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Sunday, February 14, 2010

House - Season 6 - Episode "5 to 9"

Newsbusters took a swipe at the most recent episode of House, MD because of perceived bias for nationalized health care and a demonization of insurance companies. I recently got around to watching the episode and while I did see some over the top “eeeeeevil” from the insurance CEO, there wasn't really that much mallet-on-the-noggin advocacy in the show.

Newsbusters left out some important information. I'll fill it in. Starting with this:
In one story line, a former patient was suing the hospital for reattaching his severed thumb. The surgeon who had done it explained that, "his insurance only covered 60 percent of his in-patient expenses," so the patient wanted only the least expensive option. The surgeon reattached it anyway. "I wasn't going to let him throw his thumb away over a few dollars." Owing the money for the procedure to the insurance company, the man protested to Cuddy that he was in danger of losing his house.
What wasn't acknowledged is that the bottom-feeder lawyer hired by the patient starts going on a tantrum about the expensive cars the doctors have. Cuddy rebuts with reality, telling them both that doctors get paid like everyone else and that man's procedure costs money, and because of his suit the hospital may (rightly) have to take his house to get it.

Polite Dissent
, a blog that reviews House, MD from a medical standpoint does make this observation though:
Though it was mentioned briefly at the beginning, both Cuddy and the lawyer are glossing over the key fact that the treatment Mr. Acevedo received was not covered by the informed consent he signed. Chase may have done what he thought was best for the patient, but he did it through lying and dishonesty. Sure, Mr. Acevedo kept his thumb, and this will probably restrain the jury’s and judge’s enthusiasm for a large payout, but there is clear written evidence that Chase was deceitful in his treatment of the patient. The hospital’s insurance company will pay this off long before it sees a courtroom. And as for Chase, skipping informed consent or lying on it is a good way to lose a medical license.
Newsbusters continues:
In another scene, Cuddy was consulting a patient with cancer was convinced that human breast milk was his only cure. When she refused to write him a prescription for it, he accused her of being "some type of shill for the insurance company." He had paid premiums all this life, he said, and never been sick a day, but was now being denied the only thing that would save him. Cuddy assured him her refusal had nothing to do with insurance, and the scene ended.
Polite Dissent agrees with Cuddy:
First, she’s right: the insurance company will not pay for it, even with a prescription — they’ll consider it an experimental treatment. Second, it’s her signature on the prescription, and she should not write any prescription she is not comfortable signing. Finally, and she should have pushed this part harder, the breast milk is at best a shot in the dark — it’s wishful thinking — and by writing the prescription she would be confirming the patient’s false hope. She handled it well: she was upfront and truthful and told the patient she would not write the prescription. He didn’t like what she said, but he’s free to find a new physician.
Moving on to the main plot. Newsbusters:
But in the main story, Cuddy was renegotiating the terms of the hospital's contract with a major regional insurer. Because her hospital was small, it couldn't get the same reimbursement rates that larger, though less prestigious institutions received. "It's about leverage," said the insurance company negotiator. "They have it. You don't."

Going above his head, Cuddy burst in on the head of the insurance company at lunch in suitably exclusive-looking restaurant. "Princeton Plainsboro has the highest rated ER in the state," she said, "the most advanced ICU, "and the most innovative diagnostic medicine department in the entire country."

When the CEO tried to dismiss her, she said, "While Atlantic Net Insurance has a marketing budget that's more than our pediatric ICU and transplant units combined. Your PGA sponsorship could pay for our walk-in clinic, and the money you spend to fuel your two private jets could fund our air ambulance service for the next three years."

Cuddy's point, she explained, was that "Your growth may be good for your bottom line but ours allows us to save lives." She then threatened to go public with Atlantic Net's ... well, the show never really explained what exactly the company had done wrong. But it's an insurance company, so it must be something.
I believe Cuddy did say what she was going to go public with: AtlanticNet's false PR. Her point of holding out for a fair increase in reimbursements in the contract was based on the fact her small hospital was the reason AtlanticNet gets high ratings in quality, modernization and other sectors. Without it, AtlanticNet's ratings would be lowered and their PR machine would have a hog trying to explain it away. It was a very vaild point.

The most “eeeeeeevil” part of the show was the response to the CEO to Cuddy's logical explanation to holding out for a fair deal:
Had he had a black mustache, the CEO would have twirled it while delivering his response: "You can portray me as a rich bastard in the press all you want ... just as long as I stay rich."
That was totally unnecessary.

I think the episode was pretty well balanced, minus the evil CEO. What Newsbusters needs to understand is that Cuddy is an idealist despite her position as dean. Throughout the series, she has been confronted with countless situations where House is the voice of reason to her idealism and naïve views. Though, Newsbusters is right to point out that there aren't any exposition lines explaining why she's being an ass.

Newsbusters is a great site to find the latest in liberal media bullcrap, but I've noticed that many of its reviews of television shows have been less than stellar, in my opinion. I hope they can find a way to improve them to the quality of their reviews of the news media.


frate said...

all the episodes from season 6 are very good. i like this season so much that i have decided to download house md episodes from this season.

jarret said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I like House MD TV Show very much. This is my favorite show and I do not miss this series at all.

andrey said...

Thanks for the post. Lovely sharing. This is my favorite show and lies at the top in the list of my favorites. I do not miss to Watch House MD TV Show.