Friday, June 15, 2007

On Anticipating Michael Moore's "Sicko"

I have not even watched the video that accompanies this YouTube clip of Michael Moore discussing his new film, but the comments on it are interesting. They range from the tame to the lame to the incendiary. More than one person seems to mention that the only action required to get adequate health coverage in this country is to get a job, as if our inherent laziness in this great country of ours is the only thing stopping us from getting insurance. As a bunch of "Sickos" ourselves, we know this isn't true.

How many times have we, as diabetics and parents of diabetics, heard that dreaded label "pre-existing condition" slapped onto our medical claims? It rolls off the tongue sounding dirty, shameful. Just give us a scarlet "D" to pin to our clothes every day. It's bad enough that we have a chronic condition that will last us the rest of our lives. The American healthcare industry just adds insult to injury every time it tells us that because we are sick and badly need coverage, we can't have it, or we can't have enough, or we can only have it under THEIR terms.

I know people who bristle at the mention of "universal healthcare" because they equate it with waiting in some kind of USSR-ish Communist breadline to see a doctor or have surgery. But don't we have to wait for appointments now? Don't we have to wait to schedule surgeries that don't require immediate attention as it is?

Something needs to be done. People in other countries know our healthcare system is the pits. According to this really great article from the Guardian UK, the US comes in 37th when it comes to healthcare. Number one was France. You hear that, Frenchie-hating politicos who are still eating your Freedom Fries? When you have a heart attack from eating so many of those things, you'd get better care in your least favorite country in the world!

Whether you love or hate Michael Moore, you have to agree that the release of this movie will get this country and maybe even the whole world talking. Everyone is already buzzing about healthcare as a hot-button topic in the upcoming election, and this might just be the thing to cement it in the minds of Americans.

So, you silly, misinformed YouTubers, it takes a lot more than a job to get the health coverage you need. Check this out:

-Upwards of 17 million of us are underinsured. So after you pay $700 out of your monthly paycheck to have health coverage at all, then you find out you have to pay for some necessary procedure entirely out of your own pocket. Brilliant. I once worked a temp job for nearly a year and a half, but I never accepted the agency's health plan. It was practically useless unless you were a completely healthy person who might need to get a prescription twice a year. It would only cover $30 a month in prescription drugs! Insulin costs twice that, and let's not even start with the price of glucose test strips. So, stupid YouTuber, many of us bust our asses only to end up sick and tired of being sick and tired.

-The population of New York City is over 8 million people. That's a lot of people. Know how many people in this country don't have health insurance? 47 million. Nearly 6 times the number of folks who live in NYC! Sure, the population of this country is over 300 million, but shouldn't EVERYONE be able to afford their own healthcare at any time?

-Why are there so many uncontrolled cases of Diabetes in the US? I'm sure the cost of healthcare, laboratory tests and prescriptions is probably one of the biggest factors. Just a guess, but when a search for "glucose test strips" on Ebay results in 149 offers, it's probably not that far from the truth.

So, Michael Moore, in short, I hope your movie does well. I hope I really like it, too. Lord knows it might just be what everyone in this country needs to see right now.


  1. I couldn't agree more! Anything that gets the conversation started would help; we've ignored the issue since 1992 hoping it would go away, but it has only gotten worse. To add to your post, consider the following, which I extracted from a document on the International Diabetes Federation's website:

    Approximately 46.6 million Americans were uninsured last year (or about 16% of the U.S. population) according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Given that around 6% of people in the USA have diabetes, of the approximately 46.6 million people with no healthcare cover, we can estimate that around 3 million people with diabetes in the U.S. have either insufficient cover for reasonable healthcare, or receive no care at all. Even more troubling is the fact that one the fastest-growing segments of the newly uninsured are people with jobs. Meanwhile, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 60% of U.S. employers offered health coverage during 2005, which is down from 63% in 2004 and 69% in 2000.

  2. I saw this movie the other night, and was shocked....especially as a Canadian who has health care covered by the federal government - this movie was an eye opener. I encourage everyone to see this movie....

    ...and even though I am in Canada, I still can not get life insurance or health insurance (outside of my work group plan)

  3. Scott--I hope we will see the day when 100% of employers offer health coverage. Good health coverage.

    Drea--don't even get me started on life insurance. Maybe if we win the health insurance fight, we can move onto life insurance, but that seems like a really weird business anyway.

  4. I saw a preview to this today (while taking my neighbor to see "Nancy Drew" - very good) and will definitely see the movie.


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