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Sunday, July 01, 2007

SICKO


On opening night, a group of us went to see Michael Moore's movie, "Sicko," about our decaying healthcare system. Moore says this movie is not directed at the nearly 50 million Americans who have no health insurance, but to the 250 million who are entrusting their medical benefits to the insurance and HMO industries. Everyone in our group was 50+ years old and well into the stage of life where every conversation touches on body functions and dysfunctions that didn't use to register a blip on our radar screens. But this movie should also concern my 24 year old with his six concussions and everyone else who has left any kind of trail on their medical record. The insurance industry REWARDS doctors who refuse to recommend medical procedures and they employ people to investigate the insured who may not have volunteered enough information about their medical pasts when they "applied" for healthcare.

Normally a video or article about Health Care is like all the "Privacy Policies" we skip online and just click "OKAY", or Terms of Agreements that we flip right into the garbage when they come in the mail. The good news for my son and the rest of us is that Michael Moore knows how to make political awareness and multilayered issues wildly entertaining.

As Moore takes us to countries like Britain and France, we find out that healthcare can actually be determined by doctors who take an oath to fix us, rather than by bureaucrats who get fired when they give back too many of our dollars. We discover that our system is as absurd as it is uncaring. We discover that doctors still make housecalls in France and it's not something that had to go the way of the Milk Man in the name of progress.

For Californians who see the movie and then realize they are "mad as hell and don't want to take it anymore," there is a bill in the State Senate that would create universal healthcare. SB 840 is strong medicine. It's sitting in some committee, but if a few million of us get vocal about it, we can make it win out over the two other reform plans that would leave the insurance/HMO industry in charge.

See the movie first as it begins to rebut the myths we've grown up on about "socialized medicine." Sure, there is no system that will be perfect for everyone, but right now there are nearly 300 million of us who are standing on shaky ground even as we pay through the nose for the "privilege" of healthcare.

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