Thursday, July 26, 2007

Can I review 'Sicko' in 339 words? Yes I can

Sicko is Michael Moore's best film ever. I dare you to watch it and not freak out. It had none of Moore's signature in-your-face shots of cornered corporate giants. In fact, it has a polished, motion-picture feel to it. Except that it's very real. Cuba and France come off very well, while the United States comes off terrible. Which isn't as Stalinesque as it sounds.

Like with Fahrenheit 9/11, there was little in this film that I didn't already know. But to see it on screen really hammers it home. Moore's stance is that the United States deserves a health care system that's at least as good as Cuba's (which exports a huge proportion of doctors around the world and has socialized health care) and Canada's (which one single mom in Detroit crosses the border to use, by using a local friend as a reference).

Moore's ace in the hole is that he employs actual pharmaceutical representatives to tell of their deeds. When one woman speaks of being rough on the phone only because she doesn't want to repeat the experience of bonding with an overjoyed couple she ultimately had to reject, it's a very powerful moment.

As for all those arguments you have against national health care? Sicko takes care of them. Every last one.

Much has been made of Moore's trip to Cuba with the 9/11 rescue workers who have been denied vital coverage by their insurance companies. What's often forgotten is that Moore's crew originally set out for Guantanamo Bay, U.S. soil, to receive the free health care provided to terrorist suspects. The Coast Guard, who intercepted the boat, apparently thought this was fine and sent them on their way. It was only after Gitmo pushed them away with sirens did they wind up in Cuba and get the help they needed. The local firefighters even honored them with a ceremony, saying they were all brothers. Sicko is a very touching and very necessary film.

Fittingly, only five people were in the theater at my showing.

22 comments:

jeffrey said...

If it makes you feel any better, we saw it in a suburban megaplex theater packed with a crying and applauding audience.

Of course, this was on the film's opening weekend so...

Ian McGibboney said...

Yeah, I saw it at 10:20 on a Monday night...in a 9-to-5 city...with numerous hospitals and health care companies. So five people was actually kinda high.

Still, there was audible crying.

Cajun Tiger said...

"Cuba comes off very well"...that would be news to all the political prisoners and refugees risking their life to COME to the US.

Ian McGibboney said...

The point isn't that Cuba is some great nation. It's not; it's dirt-poor, repressive and makes floating on doors among sharks pretty good. But, somehow, when the Coast Guard inevitably turns refugees back, they'll get treatment in their homeland for shark bites. If they landed in Miami, it would cost them. Dearly.

That's not an endorsement of Cuba; that's a point against the U.S. for-profit system.

Cajun Tiger said...

Nope won't cost them a thing...other than a trip to prison and probably torture along with probably their family...other than that I'm sure the healthcare being free is great. Apparently Castro doesn't think to highly of his free medical care either as he called in doctors from Europe to take care of him. So yeah...let's offer free care to all then we can have the same medical care as Cuba, being apparently it is totally superior to US medical care according to Moore.

Ian McGibboney said...

Again, Moore is not sanctifying Cuba; he's asking why even a tiny, rogue nation can have more equitable health care than a powerful nation like the U.S.

Cajun Tiger said...

Again, I say it is easy to give away for free when it is worthless like the Cuba medical care is.

Ian McGibboney said...

Apparently the 9/11 rescue workers didn't think it was so worthless.

Anyway, how is no care (for the poorest) better than what you deem "worthless"?

Cajun Tiger said...

Yeah...I'm sure the propoganda hungry Castro government treated them like every other poor Cuban citizen.

Please show me all the people in American dying b/c no one will treat them. No one is refused emergency health care in this country, not even those who are here illegally.

If you want to truly improve our healthcare system, the solution is less government, not more. Just ask any soldier who has to deal with the VA.

Betty B. said...

In the World Health Org. rankings of the best health care systems, France was #1, Italy was #2, United Kingdom was #18, Canada was #30, the U.S. was #37 and Cuba was #39. In Cuba doctors make $20 per month. I doubt that there are many doctors in the U.S. that make under $100,000 and most make much more than that. If Cuba can deliver that kind of quality laboring under the thumb of a dictatorial government, economic sanctions and extreme poverty, I would think the U.S. could step up to the plate and figure out how to deliver quality health care to ALL of its citizens at a reasonable cost.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but plan to get the DVD when it is available.

Ian McGibboney said...

Oh, it gets better, Betty. Moore interviews random doctors in the UK and France system, assuming they made chintzy government salaries. The UK doctor had a huge loft for his wife and kids, a BMW and made nearly the equivalent of a million dollars. A French doctor was close as well. And, keep in mind, there isn't a huge disparity in doctor salaries because of the nature of the system. The UK doc admitted that, in America, he'd make a lot more, but "I'll just have to get by with this."

Cajun Tiger said...

Besides looking at the VA for government run healthcare, you can also add in medicare and medicaid...two stalwats of efficiency and excellence.

Even CNN's Dr. Gupta points out all the errors in his film for example the wait time for a doctor, in which the US ranks 2nd behind Germany. Also the mortality rate that Moore sites for Cuba vs. the US is a product of some fuzzy math.

Nearly half of the uninsured in America are illegal aliens.

And finally free health care for all IS NOT FREE!

Ian McGibboney said...

I never said, "free health care." I know it would cost us in tax dollars. But I, as is the case with most people I have talked to, would GLADLY pay a tax if I knew that it would allow me to see a doctor as soon as I got sick, whenever I got sick. Most people nowadays don't see a doctor until they're in advanced stages of illness, which costs us all more in the long run than preventative care ever would. And if I were in the earliest stages of sickness, I'd gladly wait knowing that I wasn't putting it off when waiting was not an option.

Of course, with our medical resources, the U.S. shouldn't have that problem on the scale that other countries with universal health care have. The reason we're ranked so high for waiting periods is because people aren't going.

I dispute the illegal alien figure, unless you can show me where you got that. I don't know any illegal aliens, but I know plenty of people without health insurance. I myself had none for two years.

Cajun Tiger said...

Before you so gladly agree to pay in taxes for "free" health care, you may want to check the taxes in the countries that go that route. Well then again being a Dem I'm sure raising taxes is par for the course. And if you don't have a problem waiting in lines, get ready to wait in very long lines...ever been to a DMV...great example of government efficiency isn't it?

I couldn't find the article I got the stat from but here is a different one that has the same stats. If there are 46 million unisured and 10-20 million illegal aliens in the country that means of the uninsured 25-almost 50% of the uninsured are illegal.

http://www.jpands.org/vol10no1/cosman.pdf

Ian McGibboney said...

I am not against taxes if they serve good causes that save people money in the long run. Health care definitely falls in that category. If everyone could see a doctor as soon as they felt bad - instead of fretting over costs until it's too late - then we would probably nip a lot of deadly things early, save taxpayer money and put those people back on the path to productivity.

And, yes, I've been to several DMVs in two states. They were always efficient, whereas doctor visits took hours per pop. Surely the twain could meet.

As for your figures, I don't see what they prove except that you're willing to dismiss the uninsured in this country because many of them are illegal aliens. That seems more of a convenient dismissal than offering an approach to solve the problem.

Cajun Tiger said...

Seeing a doctor as soon as you feel bad...good luck with that with socialist medical care.

So now we could possibly be down to 22 million uninsured when you remove the illegals. That number would come down more for many other reasons. Legal immigrants are also a large number of that number. Also some people don't buy insurance b/c they can afford to pay for their own care. And another being some people just don't want health insurance b/c they see it as a waste of money (I disagree with that but that is their reason). I know people in all three of those categories. The point being it isn't as bad as the "the sky is falling" libs use to scare the public.

Solution is not more government nanny state fixes and more taxes, which by the way would hurt the very people they are saying they want to help by weakening the economy. For starters the solution is to get the government completely out of the health care business; put a cap on lawsuit settlements for "pain and suffering" and institute laws that people who bring frivilous lawsuits have to pay reimburse expenses of the sued person, both of which would lower malpractice insurance those lower medical care; and allow health savings accounts.

Ian McGibboney said...

So most people without health insurance either don't deserve it because of citizenship status or just don't want it? I don't believe that for a minute, especially the latter. I have never met a single person in my life who refused health insurance!

Whether the issue is global warming or health care, you're very quick to sound the "fear" alarm. But unlike the fear constantly pumped out by the government, these two issues are brought forth by those who have been affected by them, not from those who stand to benefit financially and in other ways. And when millions of people can't afford a basic human need because of poverty, I'm inclined to listen to them.

Also, you seem to think any tax or government involvement is bad. Granted, much of it is. But why pick on health care? If the tax system is adjusted back to its progressive roots, and enabled people can continue to make their own choices, then a health system to meet everyone's needs would be sound and, ultimately, cheaper than taking up huge bills for people who can't pay for major procedures, because they had to wait.

The real solution to "frivolous lawsuits" is better diligence within the justice system. I find it sick that Republicans want to use that term to justify limiting a citizen's right to sue against those poor corporations.

"Health care business" is exactly what's wrong with your answer. It's too much of a business to do what it needs to do.

Cajun Tiger said...

Just b/c you have never met someone who has refused it doesn't mean they don't exist, have you ever met a Swahili of Burundi...no...then I guess they don't exist either. BTW...you have "met" one...me. When I was in younger I turned it down b/c at the time in my mind I never get sick so what is the need for health insurance.

Oh yeah..not a single person or corporation pushing socialized health care or human caused global warming earn a penny from their efforts...opps...not even AlGore can claim to be free of profit from his scare tactics due to his carbon credit scheme.

Taxes back to its "progressive roots" So I guess you are calling for a 70% tax bracket again on the wealthy...good luck with that.

Hmmm...people making their own choices...now there is a concept to bad that isn't the reality of the Dems proposals as they would have no choice but to pay more taxes and only have one option for health care...big government.

Yeah...spilling coffee that was hot was all MikeyD's fault and that evil company got what they deserved.

Yep...there's the solution...make it less like a business and more like the perfectly efficient and never wasteful government. I'm sure vets can't wait to have every hospital be as top rate as the VAs.

Government can't even manage the military medical system, so let's add even more on top of that...yeah...that will make it all better.

Ian McGibboney said...

--I like think I know and have known lots of diverse people from many nationalities and all walks of life, more than the average person. And I stand by what I said. You are clearly one of the few I've ever heard of who did that, and to present yourself as a common case is misleading.

--Environmentalism is a worthwhile cause that affects us all, whether or not we like it. And I'd hedge that far fewer environmentalists are in it for the money than any one GOP movement (the culture war, Iraq war, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc.). And if Al Gore is making some lecturing fees for promoting the cause, well, I think I can live with that.

--Progressive taxes were what drove the soaring economy from the 1950s to the 1980s. Every one - rich, poor, middle class - saw their net worth rise because there wasn't as much stratification of wealth as there has been since Reagan. And I'll submit that the crunch of the late 1970s was a foreign-policy issue, not a domestic one.

--No one said universal health care had to take away anyone's choices. But, for some people, there IS no choice! And I doubt that group is complaining about not having the "SOL" choice taken away from them.

--The McD's case was actually a bad example of a frivolous lawsuit. To sum up: the McD's had been repeatedly cited for serving coffee 20-30 degrees above proper temperature. Elderly woman in car told she can put it between her legs. She's burnt so badly that she requires skin grafts. She asks McDonald's to pay for the surgery, which cost thousands of dollars. They refuse. So she sued for millions and won.

--Maybe the government could manage the military medical system if they funded it as well as they do the killing part of the military. And if the Bush regime would stop playing politics with the military.

Cajun Tiger said...

-my dig at Gore had nothing to do with his lecture fees. He owns major stock in the company that he recommends to people to buy their carbon credits to repent of their carbon sins. No motivation there to get people to feel bad for using carbon.

-biggest economic expansion in American history...the 80s and 90s...after tax cuts

-next biggest in the 60s after Kennedy tax cut

-third biggest 00s after Bush tax cuts

yep...let's raise taxes again!

let's see medical costs and court costs were thousands and you get millions...great way to have a viable economy and won't in any way effect cost of insurance.

-the VA was providing horrible care way before the Iraq war and under Dems and Repubs and it is shameful that those who put their life on the line to defend our freedom don't get top care. Again another perfect reason to not trust government to run medical care.

Ian McGibboney said...

--At least Gore is consistent in his views. His financial interests are driven by his personal interests, which is the opposite of most politicians in general.

--Reagan had a good economy because of deficit spending that bit it in the ass in 1987. And what growth there was came after a severe bottoming out in 1982. Bush's "growth" came only after record deficits, and has not helped those beyond the most well-to-do. Kennedy's tax cuts were progressive, which meant everyone shared in it. Those are the kind of cuts that help the economy.

--I'm calling for a medical safety net that allows all Americans to have at least a minimal (but substantial) coverage if something happens to them. It doesn't have to be the mismanaged VA system, but I'd like something to be there. The HMO school clearly doesn't work. For the people, at least.

Cajun Tiger said...

Well we could go back and forth on the economy issue for ever and not agree so I'll agree to disagree on that one.

I'm not a big fan of the HMO system either as there are too many government regulations on it and is another example I use as government run health care being bad.

While if anyone is following this will have to jump posts to get the background, once again I'll have to say what I said in the Clark Bar Exam posts. That is a noble ideal, but it isn't provided for in the Constitution. So, either if it is something that should be publically funded it would have to fall to the states which some states are now working on doing or amend the Constitution.