New America NYC: Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

A Social Cinema Screening and Conversation

On October 5, 2012, the feature documentary Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, starring Acting Director of New America's Health Policy Program Shannon Brownlee, was released in select theaters across the country. It tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: How can we save our badly broken healthcare system? In the video below, Brownlee highlights the most compelling parts of the film.

On August 1, New America NYC hosted an advanced screening of the documentary. Brownlee spoke with "Escape Fire's" director/producer Matthew Heineman and Reuters senior health and science reporter Sharon Begley after the screening. She recounts their discussion below:

"Escape Fire presents clear, concise and irrefutable evidence that yes, our healthcare system is broken but yes, it can be fixed."  -- Mark Rabinowitz, film critic

On August 5,1949, a firefighter named Wag Dodge and 15 other men were trying to outrun a forest fire that was racing up one of the steep slopes of Mann Gulch, near Helena, Montana. The fires below the men were moving toward them at 120 feet per minute, faster than they could run, and Dodge decided their only shot was to deliberately set small fires in front of them, to clear away the grassland that would serve as fuel for the oncoming flames. Dodge stepped into the middle of the charred section and the fire moved around him. The other men could not bring themselves to follow his example. Of 16 firefighters, only three survived: the two who made it to the top of the ridge, and Wag Dodge, who had crouched, nearly unharmed, within his escape fire.

There’s no single way out of our health care crisis, there are many, and we have to start employing them all, and fast. Probably the most crucial step is finding a way to get the American public understand just how dysfunctional the current system is, and how little we get in terms of health out of the money we are now spending. As long as we continue to pour money into a for-profit “disease management” system and neglect preventive medicine and public health, we won’t escape the economic fire of health care spending.

The film "Escape Fire" was released in theaters in October. A clip is below:

More from Shannon Brownlee on the cost of health care:

Event Time and Location

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
New America NYC
199 Lafayette Street Suite 3B
New York City, NY 10012

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