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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Sicko Reply with quote

Last month I saw the movie Sicko. Like all of Michael Moore's films, it's at its best in the small parts of life...detailing people's individual experiences. As a film, it's really enjoyable watching his adventures such as taking people to Cuba. As long as you don't try to attach "meaning" to it, it's funny, and an "A" version of a David Letterman prank.

The issues start to rise when Moore tries to interpret or spin things. The essence of a documentary is to "document" or describe. You take a picture, you show it to someone. 'Nuff said. But not for Moore. For the umpteenth time, he seems to relate our health care woes to atomic bomb scares and evil Presidents from the 50s and 60s.

He spends a lot of time criticizing, but very very little time trying to understand. For example, he goes out of his way to find the very worst experiences from the American health care system...soliciting people to tell their horror stories. Great idea. But does he do the same in France? Or Cuba (and would Castro let him). No, he either walks in off the street, looks around, asks people is the system is good, they say 'oui' and he leaves.

Why compare the worst to the average experience? Expertise, statistics and in depth reporting are not to be found...and that's ok, as this is a documentary and even one injustice is worth making a case about...right?

Well, one notable scene is the one where a carpenter accidentally saws the end joints of two of his fingers off. The first thing he thinks (he says) is "how much will this cost me". He has no insurance. He goes to the hospital and they tell him, one finger will cost $16,000 and the other $50,000 to repair. He opts for one finger, at $16,000.

The film makes this out to be a tragedy in the American health care system, as supposedly, any European country's health care system would just sew both back on for free.

But is that the whole story. For example, Moore makes this out as an indictment of the American people and its system who could not care a lick for the human body. But what about the individual? He was offered a deal. $66,000 for two fingers. He didn't think it was worth it. In fact, he didn't care very much about himself as he opted not to buy health insurance, even catastrophic health insurance for himself. He chose not to have a job that would give him insurance. He chose his life of independence, and hoped that someone would step in to "save him" because he didn't do the adult things.

Is that a cause for grieving? I take a point from Moore for that episode.

Another thing is it has only been a few years that we have been able to do these kinds of miracle microsurgeries, of reattaching limbs. Where were these techniques invented? the high risk high reward American doctors and researchers who use all that money to push medical technology to the ultimate edge. Do people cheat and get greedy as individuals? Yep. Does a lot of money go to cutting edge research that creates cures and technologies unheard of in human history....yeppers. Were these technologies invented in France? .... And lastly, does every government owned hospital in France, Canada or Cuba have the lastests medical instruments, and doctors with knowledge to perform the reattachment of limbs?

What about the 911 workers who could not get cheap drugs or care...people with lung infections who had to spend expenses on drugs. I would say here Moore has a victory. There is nothing that we should not do for firemen, policemen and soldiers when it comes to health. These people should never, ever be nickeled and dimed. There are changes coming like the availability of foreign drugs and the lapse of patents for many key drugs coming in the last 10 years. But again, yes, you can get these drugs in Cuba...but where were they invented? How were they paid for? If someone is going to devote his life to research and a business is going to be set up to do groundbreaking research into drugs that will give this kind of relief, it takes a lot of money. Probably more money than would be available in a situation like Europe where they are "providing" care, but they are not "inventing" care. Like most things, Europeans and much of the rest of the world piggyback on American innovations. Sure, give away a $49 pill for $2 or for free -- so long as you have someone else to research how to make the pill in the first place.

I want to give Moore a point, out of sympathy for the people in the movie, but not for him...he's an intelligent guy. He should work harder than he has been....
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