Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Sicko" Shames Health Care Coverage Deniers

I saw "Sicko," Michael Moore's latest documentary, last night, and it is a powerful film.

It's a good bet "Sicko" will do for health care reform what "An Inconvenient Truth" did for climate change: elevate and amplify the debate, and turn awareness into action.

While the health care industry complains that its side of the issue didn't get fair coverage in the film, (oh, poor Big Pharma and the managed care industries, whose commercials and political power are soooo inadequate), CNN finds that most of Moore's claims are accurate.

If nothing else, the documentary will leave viewers asking three questions:

1. How did we end up with the overly-expensive yet inefficient system we have?

2. Can we do anything about it if so many politicians take money from health insurance companies that maximize profits by routinely denying coverage?

3. And the big one, guaranteed to be the cause of churning stomachs as the film's credits roll:

I wonder if my insurance will really cover me when I need it - - or will I end up like the people in the movie who had insurance, only to have their claims denied?

Or their coverage cancelled when claims were made?

Or were even forced to refund paid claims when the health insurers auditing detectives swung into action?

Note that Massachusetts is implementing a single-state health care reform plan, which California may copy.

Republicans in our state legislature, while personally enjoying Cadillac, taxpayer-paid coverage, are calling the universal coverage plan adopted by the State Senate dead-on-arrival.

Nothing self-interested or contradictory about that! It reminds me of legislators who bloviate about 'welfare' and what they call "The Nanny State,' then pocket their $88-taxpayer-paid, tax-free per diem for driving into Madison for a meeting, then home.

Maybe there's a way to dragoon legislators into a showing of "Sicko."

Free beer and brats would get them there, though the giveaway might be counter to the movie's healthy message, and perhaps illegal.

But there'd be no more appropriate audience right now for Michael Moore's movie-making than Wisconsin legislators who are blocking health care reform, and a healthier state.


Jim Bouman said...

So, you and all your lefty friends can be expected to think Michael Moore's film is great.

In fairness you should all read what the Reviewer at Fox News had to say about it:

Sicko' Shows Michael Moore's Maturity as a Filmmaker
Sunday , May 20, 2007
By Roger Friedman, Fox News

Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, "Sicko," deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity.

Unlike many of his previous films ("Roger and Me," "Bowling for Columbine," "Fahrenheit 9-11"), "Sicko" works because in this one there are no confrontations. Moore smartly lets very articulate average Americans tell their personal horror stories at the hands of insurance companies. The film never talks down or baits the audience.

"This film is a call to action," Moore said at a press conference on Saturday. "It's also not a partisan film."

Indeed, in "Sicko," Moore criticizes both Democrats and Republicans for their inaction and in some cases their willingness to be bribed by pharmaceutical companies and insurance carriers.

In a key moment in the film, Moore takes a group of patients by boat to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba because of its outstanding medical care. When they can't get into the U.S. naval base, Moore proceeds onto Havana where the patients are treated well and cheaply...."

James Rowen said...

So is the film bad because a Fox reviewer liked it?

Jim Bouman said...

Of course not!

That Fox would feature a rave review and praise Moore's work is ironic beyond belief, given Fox's history of reflexively harpooning everything else he says, films and stands for.

It will, indeed, be a big influence in American attitudes toward the speedy overhaul of our health care "system". (In truth, there's nothing systemic about the health care hodgepodge.) I've seen the trailers, now have to get myself down to the Oriental for the whole show. Can't wait.

James Rowen said...

I should also have mentioned that the film is entertaining, and often very funny, so it is not a one-dimensional, purely didactic documentary.