Money & Medicine

Air date: 09/25/2012

Money & Medicine, a New Film Investigating the Nation’s Healthcare Crisis, Premieres Tuesday, September 25 at 8 p.m. on PBS

Exploration of the medical, ethical and financial challenges of containing runaway health care spending; Examines methods to reduce health care expenditures and improve quality of medical care

As Congress continues its battle over the budget deficit, policy makers are turning their attention to one of the largest driving forces behind the nation’s debt – government health care spending.  The focus of the health care reform debate has shifted in recent years from access to cost, and recent studies suggest that a third of all health care expenditures are unnecessary. Money & Medicine, a new documentary premiering nationwide on Tuesday, September 25 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), examines the waste that pervades our health care system and puts a human face on the medical, ethical, and financial challenges of containing runaway health care spending.   After the broadcast, the program will stream online on a companion website hosted by Need to Know at

Healthcare providers are rewarded for the quantity instead of the quality of the services they offer and many Americans still believe the notion that “more care is better care.” Health care policy experts are concerned about the financial implications of a health care system that encourages the overutilization of medical services, further inflating health care costs without necessarily improving patient medical outcomes.  Money & Medicine provides a timely contribution to the debate over health care reform and deficit reduction that is heating up as the 2012 presidential election approaches.

Money & Medicine is a is a production of Public Policy Productions in association with THIRTEEN for WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.  For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning.

Filmed at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and Intermountain Medical Center in Utah, Money & Medicine illuminates the powerful forces driving soaring healthcare costs as well as proven strategies that effectively reign in excessive medical expenses.  With candor and poignancy, Money & Medicine captures the painful end-of-life treatment choices made by patients and their families, ranging from very aggressive interventions in the ICU to palliative care at home.  The film also investigates the controversy surrounding diagnostic testing and screening as well as the shocking treatment variations among patients receiving a variety of elective procedures.

In addition to the doctor and patient interviews, Money & Medicine also features interviews with some of the nation’s leading health policy experts.   These experts assert that in order to contain health care spending, more comparative effectiveness research needs to occur, and the results need to be widely disseminated so they alter the practice patterns of doctors and encourage more evidence-based medicine.  Additionally, patients should become better informed partners in shared medical decision making, and care delivery systems should be less fragmented.  And, the incentives built into the health care financing system that reward volume over value should be eliminated.  Beyond these far-reaching policy discussions, Money & Medicine encourages viewers to evaluate their own behaviors – whether it’s executing an advanced directive, thinking twice about diagnostic testing, or questioning doctors more carefully about the risks, benefits and possible outcomes of elective procedures.

After the broadcast, Money & Medicine will stream on its companion website (, which includes a complete viewer’s guide to provide insight, analysis and background information for viewers to dissect as they watch the film for the first time.  The website’s reading list will also allow viewers to delve in-depth and learn more about the state of health care spending in our country.

Money & Medicine is a production of Public Policy Productions in association with THIRTEEN for WNET – one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.  Producer and director is Roger Weisberg.  Editor is Pascal Akesson.  Production Manager is Suzanne Beffa.  The music is composed by Richard Fiocca.  Design and animation is by Bill Bergeron-Mirsky.  For THIRTEEN: Executive Producer is Julie Anderson.  Executive-in-Charge is Stephen Segaller.  Post-production Supervisor is Stephanie Carter.

Funding for Money & Medicine is provided by the Fledgling Fund, Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Silverweed Foundation, Park Foundation, Odyssey Fund, Spunk Fund and Trull Foundation.




About WNET
In 2012, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah!  and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.


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