I watched all Michael Moore movies. I am the kind of guy who likes to form my own opinions based on my own experiences if possible. Some people will rely on O’Reilley’s or Hannity’s or some other moron’s opinion and will argue with you about the subject they personally know nothing about, instead of spending the same time to see the movie and then decide for yourself.
Sicko is a documentary about the health care industry in this country. There are people who professionally take apart Moore’s movie and provide a frame-by-frame rebuttals of his arguments. Of course all his movies are not real documentaries, facts he cites are fake or doctored, and the truth is not in what’s shown in the movie but what’s omitted. Being a skeptic that I am, I can easily see through most of the bullshit, but even I can’t deny that his movies are fun to watch and serve their purpose to facilitate heated discussion on the subject.
The movie has a lot of dramatic shots: a guy stitching his own knee, a man forced to chose which finger gets reattached, a lady whose child died because of negligence, many people who were denied treatment, people who were actually doing the denying, old ladies thrown out of the hospital and left at the curb near the homeless shelter. I will venture to say that some of these incidents are due to the ignorance of the patient, others are negligence and plain idiocy of the hospital personnel, and what happened to 9/11 workers is a disgrace and people responsible for that should end up in jail.
The whole movie is built around Moore’s thesis that insurance companies are there to help people. He actually says that in the beginning of the movie. Anyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows that insurance companies are businesses, with stockholders (who can be any person with a 401k or Moore himself), with CEO’s, with quarterly results and profit reports and all that comes with running a corporation. No one calls Wal Mart or Ford and asks for compassion, none should be expected from insurance companies. Is it a good system? Probably not. As an alternative Moore brings up universal health care systems in Canada, France, England and Cuba. Problems with each are numerous and well-documented. Apparently critics of Canadian system make their own documentaries. Here is a blurb about one of the movies: “A Short Course in Brain Surgery highlights the plight of an Ontario man with a cancerous brain tumor who crossed the border to the U.S. to get the medical care that is rationed in his home country.”
I may not know much about Canada, Britain or France, but the footage from Moore’s visit to a Cuban hospital made me chuckle. I know all about putting on a show. From painting the grass green in the middle of winter, to fixing up just fronts of the houses along highways where 1980 Olympians would be passing, to making people go to demonstrations and carry signs, a country like Cuba knows how to put on a show for a unsuspecting foreigner. If you for a second believe that 8 doctors analyze x-rays for every poor and homeless Cuban, what do you Americans say about a “bridge in Brooklyn”. I myself participated in these shows when the school I was attending was visited by Americans in 70’s and 80’s. We knew about these visits upfront and were told to dress-up, clean-up, act straight, not to take anything, especially precious chewing gum. I am sure back at home Americans were under impression that we look and act like that every day. The same goes about an “average” French family who makes $8,000/month. I think that family making the same amount of money here would be able to display a nice house, take nice vacations and drive nice cars. If that was the case everyone would want to live in France, apparently that’s not the case.
Moore spends some time discussing Hillary’s health reform that was killed by heartless republicans and relegated Hillary to presiding over Easter egg hunts for the rest of her first ladyship. In another episode it’s pointed out that the health care industry eventually made Hillary 2nd or 3rd largest recipient of their contributions in Congress. So what makes people think that she will magically fix the system if elected is unclear to me.
My personal opinion is that the system will not be fixed in the near future. Even if this country decided to go to socialized medicine it will require huge sacrifice either in taxes, quality and availability of care or both. I don’t think that American people are ready to go through with it. In the discussion on XO’s blog I found out that in Britain’s national health care costs citizens 25% of their income and some people opt out of the system, if a politician brings it up here they will guarantee themselves never being elected.
No matter which side you are on, I recommend watching this movie just to see what you think. Nothing in it is not entirely untrue, and if nothing else it is thought-provoking and entertaining.