Editor | Peter Bowen
Ebert on "Death Panels"
Posted August 19, 2009
As the health care war rages in American town halls, film makers and critics are raising their voices to join the fracas. Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney recently produced an adaptation of Maggie Mahar illuminating book Money-Driven Medicine. (Mahar’s writes on the crisis at her blog HealthBeat.) And now Roger Ebert, who has experienced a range of health crises in the last few years, speaks to the dangerous rhetoric in his journal entry "'Death Panels': A Most Excellent Term." Most stunning is how he dramatizes the absurdity of this phrase by illustrating his piece with the “death panel” from Dreyer’s luminous film Jeanne d’Arc. After de-constructing the phrase and its meanings, he ends with a lovely note about his own experience:
Having arrived at a qualifying age thanks to the love and care of my wife and doctors, I am writing this as the beneficiary of the excellent heath care my insurance plan covered (until my illness exhausted its provisions). I am now covered under MediCare. I continue to get the same treatment as before--and as, for that matter, all members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives do, no matter what their age or political party. You should try it sometime.