent, food and fuel or health insurance and if push comes to shove the choice is made to eat and pass on health insurance. We really do pay more and get less for our health care dollar than almost any industrialized nation. We are a county that has no trouble spending billions in the Iraq and in other foreign entanglements yet cannot provide basic health care for our citizens. Health care should never be a profit making enterprise but should be a basic right of every human being. There are many good examples around the world of well functioning national health care programs that cover all citizens. We should find the elements of the best ones and incorporate them into our own. There is an element in this country that assumes that anytime the government regulates or runs something it is always a bad thing. Yet this attitude is partly to blame for our current financial mess. I am ready for our government to take the lead in developing a Universal Health Care program that covers all Americans. Is there a organized movement we can get involved in to demand this?

  • Bob Ellis

    FOREIGNID: 17443
    I wish programs like Critical Condition, P.O.V. and the NewHour would expand their focus on health care plans. Frankly, both Obama and McCain’s health care plans pretty much stink! One panelist on Critical Condition, P.O.V. suggested States should have their own plans to see what works. Why do that when there are some 30 countries that have health care plans that seem to be somewhat better than what we have here in the USA. Why not invite a raft of representatives from some of those countries to outline how and what they did in creating their national health care so our citizens get a real feel and education on health care system possibilities.

  • johnal johnson

    FOREIGNID: 17444
    First, I would like to say this film made me sick to the stomach. I remember when my mother was dying of diabetes and could not afford the proper care and eventually passed away. The health care crisis in this nation is ridiculous and the only way it’s going to change is by us. Not these presidential candidates but by we the people taking responsibility for the less fortunate. This is why I have made the commitment to become part of the health care community.

  • John and Pat Perdew

    FOREIGNID: 17445
    My wife and I can totally relate to the excellent documentary on the fate of uninsured people in our health care system. Thank you many times over for airing this film, with its honesty and bluntly factual presentation of real people and their dilemmas.
    I have Medicare but my wife, unfortunately, has no insurance because she has a pre-existing condition and cannot find insurance even if we could afford it, at $1000 a month. We are on a fixed income, since I am retired.
    Because of her medical condition, she can’t work (or get employment based health insurance). She suffers from myasthenia gravis, hypertension and diabetes. She has been denied disability, so we can’t get her help. She takes her expensive hypertension medicine every other day instead of daily, to save money. She is in pain daily, but we can’t afford to get her to a pain clinic. Many physicians demand substantial payment up front if you lack health insurance. We owe the local hospital nearly $19,000 for her emergency care over the last year. This could have been more if we had sought care every time she needed it.
    We know many people who work hard or have worked hard for years but have no insurance because their employers do not provide it.
    Every American should be able to get health care, which means that each individual and family should have health insurance coverage, whether through Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, whether they are working or not.

  • lynn

    FOREIGNID: 17446
    A simple law could eliminate 40% of the povertized women over 65. Presently, a man can be married 25 years and then disenfranchisze his wife for whatever reason. She has given up her opportunity for education to rear his children rather than get a job and pay child care for minimum wage people to rear her children with their worldviews.
    Presently the law states that after 65 she will be limited to 50% of what her husband will receive after 65.
    I believe women married over 20-25 years should be treated differently than marriages that fail at 6 years before the man reaches midlife crisis.
    A simple change in law: When a man is divorced after 20-25 years of marriage, he receives the 50% and the wife receives 100% of the social security income. This is equalize a portion of his continued career income at the peak of his earning abilities and the low income she will experiencing entering the work world for the first time after 45-50 years old.
    Marriage is the only contract that can be broken unilaterally.
    She has given the first half of her life in exchange for medical insurance and rent for the last half of her years.
    He gets all her contribution and none of the final responsiblities.
    One simple change in laws for social security distribution will eliminate millions of women in government subsidized housing or with no medical insurance. Fewer women will be povertized by long-term investment in marriages that end in divorce.

  • Lisa

    FOREIGNID: 17447
    Bail-out our Healthcare Crisis NOT bad business practices!

  • jeff snyder

    FOREIGNID: 17448
    Im rarely moved to contact a show.
    I saw critical condition tonight and found it to be riveting and motivating.
    great piece of documentary film making and excellent broadcasting.
    Thanks to the film maker and POV.

  • G, Armstrong

    FOREIGNID: 17449
    Your program on 9/30/08 did not get to the heart of the health care problem in the U.S.
    There is no excuse for the U.S. to have double per capita cost of health care compared to the British but with post neonatal mortality and morbidity rates as bad as theirs and neonatal mortality rates even worse. The reasons for our system’s poor performance are four fold. However, behind it all is the failure of our democracy to govern in a manner that meets the needs of the American people. As with everything else, including sub-prime loans, olitical contributions buy freedom from regulation.
    1. There is no effective health care cost control. Both overutilization and underutilization are commonplace. The facilities and equipment are redundant and overly expensive; for example, instead of fully utilizing and adequate but limited number of most costly kinds of equipment; scanners and facilities in which they are housed, they are ubiquitous in the U.S, seldom utilized over 40 percent of useful time, and so the cost per scan is many times what it should be. Nearly every other service has similar waste built into it.
    2. There is no effective quality control. Physician peer review and licensing, and drug company testing with FDA approval, are fox-in-the-chicken-coop hoaxes. And, only 20 percent of procedures have ever been researched for efficacy in the situations where they are applied. Far too limited experience with the outcomes of complicated and expensive care in widely varying patient situations, unproven theory, and guesswork are the bases for most medical care protocols. Therefore, even doctors don’t know the likely outcomes of must of the complicated care they advise patients to get. And, patients are expected to approve care without a basis to evaluate either the doctor who advises them or the efficacy of treatments chosen. In the last 30 years, five of the most common and most expensive treatment protocols, used for decades and costing multi-billions of dollars, have been found to be useless or destructive to patient health in nearly all cases where they were used. Many other protocols also increase patient mortality, labor, and materials devoted to care, and increase patient time loss for care and the cost of recuperation and of correcting health problems that the wasted care produces.
    3. Health insurers and government (the largest single health care financier) have not created the databanks and computerized care outcome and cost analysis systems that would prevent those quality and cost abuses. Without such controls, we cannot safely expand the current medical/government/private system to cover everyone. So, care financiers pay fees and charges for care that continue to inflate faster than any other service, with no regard for quality, and with many people not getting needed care.
    This is not rocket science. We can use medical histories of all patients and computer analysis s to accurately predict the outcomes of care; after all, we use them to predict the weather (a far more complex analytical problem). With that information, the entities paying for care can properly direct patients to the best care providers and the best treatments at reasonable charges. And, with that information and a financiers refusal to pay if they elect any less effective care provider or treatment, patients will make wise choices without having to depend on biased advice of care providers who can profit from overuse, shortcuts, or facilities waste.
    4. The U.S. has a high level of obesity related illness. Like its failure to regulate home mortgages, the Federal government fails to regulate the factors that produce obesity.
    The cost of care will fall below the per capita cost of British health care with better quality if the Federal government will mandate a health care information processing organization run by patients and for patients, and an organization to assure proper nutrition by control of food advertising, better nutrition in schools and other public institutions, and nutrition education.
    If the health care industry does not accept such quality and cost controls, voters will demand government health care. And, I will be first in line to vote for a government takeover because even a government system, with serious potential for problems, would be better than what we have. And, if the government fails to stop the growing epidemic of obesity, no program to pay for health care will be affordable for very long in the U.S.

  • Helen

    FOREIGNID: 17450
    I watched Critical Condition. The health issue is just awful in the United States. Myself having been inbetween jobs, on unemployment without insurance, because I make $1.00 more (on unemployment) an hour that a person is qualified for The Oregon Trail benefits. I think it is just terrible that someone from a foreign country can get better, or even get medical care before someone who was born in the United States and has worked all his/her life.

  • Melanie Banko

    FOREIGNID: 17451
    My mother was recently diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. For approximately the last 10 yrs she did not have health care because she kept getting dropped from the mega-giant insurance companies because she has a “pre-existing condition”, Diabetis and was insulin dependent. Not to mention she has osteo-arthrisis and can no longer walk without a wheelchair. Like millions of other Americans she has not seeked health-care because she simply couldn’t afford it.
    Several weeks ago we brought her to the emergency room of University Hospital in New Orleans, La. which is run by LSU and Tulane Schools of Medicine. Needless to say, our pre-conceived ideas about the state of our health-care system post-Katrina in New Orleans has been diminished.
    I highly recommend someone from your team researching and highlighting the valient efforts of these instituions and workers of the hospital.
    This hospital is providing “free-care” to the citizens of New Orleans and surrounding areas, Post-Katrina, that do not have money to pay for their healthcare services, aren’t eligble for Medicare and/or to supplement what Medicare doesn’t cover. After experiencing this first-hand and going through the motions their system is operating pretty smoothly, given the circumstances.
    My mother is very ill and just got released from the hospital a couple of weeks ago. She still has several follow-up appointments and her prognosis is not a good.

  • Bonita

    FOREIGNID: 17452
    I had been 75 lbs overweight since my teen years. I was 52 years old.
    When I heard there was a surgery to reverse this circumstance. I tried to find a surgeon.
    I have never paid a penny more than the money I pay for my universal health care. I work for myself in a small business so I pay $50 a month for our universal health insurance.
    I found a surgeon in Canada and I had the surgery.
    No money changed hands.
    1 year later I had breast reduction surgery. That was free ( no cost to me) and completely changed my life!! Any woman reading this can listen to the fact that I have not worn a bra since that day!!! Wow!!! Like a vice was removed from my body.
    10 years later I am “normal” in weight.
    I have no health problems.
    This was all a product of our National Health Care System.
    This all cost me nothing more than what I pay for my government sponsored health care system. I have a small store and I pay $50 a month for my personal health insurance. I have never in 50 years paid a penny for any health care other than my insurance costs. I can go to a Doctor every day and I will not pay any money from my pocket.
    Thank you for listening – from Canada I say
    You can have this fantastic system.
    Just have faith in the people that tell you you can have it. Support them!!!

  • ellen WILLIAMS

    FOREIGNID: 17453
    Well done documentary about the lack of health care in this country. I particularly was touched by the women with cancer who lost her battle. I also have cancer but do have health care. What an extreme difference. It’s not fair. What about the actual cost of medication which is very inflated here. Terrible. Well done piece.

  • David Wade

    FOREIGNID: 17454
    “Critical Condition” was aired on OPB tonight and I am very impressed with the quality of the presentation. Excellent job! I am 59 yrs old and work for a non-profit counseling & social services agency; the condition of our country’s health care system is often discussed at work, in relation to the medical needs of the population we serve, “the working poor”. What you presented in this program is enough to scare all of us capable of imagining what “illness” could be like without medical insurance. Thank you for all the work that went into creating “Critical Condition”.


    FOREIGNID: 17455

  • Valerie Downing

    FOREIGNID: 17456
    I am an unemployed widow with Health Insurance that won’t pay for anything. I pay $199 per month for over one year now and thus far either I receive no reimbursement for doctor’s & lab bills or I get a pitifully small amount because the company claims their “reasonable & customary” amounts for these services is much lower than what the doctors or labs are charging me. I fear if anything catastrophic happens to me, I will loose my home because my Health Insurance won’t pay for anything or may pay 5 or 10 percent of the bills. If you aren’t sick already, arguing and fighting these big companies for what you are supposed to be coverd for, will kill you!

  • Eric

    FOREIGNID: 17457
    I was very disappointed in Critical Condition in the sense that it took the national discussion on health care reform a giant step backwards.
    In Sicko, Michael Moore demonstrated that the system was so broken even the insured were not covered. His film moved the dialogue forward. Critical Condition pretty much argues that the uninsured should be brought out of exclusion from that broken system.

  • Annemarie Rossi

    FOREIGNID: 17458
    I saw the program “Critical Condition” last night. I thought the program was excellent-how could anyone not be touched and impacted by the realities presented. One issue that was touched upon but sort of glossed over was the fact that insurance companies can retroactively decline payment or discontinue an individual’s insurance. HOW ON EARTH DO INSURANCE COMPANIES GET AWAY WITH THIS? In good faith people get authorization for treatments their doctors tell them they need to undergo—the authorization is obtained, they go through with the procedure only to find their insurance company has changed its mind and now the individual is responsible for the multitude of medical bills. It seems preposterous to me that Insurance companies are allowed to get away with this….people pay for their insurance in good faith that it will be there when they need it…..PLEASE WON’T YOU CONSIDER doing a program on this topic….this has GOT to be stopped.

  • robert j.friedman

    FOREIGNID: 17459
    I thought that your program on health care aired on Sept 30th was excellent and brought shudders and tears to those who viewed it. It is particularly stressful to see that neither of the presidential candidates has presented a rational view on how to pay for coverage.

  • Andrea Aidone

    FOREIGNID: 17460
    As a healthcare provider for over 20 years I was surprised to see that Roger left out some very key ponts:
    1. Did you notice that all the patients had chronically neglected their bodies for years- obesity causing fatty liver/diabetes; smoking causing cancer. These patients acted irresponsibly when they HAD health insurance through their behavior, then got too sick to work, and lost their insurance when they needed it the most.
    2. The money they spent on cigarettes, fast food and alcohol should have been set aside to support their families and their own health insurance. Why is the healthcare provider/taxpayer expected to immediately treat with the most advanced technology poeple who have abused themselves for years? I don’t believe this is my responsibility.
    3. The gentleman with back problems was in too much pain to work, but not in too much pain to have sex with his wife. Why are they having another child anyway? He can’t even support himself. I guess my medicaid dollars will.
    Roger- Don’t expect the my tax dollars to rescue irresponsible idiots who can’t make smart health decisions for themselves.
    4. America! Lose weight! Don’t smoke! Exercise! Stop eating crap! Why were these simple principles NEVER STATED in the documentary??? America can’t afford to correct every self-made health problem.
    We might feel more sympathetic to help if people took better care of themselves. For those of us who have spent thousands of dollars receiving medical education, we deserve to get properly paid, so that we can pay our loans back. Health care is not free- although the public thinks it is. How pathetic. And don’t wait till the last minute to see a doctor- use your insurance when you have if for prevention. If you smoke, save a dollar for every pack you buy for your chemo treatments. It’s really not my problem.

  • Becky Deutsch

    FOREIGNID: 17461
    Regarding health care coverage in America….Would having an additional tax taken from wages (such as we now do for social security) for the purpose of providing coverage for MAJOR medical expenses ONLY work? The group insurance premiums my husband was paying through his employer kept increasing until it was over $700 a month for each of us. At the time neither of us had any health problems and very seldom went to the doctors (and even then we had to pay an additonal co-pay). I (at age 64 and in good health) have decided not to pay for health insurance and haven’t for the last three years. What a revelation it has been. I go in for yearly physicals and when I say I would like to pay my bill at that time, I am given a 40% discount on lab work and x-rays, and a 10% discount on the doctor’s visit. Even my dentist reduces her bill 30%because I pay for each visit at the time of the visit. These discounts which are the result of not having to go through insurance paperwork, make my health care really, really affordable and give a good indication of how much of what we are charged is not for our health care, but for processing insurance claims and for the whole insurance industry infrasructure. Now the obvious drawback is that I’m not covered for something catastrophic that is beyond my ability to pay for immediately and that’s something over which I have little control and for that situation only it seems to me that universal health coverage would be helpful. If one wanted additional coverage, it could be paid for independently or through an employer sponsored group insurance.
    Without the burden of individuals or employers having to pay for outrageous insurance premiums, more money would be available to them for investing in their own business or hiring new workers or saving for something special. A win-win situation for everyone. What do you think?
    Regarding Canada’s health care system…We visited Vancouver last August and the biggest news item at the time was the concern over Canada’s inadequate health care. I believe it was over 80% as the number one priority for the population of the country.

  • Kristen

    FOREIGNID: 17462
    We have to advocate for ourselves in this country. I’ve signed petitions for national health care at the two sites mentioned by writers above. The extension of Medicare to everyone would be effective and desirable. People like to say we’re the “greatest country in the world”, but a country that bleeds its resources to war and corporate advantage but doesn’t guarantee the basic right of health care to everyone is not “great”. It is a disgrace in the modern world. Health care should not be governed by party politics. Thank you to PBS for airing this program.

  • Leslie Baehre

    FOREIGNID: 17463
    I watched this program last night and did not move the entire time. By the time it was over I was in tears. This was the most moving documentary I have ever watched. What have we as a country come to when the almighty dollar has more meaning than a human life. Some of the statistics shown throughout the program were almost unbelievable. Our government should focus its energies on finding a way to provide affordable healthcare to all citizens with greater emphasis on prevention. If everyone could afford to see a doctor for a physical once a year, some problems could be fixed before they get out of control. To top it all off, the price of prescription medications is outrageous. No wonder some can’t afford to keep themselves healthy as they can not afford the medication to do so. My mom always told me “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” but this is a system that is really broken and it is up to each of us and our government to fix this problem before more people die. I think every politician in Washington D.C. should be forced to watch this program and then see if they still turn a blind eye to this national scandal.

  • Larry Ratterree

    FOREIGNID: 17464
    Hospitals need to be forced to be responsible again. Why do I have to screen all bills myself for hospital care when the hospital is the most capable to do this task. When I check out of the hospital I should get one bill with all costs(doctors, lab, meds, room, and misc. costs) when I check out of hospital. That’s the way it used to be done when medical cost were under control. Also insurance companies profits need to be brought under control. They used to make a couple % off the handling of bills, now they make more than all others combined.

  • Elaine Coyne

    FOREIGNID: 17465
    That was a fantastic documentary about Americans with no health insurance I saw last night. What can I do to help?

  • Kayla H.

    FOREIGNID: 17466
    I caught most of “Critical Condition” last night. It was very sad to see, but it’s reality.
    People with health issues that have no money or insurace go through hell. It causes stress , feelings of hopelesness and frustration.;as they dig themselves deeper into debt, but it’s either that, or live in pain and die early. I honostly don’t know the solution for problems like these peoples stories. And whoever we vote for, I doubt we will see improvement anytime soon.
    Government spending is an issue most Americans disagree on. The amount of money we spend on the war in Iraq, and our tax money in general.
    But we also need to be held responsible. For example, look at the celebraties. We idolize them and give them all the money and power in the world. Buying their magazines, going to their movies, going to their sporting events, holding them up high. They make an insane amount of money.
    So we don’t want to help people because they don’t have a lot of money. But why? I realize people in the medical profession need to get paid. Perhaps we can find a comprimise?
    Whatever happened to loving people? Giving, and doing selfless acts? We have become so selfish and greedy people. It would do us good to take a step back and figure out what our priorities are. What is really important when it comes down to it. This is our only life on earth. Money isn’t real. People are real. This world needs to come together and show more support and love to one another…..world peace? Only in our dreams…..
    To those who are feeling hopeless, place your trust in God.

  • Marilyn

    FOREIGNID: 17467
    Critical Care has done an excellent job of exposing “the other America.” The truth is that people are dying for lack of adequate medical care. Sadly, as so often, the victims are blamed for their plight by other–ignorant, indifferent, or callous. I have noticed for sometime that this seems to be the prevailing attitude among a lot of health care workers. Lack of affordable health care is only one of the problems faced in this country. Apparently, in recent years Congress has seen fit to reclassify small rural facilities as “Critical Care” facilities instead of the older designation of “Primary Care” facilities. The consequences of this change translate into major quality-of-care issues. No longer is a doctor required to attend in the ER. Now care is given by physicians assistants and poorly and inadequately trained CNAs. The dumbing-down of health care in America is an issue that affects us all. It can cost lives. Providing substandard care can be worse than providing no care at all. We as a nation must make the moral decision that all lives are worthy of human respect and dignity–and act accordingly.

  • James Erdmanczyk

    FOREIGNID: 17468
    Tuesday evening September 30, 2008, I had watched portions of Critical Condition.
    First, I want to state that I have had a regular family physican for the past 5 years. I also had another physician two years before this.
    Second, I have also been active and I have gone to the Georgia State Legislature to get involved wih state legislation. In 2006, Georgia’s physicians felt threatened because of an immigration bill that was first written by State Senator Skip Rogers that would include language allowing an immigration official to have physician arrested for treating an undocumented worker. I watched a physician from Emery Univeristy medical school lead a dozen of his clinical medical students in all of their testimony that had taken the threatening legislation out of the bill.
    Thursday March 16, 2006, I testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee thanks to the Secretary of the Senate Bob Ewing making a phone connection to Chairman Preston Smith a month before. This legislation was to protect home owners and rid tenents that were a danger to the city and neighborhood.
    Each medical practice I have scheduled appointments with also include at least on Hispanic person and/or patient(s) that would act as an interpretor for the physician and medial personnel. A practice of surgeons I had one appointment with Thursday November 1, 2008 has an Hispanic Billing Clerk for all the billing
    Third, I personally have three very good policies. The most recent is a major medical that covers ER, Extended Stay in the Hospital and covers all surgeries in the event of an accident.
    Fourth, I want to Thank the U.C.L.A. Surgeon for the compliment about my study of health conditions. I do really study and research diagnosis to come up with a plan to restore function and relieve pain.
    California is a beautiful state, I loved seeing the Pacific Ocean and time on the beach. I don’t plan any vacation in California and I have visitors called Chicketies, Woodpeckers(two species), Blue Jays, Cardinals, Thrashers, Eagles, an occassional Falcon, and squirrels coming into my yard trying to figure out where all that singing is coming from.
    Sincerely Yours,
    James Erdmanczyk
    Registered Voter

  • Deberryjessie

    FOREIGNID: 17469
    I saw the documentary last night and remembered when I, and other family members were unemployed and without health insurance. At times we have had jobs (temp jobs) without any coverage because there just wasn’t enough money—PERIOD. When you are working 2-3 jobs TRYING to make some ends meet, it’s ROUGH!!!!!!! And, that includes people with college degrees! I have a sister with a Masters in Public Health and still can not get a job in the field that she is so passionate about. The job she has now is low paying and she is barely making ends meet. Although she has some coverage now, her employer is outsourcing jobs early next year so she will be unemployed–again–without health coverage; it’s a vicious cycle for working people with or without children. I am deeply hurt and saddened with what’s going on in this country…how can we not take care of our “born and bread” citizens who have, and continue, to be taxed to death and can’t even get basic preventive health care?
    I too wear an orthotic appliance on one of my legs and related well to the gentleman who had to wear his temporary appliance for so long because of cost, as I had one break and had to tape it together until I was able to get another one made. In the past, I’ve even had insurance, but had to pay 20% for a new leg brace that can cost from $800-$1000+ and this is for a short leg-brace! I know the prices are much higher now!
    This country does ration health care just like the physician in the documentary stated, and there are some doctors out there who really don’t care if you live or die…some of them think that some people just are worth helping–even though these doctors take an oath to care. The Greek God of medicine has probably flipped a thousand times over at the state of “lack of healthcare” in this country. I wish that I could be hopeful, but I’m not.

  • susan mcgarvie

    FOREIGNID: 17470

  • Consuelo Reyes

    FOREIGNID: 17471
    The film “Critical Condition” was powerful and important. It is outrageous that this should go on in our great rich country!
    However, the discussion afterward was truly pathetic and a terrible disservice to your viewers. In simply focusing on the lily-livered reform plans of the 2 candidates, which essentially maintain our current for-profit non-system scam, you follow the lead of mainstream media and politicians (bought and sold to special interests) and completely avoid even the mere mention of the only true, responsible solution to this dire situation: a single-payer, not-for-profit healthcare – improved Medicare for All – along the lines of all other advanced industrialized countries which provide essential care for all their inhabitants at half the cost and higher citizen satisfaction than the disgusting mess we have here.
    How about guests such as Rep. John Conyers whose HR676 (“Expanded and Improved Medicare for All”) has more sponsors than any other plan in Congress, has been endorsed by scores of unions, nurses, doctors, medical student associations, the US Conference of Mayors, NYS Assembly, etc., etc. Or David Himmelstein, MD, founder of Physicians for a National Health Plan, Assoc. Prof., Internal Medicine, Harvard U. Or Marcia Angell, MD, former Editor-in-Chief New England Journal of Medicine……
    In other words, how about a real, serious discussion of ALL our options on this most crucial issue. Or are you, too, bought and paid for by the special interests who are paralyzing and poisoning our democracy?

  • Martha

    FOREIGNID: 17472
    Critical Condition was a sad commentary on U.S. healthcare. No one is immune to life threatening conditions. Who is making the money in healthcare? Why would the same 20 pills cost $3 in Mexico and $100 in the U.S.? Citizens need to be educated on the importance of getting a job with health insurance. This film should be shown to high school students so that they know the importance of education in getting better jobs. All employers should provide health insurance and no one should lose their job because of illness. The government needs to protect people who work and then become disabled. I thought it was discrimination to let a person go because of a catastrophic illness. I do not believe in a free ride and I know that there are people who take advantage but some kind of healthcare should be available to
    the working uninsured and those who are no longer able to work. Children deserve healthcare regardless. No one should lose their home or have to decide between taking their medication or having enough money to feed their family.

  • Glen

    FOREIGNID: 17473
    Jennifer, how can you call death by lack of health insurance political propaganda? How is possible that in this nation so many people go without proper health care? How is it that the US ranks so low in life expectancy and so high in infant mortality amongst other nations when we supposedly have the best technology and health care? Jennifer, have you ever gone uninsured? Have you ever required health care with no means to pay? Do you know the fear and financial devastation that lack of health insurance engenders? Where is the compassion? I believe that we have a health care crisis, one that is not going to fixed by the insurance companies or the for profit healthcare industry. This issue must be addressed by we as the citizens of this country. No one need go untreated for curable illness or disease. No one need lose their life for a lack of ability to pay. If our nation can weather the high cost of financial bailouts, the high cost of fighting two wars and the high cost of lost productivity due to the lack of healthcare, then we can certainly afford to provide for those who are least able to provide for themselves. Have you ever noticed that those most in need are the least able to afford it? Why is that? This is a fixable situation. No more people need suffer in this nation for a lack of ability to pay. I say no more to the inequity. No more needless deaths. No more lack of care or low standard of care to the needy. Lets take care of our own citizens. These people are not a “them”, they are US!

  • Marie Connors

    FOREIGNID: 17474
    The stories that unfold in Critical Condition put a very human face on the uninsured and their loving spouses and families. Even though I have a generous employer-paid health plan, I’m an advocate of a national system similar to ones in other industrialized countries such as Canada and France. My brother, who is self-employed, dropped his coverage when the premiums became too high. I am no more worthy than he is of medical care. At one time I was underinsured and had to have two unexpected surgeries. I was in a lot of pain from the shoulder injury, but the physical suffering never matched my fear of not being able to pay the hospital bill. In fact, I became clinically depressed and needed medication. I went to the accounting office at the not-for-profit hospital after the surgery hoping to set up a payment plan for the remaining $15,000 bill that my insurer did not pay. To my amazement, the cashier picked up a stamp and marked my file paid -in-full. I felt euphoric and a little shaky, as if I had dodged a bullet. My mental outlook immediately improved, and I fully recovered from my injury. Nevrtheless, because I was underinsured and had to pay a $3000 deductible, I put off going in for regular check ups until I got better coverage through my employer. On my first office visit, the primary care doctor immediately referred me to a surgeon for removal of what turned out to be a benign tumor. It could have just as easily have been stage 3 cancer, but I was lucky. So when I see programs like Critical Condition I know that the situation could easily be my own. A national health care plan is the only way to address the problem fairly. Let’s start with the children, as both sides of the debate suggested in the follow up program. Let’s eliminate for-profit health insurance as an industry. Let’s take care of each other. Let’s do it. Our whole society will be better off, richer, more productive, happier. Let each person pay his or her fair share of the tax. Then, all we’ll have to!

  • Dan Deininger

    FOREIGNID: 17475
    As a registered nurse who has practiced for over 30 years I was not surprised by the film. I was deeply disturbed by the anguish and despair of the people filmed and their families. Ted thinks these people can buy insurance, but with a pre-existing condition you can not. If you can live long enough, you may quality for Medicaid after you have sold your house, cars and depleted your savings to less than $2000.00. Jennifer thinks that universal health care cannot work. EVERY developed country in the world provides universal healthcare to their citizens except the US. Many third world countries provide better overall healthcare than we do- even Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the US. No one in Europe could fathom the fact that there are many in the US would even ask the question of whether healthcare is a “right” or a privilege. I can’t see how a society that cares so little about 1 in 6 of their people can claim any ethical high ground.
    The people in the film are our neighbors, they were proud, they worked for a living and never asked for handouts. There is no pain like cancer pain and the woman with cancer was taking tylenol because she couldn’t afford the narcotics used to treat her pain. She and the man with liver disease died premature deaths robbing their families of priceless time together. Worse, their dying months were consumed with worry over money as they watched all they had worked for taken from them by a profit driven healthcare system. Imagine the guilt of their families- knowing that the insured receive care with dignity but that they could not have it for their loved ones. Both political campaigns are blabbering on about how the working class is the backbone of our economy and how we value them. What a lie. As I write this there are tens of thousands of men a women who know they should seek healthcare but won’t because they don’t have the money- some are masking
    their pain with massive does of over the counter drugs, destroying their guts. When they finally do arrive in the Emergency Room they may already be on the downward spiral to their death. If not, our healthcare system and bill collectors will strip them of all they own, their dignity and any hope that they can leave their loved ones in peace. Had the two that died lived in Canada or even Cuba, they might be alive today- how sad for them that they were born in the richest country in the world. Shame on us.

  • N.N. Sidhu

    FOREIGNID: 17476
    Your film, Critical Condition, was just about the most moving film I have ever seen. It was brilliantly done. Please convey my appreciation to the producer/director. I hope it helps us Americans demand universal health care – even with our current economic crisis.
    Thank you for your fine work.
    (I am a former broadcast producer.)

  • Beverly Franco

    FOREIGNID: 17477
    My hope is that those who watch Critical Condition are as outraged as I am and know that we are all at risk and seriously compromised by the health care system in this country. The health of my neighbors, the ones down the street, the children in the local school, every person’s health, good or bad affects me and my family. You and I are at risk, when a family member is unable to access adequate health care. I’m at risk when the farmer who grows my food can’t afford to go to the doctor. We are all at risk when each member of our society cannot get adequate health care to do their job, to take care of their children. My nephew has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and he needs to be in a group home, but he can’t work, didn’t have insurance and sometimes he gets Medicaid and sometimes he doesn’t. Coverage seems to be on a whim for those who don’t have the resources, i.e. money to pay for them. His contribution to society is severely limited and that makes me very sad. HIs potential is sitting on a bench, and he’s waiting for the coach to send him into the game……but he doesn’t have the skills yet or the means to move forward with his life. He’s stable and doing his program, but he’s still half a person, until this issue is resolved. So we wait and hope and keep our fingers crossed. If he lived in England, France or Canada he would have been in a group home with access to the resources he urgently requires to be a productive person in this world. But, unfortunately,he lives in the great United States of Ameica, the super power. Critical Condition puts it out there for all to see – woe to you without insurance, without money. You are doomed. The litmus test of a just society is how it treats the most vulnerable. Where is the justice? Where is the outrage? We need a revolution. California has an opportunity to enact Universal Health Care through SB 940 and our illustrious governor has vetoed it for the second time. I’m here to tell you, that we need to make sure that when it is presented to him a third time, his signature will be on it. Write letters, make phone calls, do your part. EAch of us has an obligation to make sure we are a healthy society.

  • Paula

    FOREIGNID: 17478
    This documentary left me feeling ANGRY–very angry at a government and a bureaucratic system that is driven by greed at the cost of people’s livelihoods and lives. It is a travesty that “the richest country in the world” cannot take care of its own people.
    We have politicians spout off about “the right to bear arms”…what about the right to healthcare? They talk about “the right to life” which, curiously, seems to end at birth…what about the right to health, wellness, disease prevention, a clean environment, safe and nutritious food for the REST of one’s life?
    As a healthcare professional, I see what happens on the provider end. As the parent of a childhood cancer survivor, our family lived these stories. If we had not had top quality, expensive insurance during our child’s treatment–it costs our employer $24,000 per year for a family of five, not including deductibles–we would have had to declare bankruptcy…and my spouse and I both work white-collar jobs! McCain’s suggestion that Americans be given $3500 annually for insurance is a joke. Is he able to get insurance for that price?
    Are we too proud to learn from other countries who have effective healthcare systems? I have family in Canada, England, Hungary, and Switzerland who all receive high quality care, including housecalls! And nobody in those countries is holding “Beef and Beer” fundraisers to pay medical expenses. We have let ourselves be controlled by big business and by a government that is more interested in settling an old vendetta and making money than it is in leading.
    Please join me in being ANGRY…and then doing something about it. VOTE. Contact public policy makers and voice your opinion. Be persistent with politicians. Refuse to go along with this inhumane, broken system. Rally. Protest. I’m doing this for my child…who under the way things are now, will never be able to get insurance as an adult. We are victims of a crime. We cannot stand for this any longer.

  • http://www.healthcareforallnow.org Bob Haiducek, Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

    FOREIGNID: 17479
    To the managers and staff associated with this blog:
    My continued heartfelt thanks for keeping this blog open for comments. This growing set of comments continues to be priceless for its diversity of comments and for the majority of comments by people who know that the U.S. needs something better … and especiallty by those who know that the something better is non-profit financing of health care.
    Just today Paula added her valuable sharing, including: “I have family in Canada, England, Hungary, and Switzerland who all receive high quality care, including housecalls! And nobody in those countries is holding “Beef and Beer” fundraisers to pay medical expenses.”
    Here’s my addition to what Paula wrote:
    We can have peace of mind regarding health care, as long as we participate in the national Health Care for All movement for non-profit single-payer national health insurance. Some of us will need to participate in it for the rest of our lives because the some persons/groups in our capitalistic society will continue to oppose what we want and need. But be assured that we the people CAN do this!
    We CAN have peace of mind!
    Based on my life’s experiences and my knowledge from detailed study, I have a very deep appreciation for what peace of mind means regarding health care. Most residents in every other industrialized country in the world know what I am writing about when I write “peace of mind”. Those countries have health care is a human right; it needs to be here also via non-profit financing, such as the simplest, most efficient option: health care for all with non-profit single-payer national health insurance.
    Beyond my studies of the subject, here is where I got my appreciation:
    o travels in other countriesbr/>
    o business trips in other countriesbr/>
    o medical emergencies in other countriesbr/>
    ——– medical emergency (mine) in southern Germanybr/>
    ——– medical emergency (my 3 year old son) in northern Germanybr/>
    ——– medical emergency of my wife’s cousin in Englandbr/>
    ——– medical emergencies of additional American citizens in Israel, Canada, etc.br/>
    ——– … and more!br/>
    o living in Canada for 4.5 years with my wife and our two sons, who were in early elementary-school gradesbr/>
    o discussions about this subject with people from other countriesbr/>
    ——– Canadian friends with whom I’ve spoken since we moved back to the Statesbr/>
    ——– American citizen friend who has lived in Germany for decadesbr/>
    ——– An example of my personal contacts: November 2007 at the International Youth Hostel in Chicago: one-on-one contacts with people from Hungary, Australia, England (2), Singapore, and Canada. ALL of these people are amazed that the U.S. has not established Health Care for All with non-profit national financing of health care.br/>
    ——– Although I wasn’t there at the large restaurant table in France, I related to what that table-full of American citizens said to Michael Moore very roughly half-way (as I recall) into the movie SiCKO; during those 2 segments of the movie those Americans expressed peace of mind regarding health care. Their words, their facial expressions and their tone of voice made it very clear that they are highly satisfied with health care … outside of the U.S.br/>
    By the way, my role is not to build a grassroots organization. There are already plenty of those. But I do want and need people to sign-up for doing a critical grassroots activity: people getting my simple e-mail reminders each month to do a communication to their U.S. Representatives during the first half of each monthh until we get non-profit financing of health care and get our national health insurance cards in our hands.Thanks in advance for taking this low-cost, simple action to help solve the above real-life experiences of pain and suffereing that are so clearly documented on this web page.
    Please get reminders to taking action to get health care for all in the United States.
    – Bob Haiducek; Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

  • Karen Wells

    FOREIGNID: 17480
    While searching your POV Special features site, I discovered the info on the medically uninsured, and went to the site “Find a Health Center Near You” where uninsured people could go to find medical care. The only clinic you have listed in Jacksonville is the I M Sulzbacher Clinic. I am a volunteer for Volunteers in Medicine – Jacksonville (VIM-Jax), and we are a clinic that treats uninsured working people who fall within certain financial guidelines (the underserved). Actually there are 60 VIM clinics in the United States, and I think you should add the VIM clinics (including ours) to your resource list for clinics that treat the uninsured. Thanks for listening.

  • Jayne

    FOREIGNID: 17481
    I have practiced as a highly educated professional in the US health care system for 30 years and shame on all of you ignoramuses who think the majority of the people in this situation somehow “deserve it or chose it”. That represents a very small fraction of the group, if any.
    This country bears the blight of its “cowboy mentality” of health care as its greatest shame that a country of such enormous wealth denies the most basic element of human decency to its own citizens.
    I am so sick of this attitude of pure unadulterated stupidity from fellow Americans. If you want a free market business model for health care, then educate yourselves about what that means. The most basic law of economics is that there must be a free flow of information with equal access and understanding of the information for the free market to work. For those of you who don’t get it, THAT DOES NOT EXIST IN HEALTH CARE!!! People DON”T have equal access, equal comprehension or the time to “do their homework” and try to figure things out when they are sick, incapacitated and faced with imminent death.
    By the way, the statistics presented in this film are indeed accurate. That’s what the research bears out whether you like it or not. I’m tired of people calling reality something else. If you’re going to speak out, take the time to educate yourselves and make your decision an informed one.
    Stop the madness and get with it. Health care is NOT on the same par as buying a car or a pair of shoes. Shame on all of us for allowing this to continue and shame on all of you with this pathetically ill informed attitude toward people who are at their most vulnerable.

  • Robert

    FOREIGNID: 17482
    How can we call the United States of America “the greatest country in the world” when it can’t even offer basic health care to its citizens? We spend more on military spending then all the rest of the world COMBINED. And yet we can’t afford health care for every American? That’s disgusting and future generations of Americans will judge this greedy, militaristic era of our history with scorn and derision, and rightfully so.

  • Ralph

    FOREIGNID: 17483
    Healthcare: a Right or a Privilege?
    Healthcare is a “Right”. All human beings have a right to life! And “Privilege” in itself puts a price on life.

  • Miriam

    FOREIGNID: 17484
    For me, the most shocking statistics in the film were that 80% of uninsured Americans come from working families, and that our country loses $130 billion a year in lost productivity from Americans who are left disabled by their illnesses – more than enough to cover the cost of their care. These are not stupid, lazy schlocks who have no personal responsibility! These are typical, hard-working, responsible, ethical people who happen to suffer from serious medical conditions. What a frustratingly needless and useless situation. Fear of change, nothing else, is what is keeping us back from changing our healthcare system. If this is truly a Christian society, we need to start espousing the Christian tenets of charity, compassion and brotherly love in deed, not just word. We have a responsibility to care for each other. There are workable solutions, if we’re open to engaging in the intelligent conversations it will take to reach those solutions. This is not the time for quick, emotional responses. This is the time for rational discussion, open minds and compassion.

  • Gabriel

    FOREIGNID: 17485
    I think beyond the tragic stories, injustices and poltical connivance that the health care crisis is about, there is a deeper problem that is about the current mindset of a good segment of the American population.
    I don’t think everyone who opposes universalized health care is a mouthpiece of the insurance industry. There are a great many people who are unable to empathize with those who are suffering, unless it is their own family, local tribe or immediate community. The feeling comes from deep mistrust and fear of others and from the view that the world is a hostile, harshly competitive place. Opposition to government run programs is due partly to the refusal to believe there is a common good and that such programs must be a money or power grab in the interests of a particular group or individuals.
    Some folks simply do not believe they have that much in common with other Americans, so why part with our hard-earned cash for their benefit? That’s part of what they hate about “socialized medicine” – it takes someone’s money to help some stranger.
    Others have taken the doctrine of personal responsibility to such an extreme that it has clouded even their ability to imagine that unexpected, uncontrollable circumstances might befall some folks and that if you get sick it’s because you’re too fat or too careless or some such. And if you can’t pay it’s because you’re too improvident, careless, or what have you.
    For others, the same mistrust combined with little access to or inclination to obtain information cripples their ability to understand or even recognize when their own interests are at stake and what policies would serve their best interests. Thus, they either don’t vote, or vote for candidates and policies that don;t serve and actually harm them.
    The problem is a moral and spiritual one and, in such cases, people are impervious to facts and will only change with experience. Let’s pray this moral blindness will one day be cured.

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/opinion/04gruber.html?_r=1&em Simon Kilmurry

    FOREIGNID: 17486
    A relevant op-ed article in The New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/opinion/04gruber.html?_r=1&em

  • Michael Harris

    FOREIGNID: 17487
    I saw the tragic and heartbreaking P.O.V. documentary that followed the case of three uninsured patients forced to navigate our country’s medical system. I was moved by the obstacles they faced and felt compelled to add another twist to the subject matter. The documentary raises a number of compelling reasons to have health insurance, however, I believe an additional documentary on health insurance in general may be in order.
    While having quality health insurance is helpful, it is not a guarantee that you will be covered when medical attention is needed. There are numerous cases where employers and employees have paid thousands in premiums and have had medical claims denied. My wife and I and her employer spent years paying hefty premiums to insure that our medical needs would be covered. In 2007 I was having trouble walking and could not sit for more that 30 minutes at a time. I sought the opinion of 3 different orthopedic surgeons, one of which is an expert in the field, and all of them recommended arthroscopic surgery. Knowing it was a newer procedure I checked the medical codes with my insurance company and was told over the phone that the procedure should be covered. I went ahead with the surgery in Nov. of 2007 and received notice 14 months later that the insurance company had denied my claim. I am still appealing their decision, but am down to my last option. In hindsight, I would have been better off insuring myself. I could have set aside the money the employer and I paid in monthly insurance premiums and easily covered the amount that the insurance company is now refusing to pay. So not only did I pay the premiums, I am faced with the prospect of also paying for the surgery. In conclusion, the P.O.V. documentary strongly advocates for insuring all Americans and clearly highlights the plight of the uninsured, however, having insurance does not guarantee the medical attention you need will be covered.