Escape Fire with Matt Heineman

Program 192 • 29 mins


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Filmmaker Matthew Heineman shares lessons observed in producing his award-winning documentary, Escape Fire about our broken health care system and ways to heal it. The film, which he co-directed with Susan Froemke, presents the real-life struggles of patients who’ve been shortchanged by our medical system, and health care providers who are trying to fix the problem. The documentary, which aired in primetime on CNN as well as in theaters, examines the big business of health care, where many expensive procedures don’t produce a cure and pharmaceuticals have come to substitute for more attentive health care. We meet patients who suffer from over-medication and from insufficient doctor-patient counseling. And we learn the story of a young physician who quits her practice because of the professional conditions, established by insurance company rules, make it difficult for her to help patients in the way they deserve. Part of the solution, the film suggests, can be found in low-cost treatments, like acupuncture and relaxation training, that can significantly enhance a patient’s way of life.

One of the stats that really was striking to us, in doing research, was that roughly 75 percent of health care costs, literally three-quarters of health care costs, go to preventable diseases… That’s Type 2 diabetes. That’s heart disease. Some forms of cancer. So we really realized that lifestyle change and the American way of life was a huge part of this equation.”

—Matthew Heineman, Director of Escape Fire


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