My reviews have been getting more and more political lately. I wonder if that reflects on me or on modern television.
Anyway, yeah, that's really how I felt throughout the episode. Cuddy having to tell some poor guy that she'd take his house to get paid for a procedure that actually cost next to nothing was poignant, because we know she is generally a nice person. Kudos to Lisa Edelstein and the director for playing it straight up, though, letting previous knowledge of the character deliver the point instead of going for the "now look conflicted" shot.
It's a pity they didn't go the same way in some other areas. Cuddy's final scream in the hall of the hospital was entirely out of character for both the show and Cuddy and poorly edited, making it seem like the insurance rep had not left before her outburst. I really hope they were seriously over budget and running long to justify not doing that scene inside her car, where it was probably written to begin with (or at least should have).
Also, Cuddy's decision to get rid of the poor guy's check was a bit of a cop out. I'm fine with her being a nasty executive. That's what she is. Doing the fairy tale ending of having her refuse payment after pressing for it only has two results, both negative: first, it dilutes the gritty depiction of the ugly side of health care, which does the episode no favours; second, it creates a bit of a plot hole about who is going to deal with the cost. Overall, it was an interesting take on the by now usual "House from another perspective" episode that worked so well in Three Stories and has never reached that bar again. And yes, it does, intentionally or not, show that private health care is a soulless, bureaucratic and inefficient beast that must die. Or, at least, it tackles the issue, which is more than any medical drama in recent history has dared to do. So good for them.