Aired Thursday February 16th, 2012 at 8:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
U.S. Health Care: The Good News, an original one‐hour documentary coming to KUED on Thursday, February 16 at 8:00 p.m., takes an inside look at ordinary American communities doing something extraordinary: They provide first‐rate medical care at reasonable cost - and in some cases, cover almost everybody in town.
These pioneering efforts stand in bright contrast to conventional wisdom about the U.S. health care system. The richest country in the world still leaves 50 million adults without health insurance. We will spend more than $2.6 trillion on health care in 2011, and all that spending isn't making us healthier. Yet some doctors and hospitals, the documentary shows us, are taking bold measures to care for both the physical and fiscal health of their communities.
Filmmaker T.R. Reid was the correspondent for the acclaimed PBS documentary Sick Around the World, which looked at successful health care systems in other industrialized democracies. "In this new film, we discover world‐class health care at reasonable cost right here in the USA," says Reid.
The story begins in Mesa County, Colorado, the nation's lowest health care spending region, according to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. Outcomes there are just as good as places that spend twice as much. In this community of nearly 150,000 people, Reid finds a finely tuned relationship among doctors, hospitals and insurers that places an emphasis on prevention, boasts a thriving pre‐natal care program for poor women, and manages a highly efficient electronic information exchange, all while extending health care to nearly all of its citizens at a fraction of the cost of high‐spending regions.
Mesa County isn't alone in producing high‐value health care. Reid takes viewers to other high‐quality, low‐cost health systems in cities and towns from coast to coast, including Seattle, Washington; Everett, Washington; and Hanover, New Hampshire.
Some experts estimate that we spend $700‐800 billion annually on unnecessary care in the United States. "If every local health care system could be as efficient as the low‐spending communities spotlighted in this film, we could finally afford to provide quality health care at a reasonable cost for every American," says Reid in the film.
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