Last night a bunch of us went to a sneak preview of Sicko, Michael Moore’s latest “documentary” regarding the U.S. healthcare system.
Well, that’s not completely accurate….the film doesn’t just attempt to tackle the insurance, hospital, doctor arenas. He touches on education and child care too.
The CEO of my company was with us and knowing he would be contacted for a quote on the state of healthcare, prior to the movie, he asked us to keep aware of something that would be sound-byte-ish. He almost laughed when I blurted out “It was funnier than Sophie’s Choice“.
Guess what? After viewing the first 20-30 minutes of the movie, I started think Sophie’s Choice may have had more laughs. Eventually, the film slipped into the Michael Moore style and he did a good job of balancing the lighthearted with the serious. When he tried to go all-out funny, sometimes that just didn’t work.
Having worked in healthcare for the last umpteen years, you do see the sad stories of the insurance denials for things that they deem ‘experimental‘, even though they are FDA approved and have been in place for years as what is considered the standard treatment plan. It is a shame that no current Insurance, or Hospital CEOs, board members and the like were interviewed for this movie. But I’ll assume they now know not to speak with the likes of Michael Moore. I was also disappointed that though the Los Angeles County Prosecutor was looking into patient dumping, there was no follow-up or follow-through in what, if anything, came of it.
It is hard to say if the folks Moore took to Cuba got their treatment because everyone else there does or if they did because there was a camera crew. I’m skeptical. I don’t doubt any of the validity of his trips to Canada, England or France. Quite frankly all of those visits prompted me to lean over to Denton and say ‘we really gotta move’.
Two men he interviewed in Canada and the U.K. were the highlights for me – thoughtful, articulate and conservatives. And despite the latter, they still made so much more sense than anyone in public office who speaks on healthcare here in the U.S.. The theatre erupted into applause and howling when the U.K. guy explained how in 1948 the government established their National Health Service with the thought of, (and I’m paraphrasing slightly) ‘if we can afford to go to war (WWII), we can afford to provide national healthcare‘.
U.S. policymakers don’t think this way. But they are going to have to start. The movie in fact might help spur that. It gives the 412 current presidential candidates a little time to formulate their plans for change before the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses and primaries.
I like Moore’s ideas, but I find myself frustrated with two hours of questions that have no answer. I understand that is the point – to focus on the ridiculousness of the situations, but I just come away feeling a little bleak and worse for the wear.