Was Sicko the 8th Dwarf?

Thanks to the Interweb & the pirates who sail her choppy seas, I was able to watch “Sicko” last night, Michael Moore’s latest joint. I was hesitant to watch the film for a couple of reasons. First, Moore’s documentaries generally try to stir the emotional waters about a subject, leaving many viewers feeling angry yet unable to “do anything about it.” Moore also has a way of cornering people that, although I tend to dislike most of their stances, leaves me feeling almost sympathetic for them. I said almost. Moore’s grandstanding can also be a bit grating, although I did laugh out loud when in this film, chartering a boat full of 9/11 rescue workers to Guantanamo Bay, he yelled to the guard tower that he only wanted to provide America’s heroes with the same health care being provided to the evildoers. Nonetheless, the film details the American health care system & how it compares to other systems around the world. The wealthiest country on Earth spends more on health care than the rest of the world yet ranks 37th in the world in overall health care. Nearly 50 million Americans are uninsured & nearly a third of U.S. health care spending goes to administrative costs.

In the marathon to the upcoming Presidential election, I’ve heard a number of proposals from one side for varying degrees of universal health care & practically nothing (at least nothing memorable) from the other side relating to health care. In fact, the only health-related item I can recall hearing from the latter side was the advocation, in response to an absurd question posited in a debate, by a number of the candidates for “intense interrogation methods,” with notable exceptions lodged by the “crazy” candidate & by the one candidate who has actually experienced some of these methods. Even the biggest born-again candidate supported these methods, making me wonder, “My God. What was he like before he was saved?” Loyal lurkers, please let me know if I’ve overlooked some of this side’s health care proposals so that I may take them into account.

I’m a big believer in community, in helping each other out. I think a country of isolated individuals, only looking out for themselves, crushes this notion & makes us a more selfish, fragmented society. It really puzzles me when I see those who are devoutly religious take stances on this issue that leave those at risk, those that their “Lord” has charged them with taking care of, to fend for themselves using their own inadequate means. I have issues with this “strict father” construct.

Programs like Social Security & Medicaid, although looming like stormy clouds on our financial horizon, have provided a better quality of life for many of this nation’s most vulnerable, my grandparents included. It’s not the paying into these programs that I mind: it’s the lack of courage & honesty by the American people & their government to come up with viable solutions to deal with these fiscal concerns. (For all you religious out there, think of it as a societal tithe). We can find nearly $500 billion to spend on national defense, yet balk at what it would take to insure the uninsured & to provide more affordable health care to all. I flinch when people speak of this as a “moral issue,” probably due to the exasperation of that phrase over the last 15 years or so, but I do find it abhorrent that the country with the greatest fiscal means to deal with this problems has created one of the most cold, calculating, and convoluted systems to “take care of its own.”

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