McDoc and I saw Sicko last week. He had to nag me into going; I wanted to see it but I was dreading how I knew I would feel as a result. And I was right. I was so sad and angry, I wanted to get up and yell in the middle of the movie.
Michael Moore is a polarizing figure, it seems, so I hesitate to be evangelistic about this movie — but only a little. Whether you like him or hate him, I think the basic premise — that the healthcare system in this country is an absolute disgrace — is undeniable. And I am aware of the accusations of factual errors in the movie — incorrect prescription prices being quoted, etc. I really don’t think that matters. What matters is a little girl from South Central L.A. who died because Kaiser and King/Drew hospital couldn’t play nice with each other so she could get the antibiotics she needed to bring down her fever. What matters is a couple who worked hard all their lives to raise their kids, then ended up living in their daughter’s basement because they had the nerve to have heart attacks and cancer. What matters is 9/11 rescue workers who are slowly dying of respiratory illnesses — and the insurance companies and our government are waiting for them to die so they can avoid dealing with it.
What matters is that we are the only Western, industrialized nation without some form of universal health care.
Many people raise the specter of “socialized medicine” like it’s the ultimate bogeyman. And if you’re one of them and you’re reading this, I love you very much, but you need to get over it. Do you fear “rationing” and waiting lists? What exactly do we have now, when insurance companies issue denials as their default procedure and label anything they do pay for as a “medical loss”? Do you fear paying higher taxes? Well, are you satisfied paying for insurance companies’ overhead and profits instead? Do you like the skyrocketing copays and deductibles? How’s it all working out for you?
I’d honestly like to know because, well, I didn’t have health insurance for the past 4 years, between the time I stopped being eligible for student health services at UCSD and July 1, when McDoc’s health plan kicked in. As a self-employed musician, I just couldn’t afford it. Not smart, I know, but I couldn’t stomach shelling out such a high percentage of my income and knowing that it was mostly money down the drain unless something drastic happened to me. I was so angry at the waste and greed of the insurance companies, I just was not willing to deal with them. I feel very, very fortunate now that I’m covered through McDoc. In fact, I have a checkup tomorrow. That’s right, I’m gonna go to the doctor every time I have a hangnail so I can freeload off the system and drive up your costs! Bwahahahaha! Did I also mention that I’m an illegal immigrant?
Yeah, you know I’m kidding on that last one. Anyway, please consider seeing Sicko. Because I actually still believe that we live in the greatest nation on earth, but we need to start acting like it, instead of letting it go to rot.