INT. TRAUMA CLINIC − DAY
Doctors RAWLS and SCHAEFFER rush down a hallway.]
DR. SCHAEFFER: But he’ll have another heart attack if we don’t operate now! That would cost the HMO hundreds of thousands in malpractice!
DR. RAWLS: Damn it, Eileen! Don’t you think I stay awake every night thinking about this? I’m telling you, if we operate on that patient, that means he’ll be alive, and then we’ll have to treat him for the rest of his life. And that’s going to cost the HMO more than any malpractice suit would. Now get him out of here, and tell him to lay off the sweets.
DR. SCHAEFFER: But it’s not right.
They stop walking. Dr. Rawls furls his brow and stares long and hard into Dr. Schaeffer’s eyes.
DR. RAWLS: Don’t you tell me what’s right and what’s wrong. I know it’s a horrible decision for a doctor to make—between costing the HMO money, and costing the HMO more money. Sometimes I lie awake at night and think about that HMO, and how unfair it is that they have to spend so much money.
DR. SCHAEFFER: I’m sorry. I know the HMO just wants to provide quality care for everyone.
DR. RAWLS: Eileen, I want to provide quality care for you. Right now. In my office.
INT. EXAMINATION ROOM − DAY
[DR. RAWLS and DR. CORDOZA go over a patient’s medical reports.]
DR. RAWLS: This doesn’t count as an experimental procedure. I’ve done it hundreds of times, and we need to do it now or his family will sue us all!
DR. CORDOZA: Rawls, I see in you what I saw in myself when I was fresh out of med school.
DR. RAWLS: Damn it, Cordoza!
DR. CORDOZA: The definition of experimental is (picks up a large book and reads from it), “If the procedure can be used or has been used in a medical experiment.” Does appendix removal fit that definition, Rawls?
DR. RAWLS: I’m doing the procedure anyway! I’m not spending another month in court!
DR. CORDOZA: You won’t be paid for those hours! If you want to save the world, don’t do it on my dime!
DR. RAWLS: I’m saving you, Cordoza! We’re not here to kill people, we’re here to make money! Sometimes that means neglecting our patients, but not in this particular case, Cordoza!
INT. DR. RAWLS’S OFFICE − DAY
A shabbily dressed couple sits across from DR. RAWLS at his desk.]
DR. RAWLS: “Database purging” is a technical term. It means that a group of patients were chosen from our database and their policies were canceled because our actuarial software determined that they were more likely than other patients to get sick. Your policy was canceled because we will make more money if we don’t have to treat your medical problems.
POOR MOTHER: What medical problems?
DR. RAWLS: Well, they really don’t tell me anything, but your son’s broken arm was probably what did it.
POOR MOTHER: This isn’t right!
POOR FATHER: Jean, they’re doing us a favor. Imagine how guilty we would feel if the healthy had to subsidize the sick.
POOR MOTHER: But that’s how insurance works!
DR. RAWLS: I understand this can be a tough time for you poor people. Here, let me arrange for security to escort you outside the premises.