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.