Friday, June 29, 2007

Kudos to Michael Moore

Like the lush that I am, I skirted out of work on a long lunch break this afternoon to catch Michael Moore’s “Sicko”. Before I digress, I’d like to backup a bit and say I’m really not a fan of the guy. He’s definitely not an altruist. In my not so humble opinion, Bowling for Columbine started out great but then fell flat when the film become more about Moore and less about gun control; an issue near and dear to my heart. Roger and Me was too preachy. But, Moore’s last two outings (Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko) have been nothing but superb.

What makes Sicko most effective is that it is a call to action and not just a film about how screwed up we are in the US. Since my return to the coffee shop this evening, I’ve already witnessed numerous health care representatives, members of the congress and government, as well as lobbyists, on cable TV belly-aching about how Moore’s film is misleading. But is it really?

Let’s get down to the basics. Private industry is in business for one purpose: to make a profit. A private healthcare system – such as what we have in the US – is essentially one built on this tenet. To think otherwise is nonsense. So, why all of the fear about “socialized medicine”; the term used in abundance by all but Tommy Thompson during the last Republican debate? What is it we’re really afraid of?

Moore’s forays into the Canadian, French and Cuban health systems should not be taken lightly. They are strong examples of where and how we continue to fail not just our poor and elderly, but also every middle-income American who has to deal with our failed health system.

For example, this past month I decided to visit three different doctors for different ailments for the first time in almost three years. I have slightly better coverage than an HMO (PPO) and made sure I used only doctors within the “network”. Just this past week I received bills totaling more than $300 dollars, which caught me by surprise. I contacted my insurance company to find out why the in-network visits cost so much. They replied that I hadn’t yet met my deductible and therefore had to pay for the doctor’s visits almost entirely. In short, I got my teeth cleaned, and had two other “specialists” put their fingers up my arse for five minutes only to tell me that I’m healthy (hey, I’m nearly 40 so I’ve got to be careful these days). Had I known back in May what I know now I would’ve preferred to buy a Wii, or something more useful like a steady diet of fast food.

Go see the film. Discuss it with friends. And remember the message: Something has to change ‘cause what we have doesn’t work.


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Paddy said...

I'm looking forward to it!!!

A history of problems with our eyes runs in my family, and I've had my share (cataract at 33 y/o & detached retina at 43). This last time with the retina, the "family eye doctor" did a 2 hour in patient surgery, total of 5 hours in hospital.

Dr fee? $1200. Anesth Fee? $900.
Hospital? $17K and change.

Explain that.

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous John Aravosis' Neighbor Barbara said...

Since I am a little bit older than you are, Jay, I think I can add a little bit of history to this discussion.

In the 1950s and 60s there was a popular novelist, who was also a doctor, by the name of Frank G. Slaughter. His stuff appealed to adolescent bookworms, but nevermind.

When Lyndon Johnson proposed Medicare, there was much crying and tearing of shirts about "Socialized Medicine." I read my last Frank G. Slaughter book when he took on this issue in a novel that showed how an unethical doctor could game the system to the detriment of patients, in order to make a profit. That he ignored professional standards and ignored that the medical insurance industry is foremost interested in profits for themselves was beside the point. Just like the insurance industry does now.

I am sick unto death that the Rethugs STILL insist that the private market can do better than the government. Um-huh, no they can't. When you have collapsed on the street, you are not in a position to tell the EMTs to take you to the hospital that you have researched and where your primary care physician has credentials. Just sayin'


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