Saturday, July 14, 2007

Moore’s Message

After spending two weeks straightening out my own insurance fiasco, we spend this hot Saturday afternoon in July at the movies watching Sicko.

Without belaboring the message, which definitely needs belaboring in my humble opinion, the movie is very good. Moore has managed to be instructional and entertaining. He is less pedantic in this movie than in previous ones. Your heart strings are tugged but the movie is not overloaded with misery.

The worst scene for me took place right here in my home town at the Catholic mega-hospital St. Joseph’s. A nurse, who worked there, had her husband denied coverage by the hospital’s insurance. When they appealed the decision they were told that a bone marrow transplant was “experimental” even though the man had a perfect match and donor in his youngest brother. Within three weeks the husband and father of a small child was dead. The nurse was eloquent about the plight the hospital had let her suffer and understood clearly that the powers that be had no remorse about their decision.

The movie was shown in a smaller theater at the local 20 metroplex. Nearly all the seats were filled. Hubby said to me, “Looks like this is the crowd that should be interested in this topic,” so I looked around me. The great majority of the audience was over 60 and certainly looked to be the perfect Republican voter – well groomed, well fed, well dressed, and very, very white. Ten minutes into the film the audience was cheering on Michael Moore and groaning audibly over the decisions made by Richard Nixon and George W. The references to Hillary Clinton were even well received.

Now I’m wondering if a time of change is actually taking hold of this country. Is it possible that we are taking Moore’s message to heart: in a country that prides itself on being the leader of the modern world, how can we let so many hundreds of thousands suffer needlessly because we refuse to offer an acceptable health care program to all our citizens? Can we continue to let insurance companies with limitless pockets dictate our health care?

The four countries that Moore examines which offer nationalized health care are Canada, Great Britain, France, and Cuba. The scenes from France made me, for the first time in my life, wonder what it would be like to live outside our borders.

After I quit teaching in 1990 Hubby and I were without health care coverage for 14 of the 17 years I worked as an independent contractor. All our medical bills and all our prescriptions were paid out of pocket. Coverage was simply too expensive. Now, though, since Hubby is over 70 and I’m working for a school district, we both have what is considered more than adequate coverage. Moore’s movie is about folks like us today who have coverage. Even though we now have full health care insurance, we are at extreme risk of losing everything if we face a catastrophic illness. Last year, Hubby’s aneurysm ended up costing over $300,000 – for a ten day siege. That’s not counting all the bills racked up since then. Next week he’s having gel injected into his seriously damaged knees – and we’ve learned that the series of six shots, three in each knee, cost in the thousands. We have insurance which is covering the majority of the cost – but not ALL of the cost. We are lucky but we aren’t immune. Our prescriptions, our doctor visits, our hospital visits all take a percentage of our income. Right now we can cover those expenses. Right now . . .but if we face more problems as we age, then maybe we won’t be able to. Right now our insurance is providing coverage, if we fight the system for it. How long can we keep up the fight?

The young, the old, and way too many people in-between are suffering terribly in this great country because the insurance industry is all about profit and money and greed. It’s time to put a stop to it. As decent human beings, as a nation who claims to lead the world in democracy – we MUST step up and offer a sensible national insurance plan to all our citizens. No American should suffer so an executive at Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross, etc., can take home the big bonus.

If you haven’t seen it yet, take the time and check out Sicko. You’ll be glad you did.

1 comment:

snugpug said...

I was wondering how long it'd take after that fiasco with your health insurance before you got to writing about 'Sicko'.

Maybe sometimes anger can be a good thing. It makes you get off your ass. To blog, in your case (yay! you're back! I miss your writing). To make movies, in Michael Moore's case. And to make a difference, we hope -- but who are we kidding? But at least your friends know who to insure with. Or not.

(Erm, I think you might want to turn on word verification in your comments. Wow, over 20 people left you comments on your last entry 10 months ago, I thought, and then realised they were bots leaving you unsavoury links.)