Friday, July 13, 2007


So, I saw Michael Moore's latest film Sicko the other night, and all in all, it was a typical Michael Moore film, meaning it was maudlin, sentimental, manipulative, hilarious, and...undeniably right. The thing with Michael Moore is that everyone loves to hate him and his movies aren't perfect--he does what he needs to do to make his point, but as David Edelstein says in his New York Magazine review, "his methods are suspect, yet his work is indispensable."

It's hard not to like Sicko--it's a working-class movie that affects both sides of the party line. It's hard not to be astounded at the poignant stories of a wife who lost her husband because he was refused a bone marrow transplant, or a mother who lost her daughter because Kaiser Permanente refused to treat her at her nearest non-Kaiser hospital. And there's the story of a 9/11 rescue worker who finds that her same exact medication (a type of inhaler) costs about 5 cents in Cuba, while back home she pays $120 a bottle. It's also hard not to question why all the other countries Moore visits in the film (England, France, Canada, and even Cuba) have it better than we do in the U.S. Of course, Moore took it too far, exaggerating interest in the government-supplied nannies who even do your laundry for you in France, or the amount of money made by an average, state-paid general practitioner in London who drives an Audi and has a new flat-screen TV. But, the question remains the same--why in those countries can you get a free house call from a doctor in the middle of the night? Why can you get in an ambulance during an emergency without having to think of the $1,000-2,000 it's going to cost you?

And I know Moore didn't show everything from the other side of "socialized" health care--I have been in a dingy, cold, and unorganized hospital in Prague where I watched my boyfriend suck down what we dubbed "cardboard soup" after a bad night of food poisoning (his night's stay amounted to no more than $300.) I also watched my grandmother die in a state-run hospital in Israel, where she was crammed in a room and getting occasional glances, not check-ups, from the nurses. It's not all good on the other side either.

In the end of the day, my biggest complaint was that the film didn't offer any solutions. I left really bummed out, concerned about my own health care plan (and even my future children's health care), but I had no idea what to do about it except complain. So, I still want to know, what do we do from here? Michael Moore showed us that we have this huge problem of health care in the U.S., and I agree with him, but the film left me complaining instead of hopefully vying for change.


raymond said...

You're right about Michael Moore and our health care system. He's a loon, but our system is flawed. I commend him for at least shedding some light on that even if his arguments for a socialist system are weak and exaggerated.

We have the best health care system in the world, but that doesn't make it a good one.

I have really enjoyed reading your blog over the past few weeks. You're writing ability makes me jealous. :) Keep up the good work!

marina said...

thanks for reading !!