This film is the pioneer and precursor of Michael More's documentary Sicko recently released, but this one is based on a fictional situation. What is a father ready to do to enable his son to get a heart transplant? And what is the system able to do to prevent him from getting it because he does not have enough insurance coverage? The second question is easy to answer: nothing and the system will let the child die. No insurance coverage, no treatment. The first question is a lot more difficult to answer; the film goes very far in the fiction and yet it is absolutely believable. Yes a father is able to kidnap innocent people and medical personnel to impose a positive solution. Then the rest is pure luck, haphazard chance, good effective media, a lot of human feeling, a mistake done by the shoot-first-ask-questions-second chief of police in his four star uniform, and of course a lot of sympathy from the public which is perfectly understandable when you know 46 millions Americans have no health coverage at all and probably twenty more millions have a partial coverage, i.e. not full coverage or full coverage not all the time. The film is of course very effective emotionally, and it uses some short sequences from the news programs of the 1990s when Hillary Clinton was trying in the name of her husband to convince Congress to pass legislation on the subject and failed. I think even to kill yourself to provide your own son with a heart is an option that could be considered by some fathers. Of course the film did not emphasize the real negative sides of the problem, the greediness of some doctors, the total indifference of most administrative personnel, the brutality of the police in such cases who would consider a forceful solution before a peaceful one. But there must be some dream even when dealing with such a subject.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine & University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne