No matter how much the corporate media have told you to think of Michael Moore as a left-wing lunatic, do yourself and the country a favor and see "Sicko." You'll laugh and you'll cry. And you will wonder why. Why is the wealthiest of nations so dysfunctional when it comes to health care? His new movie has elevated the issue of universal health care to the level it has deserved for years.
The monolithic insurance and medical corporations have stifled debate on this topic ever since they bombarded the American people with anti-health care ads back when Hillary Clinton first tried to introduce the concept in the early 90's. They used the tried and true right-wing scare tactics of fear and lies when they suggested to the public that government-sponsored health insurance would take away their right to choose their own doctors and dictate what treatment they could receive.
These points were brought up by Moore in the film. He actually went to Canada, France, and even Cuba to ask the people about health care under their systems. Guess what. They really were able to choose their own physicians and were not denied the treatment they needed. He did an impressive bit of legwork to interview dozens of people in and out of the US.
We learn that in our great nation of enormous wealth, over 40 million people have no health coverage. The 250 million who do have insurance are only a major illness or injury from bankruptcy. Moore spends much of the movie exploring cases of Americans who thought they had enough coverage to get by. We learn that the critical decisions for their care are not made by them and their doctor. Their fate is decided by a bottom line corporate mentality that proves repeatedly to be as cold and cruel as anyone could imagine.
Insurance company doctors are rewarded in proportion to the amount of money they can save the company by blocking care to customers. They are not in business to provide health services. They are in business to maximize profit. Their doctors are paid to rubber stamp patients' claims with the word that cuts to their very hearts. "Denied."
People are denied claims on such unbelievable premises like fraud and falsification when they forgot to write down headaches on their medical history forms. Nothing is too preposterous for these companies and their blood-stained, money grubbing claws.
Thousands of Americans die each year from lack of care and the corporate media tells us we don't want national health insurance. Paris Hilton gets endless "news" coverage, and the health care crisis is ignored. Hmm. I wonder why corporate media throws up smoke and mirrors to cover for insurance corporations. Could it be because corporate money goes into politicians’ re-election funds, only to be returned to the corporate media through campaign ads? Then the politicians legislate incentives and tax breaks for the corporations. Naw. That would be corporatocracy, not democracy.
So, why don't Americans want universal health care? Just recently, on June 22nd, CBS aired a piece on "Sicko." Reporter Jeff Greenfield offered his critique of Michael Moore's documentary. He said, " ...no one, Democrat or Republican, has come close to advocating the kind of government-run national health system Michael Moore proposes." Right. Except that's a lie. Along with dozens of other representatives, Dennis Kucinich has advocated this system. They have co-sponsored H.R. 676 that proposes just such a program.
And what about the American people? What do they really think about this issue?
According to a CNN poll from May 2007, 64% of Americans supported the idea that "government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes." It appears we Americans DO want our health care "socialized," just like we want our police and fire departments "socialized." Imagine that. We expect our government to serve "We the people."
And just how are those poor "socialists" in Canada, France, and Cuba getting by with their health care systems? Turns out they all have a higher life expectancy than we do. So, what will our values be, corporate greed, or "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"