Saturday, June 16, 2007

Adam says SICKO is good for your health!

Michael Moore has a bad reputation.
He's a rabble rouser, to be sure. An enemy of a good portion of the establishment. A gadfly stinging the rump of corporate America.
Liberal as I might be, even I have some problems with Moore. He's PT Barnum with a political agenda. The show is sometimes more important than the message with him. The irritation he causes is sometimes the root inspiration for his actions. Not change itself, but the annoyance he causes his enemies.
Quite a lot of the time, Moore gets the Right so enraged, it helps them to stave off attempts to actually enact change.
Moore's necessary, though. He's a funny guy who tackles unfunny subjects.
And now, he's gone after the most unfunny thing ever. The American health care system.
Sicko is a gigantic wake up call. A smack to the face of the American people. It's chilling at times, seeing how utterly broken our health care system is.
At one point in the movie, Moore travels to California and sees security camera footage of an elderly woman dropped off on the street by the hospital she was being treated at because she couldn't pay. The woman is confused and disoriented -- you can tell that from the silent footage. And she's wandering around with no idea where she is or where she should go.
The footage is terrifying.
That could be any one of us. Or our mothers. Or our children.
What kind of nation do we live in where a HOSPITAL dumps patients on the street? Literally dumps them.

It wouldn't be a Michael Moore film without some form of a stunt. In Sicko, he takes a flotilla of civillian 9/11 rescue volunteers and other people in need of health care and takes them to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba looking for health care.
Of course, he can't get into the naval base. So he takes the people to a Cuban hospital, in face of the US embargo of the island. Shame on you, Michael Moore. You got a woman prescriptions for inhalers (that would cost her $120 in the US) for the equivalent of $0.05 in Cuba. Shame shame shame.
Seriously. The drugs cost $119.95 LESS in Cuba.
I thought we lived in the greatest nation of the history of the world. I thought we lived in a nation that can do anything, should we put our mind to it. How can we not provide health care to ALL our citizens when a Third World country like Cuba can manage it?

Yes, Moore admits in the film that he gave money to the webmaster of MooreWatch to keep his wife in treatment rather than he have to shut down his website, fully hoping that Jim Kenefick continue to bust his balls. Say what you will about Moore's motives, but no conservative group gave Kenefick the money.
Instead, his enemy did.
Don't you wish you had enemies like that?

Tony Benn, a former member of the British Parliament, puts the whole issue in perspective. The whole thing is about democracy. Prior to democracy, all the power was in the hands of the rich. Giving the poor the vote moved the power from the marketplace to the polling place.
Choice depends on the freedom to choose. If you're in debt, you lose the freedom to choose. When the poor feel helpless, they don't vote. And that keeps the power in the marketplace, not the polling place.

Sicko is mature beyond Moore's previous work. He doesn't get snarky. He doesn't have cutesy cartoons. Why? Because there's no humor in tragedy. And our health care system is a tragedy.
The movie ends on a hopeful not of "What if?", realizing that our pharmaceutical and health care industries are completely entrenched and won't go quietly into that good corporate night. But what if we could provide for our citizens as they deserve. We live in the richest, most productive nation on earth. Don't we owe it to our own people?

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