I guess the question is how can any country in the world have a health-care system that's built on profits? How is it that health care, from birth to death, isn't a right that everyone should enjoy but instead a privilege that only some are permitted, as in some win and some lose? Michael Moore's new film "Sicko" is an attempt to compare our system to those of Canada, Britain, France and, of all things, Cuba. And you won't be surprised to learn that a) they all live longer than we do; and b) that they all have much less infant mortality; and c) that in the world ranking of longevity we are at Number 38, just above Slovenia.
If longevity doesn't bother you, after all, you're living, I assume, it's probably because your vaunted health-care system never denied you coverage for a life-saving operation. Moore shows us a family where the father died of cancer even though his brother was a perfect match for a marrow donation, but his HMO denied him coverage on the ground that bone marrow transplants were an "experimental" treatment. And what about the volunteers at the site of 9/11, who ingested lethal amounts of toxic dust while hunting bodies and survivors but were denied coverage as well?
Moore shows us testimony from doctors who were paid bonuses that depended on their denying coverage to claimants. Is that a system or what? What is it in the American psyche that refuses to recognize that a government-run health-care system actually is cheaper and better than the one we have? How do I know? Because Moore takes us to Canada, to Great Britain and to France, all of which have government-funded health care paid by taxes on all citizens, and all of which is free. And then to top it off he takes a group of 9/11 volunteers who've been denied coverage here to, yes, Cuba, where they get perfectly good care - at, of course, no charge.
If you think this film is propaganda, I can tell you of an episode in my own life when my son broke his collarbone playing in a soccer tournament in Canada; his hospitalization, including X-rays and drugs, for non-Canadian visitors like us, came to $30.
People may be mad at Moore for raising these questions, but that's blaming the messenger and not the message. Email me and give me one reason why you don't support a single-payer system of health care for America; but don't do it until you've seen "Sicko." And if you give me one valid reason, and send me your ticket to show you've seen the film, I'll send you back your admission price. Here's my address:
1950 W. Clarke Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201