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I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

SICKO--adding to the debate


It's funny that I should be writing about SICKO now, because at this very moment I am trying to figure out my own health insurance situation. My parents and boyfriend have basically been dogging me to get my sorry young ass covered already, so I'm trying to apply through mediabistro, which has services for freelance writers. They have a variety of plans, all pretty expensive but decent.

So here I am, searching through all these Atlantis and GHI and Empire online databases of doctors in New York for my one trusted doctor, who happens to be an OB/GYN but would be the person I'd go to first for any health problem because she's thorough, kind, interesting and patient. But of course she doesn't show up in any of the databases. Ugh.

Meanwhile the massive pdf with all the complicatesd options on it is singlehandedly sending my parent's computer into overdrive fritz mode. Double ugh.

Here's the irony: the naysayers claim I would have less choice with universal health care. But with my options now, as a young twentysomething freelancer, my choices are already severely limited. I'd rather get rid of the red tape, the confusion, and the huge cost of health care that I have to pay independently and have it come right out of my taxes. I'm so sick of this beaurocratic bullshit!

But back to SICKO, the movie at hand-- Michael Moore's films are as beautiful as they are informative. Not just because they speak truth to power and lay the smack down clearly and concisely but because Michael Moore makes films that are optimistic. He believes in the redemptive qualities of the human spirit. He believes we are good inside. He comes across as compassionate and funny, but not angry and only somewhat frustrated--which is impressive considering the horrors that he's telling us about. He makes us literary left-wing NYC-bred, black-wearing cynics want to burn our existentialist texts and take to the streets (Okay, so I don't own any existentialist texts and I take to the streets whenever possible, but it was a good metaphor, OK?). He manages to combine hope and despair together in remarkable ways, and he always makes me cry. At this point we've established that I often tear up at life insurance commercials but still, after walking out of a SICKO matinee, there were more than a few wet hankies in the theater.
And I think that's what the right wing hates most about him, besides the fact that he's right and they're wrong. They hate that he dares to be compassionate and kind and strong and unflinching, all while espousing liberal causes. It kind of rubs at those stereotypes they have about us.
So if you haven't, go see SICKO right away. It's a marvelous film that shoots holes in our each-man-for-himself bullshit theory of health care. There's a mix of bitter personal stories of people who were mistreated and abused by the American health care system and people in other countries who are not allowed to fall through the cracks because health care is...free.
I know from personal experience that when I and friends have been abroad, they've been taken care of so benificently it's hard to believe... including a friend who broke his leg while backpacking through italy and spent several weeks recuperating in a friendly hospital room with a gang of old italian men who adopted him as one of their own.
Compare that with the typical Americn hospital. And watch Michael Moore take Wolf Blitzer down a peg or six.

4 comments:

  1. What is the real solution, if Michael Moore’s government sponsored universal health care is not the answer?

    The crux of the "SICKO" documentary is the disconnect between our expectations and the reality of health care. We are expecting compassionate care from another human being, and instead we get a faceless corporation. The person behind the desk or window is an agent of a health care corporation, which is not a human being, whose primary goal is to increase corporate profit.

    This is America, and corporate profit is good, the profit motive forming the basis America’s greatness. The basic problem is that a corporation is not a human being. Therein lies the fallacy of replacing a corporation with a government agency, neither of which is a human being, when what we really want is a human being to deliver compassionate health care, and assist in serious health care decisions.

    Ultimately we must at some point ration health care to avoid national bancruptcy. We can't provide everything for everybody. Moore's film, SICKO replaces the corporate health company with the government agency as the agent of this care rationing.

    My major point here, is that the larger issue which is ignored by the SICKO film, is the control of medical information, which then determines expenditure and rationing patterns. The control of medical information controls the money. This is explained fully at:

    Review of "SICKO", by Jeffrey Dach MD

    Jeffrey Dach MD

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  2. no_slappz11:21 AM

    fellowette, you wrote:

    "But back to SICKO, the movie at hand-- Michael Moore's films are as beautiful as they are informative."

    Moore is a video pamphlateer. A ranter with a camera. But not a truthful person. He sells false promises.

    You declared:

    "Not just because they speak truth to power and lay the smack down clearly and concisely..."

    Really. I can't wait for him to tackle the public school system. He lives in luxury -- thanks to those who pay to see his video lunacy -- on Central Park West. Maybe he can study the NY City public school system. I just might pay the price of admission to see his creative powers at work on the problems in our education system.

    That brings up a point. You seem to believe the US can structure a nation-wide healthcare program that will deliver care to 300 million Americans.

    What allows you to believe this? Since you've worked in the school system, you know something about working in a bureaucracy. The NY City school bureaucracy is an organization that fumbles with 1.1 million kids.

    Why would you think a bureaucracy serving 300 million would function more smoothly?

    Meanwhile, do you think the doctors in the US would take the pay-cut they would have to endure if the country switched to a government-sponsored program?

    Do you know that malpractice among government doctors is a huge problem? New York City pays out about $500 million a year in liability claims. Medical malpractice among the doctors who provide Medicaid services is the largest single piece of that $500 million.

    If you create a nation of doctors working for the state, the dollars lost in malpractice lawsuits will look like the Gross Domestic Product of many countries.

    If you think you can limit awards in lawsuits, think again. There are millions of opponents to that idea.

    As poster Dr. Dach states, medical care must be rationed. We simply can't afford to give every American every possible medical service.

    Consider this: a national plan would not cover abortion. That exclusion would keep people fighting for years.

    It should be easy for you, as a former public-school teacher, to understand that a national healthcare bureaucracy would be many many times harder to run than a school bueaucracy. Meanwhile, if you own experience doesn't convince you that a national plan is a potential nightmare, consider the problems and complaints that exist with Medicaid.

    By the way, maybe you qualify for Medicaid. Check it out. It would give you a terrific subject to write about.

    Meanwhile, Medicare seems to work pretty well, BUT, the program's expenses are spirally wildly upward, as they will continue to do. There is no way to stop the increases -- except by limiting the extent of care. But fighting over Medicare benefits is now a blood-sport.

    Meanwhile, I have taken my Sicko-cratic Oath and sworn never to see Moore's ridiculous movie, even for free on the internet.

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  3. No Slapssies, you never fail to disappoint. You keep that proud, proud oath! Way to go.

    You forget one thing about our public school system. In areas where taxes are high and citizens keep schools accountable, we have amazing public schools. The problem with public schools is less that they are a mess of red tape and more that they are totally inequitably funded and monitored because of our racist system. But that's another story.

    And in terms of Health care, I'm more in favor of an Edwardsy plan that uses "the market" to prove the superiority of government programs than an all at once kind of thing. But that's also another story.

    Now here's my big question to you, my contrary comrade. Since you have so much to say, how come you don't have your own blog? I'm sure the conservative herds would flock to your door. Riddle me that, slappsiest of slappers.

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  4. no_slappz12:43 PM

    fellowette, you wrote:

    "You forget one thing about our public school system. In areas where taxes are high and citizens keep schools accountable, we have amazing public schools."

    Really? What's the connection between the out-of-school existence of students and their in-school performance?

    You and I both know that no matter how much money is spent on public education, it is impossible to eliminate the social pathologies that wound so many students.

    Meanwhile, the per-capita expenditures in the Washington D.C. school system are, I believe, the nation's highest. But the results are some of the worst.

    By the way, do you know that the Annual Per-Student Expenditures at Stuyvesant High School are about $9,000 a year versus a system-wide average of about $14,000?

    It's not the dollars spent. It's the nature of the students that determines outcomes.

    You wrote:

    "The problem with public schools is less that they are a mess of red tape and more that they are totally inequitably funded and monitored because of our racist system."

    I see you've bought the nonsense. Please explain why the best schools in the NY City system operate for less than the schools with many underachieving students.

    I've got kids in NY City public schools. I've worked in the schools. That gives me a good perspective on public school reality.

    You wrote:

    "And in terms of Health care, I'm more in favor of an Edwardsy plan that uses "the market" to prove the superiority of government programs than an all at once kind of thing."

    Edwards' plan is so vague it's meaningless. Meanwhile, as the guy who has made millions suing the pants and shirts off the organizations managing healthcare money, are you telling me you believe this leopard has changed his spots? That you believe it was his desire for equity in healthcare that drove him to take millions and millions from insurers?

    There is no doubt any plan he would create would deliver to lawyers the biggest honey-pot in the history of personal-injury lawsuits. They will love this guy and all the tax-payer money he will allow them to collect through lawsuits. What a festival!!

    Fortunately, Edwards isn't headed for the White House. Not that his plan would have survived the legislative process if he were to win the election by some freak accident.

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