Michael Moore explores the outrageous and tragic pitfalls of our nation’s health care industry in his movie ‘SickO’. The film covers the plight of Americans who have been denied care by their insurance carriers (even after paying monthly premiums) for various reasons, including being too young. Victimization of the health care consumer by the insurance industry is routinely overlooked by the mainstream media (which instead focuses on Lacy Peterson type fare) and by our elected representatives, who ignore the abuses and fraud of the health care industry while simultaneously taking donations from their lobbyists. Health care coverage has become a hollow talking point on the campaign trail, as candidates lack the political will to deal with the injustices imposed on consumers by health care corporations, especially since their own health care plans leave them little to worry about. Despite the fact that Americans continue to suffer, die and go broke because they are denied rightful coverage, our elected representatives are apathetic towards the issue and show little inclination toward changing the status quo. As a result, the matter is swept under the carpet and Moore’s exploration of our health care system’s outrageous acts of fraud are so alarming they shake you to the core. The life or death nature of the stories related by Moore in the film makes “Sicko” his most raw and hard hitting documentary to date.
“SickO” lays bear the undeniable fact that Americans have fallen victim to corporations that have little concern for their well being, and have gained unfair advantage over the political process and our governmental institutions. One leaves the theatre feeling played, conned and raped by our elected representatives, whose only concern seems to be satisfying the greed of corporate executives and shareholders from Big Pharma, the HMO’s and the Military Industrial Complex. To make matters worse, countless judicial decisions have granted corporations the same rights as individuals even though they are nothing more than collections of paperwork. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were meant to protect individuals from corporations, and allow citizens to reign them in – not the other way around. Vesting corporations with individual rights gives them an unfair advantage in the economic system and constitutional protections to use their vast resources to gain control of government by hiring lobbyists to write laws that favor their interests, then get those laws passed by paying off our elected representatives. Moore’s movie clearly shows how the rights of American citizens are violated daily by an unholy alliance forged between corporate lobbyists and our elected representatives, who have given over our government to corporate control.
The film features the current plight of many surviving 9-11 first responders, who are suffering from mysterious health ailments caused by working on the pile without respirators (at the government’s urging). It also addresses the condition of troops returning home from Iraq (think Walter Reed), who are forced to pay insurance carriers for desperately needed care as they languish and suffer from horrific and life threatening conditions. Moore provides damning video footage from Fox News, CBS and CNN that demonstrates mainstream media complicity in perpetrating the health care industry’s hoax that the status quo is purportedly better than the pitfalls of universal health care. Moore correctly notes during the narrative that HMO’s and Big Pharma provide the network and cable news outlets with millions of dollars in advertising revenue. The film makes it clear that all of us are expected to pay insurance industry executives, stockholders and lobbyists from cradle to crave, while our elected representatives look the other way when constituents fall ill, at the behest of their tight fisted insurance industry puppet masters.
The most powerful scene from the film is footage captured by a homeless shelter’s CCTV of a destitute elderly black woman being dumped on skid row in LA by Kaiser Permenante Hospital. Theatergoers sat in stunned silence as the scene unfolded, appalled by the act of utter cruelty. Everyone realized the same thing could easily happen to them, and you could hear a pin drop in the theatre as we witnessed this crime – a crime against a vulnerable fellow citizen committed by an out of control health care industry in collusion with the bought and paid for caretakers of our corporate controlled government in Washington.
Another highlight of the film was Michael Moore’s interview with a former member of the British Parliment, who said that there would be a revolution in his country if his government tried to abolish the country’s National Health System. He also stated that governments try to control their populace by keeping them poor, demoralized and living in a state of fear. Michael Moore told the ex-Parlimentarian that 65% of Americans can’t even find the UK on a map, and that he believed our corporate government had a vested interest in keeping the US population dummed down to shore up their bottom line at the public expense.
Before seeing the film, I watched an online video of Maria Bartaromo interviewing Michael Moore on Wall Street because he had been denied entry to the New York Stock Exchange. During the interview, Moore called for everyone to divest from Big Pharma and HMOs, and voiced his opposition to the health care and pharmaceutical industries profiting off the health and well being of Americans.
One point I’d like to make, which wasn’t touched upon in the film, is the part corporate greed plays in creating a health care system whose costs are spiraling increasingly out of control. Most American doctors have bought into corporate propaganda and oppose Universal Health Care. In turn, physicians are being driven out of business by trial lawyers who are winning astronomical malpractice awards against them, the nation’s hospitals and big pharma. The lobbyists representing the HMO industry in the district of criminals have had some success shielding their paymasters from legal actions stemming from denial of coverage suits by crafting legislation immunizing them from lawsuits by health care consumers. However trial lawyers are now getting around that legislation by bringing fraud actions against the HMO’s for misrepresenting their services to consumers. In the final analysis, it all comes down to a festering swamp of corporate greed that feeds off itself and is threatening to overwhelm America as it expands and sucks everyone in.
So did I like the film you ask? Yes and no. Yes because it was Michael Moore’s best film ever, and no because the hard truths he revealed to his audience can’t easily be dismissed by phoney arguments about the pitfalls of socialized medicine.