Monday, February 16, 2009

Sicko

Last night I watched the Michael Moore documentary Sicko.

It made me cry.

I am not going to review it really; you can read a decent review at The Nation here if you want.

I am going to tell you why it made me cry.

The state of health care in this country is abysmal and I can't understand how we as a people can sit back and watch our neighbors lose their homes and everything they own simply because they are sick.

Do we think it isn't going to happen to us? Do we think we won't age and need care? Are we really that stupid?

I cried when I saw old ladies getting tossed from cabs into the streets. Kicked out by hospitals because they can't pay their bills. They were left in bare feet and in open hospital gowns, shuffling along looking for help.

It was enough to make me want to vomit.

I cried when I saw a 911 rescue worker learn she could receive an inhaler in Cuba for FIVE cents. The exact same thing cost her $120 in the USA.

I felt disgust at insurance agencies and at Congressional "leaders" who have let companies like the insurance and pharmaceutical industries run and ruin this country. This is not a democracy, not if we're letting the least of us suffer like this.

And don't tell me this is not the norm - I am in the health care system. I have my own horror stories. I've watched people I love suffer for lack of money. I watched my mother who had health insurance get sucked in and drowned beneath the cacophony of insurance calls and doctor bills. I watched the system fail her as well as her family as she was dying.

And I did the same with my grandmother and my great aunt.

Our health care sucks.

Statistically we should be alarmed that we're the 37th healthiest country. Or that our infant mortality rate is higher than that of some third world nations. Or that people in other countries live longer than we do.

Doesn't that scare you?

Supposedly this is the greatest and wealthiest nation. So why do people have to lose their homes? Or lose their jobs when they can't work? Why do people HAVE to work while they're taking chemo, when they should be home taking care of themselves?

I have never had a problem with "universal health care" or even socialist medicine. I'm already paying thousands to the insurance company; I doubt that it would take much more off the top for my share if I were paying it in taxes instead. Last year we spent $8000 in insurance costs; it's money out of my pocket anyway.

Since I am already out of that money, I would much rather give it to a system where you and you and my grandmother and my aunt and everyone else I know and love will be assured of some kind of care that doesn't leave them wandering the streets with an IV in their arm.

We are fools.

4 comments:

  1. I've seen Sicko and it made me sicko...how can the richest nation in the world be so socially impoverished!

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  2. It needs to be completely torn down and rebuilt. Such a disaster. Such waste. I should wait to see that movie. It will rile me too much...

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  3. It's just a symptom of a far deeper malaise. Plenty of people think that health care is a privilege for those who can afford it, not a right for those who are human and alive. They are kinder to their pets than their own neighbours. Humans who haven't made a success of their lives and accumulated enough money to stand on their own two feet (this is how they think, not how everyone thinks) must face the consequences. Very large numbers of people think this and would deeply resent having to part with their money in order to help other people who weren't "deserving". The challenge is how you get people to feel and want to act on a mutual responsibility for everyone in the community. Individualists who think that self interest is the only thing that motivates human beings just aren't minded to think that way. But they are the root of the problem.

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  4. I must be a socialist because I prefer to have insurance like England and other countries. I find hospitals scary places but sometimes that's the only option. Lets hope for more under Obama.

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