Monday, July 09, 2007


So. I went to see Sicko over the weekend.

Yes, I have seen every Michael Moore film ever made. In case you hadn't noticed, I am an unabashed liberal. I make no apologies for this. I firmly believe that every social advancement in this country has been championed by liberals. Abolition of slavery immediately pops to mind...

So, keeping the film in mind, I reject any arguments that Moore has created a propaganda piece designed to demonize the American medical system, and advance the cause of socialized medicine.

As Moore pointed out, we have socialized a lot of things in this country. Fire, police, education (for the most part) spring to mind.

So why not health care?

Because, in 1971, a man named Kaiser managed to convince the Republican Administration that providing health care could be profitable. The same administration that created the Environmental Protection Agency, by the way.

I firmly believe that the Health Maintenance Organization was created to help people. After all, who could be unhappy about companies that had the ultimate goal of encouraging people to live a more healthy lifestyle?

But over the course of the next 30+ years, that goal became corrupted. The almighty dollar reared its ugly head. And these companies became increasingly profitable by demonstrating how much care they could NOT provide, instead of the reverse. And as the insurance and drug companies showed increasing profits, they gained even more incentive to make those profits even larger. It became a vicious cycle of greed.

It culminated in the deregulation of drug companies in the mid-90's. A flood of commercials for drug companies hit the airwaves, driving the demand for drugs to treat everything from high cholesterol to erectile dysfunction.

As a result, we as a nation watched our quality of health care decline even as its costs rose. I myself, in the 11+ years I have been in my current job, have seen my health care costs more than quadruple. And I have insurance!

Conservatives complain that Moore's film lionizes the health care systems of other countries while ignoring their faults. Not one mention is made of the faults readily apparent in our own system of health care.

After all, if you had a choice between waiting a few weeks for a medical procedure or being totally denied that procedure, which would you choose?

I thought so.

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