"A Gifted Man" brings health care gap to TV

"A Gifted Man" is a new drama on CBS featuring a top-notch neurosurgeon coming to terms with the disparity of health care received by the rich and the poor. It's a subject the show's executive producer, Dr. Neal Baer, knows a lot about.

CBS News contributor Karen Brown joined Dr. Baer at the bustling Southern California free clinic he helps support for more behind what inspired the show.

Pictures: Sneak peek at fall TV on CBS

Brown reported on "The Early Show" it's the busiest free clinic in the country, literally a lifeline for 25,000 patients a year.

The Venice Family Clinic is where Dr. Neal Baer worked as a medical student and first experienced the plight of the uninsured.

Brown asked Baer, "What really sort of smacked you in the face when you got here?"

Baer said, "The diversity of the people. This is a place, really a sanctuary for people who might be homeless, who might be torture survivors who -- "

Brown said, "Or just might be out of a job, right?"

Baer said, "(Or) lost, lost their job."

Baer was already an award-winning TV producer and writer for the hit show "ER" when he decided to go back to school to become a pediatrician.

Brown asked, "Here you are this big success story already. Why then go to medical school?"

"I went to medical school because I was interested in the science, but also because I love hearing people's stories," Baer said. "I can listen to their heart, I can listen to their lungs. I check their eyes. And I can help them make their own lives better."

So every Saturday, he interned at the clinic, and though he no longer practices regularly, Baer is now on their board of directors.

Baer said, "I think what's important is that healthcare is a right for people -- not something this is like a fancy car, that if you can pay for it, good, if you can't, well -- too bad."

And that is what the doctor at the center of his new show, "A Gifted Man," grapples with. Patrick Wilson stars as hotshot neurosurgeon Michael Holt.

With every high tech tool at his disposal, he practices concierge medicine for the privileged and pampered, seemingly unaware his gifts could also be saving the lives of the growing, and desperate, underclass.

"We aren't making anything up, this is what really exists," Baer said.

The Venice Clinic is the real-life inspiration. There are some 8,000 free clinics operating in the U.S. -- the only care available to the country's 50.7 million uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Now, Dr. Baer, a true gifted man, is focusing Hollywood's spotlight on the issue.

Brown asked Baer, "On a certain level, do you hope that people are inspired to give back?"

"That's what it's all about really," Baer said. "That's what Patrick Wilson's character is all about. And we can all find those gifts that we have to be empathetic, just find your own way to make a difference."