please go see this movie.
as much as i follow local and national politics and have my own informed views on most the major issues, health care is the one issue that is expansive and intimidating enough that i've been reluctant to delve into it.
i've recently started reading ezra klein's blog and he focuses a lot on the health care system. so i'm learning, however slowly.
the thing about health care, however, is it is one of the ONLY issues that affects every single american. some women will never experience an unwanted pregnancy. most people will never have a family member sent off to iraq for the war (especially now that recruitment rates have hit an all-time low). most people are not poor enough to need the government's help. most people are not gay and are allowed to marry freely.
there is, most likely, not a single person in this country who has never gotten sick, who has gone their entire life without the aid of a doctor or medication.
moore's film is not about the millions of people who go without health care, which is a terrifying preposition in itself. it is about the millions of people who have health care and about how corrupt the system is. interviews with many people inside insurance companies talk about how they received bonuses for denying claims. a story of a woman who had a seven thousand dollar claim taken care of, only to have it retroactively denied because she had had a yeast infection in her past. A YEAST INFECTION. oh, and here's a flat out denial for any insurance policy because the man had heartburn.
people die. a ton of people die because they are denied care by the insurance company. and yes, insurance companies get to make these kinds of decisions because a doctor will not perform unless the doctor is sure he or she is going to get paid. so while you might be sitting there with cancer, waiting for chemotherapy, there is a claims person sitting in a cubicle in idaho telling you there is nothing the insurance company can do for you. and then that claims person gets a raise for it. people die this way, all the time.
moore also spends a lot of time in other countries showing us how well universal heath care works in every country that has it. the things you hear republicans saying on the t.v. turn out to be not so true. and not to rely on moore's interviews only, i've started asking my friends abroad about the health care system and they've verified every single item of moore's reporting, give or take a few details such as, "we have to pay for the ambulance," or "if you have to see a specialist, there is a small fee." with regard to waiting times, read this. if u.s. waiting times are low, it is not because our system is efficient, it's because so many people are being denied testing/services that there are so few people allowed to have that MRI and thus, less people to wait behind.
and like all moore films, he goes out of his way to prove the point he likes, without fully combating his counter-points. this makes his strong points look weaker than they really are. michael, don't make cuba out to be a fantastic place with great health care. make the point that as a quasi-communist country that stomps on human rights, even they take care of their own who are sick. don't make france out to be so perfect. the public's knowledge, however limited, of france's civil unrest taints the picture moore presents, whether or not it should. france is no better to their immigrants than we are to ours, their discrimination not too different from the discrimination that occurs here on our own turf. but france, even with its faults, still provides health care to its citizens. every single one. and let us not even get into all the paid vacation days they get in france, the unlimited paid sick days, the government provided nanny services, the 1 year paid maternity leave, and on, and on.
of his films, this is both the loopiest (it has many funny moments and his "i'm going to act all innocent and pretend to be shocked by this" moments abound) and his saddest (there were several parts at which i cried, others at which you laugh purely because you cannot believe the sad state of the system here, laughing is your only defense).
again, you must see this film. it is shocking. and we deserve and need to get upset enough to want to change the system. it is time that we started caring and informing ourselves on this issue. sicko is a good place to start.