Damaged Care (review)

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Managed care bad. Not exactly a newsflash, but since Showtime has just about single-handedly saved the made-for-TV movie from obviousness and melodrama, you can expect that its take on the state of American health care will be worth watching. Sure, early on, there’s a tad much exposition along the lines of “As you know, Doctor Bob, we evil HMO types are really killing people in our quest to make ourselves rich beyond dreams of avarice, bwahahaha,” but soon enough this based-on-fact flick finds a poignant groove. Humana medical reviewer Linda Peeno, a doctor by training, finds herself policing other doctors, forced by her managed-care overlords to deny even necessary care to their patients/customers until she can’t stomach it any longer. Laura Dern (Novocaine), ever gutsy yet vulnerable, makes Peeno a reluctant but determined heroine as her life gets messier the louder she blows the whistle. It’s The Insider for health care, with more angry action, less brooding, and an undertone of sympathy for the actual victims of managed care.

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