Tuesday, July 10, 2007


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.

7 people who played with me:

Blogger cadiz12 said...

my mother hasn't slept well at night for nearly a quarter of a decade because there's a bill from insurance every day and she's on the phone with the insurance companies at least once a week to figure out how the hell we're going to continue paying for my brother's extensive healthcare.

there is no reason that a middleclass family should have to work overtime, forgo vacations, home improvements and other luxuries just to cover the day-to-day expenses of having a rare condition no one seems to understand. but it happens every day.

the kid suffers so much as it is, and i would give my life if it'd make that stop, but the way healthcare is today, even that would probably not be enough.

7/10/2007 11:08 AM  
Blogger Neily said...

From past experience, Mr. Moore has been so biased that it has me cringing every time I see his movies. Id like to see it purely from a comical point of view, and also your reviews have proven good so far :)

7/10/2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger Cousin said...

Unfortunately most of the Dems proposals are complicated and hard to sell. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm with Bob Schrum: just make Medicare available to everyone. That still leaves pleanty of capitalism to Medicine, but people will find Medicare attractive as a safety-net option and there's no new beuracracy to sell (just bigger).

7/10/2007 2:45 PM  
Blogger jazz said...

Cous: they are all supremely complicated. moore kind of dances around that in the film. he has the old PM talking about their conversion over in '49. the old dude said that pamphelets were distributed saying, "as of X date, your healthcare costs will be taken care of. these will not be free as you will be supporting the system by paying taxes."

seems like the candidates could make it simpler if they wanted...

7/10/2007 7:51 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

the reason France (and the rest of europe) has all these benefits is because they pay a lot more in taxes...

the reason more taxes are not imposed on americans is cus everyone in politics is there because their "rich friends" PUT them there, and the rich friends dont want to pay more taxes because if THEY need any medical treatments they HAVE the money to pay for it.

dont forget, things in america is done to cater to the rich people who own politicians.

7/11/2007 3:59 AM  
Blogger omar said...

I was going to pretty much say what Alexandra said, regarding the high taxes required to support universal health care.

But since she already said it, I've got nothing productive to add to this conversation.

7/11/2007 8:19 AM  
Blogger jazz said...

but i should note, even though there are higher taxes, they also don't pay for education. they literally have zero college debt. the only debt people have are their mortgages.

moore interviewed a couple who together made 8K a month before taxes and they lived very VERY well.

7/11/2007 9:29 AM  

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