What U.S. health care needs: “A whole new kind of medicine”

Mindful's interview Matthew Heineman, one of the filmmakers of Escape Fire: the Fight to Rescue American Healthcare.

If documentaries about the U.S. health care system have taught us anything in the recent past, it’s that it’s more of “a disease-care system,” as director/producer Matthew Heineman puts it. In his and Susan Froemke’s film, Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, in wide release last Friday, everyone from health insurers to pharmaceutical companies to patients themselves go under the microscope.

Setting the scene for this investigation of what needs fixing is this fact: the U.S. spends 17% of its GDP on health care, in the ballpark of $2.7 trillion, yet, the U.S. ranked in 50th place in terms of life expectancy when compared with others countries. In a recent interview with Heineman, he explains it this way: “We have a system that profits and is oriented towards sickness, not towards health. And there’s a really powerful status quo that’s keeping this disease-care system in place.” The claim is hefty, but when you see in the film what doctors and health care providers do in a day, you get a real sense of the tension between the business of health care and actually treating patients. The documentary’s aim is to explore solutions and alternatives, which…