The Waiting Room is a punch to the gut, an unblinking gaze at the real lives of people cast off and left out of the medical system in the U.S. Shot in cinema verité style, the film takes place entirely in the emergency room at Oakland's Highland Hospital.
Even if the roadblocks to greater funding were to disappear, Governor Romney's "let them eat emergency rooms" stance doesn't begin to get at a way to fix our broken health care system. Ask any emergency room doctor.
What does it say about us as a nation where patients waiting in an emergency room or lying in (or near) recovery rooms after surgery can be confronted by a special "relative" or friend at their bedside? It's your friendly medical debt collector, holding an invoice.
Faced with a shortage of resources, educators are increasingly calling 911 when children act out, resulting not only in costly emergency room visits, but a failure to treat the underlying behavioral disorder.
What's ailing our ERs? Simply put, they wrongly have become the venue of last resort for too many people for medical treatment. For many of us, there are better options, including urgent care or even retail clinics.
In order to stay within budgetary parameters, many of the key provisions in the Act don't take effect until 2014 -- a full two years after the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world as we know it.
While the debate on health care reform legislation continues, there is very little discussion about the federal government's responsibility to extend a critical funding stream for emergency care in our nation's hospitals.
I recognize I'm not going to convince all of you to become single-payer supporters through a post here. I've learned to live with that. We will disagree as to the best solutions. But can we at least agree that there is a problem?