Chris and I went and saw Sicko last night. Say what you want about Michael Moore, his style and his politics, but he knows how to bring the drama, and this is a great film. In fact, if you check it out, those who seek to "debunk" Moore's films are having trouble finding real inconsistencies, particularly when looking at the big picture

I think the topic of health care was a brilliant choice for Moore. Health care affects everyone and is something that we all care about, if not for others, at least for ourselves. Even more intelligently, Moore doesn't focus on the millions of Americans who are uninsured, but instead looks at how insurance companies fuck their clients every single day. Fact: HMO's are having record profits, while the #1 cause of bankruptcy in a America is medical bills. Here's a question: why are people making money off of sick people? Is that ethical? Is it ethical that health insurance companies are not interested in helping people when they are sick, but how they can find ways to avoid paying for care? For what most Americans pay for insurance, shouldn't the level of care be exceptional, and, equally important, headache-free?

Moore shows four examples of countries with universal health care: Canada, Cuba, France, and the UK. Granted, citizens of these countries pay more in taxes, but think about not having any health insurance or medical bills. Even our car insurance would be less, too, because you wouldn't have to factor in medical costs in case of an accident. It seems to me that the costs would even out. If we have $2 trillion to spend on the war in Iraq, I can't see why we haven't found the money to take care of our citizens' health.

What was even more interesting to me was the emphasis on preventative care and mental/emotional health care in the countries highlighted. For example, in the UK, women get six months PAID maternity leave. At my job, which one would think would be a family-friendly workplace, you don't get any paid maternity leave, and I think that's pretty standard. In France, the government even pays for mother's helpers to visit homes and do laundry, clean and take care of the children. Doctors still make house calls. Quality child care is free or almost-free.

One major point the film makes is that in these countries, the idea is that the system works for the people. As a nation prospers, that prosperity should bring about improvements to all people's lives. The attitude in the U.S. is that our "freedom" means that we take care of ourselves and our country owes us nothing. God forbid we take care of each other. Because, you know, that would be socialism, or even worse, communism! People have this idea that if we were to have universal health care, it would be abused by all these freeloaders, ruffians, and ne'er-do-wells and all us hardworking, worthy Americans would unfairly bear the burden of these lazy bums. Because hardworking Americans never face health emergencies that they can't afford. Not in the land of milk and honey! I feel as though, in a country of such wealth as ours, if a citizen is sick, they should be able to receive top quality care, no questions asked, and the last thing they should have to think about is can they afford said care. I think it comes down to the fact that people are so self-interested that they can't see past the threat of someone else getting more from a system such as this than themselves. It would be unfair to pay, through taxes, into a system that might give someone else more than they might get. Is it so audacious that a health care system might function solely to take care of people, any people, that might cross its path? Consider this: when I lived in Germany, one of my roommates was an insulin-dependent diabetic. The day a few of us left to go home, she passed out in our apartment and was rushed to a German hospital. She spent several days in the hospital and paid not a penny. If this were to happen in America, many Americans would resent the fact that they paid for a foreigners hospital bill. However, this sentiment, in many countries with universal health care, doesn't exist.

Why is it so hard for Americans to support the idea of universal health care?

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