July 6, 2007: What’s great about Sicko, the new movie by Michael Moore, is that it clearly shows how the pharmaceutical and insurance industries are running a scam on every one. And, while covering such a life-and-death topic, the movie manages to be a lot of fun.
The first half of the movie follows the lives of a variety of everyday folks, all of whom have health insurance with major companies. It shows, up close and personal, the problems they face trying to get medical treatment. Like so may of us have experienced, their claims are denied as if Darth Vader created the list of reasons that stretches into the next galaxy.
The movie then takes us to Canada, England, France and even to Cuba. Health care in these countries is compared to healthcare in the U.S. What’s funny is watching Michael Moore sneak around the MRI machines in an English hospital while he looks for the billing department. He never finds it because it doesn’t exist.
Every other industrial country like ours already enjoys universal health care. Doctors and patients, including Americans living in France, explain how it works.
Moore talks with doctors in England and France who treat patients all day without considering whether a patient has good insurance coverage or not. He talks money with a doctor in England, who explains that he can get a bonus for healing patients. But in the U.S., they would get a bonus for saving the insurance company money. Then they could make more for pushing the pharmaceutical company’s newest drugs.
This half of the movie shows us the solution is at hand: just look at England, France, Canada or other countries like ours.
Typical of Michael Moore, he spins us around with the unexpected. The next thing we see is a boat load of 911 rescue workers calling for medical care outside the fences at Guantanamo where enemy combatants are detained. Here, Moore explains, enemy combatants get the best health care the U.S. has to offer—while 911 some rescue workers are denied health care.
Moore keeps us laughing with his crazy humor. After watching the movie, I realized George Bush and the insurance companies wish they could lock Moore in Guantanamo. Ever since his first movie titled Roger and Me he has been viewed as an enemy combatant for his use of freedom of speech. He’s shown us the problem when we put profit before people. Nowhere is that more important than in health care, which should be a basic right.
The AFL-CIO and lots of unions are promoting Sicko, and for good reason. Millions of Americans need to see this movie, and talk up the issue. We can put the issue of universal quality health care on the map well before 2008. It did so well the first weekend that 300 additional theaters are screening it, so it’s sure to be playing near you.
Sicko insures us that we have pre-approval to cure the health care problem, and get on the path to recovery as we fight for universal health care.Review by Mike Ruscigno, Teamsters Local 802.