Tuesday, July 03, 2007

SiCKO - Watch This (for Free)

I have been chomping at the bit to write about this movie ever since seeing it awhile back and crying through the entire film, but I didn't want to say too much knowing most hadn't seen it, and honestly, I was too heartbroken and disgusted to be able to form coherent thoughts. Maybe I still am; we'll see where this goes. This is likely the first and last time you will ever see me link to Michael Moore's site because in general I just plain don't like him or his agenda or his biased crap. SiCKO is different.

In a nutshell, my briefest opinion of SiCKO is that everyone should see it, regardless of political tastes, so that we can come up with some kind of solution to what is clearly a problem with health care in America. Whatever the solution, anything would be better than hearing about people die needlessly or go broke trying not to die.

If you haven't seen it, there was an article on Consumerist today with links to watch SiCKO for free, with permission, and without downloading if you already have Quicktime. It comes in two parts: Part One and Part Two, which I haven't actually tried (not on the best computer to try much of anything - UPDATE: I tried it, and after taking a very long time to load, it does work.). Tom and I talked just last night about going to see this in theaters when it gets here at least once just to be supportive and to see how other people react during certain scenes.

Now that I'll assume you've either watched some of it or don't mind possible small spoilers, probably some cussing, plenty of rambling that sometimes is not coherent or well thought out or just my general ranting with steam valve fully open. If that's not the case, continue to read at your own risk. It's long.


I don't like Michael Moore, but SiCKO ought to be required watching for every American, regardless of how they feel about Michael Moore's apparent suggestion of socialized medicine as a solution to the ails of our current health care system. I decided to put my disdain for Michael Moore aside to watch SiCKO because this is an issue I've thought about so much because it scares the living piss out of me that I could ever wind up without health insurance. As long as I had health insurance, I considered myself lucky because I know people with ZERO health insurance, even though they have jobs that offer it but at such a high cost that they can't afford it on the pay they make. Nice little catch22, huh?


This film wasn't even about people without health insurance. It was about people like *ME* who *DO* have health insurance and how I might not want rest so easy feeling all safe and secure and fortunate just because I'm lucky enough to have health insurance.

Anyone who is both a human being and also not sleeping should be able to see that there is a definite problem when even *working* Americans who actually *have* health insurance wind up bankrupt by medical bills or dead because some insurance exec's assistant rubber stamped his denial of claim for something that the patient's trusted doctor said would be in the person's best interest if they wanted to, you know, live.

Regardless of what one feels is the best solution to our very sad health care system, SiCKO makes the problem clear to anyone who has been under a rock or doesn't talk to anyone who knows someone. This is important. From there, when enough people are pissed off and aware, we can do something to ensure that people can get appropriate medical treatment when they need it, medical care as prescribed by a doctor that the patient trusts rather than by some cock whose job it is to make sure the insurance company doesn't pay a penny more than they have to pay, regardless of whether it spells death or financial ruin for the patient, the same patient that their bullshit commercials claim they care so damn much about.

I will puke the next time I see another Kaiser Permanente commercial - their marketing is strong enough that it almost even got to me, making me sing their little jingle and feel like they care. Never mind that I've been to approximately 5 different doctors that suck and can't get out of their dirty little incestuous pool to see one good doctor that gets all of these very basic things right (out of 5 docs, none have scored 100%):

1. have decent bedside manner and don't be a condescending ass prick; shouldn't we be partners in this?
2. tell me heart test results sooner than 2 months later, especially if I'm still having heart issues
3. click the correct prescription from the drop-down menu so that I don't have to be the one to notice that you gave me the wrong medicine; you can kill someone
4. don't send me a form letter which states that I have a condition that I don't have because you were too lazy to go back to review my chart
5. if I tell you during my medical history in three different ways of saying the condition that my mom died of (Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - bad no matter which way you say it), please have heard of one of them and don't just tell me "OK we leave it blank," you fucking quack

I am lucky that Kaiser did cover my Chantix.

I did happen to live for a few years working in a country that had socialized medicine, and I received good medical care. I did not wait to be seen - needed to go and went same day, sat for about 15 minutes, saw a doctor. I was amazed by some of the technology they used. They wanted to hospitalize me for something that I wouldn't have been here in the States, and now I get it that maybe they were not fussing too much over something small. Just because we push people out of the hospital sooner and sooner or want to let insurance companies dictate that we sometimes do something so serious as a mastectomy as an almost outpatient procedure (sign the petition to get Congress to stop this mindless and heartless bullshit) does not mean that it's in the patient's best interest. Granted, what worked where I lived in Japan might or might not be the solution here in the US of A, but I refuse to believe that we can't do better than what we have.

I've gotten off course. I knew this would happen. Yet I can't bring myself to erase any of it and start attempt something more concise other than:

See SiCKO. Get mad with me.


  1. Maggie, I completely agree with you! I was pretty close to crying myself during this movie, just out of pure worry, fear, and disgust. I was of the same mindset as you--I've got health isurance, I'm totally fine. Now I know that's not the case and it terrifies me. I don't know what we can do, but there must be something..

  2. Yev, that was the biggest shock - that they were talking about me. Yikes!

  3. Maggie! Do you know what happened to Lakasha? She's awfully quiet since last Friday...

  4. I know! Me, too! I hope she didn't give in to cigs..but even if she did, she could still go back and try again.

    My idea is how can you succeed in something if you don't try?!

  5. What is the real solution, if Michael Moore’s government sponsored universal health care is not the answer?

    The crux of the "SICKO" documentary is the disconnect between our expectations and the reality of health care. We are expecting compassionate care from another human being, and instead we get a faceless corporation. The person behind the desk or window is an agent of a health care corporation, which is not a human being, whose primary goal is to increase corporate profit.

    This is America, and corporate profit is good, the profit motive forming the basis America’s greatness. The basic problem is that a corporation is not a human being. Therein lies the fallacy of replacing a corporation with a government agency, neither of which is a human being, when what we really want is a human being to deliver compassionate health care, and assist in serious health care decisions.

    Review of "SICKO", by Jeffrey Dach MD

    Jeffrey Dach MD

  6. As a Canadian, I can tell you that *all* decisions regarding *every* health procedure I have *ever* had involved me and my doctor, and that *it*. The thing is, neither my doctor nor the facilities we may or may not have to use are under pressure to turn a profit. Rather, they are under pressure to make the best use of existing resources. But the patients are basically never exposed to this money aspect of it, and I'm not sure the doctors are either. I am baffled by the "government deciding" fear that Americans have. Vote the government out, if they are overbearing! Have they taken democracy away from you?

    Anyway, whatever "government deciding" means (isn't the government of, by and for the people down there?), I never interact with "the government" when getting health care up here, only my doctor. I don't even know how doctors get paid.

    And no I don't overuse the system either, just because my payment for it is indirect. The same community spirit that makes us want universal health care makes us not want to clog up the system with frivolous visits. Plus nobody eagerly signs up for voluntary, unnecessary surgery just because it's free!!!!

  7. Great comments Dr Dach and anonymous. Hearing directly from a Canadian (not just in the film) on just how this works convinces me even more.

  8. Maggie I'm so disgusted and blown away and furious about it that I can't even write about it yet.

    Thanks for standing up for me with the crazy Bun lady.

    Trace Sioux
    Blog Fabulous
    So Sioux Me
    Empower Your Self,
    Empower Your Daughter

  9. Jeffery,

    I don't agree with logic that we can't trust government more than insurance companies.

    The logic is faulty because since we are Americans we have a constitutional right to hold our government accountable. The American government is accountable to the American people.

    Insurance companies are accountable to no one but the share holder. We need a system accountable to US.

    Tracee Sioux

  10. Amen, Tracee. On all counts. And I actually enjoyed writing a long rant to the Bun Lady.

  11. Maggie, what fun to stumble across your blog.
    I'm new to blogging and was just clicking from blog to blog, seeing what I could learn from all of you out there.
    You caught my attention 1st with your success in quitting smoking! Congrats! I know how hard it is...I've done it at least a dozen times. I will look on your links to learn more about your secret weapon. I NEED to quit. I have MS, and don't need compounding health problems.
    2nd was your blog mentioning Sicko. I love Micheal Moore. I've gone to hear him on several occaisions, and saw this movie when it opened. For myself, having already been diagnosed with a chronic illness, my hubby can't change jobs and we can't think about moving out of state for fear of losing what benefits we have from our health insurance. If you let it lapse...even for a moment from policy to policy they'll drop you flat. The disease modifying drug that I take alone is $20,000/year. Big profits abound!
    I should blog about it :)
    come see me at BubbiesBlog.blogsppot.com

  12. Bubbie, your story is precisely why something needs to be done so to improve our health care system.

    On quitting smoking, I do hope you'll give it a go, whatever method you choose. Chantix has been working really, really well for me and would be worth considering. Best of luck!

    I'll be reading along over at your blog!


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