Last night I watched Sicko, Michael Moore’s film about the U.S. healthcare system. I’ll give you some time . . .OK, now that you’ve recovered from the mention of the hated film-maker, can we move on? It was a movie that was disturbing, revealing, compelling, funny, infuriating, pandering, provocative, silly, and meaningful all at once.
The movie starts by telling some stories about people without insurance, one of which had to choose whether to reattach his middle finger for $60,000 or his ring finger for $12,000, or neither. It moved on to HMOs, the rigidity of that system, and the results (including a frightening recording of Nixon ). It also tells how a child died because the hospital she was taken to didn’t accept her insurance.
Then it goes to countries with “socialized” medicine, Canada, the UK, and France, in order to dispel the image Americans have about wait times, obsolete equipment, substandard doctors, etc. He talks to Americans who live in the UK and France who love the health systems there.
He takes some 9/11 rescue workers who now suffer respiratory and PTSD problems (who can’t get medical help from the government or their HMOs) to Gitmo, having heard from the federal government that the detainees there have great health care. Needless to say, he doesn’t get them in, but they are admitted and treated in a Cuban hospital by good staff with up-to-date equipment.
Finally he asks some very hard-to-answer questions, like: What kind of society dumps people who can’t pay their hospital bills on Skid Row or at shelters? Why do we accept universal schooling and publicly-funded libraries, but not healthcare? Where are our priorities and why do we feel that some deserve help while others don’t?
It was a very thought-provoking movie. On the whole it was very worth the watch.