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Documentary Covers Healthcare Crisis in America

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Special broadcast of Critical Condition airs Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 at 9 p.m. on PBS, followed at 10:30 p.m. by the MacNeil/Lehrer special “Rx for Change,” which explores the presidential candidates’ proposals for health care reform. (Check local listings.) P.O.V. (a cinema term for “point of view”), now in its 21st year, is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on television.

What happens if you fall sick and are one of 47 million people in America without health insurance? Critical Condition by Roger Weisberg (“Waging a Living,” P.O.V. 2006) puts a human face on the nation’s growing health care crisis by capturing the harrowing struggles of four critically ill Americans who discover that being uninsured can cost them their jobs, health, home, savings, even their lives. Filmed in vérité style, Critical Condition offers a moving and invaluable exposé at a time when the nation is debating how to extend health insurance to all Americans. A production of Public Policy Productions in association with Thirteen/WNET New York and American Documentary / P.O.V.

Immediately following the 90-minute broadcast, PBS’s MacNeil/Lehrer Productions will present a half-hour special at 10:30 p.m. “Rx for Change” is a discussion of the top health insurance concerns facing Americans. Moderated by Editor of the Journal Health Affairs and former NewsHour with Jim LehrerHealth Correspondent Susan Dentzer, the panel examines issues of health care coverage and costs.

“Rx for Change” features two nonpartisan health care experts, Uwe Reinhardt from Princeton Universityand Stuart Butler from the Heritage Foundation. Two members of the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns also participate: for Senator Barack Obama’s campaign, domestic policy director Neera Tanden, former policy director for Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign; for Senator John McCain’s campaign, senior policy advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Prior to the campaign, he was with the Council on Foreign Relations and was director of the Congressional Budget Office.

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