Sunday, March 21, 2010

Doc Film Giant Michael Moore Deserves Profound Thanks for "Sicko" -- Helped Legitimize Health Care Debate ...

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."

"The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health" -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, State of the Union Address, January 11, 1944.

Because I believe in many of the fundamental goals of the health care bill that is on the verge of passing tonight (I am well covered myself), and without turning this into a speech, I reflect on the searing movie put out by documentary showman Michael Moore, Sicko and consider with deep appreciation its critical impact on the debate among Americans in recent years concerning universal health care coverage. Moore's riveting film opened my eyes, as I am sure it did many others, to a different view of the countries with free health care for all that are regularly belittled by Americans too selfish to care about the well being of their uninsured fellow citizens.

I have a friend who just incurred, courtesy of a government program called medicare, a $23,000 bill for two nights in the hospital. Why not health care for all, I asked her? "Because I am against a government run program," she answered. Anyway, she said, everybody can get health care. Where, I wondered? "They can go to the county hospital."

Michael Moore deserves the highest humanitarian award (why not a Nobel?) for his challenging films, for his singular genius both as entertainer and muckraker unafraid to take on corrupt American ways and institutions. Sure, he does not always cover the other side, and you know what? I don't care like I used to. Sometimes the evidence for the prosecution is just too overwhelmingly great. Critic Moore casts attention with the flair of a great showman on the underbelly of a culture that is sinking into the quicksand of an utter economic collapse born of predatory greed.

Last night I watched Capitalism: A Love Story, and was surprised to find it up to Moore's probing standards. Seems that it came and went with little acclaim or attention.

Moore should take lasting satisfaction in his travels with a camera around the world interviewing people in civilized countries generally content with the health care coverage they could expect for free. It certainly helped explode and elevate a simplistic pro-America status quo argument into a more constructive and all-embracing direction.


Anonymous said...

Michael Moore's technique is the same as the politically motivated media; interview a hundred people and then use the 3 out of a hundred that support your position, making it seem as though the other 97 support it too.
In France, for instance, their tax rate is close to 50% to pay for the perks such as an in-home assistant for 2 weeks after childbirth. If they're happy to have 50% of their pay taken for such things, good for them, but it's also the reason for the constant labor strikes in the country, since their disposable income is so much less than ours, and probably related to the 17% unemployment (less disposable income means less places to spend it, means less employees). It's all connected.
Regardless, as a Massachusetts resident (our state is what this health care bill is based on), my income is above the $30,000, below which qualifies for state medical assistance, and, after taxes, not sufficient that I can afford the $450 a month to purchase health insurance (and, believe me, I live frugally, with no credit cards, a ten year old car and low mortgage). Therefore, I have to pay a penalty for not having insurance.
If this new plan has similar requirements and penalties, I honestly don't know how I'll afford it. Heck, if I had an extra 450 lying around, I wouldn't be driving this old wreck.
Moore shows Cuba as a model of health care, but Cubas doctors don't make 500,000 a year like ours do (an we wonder why premiums are so high)or have a system which encourages endless referrals and testing to boost the billing to insurance companies. Frankly, I wouldn't mind a system of very basic care and low paid medical personel as they have in Cuba since I haven't even seen a doctor in 20 years (even though I did have very good insurance for the majority of that time).
People can applaud this new bill all they want, but for me, there will be no benefit other than a greater financial penalty for not being able to afford health insurance.
Americans have become accustomed to primo health attention (much of it unneccesary - basically insurance fraud by doctors). Any change to that and they will be crying health rationing and the doctors will be crying like infants when they see their lavish lifestyles reduced.
Although a minority of the country opposed this bill, very few of us know what is actually in it. Whatever it contains, nothing the government has ever done has decreased costs or not resulted in higher taxes, fees and penalties. I suppose everyone goes on the hope that it will be the 'others' who will be penalized. Believe me, with the magnitude of this new expendature - EVERY working person will be footing the bill, whether they can afford to or not. It's not a matter of compassion for the poor, it's a case of everyone's earning power being reduced, accross the board. We will live to see how this plays out, but even if it's a disater, there's no turning back. Once a social program is put in play, it's forever. With Medicare and Medicade basically bankrupt, does anyone believe that this plan will be able to sustain itself?

Showbiz David said...

yes, greed among doctors and drug makers, the entire system, I completely agree with you. I call it the medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how it will play out when circus owners are required to provide insurance for it's trancient labor force. Apart from being a book keeping nightmare with all the comings and goings, how will a small show keep up the premiums during lean times? Small business owners are seen as the greedy bad guys when they don't offer insurance despite the fact that they are barely pulling a salary themselves, at times.

Anonymous said...

Investing in drug companies is the smart thing to do with 30 million more people soon to be having scripts written for them, like candy at halloween.

Showbiz David said...

oh, yes, all that bogus candy. heck, the old "medicine man" in comparison seems to me almost saintly.

Anonymous said...

David, I can't believe you actually applaud this huckster. Just like the rest of the Hollywood idiots making their pilgrimages to Cuba to praise Castro, he completely ignores his human rights abuses like the thousands of gays who were imprisoned in forced labor camps, many of whom were starved or beaten to death.
I suppose he thinks it all worked out for the better with Cubas health care. Personally, I think it's an atrocity that should never be forgotten, but somehow has.


J. R. Evans said...

I sure wish you had not injected politics into your wonderful blog. Your eulogy of communist loving Michael Moore disappointed me. Sure we need some health care improvements, but HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR THIS BILL? The US of A is broke!

Showbiz David said...

You are right, this is not a political blog, and I understand your disappointment. I do feel that Moore made a very important film that helped advance the debate. The problem here is, how do you review or reference a film without your reaction to it being seen as political. I suppose anybody not in favor of health care would be against the film no matter what. In a sense, whenever we write, our politics are bound to influence what we say. Even circus, my main subject, has political ramifications, albeit less significant. Anybody who follows me would likely realize I am a fierce free market advocate, with little sympathy for second and third rate shows that barely survive on the free kids tickets angle or, worse still, on rampant “charity” phone room operations. To me, health care for all is a different matter. Perhaps you are right, however and I went too far afield