Healthcare System in the United States Discussion

  1. Dr. Andrew Weill suggests that the U.S. “disease management system” (as opposed to a “health care system) frequently merely suppresses symptoms, and therefore may be perpetuating disease processes. Journalist Shannon Brownlee states that the “disease care system” doesn’t want people to die, and doesn’t want people to get well. What are your thoughts regarding these insights from Dr. Weill and Ms. Brownlee?
  2. Dr. Martin, a primary health care provider in Oregon and, later, Washington, is profiled throughout the documentary. She seems to run into similar conflicts wherever she goes. Is there a place in the U.S. health care system for a primary care provider like Dr. Martin?
  3. Sergeant Yates—who in Afghanistan lost 15 of 23 soldiers in his platoon—was prescribed more than a dozen psychoactive or pain medications by the U.S. military. In the film Sgt. Yates says he’d rather be shot again than have to withdraw from these medications. How did the healthcare system get to a point where one person is prescribed so many medications, some of which can cause harm if used long-term?
  4. Dr. Cho, of the Cleveland Clinic, states that a physician gets paid $15 for a 45-minute visit with a cardiology patient. However, a physician gets paid $1,500 for a 15-minute visit followed by insertion of a cardiac stent. She characterizes this situation as evidence of a “completely irrational system.” Is it irrational, or rational?
  5. If “cheap calories really are the most expensive” when all societal factors are considered, then why don’t managed care organizations undertake more efforts to improve the diets of their health plan members? Is it possible that obesity is in fact good for the MCO business?
  6. After learning about the Avandia drug story ($3 billion settlement plus another $6 billion set aside for lawsuits), do you agree with Dr. Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic that U.S. medicine has “lost its moral compass”?
  7. Based on what you saw in the film, should managed care organizations pay for acupuncture for post-surgical pain control?
  8. What are you doing to lengthen your telomeres?
  9. Steve Hurd of Safeway states, “your behavior should drive your healthcare premium” and that behavior should be a form a currency. Do you agree or disagree?
  10. The film is subtitled, “the fight to rescue American health care.” Is reforming U.S. health care necessarily a “fight”?

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