"Damaged Care" centers on medical care ethics, and how corporations involved in medical decision-making hold an unwavering bottom line, often even above good medical treatment. With a message both intelligent and poignant, the movie dramatizes issues in just the right way, illustrating dilemmas many doctors and their patients face. Although some people know at least a little about the issues, this movie challenges its viewers to get involved in helping change current policies. A pivotal point comes when a transplant surgeon says the HMO "is committing murder" by refusing to pay for a million-dollar heart transplant. Although medical progress' technical advances mean we can cure formerly fatal conditions, those are often unaffordable in many cases. Health-care providers must still weigh whether to treat each particular patient, sometimes against the cost of depriving other patients of care they need. But even summarizing current practices as offering "the greatest good to the greatest number," HMOs have a lot of explaining to do.
Often poignant and always compelling, "Damaged Care" tells the true story of HMO whistle-blower Dr. Linda Peeno (Dern). A medical adviser to two Health Maintenance Organizations (similar to health-insurance companies), she exposes corruption that few people are fully unaware of. A thought-provoking movie, it leaves the viewer shocked at time, and at other times, frustrated. The supporting cast is also strong (except for the role her husband), but Dern commands the show, in "the Erin Brokovich of HMO movies."
Refreshingly candid, the film's top-notch script is matched by the acting, and direction; all are superb. Comparable also to "And the Band Played On," it's not only a remarkable story, but a commentary on our society, and will make the viewer question how to do the same, and whether to follow the same convictions about what's right. An Emmy-contender, it's a film to watch with other people, to educate as many as possible about current policies, methods, and corruption.
Lauara Dern, Dawn Dubose, Gemma Coombs, Paul Sheinberg, Cheryl Griffith, Mary Rhodes
HMOs; medical industry
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