Erin and I saw Sicko at the Davis last night. Michael Moore did a great job of getting right down to a few basic issues with the health care system in the United States:

  • Insurance companies are corporate entities and exist to make money, as such insurance companies have setup a system in which saving the company money is rewarded. For example, insurance companies define a threshold of claims that must rejected, and hospital medical directors are rewarded financially for exceeding that threshold.
  • Drug companies charge too much for drugs. In once scene, a woman pays five cents for a medication in Cuba that costs her over $100 in the US. This drug might have been generic, nonetheless, this is a gigantic savings.

Also interesting is that countries like Canada, England and France provide universal health care to citizens at no cost (I knew Canada did, but didn’t know about the UK or France…I’m sure there are more). Moore interviewed dozens of citizens from each of the countries, and the suggestion of paying for health care was generally laughable. I thought that one gentleman from the UK did an excellent job of explaining why universal health care was provided - the country suffered horrific losses at the end of World War II and the government, in an effort to boost moral, decided that health care was a universal right to all citizens. The Canadians even struggled with this concept until one man (I forget his name, I’m sure it can be easily Googled) make the case for free universal health care, and the people listened.

I have never really thought about universal healthcare as being a service provided to all, free of charge, because I’ve been using to being part of the our system for so long. Moore points out that lots of public services are socialized: the police, our postal service, firefighters, libraries, etc. Why can’t health care be approached in the same way? After seeing this movie, I can honestly say that I don’t know what the other side of the argument is. We should provide health care to all citizens, free of charge. I’m fine with paying higher taxes if that’s what it takes. A conservative gentleman from Canada nailed it in the film when he said that health care has no relationship to politics, political parties, or beliefs - it’s about taking care of each other and helping people that can’t afford it, as he knew that he’d be taken care of if he couldn’t.

On another note, I just added the ability to post comments back on my site last week, so if you have anything to add to this, dispute, etc…have at it.