DAUK Film Night Panel Discussion with screening of Inside Obama’s White House: Obamacare – Episode 2
was held on November 25, 2019 in London
President Obama signs into law the Affordable Care Act. Official White House photo by Peter Souza
Sarah Wallis, Director and Producer of the film
Paul Mitchell, Executive Producer of the series
Film Night Briefing Notes
Our brief synopsis of the film, and a summary of the issues it raises.
The Film Night
Healthcare is the top issue for voters: healthcare reform. In the most recent 2019 Democrat Primary debates, candidates focused on their plans for achieving universal healthcare. Now is the perfect moment to find out more and to consider how we can make healthcare reform key to winning in 2020!
We kicked off the discussion with a specially-arranged screening of Inside Obama’s White House: Obamacare – Episode 2 of this highly acclaimed Brook Lapping series. We are exceptionally fortunate that the multi-award-winning filmmakers Sarah Wallis, director and producer of this episode, and Paul Mitchell, the executive producer of the series, joined the after-screening panel discussion.
Obamacare: how it passed, the debates and electoral price
It is too easy – and dangerous – to forget that achieving passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 was tumultuous and ground-breaking, and that Republicans have relentlessly striven to dismantle any steps to achieving universal healthcare.
The Obamacare documentary gives unprecedented insight into the tough negotiations and behind-the-scenes strategies and decisions that enabled the Affordable Care Act to pass with the slimmest of margins.
Healthcare reform in the 2020 election: how the debate and voters’ attitudes have changed, the different Democratic plans on the table and a winning policy for 2020
In the 2010 midterms, with the surging Tea Party movement, many Democratic candidates feared their support for Obamacare was toxic electorally, while Republicans faced voter outrage in Town Halls throughout 2017 and in the 2018 midterms lost votes for their positions on healthcare reform.
Sarah Wallis produced this episode on Obamacare as part of the Inside Obama’s White House series (BBC2 2016); Paul Mitchell was an executive producer for the series. This series aimed to take the viewer ‘behind the closed doors where the big decisions are made’ and to give the people who were in the room ‘a chance to tell their story…to just say what happened’. Combining exclusive interviews alongside archival material gives unprecedented insight into the behind the scenes negotiations and strategizing that took place. It also reminds us of how precarious and contingent success is – e.g. Scott Brown’s unexpected election, securing the support of the Catholic Health Association.
Armed with the analyses and information this evening provides, people went home for Thanksgiving and Christmas well-prepared to have conversations about an issue that impacts all of us.
Photo credit: President Barack Obama watches a video during a drop by of an Affordable Care Act meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
About The Film Night Speakers
The night included a panel discussion with the filmmakers and the Healthcare Reform Group, Policy Network and Resolutions Committee.
Rod Dubitsky has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services and global development sectors. The bulk of his career had been spent in financial services developing a range of market leading, award- winning research and analytical platforms. Rod also spent 10 years working with BRAC, the Bangladeshi NGO. While working with BRAC, Rod spent some time working on proposals in global health and had responsibility for Liberia and Sierra Leone during the time of Ebola. Rod has always had a keen interest in understanding and improving global health systems. Working with DAUK, Rod has presented on topics including global inequality and improving US health insurance system.
Carol Moore, who chaired the discussion, is a Democratic activist, passionate about women’s rights and affordable healthcare for all Americans. Carol is Co-chair oh the DAUK Policy Network and Resolutions (PNR) group on Healthcare Reform. She is a former Chair of DAUK, a founding Co-chair of the Democrats Abroad UK Women’s Caucus and a Precinct Leader in the Palm Beach County Democratic Party in Florida. Carol has been a member of DAUK for over 30 years, and in 2018 was Co-chair of the DAUK Florida States initiative which focused on a phone-banking campaign that contributed to delivering a record number of overseas Democratic votes in the Florida election. Carol is a native of Long Island, New York, a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, received a JD from Fordham Law School and an MBA from NYU. After a banking career in the City, Carol moved into education finance before retiring to volunteer with Democrats here in London and in the States.
Deborah Rozansky is a health policy expert who has worked on healthcare reforms in both the U.S. and U.K. With over 30 years in the sector, her career has focused on designing policies and programs to improve access to affordable, high quality healthcare. Since living in the U.K., Deborah has held numerous leadership positions with non-profit consultancies, research organizations and patient charities. Early career roles included working for the US Congress, Medicare and Medicaid programs, and the Ohio Department of Health. Deborah currently co-chairs the DAUK PNR group on Healthcare Reform.
David Wenk is Vice Chair of DAUK and a member of the Democrats Abroad Progressive Caucus who have been campaigning for Medicare for All.
Carol Moore discusses the range of options offered by Democratic Party Candidates for achieving universal healthcare alongside other PNR Healthcare Reform Group members Deborah Rozansky and Rod Dubitsky
About The Filmmakers
Photo credit: Paul Mitchell Executive Producer Sarah Wallis Director & Producer of the Obamacare episode interviewed by Bill Barnard from DAUK
Sarah Wallis, a multi-lingual documentary and current affairs producer/director with two and a half decades’ experience, including eight in the BBC documentaries department is the director/producer of this episode of Obamacare in the acclaimed 2016 BBC series Inside Obama’s White House. This is the episode the BBC chose to submit for awards. She has made history, arts, and current affairs films, but what is common among them is her love of stories. Sarah is also an award-winning author of two acclaimed books (with Svetlana Palmer) on the World Wars, A War in Words and We Were Young and at War, both of which combined her experience as a documentary-maker with that of a writer. Sarah is a dual US-UK national.
Paul Mitchell was the Executive Producer of the Inside Obama’s White House BBC series. Born in Boston Massachusetts, Paul Mitchell has lived in the UK for 25 years producing award-winning films for the BBC, UK Channel 4, PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and France Télévision. He has been responsible with Norma Percy and the company’s founder, Brian Lapping, for many of Brook Lapping’s award winning histories including The Death of Yugoslavia (BBC/Discovery, 1995) which won 16 awards, including a BAFTA, and is listed as one of the British Film Institute’s top 100 greatest British television programs of any genre ever to have been screened. Others are The Second Russian Revolution, Watergate, Iran & the West, Putin Russia & the West and The Iraq War. His most recent project Russia’s Open Book: Writing under Putin, on modern Russian fiction, broadcast on PBS last year.
He has also made programs as diverse as the award-winning A Marriage of Power on the Clinton presidency, The Alternative Rock & Roll Years about rock and roll in the USSR, and he was one of very few Western journalists to cover the frontline in the Chechen war with a PBS Wide Angle: Greetings from Grozny (winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award, the FIPA Prix de Jury de 15 ans, The Rory Peck Freelance Award). How Putin Came to Power was short-listed for an international EMMY in 2003.
Background photo credit: President Barack Obama watches a video during a drop-by of an Affordable Care Act meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama’s letter to Congress on the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009
“For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform.
America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.
Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:
Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.
Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.
And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.
But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.
It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.
It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.
And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.
This is what change looks like.
My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.”
President Barack Obama
Review the issues at stake and key points that were up for discussion during the film night
Featured image credit: President Barack Obama celebrates the Supreme Court ruling on Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in the Outer Oval Office. June 25, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Disclaimer: The screening of this film does not constitute an endorsement or promotion of the film, nor of any views expressed therein or any association with The Film Committee, DAUK, Democrats Abroad or the Democratic Party. Screenings are solely conceived as educational activities: offering an opportunity for members to discuss issues.
Links to other organizations or publications imply neither endorsement of their policies nor any association with the Democratic Party or Democrats Abroad – UK.