Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I have, until now, studiously avoided seeing Michael Moore's film "Sicko." It is the kind of film that makes me ill. The kind of film that I am sure will present me with evidence to confirm what I already believe. The kind of film that I am sure will present others with a lot of food for thought and may cause them to re-examine their own beliefs. The kind of film that will flash in the sky like fireworks on the fourth of July, leave debris behind on the streets for a week or so, and then be swept away without much thought for another year.

I have long championed socialized medicine. I believe that everyone has the right to seek medical treatment and receive it regardless of their socioeconomic status. I don't buy any of that crap that says that the United States has the best healthcare in the world because our system is market-driven. We have an incredibly high infant mortality rate. Our rate of homelessness is directly attributable to our lack of health care and mental health treatment. I could spout statistics. I could present facts, anecdotal evidence, actual interviews. But Michael Moore did that already. He did it with humor and honesty. He did it without ambiguity and by asking questions of people on both sides of the issue. And it hasn't made a damn bit of difference.

I watched 2/3 of the movie "Sicko" last night. I had to turn it off because I couldn't stand to watch anymore. For decades other countries have known that being healthy is a fundamental building block to having a strong society. Other Western countries. Other democratic countries. Other countries with whom the United States is allied. Other countries who look at us in disbelief. What is it going to take for us to admit that we are a society? A collective, connected society? What will it take for the United States to cease being simply a group of individuals interested in their own personal wealth and issues and begin seeing ourselves as part of something bigger? What do we need to do to understand that what hurts some of us hurts us all? I, for one, am not afraid of higher taxes if it means that each and every person in this country will be free to walk in to a clinic and be treated. I am not afraid of spending more of my own money right now so that in ten or fifteen or twenty years our rate of cancers, obesity, diabetes, homelessness and people losing their homes because of catastrophic healthcare costs will diminish.

I am disgusted by the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies who continue to dole out millions of dollars to protect their bottom line. I am not willing to move to another country to get my socialized medicine. This is my home. I want to stay here and make it better. I'm just not sure that will happen in my lifetime. Forgive me for turning off the movie and burying my head in the sand for now. I'm feeling a little discouraged.


Deb said...

I chose not to watch the movie for all the reasons you stated here. I wish I had an answer that made sense or that felt empowering in some way. I'm going to go pet my dog now.

Anonymous said...

I have not seen the movie yet, although I want to. I am afraid to see it, as I know my blood will boil. I work with so many children and families that I have to fight to get minimal coverage. My own Christie, because she is not technically adopted yet, has crappy, crappy coverage by the state, and it kills me. It makes no sense at all, and there seems to be no end it sight. I just get so frustrated at times I could cry. Taking Christie to the ER in Maryland over Thanksgiving, when she had pnemonia is costing us thousands out of pocket. It it was Hannah or Melanie, it would have been $35.00. Our system sucks. Many of my families who work have no insurance, and just self medicate and pray they don't need to go to the hospital. You know all this, but it is such a hot topic for me. So sad. So helpless.
There has got to something we can do or someone in power has to wake up. It is tragic.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Don't even get me started, and those parents trying to treat a child with special needs? Forget about it. DON'T get me going on how we pour money into "correctional" institutes when we could be putting them into education and thus, reducing our needs to "correct" so many people that just haven't been properly understood/diagnosed and well-loved/educated! GRRRR!

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

Rant on sister, until somebody hears.

Michelle O'Neil said...

We have to focus on what we want.

So what do we want? Affordable healthcare for everyone.


Suzy said...

It's a tough concept to grab- tough because it seems SO STUPID that this country can't take care of it's own.

Don't get me started....

Love you.


La La said...

I love Michael Moore. I watched it as soon as it hit the theaters. I love that he makes us face these issues, only I wish those in power would really take a good, long look at it!

I'm a teacher, and I can't afford my medication for depression because I have to pay out of pocket first, which is nearly impossible on my budget, and my meds are 650.00 a month. I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, and I struggle. Many of the people he focusses on have coverage, too, but for one reason or another can't make it work for them. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

It enrages me that so many people don't have any coverage. So, yes, I support health coverage for ALL PEOPLE.

Jerri said...

I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly. And I'm sorry you're feeling discouraged.

For me, one of the keys in what you've written is that we need to admit we are a society. It would solve so many problems.

Anonymous said...

This is way off topic, but could you give me some of your wisdom on a post. I am feeling a bit boxed in.

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