Monday, October 10, 2011


In this blog I’ve mentioned “Health, Money & Fear,” a film that waxes eloquently on the deeper nature of our healthcare crisis. I and others felt the film is so right-on that we had to share it with our community. If you have forty-seven minutes to spare, check it out online at If it impresses you, consider sharing it with your community. One way to do that is embedded in the opinion piece I wrote, below, for our local newspaper...

"No doubt you're aware that health care's current cost can wreck your wallet, but do you also know it eats a growing portion of the national economic pie? 

When I graduated medical school in 1967, America spent about 6 percent of its GDP on healthcare. That means one out of every $16 spent for anything went toward healthcare. Now it claims 16 percent, or one out of every $6. At this rate, we'll eventually live in makeshift shacks and shop in dumpsters, but at least we'll enjoy the most expensive health care in the universe.

As I've watched costs climb over the past several decades, I've read what those who study the subject have to say about it. One thing they agree on is that reducing costs can't be simply rearranging who pays for what. There's much more involved. Health care is astronomically expensive because we hold some painfully contradictory values about it. For example, we want all available medical technology, but we want it cheap, which is like insisting that a round-trip hike be downhill all the way. We demand end-of-life care that too often amounts to incredibly expensive prolongation of suffering. We fly into a litigious rage when doctors — that is, human beings — fail to provide us perfect security. 

Such contradictions persist mainly because we hardly ever discuss them. Imagine my surprise, then, when I came across the film “Health, Money and Fear.” It makes a case for a national single-payer strategy similar to the California proposal now navigating the legislature as SB810. It goes further, however, in examining our costly cultural issues through interviews with experts I've long respected, including former New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell, MD, and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, MD. 

So I've joined with local medical colleagues who support affordable health care, plus the Nevada County chapter of Health Care for All, to show this film publicly, followed by a town hall-type discussion. A broad swath of Nevada County people, businesses and organizations are co-sponsoring the event. Admission is free and refreshments will be available."

WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 7PM
WHERE: Nevada Theater


  1. The downside of HIPPA is that we healthcare workers cannot share our stories. If we could, what occurs in healthcare could be revealed and the general public could begin to understand why costs are spiraling out of control

  2. The good news is that we healthcare workers CAN share our stories. I do it all the time, here on this blog and in books I write.

    The important aspects are the story and privacy, so I change names, genders, and places. Sometime a couple of stories revolve around one issue, so I combine them.