Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sicko, a Michael Moore film

First off, I've always been a bit skeptical of MM. I've seen his movies and have been pretty shaken up by them, but always felt like he was not telling the whole truth. That maybe he was manipulating facts to be more dramatic.

Watched Sicko last night. It was unbelievably painful. Even if he is exaggerating, our health care crisis IS totally insane. The people and their stories: how crazy is our society when a 3 year old can't be treated for a serious condition and dies while the hospitals fight over who has to treat them? When a major medical teaching hospital (USC) dumps indigent patients on the streets in Skid Row, in the middle of the night, still in their hospital gowns and disoriented?

At the root of it all is that the US medical system is a for-profit business. Any health care plan where someone stands to make money by not treating sick people is inherently flawed. A doctor that stands to make more money when patients don't get the tests they need is denying his own hippocratic oath. When a man looses two fingers in an accident and is made to choose at the hospital which one he can afford to have re-attached, something is SO messed up.

Moore explores Canada, England, and France to see their 'socialized' national healthcare system, and debunks many of the myths about their systems. I had always heard that despite Canada's national healthcare, that you have to wait months and months for treatment. Not so. In France, new mothers get in home assistance to help with their newborns, even getting help with the laundry, at no charge. No one is turned away from help. Even preventative care is free. Low price pharmaceuticals mean parents don't have to choose between antibiotics for their kids or groceries.

Moore even shows how Gitmo inmates receive excellent care, and surprisingly, Cuba itself has an excellent medical system. Prison inmates in the US receive top notch medical care.

I can remember my husband telling me when he worked in a store that often elderly patients bought cat food cans in quantity, and he asked what kind of cat they had. Usually, they said they didn't have one. He explained that some admitted they couldn't afford food AND their numerous medications. So guess what they ate? When McDonald's had their 29 cent hamburger promotion years ago, it became a problem because elderly ones were stocking up huge amounts, just to have something to freeze and then eat when they needed it. How messed up is this?

See this movie if you can handle it. Seeing 9/11 volunteers and EMT responders being denied treatment is pretty hard to take.

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