ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system? American healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually, roughly 20% of our gross domestic product, within ten years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs – almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We pay more, yet our health outcomes are worse. About 65% of Americans are overweight and almost 75% of healthcare costs are spent on preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society.
It’s not surprising that healthcare tops many Americans’ concerns and is at the center of a political firestorm in our nation’s Capitol. But the current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a healthcare system.
ESCAPE FIRE examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo, a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground. This film follows dramatic human stories as well as leaders fighting to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and even the US military. ESCAPE FIRE is about a way out, about saving the health of a nation.
The film is being directed and produced by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke. With a team at HBO, the filmmakers collaborated for two years on the groundbreaking, Emmy-nominated HBO series, THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT, which aired in May 2009.
Heineman recently completed OUR TIME – a feature documentary about what it’s like to be young in today’s America, which premiered on the Documentary Channel in 2011 and simultaneously on numerous digital platforms. He has also directed a number of short films and commercials. Froemke is a four-time Emmy Award winner with more than 30 documentary films to her credit, from the classic GREY GARDENS (1976) to LALEE’S KIN (2001), an HBO film on poverty that earned her an Academy Award nomination. Froemke was the principal filmmaker at the legendary Maysles Films in New York for over two decades. Well-known as a leader in documentary film, she has made 7 films for HBO and 13 films for PBS. Four films have been theatrically distributed and 11 have had worldwide TV distribution.