Not sure how I missed this, but more than a month after it aired, Jay and I still haven’t seen Sick Around America. It is on our to-watch list, and I’m especially intrigued now that I’m reading about how T.R. Reid and Frontline are no longer working together after the fallout from the documentary.
Reid, who lives here in Colorado, is a strong advocate for a single-payer health care system. His 2008 Frontline documentary, Sick Around The World, clearly showed that most other developed nations have national health systems, and Reid himself was featured prominently in the show.
Apparently Reid wanted to make Sick Around America into a push towards a national health insurance program here in the US, and the producers wanted more of a documentary of how the health care system currently works. When a compromise wasn’t reached, Reid withdrew from the film and asked that his interviews be edited out – he’s not in the new documentary at all, which will make it quite a bit different from last year’s show.
What I’ve read so far is that the documentary doesn’t shy away from the reality of the situation faced by the millions of Americans who are without health insurance, but it stops short of delving into the politics of what we should do to fix the problem. PBS was likely trying to avoid a political firestorm, but from the details that I’ve read of the program so far, it doesn’t sound like they paint a rosy picture of our current health insurance situation.
I’m looking forward to watching the program. We thought that Sick Around The World was a very well-made documentary, and hope that the American version is too. Even if the show doesn’t give specific policy recomendations on how we can get health insurance coverage for all Americans, it’s still shedding light on the health insurance crisis in this country, and encouraging dialog about what can be done. But I’m disappointed to learn that Reid is not in the current documentary, because he was such an integral – and good – part of the last one.