We finally got around to watching "Sicko" last night. Sick, indeed, on so many levels.
This isn't just about health insurance affordability. It's about basic human decency. And for that, Corporate America gets a big red "F" on their gluttonous fat asses. And a big "F" factor for all those persons, private and public, who support this gross exploitation.
I won't go into the intricate details of the movie, since we are likely one of the last folks on the planet to watch this flick (and just in time for tonight's Academy Awards, where "Sicko" is up for best documentary). And I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. But still, it moved me. Deeply. As such, I'll share some things that most touched me.
I like how Mike was able to find a Canadian, a member of the Conservative Party no less, who fully supports Canada's Health Care System. His opinion was one of universal collectivism. We are to take care of one another, he opined with absolute certainty. Those with help out those without, bring us along together, equally. Basic human decency, right there, coming from someone who is otherwise quite conservative in his political views. Proving, of course, that human decency, that the concept of "we're all in the same boat" can indeed run through all party politic lines.
Also of interest to me was the discussion with an older gentleman from G. Britain about government/system manipulation, how a populace is harder to govern when they are educated, healthy and confident. However, through a variety means, make that populace demoralized and frightened and you have puppets willing to trust you with their strings. As one former American citizen now living in France said, "The problem is, the people of America are afraid of their government. Here in France, the government is afraid of the people." (a la V's character in V for Vendetta) While I have a hard time imagining any of today's major government bodies being afraid of their citizens, she did make a point in that over in France, people protest in mass quantities, unlike the protests here in the states, which are typically small and short-lived.
And who can forget the stories of the people. The mother whose baby girl died because she didn't take her to an insurance-approved hospital, and rather than treat the girl anyway, who was in urgent need of medical attention due to her 104 degree temperature, the hospital forcefully removed the mother and her daughter. Shortly after they arrived at the "approved" hospital, the mother's daughter died. The husband who had kidney cancer and who, upon finding his brother was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant, was denied coverage by the insurance company and died 3 weeks later. The women who had cancer and died for the same reason. And the most disturbing of all, if such a thing were even possible, were the stories of former insurance company employees, showing obvious signs of regret and sadness over how many people they denied coverage, simply due to greed. The cake topper for me was the physician testifying before congress back in the mid 1990's, sharing how the more she denied medical treatment to patient's (some of whom died, how many she wasn't even sure of), the more bonuses the insurance companies provided. I recall seeing this same doctor on Oprah last year, how her story was being challenged by an insurance industry spokeswoman, claiming "that doesn't happen anymore", to which the doctor immediately stated "That is a lie. I witness it happening regularly."
Aside from the profound level of sadness and utterly lack of ability to wrap my mind around such behavior, I could only wonder why these "insurance" folks playing russian roulette with their customers aren't in jail for, at the very least, manslaughter?
From where did this HMO scam originate? We have Richard Nixon to thank for that one. Thanks to old audio recordings, the viewer was privy to hearing Dick state his enthusiastic approval for a new health insurance plan that would provide less care while providing more money for insurance companies. It's indeed a brilliant plan. If you're a psychopath.
With the exception of Cuba, in countries where Universal Coverage is the norm, they enjoy healthier and longer lifestyles than we do here in the States, not to mention they receive better health care. For being how America advertises itself around the world as being number one, being the model for all in terms of liberty, freedom, democrary and happiness, our health care system sucks. It's fixable of course, but until the people and government officials remove the stranglehold the criminal insurance companies have over the entire system, people will still suffer and die unnecessarily because some sleezy numbers cruncher can only see dollar signs instead of a human being.
For all the hysterical, unfounded cries of "socialism" and "socialized medicine", we need to realize we already have in place socialistic services. Public schools, libraries, fire, police. Can you imagine the reaction if any or all of these services suddenly fell into the hands of private business? It would turn into a situation where only the wealthy could afford to send their kids to school, check out books and have that fire put out or criminal arrested.
Things certainly don't have to be this way, of course. It's all a choice. Privitization is indeed a good thing and can be beneficial to a society, if only some basic tenets are followed. For starters human worth, decency and respect is never compromised for profit. Sadly, that's not what we have today and as such, the large private operations of anything dealing with basic human needs and those that run them simply cannot be trusted nor can their strange bedfellows, the government. They have lost the right to our trust and our respect. They are the criminals and we are their victims. And as such, it is time to stop being afraid, stop being demoralized, and remember who we really are and what this country really stands for. They can join us or we can send them off to sail on their own damn boat. For in reality we don't need them as long as we have each other. That's perhaps the biggest secret of all.