Sunday, 17 June 2007

Brief Review of Michael Moore's Sicko (updated) I should be working, but I can't stop thinking about Sicko, Michael Moore's new film, which (last night, but not this morning) could be viewed in its entirety here. (I link because it says that the video may become available again. I doubt it. I did download it, however, and will share it, so long as you have some server space to spare.) Why can't I stop thinking about it? Because it embodies everything that infuriates me about Moore. Before I say why, let me outline what it does well. It is devastating as propaganda. Only someone who's been denied coverage because doctors and lawyers quibble over the difference between "cured" and "in remission" can believe in this cause as I strongly as I do. Which cause is that? Socialized Medicine We already have socialist programs in America: police and fire departments, public schools, libraries, &c. Moore points out that just because they're not called socialist doesn't mean they're not socialist in spirit. They are. With the exception of talk surrounding home-schooling and vouchers, no one is calling for a return to the days of private armies. (Not that they don't exist, only that there's no outcry that our military is too inefficient to get the job done, and that it'd be better if privatized.) Long Lines, Poor Care Moore does a fantastic job debunking the central myth of socialized medicine: that it leads interminable waits for routine procedures, and that even when performed, they are not up to American standards. As anyone who's ever known a Canadian or British citizen living in the US has long known, they find the quality of care in the United States abominable. They complain about the long waits for simple procedures—not in the hospitals themselves, but for insurance authorization, statements of coverage, and then the interminable ex post facto wrangling about the procedures covered. That all takes time, which Americans conveniently forget when convincing themselves of the superiority of our system. As for the quality of care, while there's an argument to be made that advances in medical care require profit incentive, there's no argument that for 99 percent of all problems, adequate treatments exist. Better is better, you'll get no argument from me there, but I doubt medical researchers will stop their work if it suddenly becomes only extremely as opposed to obscenely profitable. (As Moore documents in the case of a British M.D. who only drives one fancy car, lives in a house which only costs one million dollars, and only has one high definition television.) Treatment of 9/11 Survivors and First-Responders Most outside of New York are unaware that many private individuals rushed to the Twin Towers on 9/11. They were not N.Y.P.D. or F.D.N.Y., they were medical professionals, or from police and firefighters from New Jersey, who answered the dispatchers' calls for any and all trained personnel to respond. And they did. As you may or may not know, almost everyone who worked on the pile in the hours,...

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