Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Blurb: Sicko

Okay, I would just like to start out by saying this: I am an extremely liberal democrat. For those of you who disagree with any of the things I am about to discuss, I am completely open to CONSTRUCTIVE comments/criticisms. But if you are just going to tell me that I am "an effing idiot" or "in effing denial" or "an effing socialist" without any justification, then please don't bother. All I will do in response is delete your comment. However, civil, intellectual discussion is more than welcome.

So, in my AP English class recently, we watched the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" as an introduction into our unit on argumentative writing. For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, Moore proposes the argument that Universal Health Care would be the best choice for our country because as of right now, our current health care system is.... well.... bad. Really really bad.

Some various examples he uses to justify how bad our health care is:
•Two people filled out applications for health insurance: One was denied because he was too skinny, the other was denied because she was too fat.
•A woman with Blue Shield Insurance: She was denied three separate diagnostic procedures because her insurance wouldn't cover them (including an MRI and an exam with an opthamologist.) Then, while she was on vacation in Japan, she had to be sent to a hospital, where they gave her the tests she was denied in the U.S. and then diagnosed with a brain tumor.
•A woman who applied for health insurance was denied because she failed to mention on her application form that she had a yeast infection. (Well, I certainly wasn't aware that yeast infections counted as "Pre-existing conditions" were you?)
•One night, a young, toddler-aged girl named Mychelle suddenly had a fever of about 105 degrees, so her mother immediately drove her to the nearest hospital. However, because her mother had Kaiser Permanente Insurance and the hospital they went to was not a Kaiser Permanente Hospital, they were denied treatment, even though the girls condition was extremely critical. By the time they got to a Kaiser Permanente hospital, the young girl had gone into cardiac arrest and died.

I have to say, listening to all of these tragic stories did put me in one of those "God, I hate America" moods. But, it got even worse when Michael Moore went to several other countries that had free universal health care to see how they lived and what their health care was like. The countries he went to were Canada, England, France and (drumroll please) Cuba.

So, while several people may claim that a "socialist" (aaa! The "s" word!) system like this would lead to run-down hospitals, sub-par care, people being robbed blind by taxes and doctors not getting paid enough, listen to this:

•A doctor that works in Canada gets paid enough to live in a $1,000,000 dollar house, drive an Audi, own a huge flatscreen TV, and support his wife and son. (To quote said doctor, "If you want to live in a $3,000,000-4,000,000 house or drive 5 or 6 nice cars, then you might be disappointed. But I feel that my co-workers and I all live pretty well here.")
•Hospitals in Cuba (Yes, that's right, Cuba) have all of the same medical and diagnostic technology that ours have, and under their health care system, they can give patients inhalers for about 5 cents (the same inhalers that can cost around $50 in the U.S.)
•At a hospital in France, you get treated in the emergency room immediately, no matter what type of insurance you do or do not carry (a toddler with a case similar to Mychelle's was brought to a French hospital, seen immediately, treated and survived.)
•In England, no matter what type of medication or what quantity of medication you are picking up, pharmacies will charge you approximately £6.50 (or about $10.oo U.S. currency.)
•An average person living in England can live in a very nice house, take exotic vacation trips and support a family (i.e. they aren't exactly being suffocated by their taxes.)

And some additional perks you get for living in France:
•Up to a year of maternity leave (6 months paid, 6 months unpaid)
•Unlimited sick days
•Free Emergency Room visits
•After having a baby, a government employed "nanny" (for lack of a better word) can be sent to your house to help you with childcare, adjusting to going back to work, housekeeping, cooking and even laundry.

I have to say, I absolutely loved this movie. I truly did. By the time it was over, pretty much everyone in my English class was like "Um, can I switch countries now?"
I have to say, there were several times when I just kept thinking "This can't be real. Is he making this up? How is that possible?" But it is all true. And it is awful. Something absolutely has to change, because the way things work right now is truly sickening.

You can call me a socialist if you want. But the way I see it is this: Health Care should mean that everyone who needs medical help gets it, no matter their financial situation, their insurance, their height/weight, what hospital they go to or what happened to them. If you are sick or injured or dying, you should be able to get the health care you deserve, because everyone deserves it. Period. It's as simple as that. If that is socialism to you.... well I just might be okay with that (as opposed to the alternative, where a woman with broken ribs and only partially healed stitches in her head who can't pay her medical bills gets kicked out of the hospital onto the streets.)

And that last sentence was a real example from the movie by the way.

Anyone who saw the movie, feel free to share your opinions of it (SEE OPENING PARAGRAPH!!!)
If you haven't seen it, and you are either liberal or at least open minded, I highly recommend it.


Magdalene6127 said...

Amen sister! I thought the movie was brilliant.

Bring on the good health care! Bring it!

LittleMary said...

added to the queue!