SICKO: We’re the leaders of the free world, but…

SICKOWe are not the leaders in health care for our people.  Why is that?

We can find the money to bomb Iraq into the Stone Age, but we cannot provide health care for all Americans. Why?

We can provide top notch health care to “enemy combatants,” but not to our veterans. What’s up with that?

We are one of the wealtiest nations in the western world, but our people are less healthy than the people of Cuba. What the F*%k?

We spend more of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care than any other country, but all we have to show for it are bloated salaries and bonuses for Health Care industry CEO’s. What’s wrong with this picture?

Alexis de TocquevilleSome blame our health care problems on undocumented immigrants, when the real problem is corporate greed.

“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. ”
- Alexis de Tocqueville
 

In case you haven’t guessed, I saw Michael Moore’s documentary “SICKO” this weekend.  If I wasn’t pissed off enough about the state of our national health care system before, I think I’ve reached the high point now.

CNN.com in a story by A. Chris Gajilan did a fact check of some of the points and/or statistics raised in SICKO and here is what they found:

Moore covers a lot of ground. Our team investigated some of the claims put forth in his film. We found that his numbers were mostly right, but his arguments could use a little more context. As we dug deep to uncover the numbers, we found surprisingly few inaccuracies in the film. In fact, most pundits or health-care experts we spoke to spent more time on errors of omission rather than disputing the actual claims in the film.

Whether it’s dollars spent, group coverage or Medicaid income cutoffs, health care goes hand in hand with numbers. Moore opens his film by giving these statistics, “Fifty million uninsured Americans … 18,000 people die because they are uninsured.”

For the most part, that’s true. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 43.6 million, or about 15 percent of Americans, were uninsured in 2006. For the past five years, the overall count has fluctuated between 41 million and 44 million people. According to the Institute of Medicine, 18,000 people do die each year mainly because they are less likely to receive screening and preventive care for chronic diseases.

One of the many great lines in the film came from a former member of the British Parliament Tony Benn: “If we can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.”

In his documentary, Moore compares the American health care system with the universal health care systems of Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Cuba.

The CNN analysis goes on to say…

Like Moore, we also found that more money does not equal better care. Both the French and Canadian systems rank in the Top 10 of the world’s best health-care systems, according to the World Health Organization. The United States comes in at No. 37. The rankings are based on general health of the population, access, patient satisfaction and how the care’s paid for.

So, if Americans are paying so much and they’re not getting as good or as much care, where is all the money going? “Overhead for most private health insurance plans range between 10 percent to 30 percent,” says Deloitte health-care analyst Paul Keckley. Overhead includes profit and administrative costs.

“Compare that to Medicare, which only has an overhead rate of 1 percent. Medicare is an extremely efficient health-care delivery system,” says Mark Meaney, a health-care ethicist for the National Institute for Patient Rights.

But you really don’t need CNN to validate the claims that Moore has stated in SICKO, you can see his sources referenced HERE.

I cannot wait to here from our friends over on the Righty Blogs to tell us how great the “free market” is for our health care system.  I cannot wait to hear the rhetoric about the evils of “socialized medicine” and how private industry can run health care so much better than the government.  I can hear these guys invoking this quote from Ronald Reagan “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

Operation Coffee CupOr they may even dig up the quote from Ronald Reagan’s first venture into political speech included as part of the American Medical Association’s “Operation Coffee Cup” campaign in opposition to the proposal to establish Medicare in the 1960’s.  In a LP sent to the “ladies’ auxiliary” of the Medical Association in each county across the nation titled “Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine.” Reagan tells his listeners that if they do not prevent the passage of Medicare, “one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

As I left the theater Saturday evening, I walked out into the entrance to find Universal Health Care advocates with post cards for us to sign urging the Governor to Sign Sheila Kuehl’s Universal Health Care legislation, SB 840.  If any of you are as pissed off about the state of health care in our state and want to do something about it; I urge you to visit http://www.onecarenow.org/ and get involved.

Tony Benn also had some intriguing comments in the movie as an explanation of possible reasons why the United States is the only major western power that does not have national health care for all of its citizens.  He pointed out that healthy people vote, and the key to preventing people from speaking out, via protest or through voting is;

“Keeping people hopeless and pessimistic – see I think there are two ways in which people are controlled – first of all frighten people and secondly demoralize them. An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.”

So people, what do you think? 

Should we do something to solve the real proble of health care in this country?

Or should we simply accept our lot in life and if we are not rich enough to afford the health care offered in our country, simply do without?

  5 comments for “SICKO: We’re the leaders of the free world, but…

  1. July 9, 2007 at 1:52 am

    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

  2. demmother
    July 9, 2007 at 6:57 am

    I saw the film last week. I am sorry that Moore did not talk to some corporate types from companies that are reeling from paying into the insurance scam. Some are actually taking a serious look at Universal Care because they realize it benefits everyone and reduces their costs making them more competitive in the global economy. Doctors, Specialists and health care workers would no longer be stiffed by the Insurance Companies.

    Healthcare insurers have failed to provide a product that benefits the consumer. I think the government needs to assume this responsibility. BTW- I learned in civics that WE are the government – I think we would be better managers.

  3. Fierce Girl
    July 12, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Sorry Dr. Dach, but you have managed to miss the point of the movie which was to show us the insanity of having a “for-profit” institution running our health care industry. The point was to bring to the American conciousness the idea that it just may be better to have someone in charge with the primary goal of …well… providing care!

    A corporations primary goal, by law, is to maximize the return to its investors. It is not hard see where this may be in conflict with a citizens health care.

    And I am soooo tired of the “corporate profit is good!” mantra. There is always one very important word missing by those who spout off in favor of capitalism. That word is REGULATED. Regulated capitalism is good. Unregulated capitalism always has, and always will, end with a minority of an extremely wealthy ruling class and a majority peasant working class with no power.

    Sound familiar anyone?? Awwww yes, what is that I see just over there on the horizon….

  4. RHackett
    July 13, 2007 at 6:09 am

    Having gone through several episodes of dealing with managed care I’ve come to the conclusion the health care system in America is an umbrella that melts in the rain.

    It’s a wonderful institution when you’re healthy.

  5. RHackett
    July 13, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Chris. You are absolutely right about the righties always talking about the sanctity of the “free market.” The libertarians and Ayn Rand devotees wet themselves as though their ideas are the solution to all the world’s problems. They believe businesses have never oppressed or exploited anyone, and the market would’ve solved slavery, child labor, 14-hour work days, 6-7 day work weeks and discrimination against women and minorities in the workplace.

    I’m reminded of another economic scheme that promises freedom from the yolk of oppression. And that is communism.

    Fortunately, the greater majority of sane people recognize neither idea has a shred of working in the real world.

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