THE FILM “SICKO”
A review by John Lobell
I laughed and cried my way all through the viewing of Michael Moore’s film essay, Sicko. It’s the story of the inevitably hypocritical and cruel results of having our nation’s health system administered by for-profit insurance companies. Their interests are in direct conflict with the interests of the patients – us. The more claims they deny, the more money they have for their profit. It’s that simple! Moore’s investigations go behind the hype and spin of the wealthy insurance companies. He investigates the experience of doctors and patients in four countries with state-financed (via taxes, the same way we finance our police and fire departments, schools, armed services, etc.) which are Canada, Great Britain, France and Cuba. The patients and doctors in those countries give touching witness to the good health care they are able to give and receive to everyone in their respective countries – including visitors! They believe it is humane and a good thing to share the good things in life with all – to take care of each other. They share their consternation at what we put up with in our own country. Our doctors, nurses and other personnel are well trained and our hospitals are great. But they remain beyond the financial reach of far too many Americans. And not just the poor. It’s a disgrace the way many middle class people are bankrupted by lack of insurance coverage, even many who believed until it happened to them that they were appropriately covered. The film also raises the question of why should the poor be excluded – especially in a country that calls itself Christian, when Jesus calls us all to serve and minister to the poor. I’ll only file by title the aggravation everyone (doctors and patients) has with the paper work craziness of our present system, with its constantly changing rules and even the ever-changing names of companies who are running this show.
If you haven’t seen this film, I implore you to see it soon. It’s a clear call to change our health care system. I’m glad it’s beginning to become a political issue in our country. We need change, and the ballot box is the only way to change it. The wealth of the entrenched industry, and its control of the information (and mis-information) is against change. Only the expressed will of the people can change it. This is not a partisan issue! This is a human issue of great importance for every one of us.