Michael Moore --
Is that possible?
Could this finally be the first sign of the cooperative, party-blind United
States we were scammed with seven long years ago when Bush was appointed
into office? Or could it be the first sign of the apocalypse?
Either way, Michael Moore's
Sicko has been acclaimed right across party lines. Hell, even
the Fox News Channel (a/k/a the Republican Party public relations division)
called it a masterpiece -- and I don't think they were just trying to mess
with Moore's head. Long-time Moore detractors have been trumpeting its
virtues. It is getting very few of the non-specific charges of
inaccuracy that are normally tossed out by conservatives who want to taint
Moore's data but don't have the facts to actually do so.
Oh, brave new world...
I wish I could say that the
across-the-board embrace of Sicko was evidence of a kinder, gentler
political climate of collaboration and good will. It's just the Moore
has tapped into a subject that is so universal (pun sort of intended) that
other than the insurance and drug companies and hospitals being
investigated, almost no one can argue.
The greed and sometimes
inhumanity of insurance companies, drug companies and managed health care
has been -- deservedly -- a blight on American society for generations.
When life or death becomes a profit driven concern, it is only natural that
the people will be the big losers.
Even the most hardened
corporate mind would understand that, though they may not be moved to change
things if the margin is good enough. They are not totally heartless.
As Moore shows one of the insurance industry's biggest lackeys in the
Congress, Louisana rep W.J. "Billy" Tauzin proving his family values by saying over and over again "I love my mama"
(before leaving the House to take a sweet private position with the drug
lobby.). Problem is, as Moore points out, just because they love their
mamas doesn't necessarily mean they love ours.
As is Moore's greatest
strength, he puts a human face on the health care battle. He talks to
American citizens who did actually have insurance and still were failed by
it. Their stories are tragic; these good, proud people thinking they
were safe because they had been paying premiums for years only to find
themselves in a mountain of red tape when their claims were declined for
stringent, arbitrary and unreasonable infractions.
Then Moore visits countries
that have universal health care systems -- socialized medicine as the
right-wing scare machine likes to refer to it -- such as Canada, England,
France, even Cuba. Sicko shows how their system is not only
more compassionate, but even more efficient than the US.
In all fairness, this is
the one part of Sicko that can be slightly questioned for Moore's
journalistic bias. While he briefly touches on the fact that this is
not charity in the other countries and they are taxed for the priviledges,
Moore never really delves into the amounts involved. This is not
giving the full picture. Chances are people would be willing to pay
these extra taxes for what they get in return -- particularly considering
that they would no longer have to pay health insurance.
Moore also does one of the
stunts for which he is always derided by his detractors... but surprisingly
it indirectly leads to some of the most touching scenes in Sicko.
Moore gathers some ill survivors of the World Trade Center cleanup and takes
three boats of patients to Guantanamo Bay -- where the supposed "evil-doers"
are given completely free health care.
It is no surprise that they
are not allowed on the base. Even Moore could not have ever been
expecting that. However, while in Cuba -- long derided as evil and
heartless -- the medical system opens its arms to the survivors and gives
them all the treatment they were denied. For free. Drugs which
cost $120.00 in the US are purchased for a nickel.
It again makes you wonder
-- who is the primitive and who is humane?
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 24, 2007.