Escape Fire, the documentary about healthcare reform, made a big splash earlier this year at film festivals and got a short release in art house cinemas with a lot of media attention. But it faded soon after. The title was a bit unwieldy since it had to be explained but maybe that’s just me.
Inevitably there will be some sort of film adaptation based on a journalist or politician’s account of the healthcare reform battle. It won’t address every aspect of reform — how unwieldy would that be? It will probably focus on the crucial events or Congressional debates or how lives were changed by it. But if you could summon any director you wanted to do a biopic on healthcare reform or capture it in some way, who would it be? What would it look like? With tongue firmly in cheek, here are some modest proposals.
Steven Spielberg Oddly enough, Spielberg’s biopic of president Abraham Lincoln and the struggle to pass the 13th amendment feels like an allusion to the legislative battle to get health care reform passed — one friend actually called it surprisingly heavy handed. So why not go all the way and have Spielberg take the reins of the inevitable biopic. The Republican opposition, bickering between Obama’s then Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over “Kiddiecare,” the controversy over contraception coverage, the vote and Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning’s abstention. Like many debates over bills with a widespread effect, it is a struggle between federal and state powers with the American people in the middle. What could be more blockbuster than that?
David Fincher Many know him for The Social Network — his biopic on Mark Zuckerberg and the making of Facebook. Some of the best scenes in the film are when the lawyers for Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevoss twins are arguing with quiet intensity in the conference room. In a movie depicting the Supreme Court oral arguments over whether the insurance mandate is constitutional, Fincher would be my pick for director. Or he could take on the growth of the health information networks allowing providers to exchange patient information through electronic health records.
Rob Reiner Remote monitoring and all the facets of technology that accompany it from e-mail to texting to telemedicine could do wonders for a reboot of You’ve Got Mail or When Harry Met Sally. Just think of the healthcare scenarios! When Harry Met Sally in a Remote Clinical Trial or You’ve Got Telemedicine. Sally could be a principal investigator and Harry the acerbic clinical trial participant. A spark of chemistry at their initial meeting leads to a witty virtual relationship that culminates in passion. Or Sally could live in a rural town in middle America and when she meets a new primary care physician over her computer screen in a routine appointment, sparks fly.
Christopher Nolan or Tomas Afredson: Inevitably you can’t have a big change like healthcare reform without people fretting over what it will mean longterm for them from healthcare professionals to potential patients. But for every worst case scenario there’s a thriller or chiller to go with it. Homeland’s plotline involving an assasination via medical device hacker is a perfect illustration. Nolan or Afredson would be great picks for this category. Afredson’s got both covered with his fantastic take on popular spy series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and creepy Scandinavian child vampire chiller Let The Right One In (much better than the American version). And Nolan’s Inception — what could be more over the top than that? I would set them to work on a thriller involving hacking into patient records of Fortune 500 CEOs and using that information for some fiendish ends. The hero? A CMIO with a background in psychological profiling whose Achilles heel is a chronic condition, occasionally showing how healthcare reform is helping these patients.
Have some ideas? Share them! After all, you never know who could be reading. Happy New Year!
[All images from flickr users Steven Spielberg from RVThomas67, David Fincher from IBWK, and Christopher Nolan from Parker Night]