What's Ailing Medicine?: With Walter Cronkite

What's Ailing Medicine examines the shortcomings of medical care in America and the prospects for finding a cures as the nation debates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform our health care system. How can we provide health care for the 37 million Americans who currently lack insurance? How can we provide peace of mind for 50 million Americans whose insurance is so inadequate that a serious illness would cause financial ruin? With medical expenses rising at twice the rate of inflation, how can soaring costs be controlled?

This program presents the human side of these complex and controversial dilemmas by considering the perspectives of the three major players in the health care debate - patients, providers, and payers. The first of What's Ailing Medicine's three segments deals with the plight of the uninsured. In the second segment, the film examines the vulnerability of several "underinsured" patients who experience a financial calamity along with a catastrophic illness. The final segment investigates the wasteful and sometimes dangerous overuse of medical procedures such as cardiac catheterization and coronary artery bypass surgery.

After the patients, their families, doctors, employers, and insurers present their frustrations with our health care system, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Robert Dole respond to the documentary's personal profiles in order to illuminate the potential impact of health care reform. In addition, Harvard University health policy expert Robert Blendon, who has done extensive opinion polling on American attitudes about health care, gives voice to the priorities and concerns of the public. As Walter Cronkite concludes, with Americans overwhelmingly in favor of health care reform, "the time finally is at hand to prescribe a cure for what's ailing medicine."

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