Tuesday, March 03, 2009


The latest work by famed documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is an eye opener and a punch in the guts for all those who are willing to listen with an open mind.

The issue is health care and Moore shows us how the greatest democracy on Earth, the USA, is not only the lone developed nation that doesn't offer universal health care to its citizens, but it's also way below a lot of developing nations in terms of the level of health care it does offer.

How can this be when the US boasts the best health care apparatus in the world? How can it be when the majority of drugs and treatments are discovered or developed in the US? Alas, it's the truth.

In his usual style, which mixes deadpan and panache, Moore shows us how people live in other countries and how they all seem to be better off than Americans. For instance, in Canada you can go to a clinic for any treatment and it doesn't cost you anything. In France you get help from the government when you have a child in the form of a paid government worker who comes to your house a few hours a week and helps you with the baby, including making meals and doing laundry. In Cuba drugs that cost over $120 here in the US only cost five cents. In England, doctors receive bonuses if their patients get better.

In the US, any treatment you need will cost you thousands of dollars. Hundreds of thousands if you don't have insurance, but even if you do, it will still cost you something. Not only do you not receive any help when you have a child, but you don't get a lot of time off fully paid and if you need daycare, it will cost you thousands of dollars. Drugs cost you thousands of dollars, whether they are prescribed by your doctor or not. Insurances hand out bonuses based on how many claims are denied.

And this is all true. I know it first hand. When I had my abdominal surgery, the bill came to over $30,000. My insurance paid about $14,000 and the rest was forgone. But if I hadn't had insurance, I'd have had to pay for the whole amount. Does that make sense to you? Why would a hospital give a discount to a multimillion dollar organization but not to individuals who don't have the money to afford health care in the first place? I "only" had to pay my co-pay of about $1,000 but if I had been in Italy, I wouldn't have had to pay for anything but a few dozen euros as a co-pay (and $1,000 isn't pocket change for me or a lot of other people).

Coming from a country that offers universal health care, I can say that I really hope President Obama is able to implement it in this country as well, because the lack of it is medieval.

And to all the naysayers that always try to defame Moore's name and work, no one has ever been able to find any fact or piece of data that was false or misrepresented. He even offered money to whomever would actually find something wrong, so you can bet people tried.

Watch this documentary, show it to your friends and family, and then ask your representatives and senators why we live in such a rich country, where the possibilities are endless, and yet our health care system is substandard at best.

This documentary should be shown in all schools, yearly, starting in 6th grade.

Grade: 9

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