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5 Spot

The Utah Health Policy Project’s Judi Hilman

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Judi Hilman is the executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project (HealthPolicyProject.com).

What did you think of the Michael Moore film Sicko?
t
Overall, thumbs up. I think it’s definitely worth seeing, but it is a pretty devastating portrait of our health-care system, and whether that’s accurate or not, that type of portrait may not be helpful for when it comes to getting people focused on solutions. This movie is coming out when states are grabbing the bull by the horns. I wouldn’t want Mr. Moore’s tone or finger-pointing to turn people off from wrestling with this issue.

Why does U.S. health care languish behind that of other nations?
t
We have not seen health care as a vital part of our social infrastructure. I think that what’s happening now in the U.S. is that we have more and more businesses saying, “Hey, we can’t compete.” I think that’s what in the end gets the U.S. to do something meaningful. I think we are on the brink. I think Utah is on the brink of meaningful reform. It’s not because of the tragic stories so much as that businesses can no longer compete. They have to continually pay double-digit health-care costs.

Was there any moment in Sicko when you felt sicko?
t
Sicko but also catharsis. At the moment when the medical director from Humana got up in front of Congress and testified that she denied claims [resulting in patients’ death]. I just broke down completely. I think what that confession showed us is there is an awareness of the problems with the current system, the cherry picking and the social Darwinism that goes along with the experience rating that we do. We finally have a critical mass that sees there is something horribly wrong with that. It’s not just the Michael Moores of the world that find that outrageous but the actual former medical director of Humana.

More from this interview at CityWeekly.blogspot.com