Shining Light on America’s Health Care Crisis, 8 July 2007
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA
In many ways, “Sicko” is Michael Moore’s most tightly focused film since “Roger & Me.” Recently he’s dealt with heady philosophical issues involving America’s obsession with guns and violence in “Bowling for Columbine” and then displayed the follies of the Bush Administration and the quagmire that is current geopolitics in “Farhenheit 9/11.” Here he turns his gaze to a single, tangible thing: America’s health care crisis.
Moore is up to his usual bag of tricks with his goofy pop-culture inspired propaganda, expertly combining heartfelt sentiment with big laughs in his anecdotal pieces, and essentially preaching to the choir. Informing us that insurance and pharmaceutical companies are vile profit driven machines who lobby hard in Washington and buyout politicians left and right isn’t exactly telling us something we didn’t already know. Scary still are the review board doctors working for the insurance companies who get paid big bonuses for denying the most claims, and saddest of all, the people who actually die from not getting their treatment. Moore, never shying from his political leanings, firmly points his finger at Nixon (whose policies paved the way for HMO’s), Reagan (who propagated the idea of socialized medicine as the first sign of Communist invasion), and Bush (who signed into law prescription drug bills that have crippled our senior citizens). He also suggests that Hillary Clinton, whose own health care plan was shot down by special interests back in the early 1990’s, is now on the same payroll after losing the good fight.
Moore really scores, though, when he starts globe hopping and shows us just how well socialized medicine works in countries like Canada, Great Britian, and France, and how much all of the people involved (doctors and patients) think it’s wonderful and that our system is absurd. The most telling anecdote is when he’s able to get a group of 9/11 heroes suffering from the debilitating effects of having worked at Ground Zero some much needed treatment in Cuba (of all places!) after they have been repeatedly denied by their insurance companies here in the States.
Other than marrying a Canadian or moving to one of these countries where health care is free to all, he offers no solid suggestions for how people who want to stay in America can fix the system other than to give this vague sense that “socialized medicine works.” He’s shed some light on the topic, and points us in the right direction, but isn’t willing to lead the way with any practical solutions.
Some of the most interesting points are made while in France, where the citizens enjoy free higher education, free health care, 35-hour work weeks, and government issued nannies. One of the Americans living now in France points out, “the people in France get all this because here the government is afraid of the people while in the States the people are afraid of the government.” Marie Antoinette, it seems, lost her head so the French could get free health care.
Funny, sobering, and frustrating, “Sicko” is a wake-up call for America to start their own revolution.
Message to Washington: Off with their heads!
Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:
Do you ever wonder how the French government pays for all that? Check the tax rates in France. They are RIDICULOUS.
Danielle, yes I am aware of the high taxes. However, I’m willing to bet that the increased taxes Americans would have to pay would still work out to be cheaper (or fairly the same) as the premiums and co-pays they pay to the insurance companies. If higher taxes means we can cover everyone then I am more than willing to pay higher taxes for free health care. –DHS
as a Frenchman, and proudly so, needless to say I would never ever switch to the american system even if I were a multi-millionnaire…
But I wanted to comment your remark on french taxes : we French people get a service that is appx the same (slightly inferior maybe, but very slightly) as well-off, well-covered people in the states can afford, only here it’s for everybody, including the poor and resourceless
Only you americans pay 16% of your GDP on health care, when we pay only 11%
So that’s 30% of GDP more than the French for a very uneven result, depending on your insurance (if you’ve got one)
Conclusion : the French system is much more efficient, period
Note that the taxes in France encompass : Health, Retirement, Job Insurance, Studies, plus all the stuff that any gov. is supposed to handle : army, police, justice, roads, town infrastructure, etc…
Now sum up all these items, divide the sum by your earnings, if the ratio is above 60%, then YOU PAY HIGHER TAXES THAN THE AVERAGE FRENCH, like it or not!
Eric, thanks for showing us an example of the math–that’s even more compelling than what I was roughly figuring in my head. –DHS
You’re welcome ; only I know american figures and they’re near or higher in many respects :
-How much does the average American family pay for health care?
– How much for retirement?
– How much for job insurance (Less necessary in the USA than in France I admit)
– How much for your kids’ college studies (I’ve been told that it’s a whopping 15 000$ per year per kid, so that’d make 150 000$ for an average family of two kids to have good diplomas – ULP!)?
Just go tell a French family about the price of college studies and you’ll see them climbing up the curtains
-Then how much income and other taxes do you pay?
All this combined must take away between 40 and 70% of your income according to the numbers I’ve been able to pick here and there ; please feel free to check
Anyway we’re very happy with our system, particularly with universal health care because you NEVER KNOW what can happen, at any period of your life
Regards – Eric