Friday, June 29, 2007

SiCKO Review

Let me get this out of the way first and foremost: I do not particularly like Michael Moore. I think that for the most part he raises very very interesting questions that are ultimately supported by his manipulating of random facts and figures. The truth value of his assertions are likely to be questioned, and justifiably so. Therefore, his credibility comes into question and his movies are looked at hesitantly.

That being said, I think that SiCKO is one of the most important movies I have ever seen in my life. The topics raised by Moore have their usual extravagance but he does not use facts and figures to convince us of anything. He uses people. Real people. And not just ridiculously poor people. Middle class people who are crushed under the weight of their own medical expenses. Families of people who were essentially murdered because of the denials of health coverage by their insurance providers. Families of people who could have been given a fighting chance, if not for survival, but for more time with the people they loved, were put in the forefront. And seeing this, seeing these atrocities happen to people all over the country was heartbreaking.

Yet, Moore wants to answer the question of what is happening in the rest of the Western world in regards to health care. The answer seems to be a hell of a lot more. He goes to Canada, England, and France to ask people how much they pay for health care. He wants to know who protocol is for going to the hospital and finding out whether or not a person is covered. The answers to those two questions? Nothing.

People in those countries pay either nothing or almost nothing for health care. And it boggles the mind.

Of course, a criticism that could be brought up is "Yes, but the doctors are of a lower quality. They don't get paid as much."

That could be the case in some places. Yet, what about all the Americans who cannot afford a quality doctor? Also, the payment issue is also raised, and for a doctor living in London, he drove an Audi, lived in a $1 Million home and lived a pretty damned comfortable life. Moore asks him whether or not he thought he could be making more. He responds that if he wanted 4 cars and 6 flat screen televisions and a $3 Million home, then he might be more satisfied in America. But he doesn't want that, therefore what he's getting is good enough for him.

Sure, the people over there pay higher taxes, but look at the trade-off. These people are able to walk into just about any hospital when they are sick and get treatment without being asked who their HMO is.

The film is also hilarious and quite honestly more humorous than many comedies that are released in any given year. The way people respond to some of Moore's questions and some of his questions themselves lend themselves to some genuine laughter. The movie never ceases to be entertaining. I went to the movie very sleepy but came out alert and engaged. The duality of the humor and the serious makes for a movie that rises above traditional entertainment to truly say something about the world in which we live.

I do not have all the facts and do not claim to. But one cannot look at the American health system and say that it is not broken. Too many people deserving of health care are not getting it. I am sure that Moore manipulated things in this film. It is in his nature. And therefore it is in mine to be skeptical of all that he puts before us on the screen. Yet, there is much that just cannot be manipulated that is on display for the world to see. And it made me angry. Wanting to know what I can do to help change this. I urge all of you to see this movie some way. Whether or not you hate Michael Moore, whether or not you pay for the movie, it is irrelevant. Just see it. I cannot stress enough how worth it this movie really is.


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