We went to see Michael Moore’s SiCKO last weekend.
Politically, I guess I’m somewhat in sync with Michael Moore, although I do believe he plays fast-and-loose with some facts. I’m not sure his films should be part of the documentary category. That being said, I think that SiCKO is Moore’s best movie since the charming Roger & Me. It’s also closer to a documentary than either Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 911.
As a US citizen and a resident of Canada for the last 10 years, I have familiarity with both medical systems. When I was living in the US, I had the benefit of excellent insurance, as well. But I also have family members who have relied on government in the US for health care, and it ain’t pretty. The time has come for the US to join the rest of the industrialized world, and offer a single-payer health care system.
I know it’s a logical fallacy to rely on singular-to-universal propositions, but I think examples can still be instructive, and bring home subjects like health care to a personal, understandable level. Moore succeeds at that level. The people he introduces us to are real and genuine. Those who have experienced US medical care (or lack thereof) were sympathetic folks with real problems and real, adverse results.
Sure, there are parts of the movie that I thought were strained. I don’t believe for a minute that the Cuban government didn’t have forewarning that Moore’s gang were arriving, or that the extraordinary care they received was standard for all Cuban citizens. But you can’t argue with data from the World Health Organization, showing that the US & Cuba are pretty close on the health-care front.
I wish Moore had found my mother’s former doctor. Mom went to a doctor in rural Virginia for years. He was a wonderful, kind man, was always available to, and and took excellent care of Mom. That is, until he moved back to Canada about a year ago. Why? He told us that he had grown tired of the US health system on various fronts: (1) he had to spend way too much time on paperwork; (2) he had to hire way to many people to handle the paperwork; (3) he was frustrated that so many people who needed health care were unable to receive it; and (4) he made too little money, considering his hours. He shared with us that he’d made about $75k in 2005, despite working 60-70 hours per week. He felt that the US system was broken, and that the only ones profiting were the specialists and the pharmaceutical companies. (I am so thankful, though, that Mom was able to find another, wonderful doctor; I hope he will stay!)
Michael Moore is right. There is no question that the time has come, dear US, for universal health care. And no, as the rest of the western world can attest, it won’t be the end of civilization as you know it.