Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Very few people in this country spark as much passionate debate as Michigan Filmmaker Michael Moorer. Short of the President himself, maybe no one can get two people yelling at each other with some opinion or another quicker than the controversial documentarian. I happen to like Michael Moorer and his movies. A lot. I also think that calling Michael Moore a documentary filmmaker is a bit of a stretch, that is if one figures a documentary is a balanced presentation of facts on a particular subject leading the viewer to weigh the facts presented to him and make an informed decision. Well we all know very well thatís not how Mr. Moorer presents his films as he could probably be classified as a sensationalist propaganda film maker, if anything. The funny thing though is with his latest work ĎSickoí, a complete indictment and attack on the United States Health Care system is probably the least sensational of all Moorerís films. Of course itís completely one-sided, leading, and manipulative, but he picked such an easy target of scorn and disdain that all he really had to do was get out of the way and allow the subject matter to skewer itself, which it does flawlessly.

Moorer opens his film with a few hard working denizens of this land who are living without health insurance and the dire consequences of rolling those loaded dice. Such as the man who lost his fingers in a circular saw accident had to choose between a 12,000 dollar bill on repairing the ring finger or a 60,000 dollar invoice on the middle finger. He chose the ring finger by the way. But this film, as the man informs us, is not about those without health care but those with health care living under a severely flawed system that is managed by profit minded, bottom line motivated insurance companies. The examples of the various truly pointless unnecessary tragedies that emerge from this system are far too numerous to name and the film does a way better job in describing than I ever could, but wherever you stand on health care, insurance companies or even Michael Moorer, I'm fairly certain that we all agree that in this country, no Ė scratch that, on this PLANET, if youíre ill and the means to make you well are available then there should be someway to make whatever you need available for you to get well.

Of course socialized health care has been bandied about for some time, though I think its pure folly to think that it will ever be institutionalized in the country. Pure folly. But Moorer travels to Canada, France, and England and give vivid examples of socialized medicine that seems to work. Moorer ran a of clip of the first President Bush when questioned on socialized health care and who responded ĎIf you think socialized health care works so well, then ask a Canadian!í Well I decided to do just that. Since this is Detroit, Canadians are readily available. This gentlemenís report was that health care in Canada is generally very good, though heaven forbid you need a heart bypass operation as this is not deemed Ďlife threateningí or the long waits to see a particular specialist who is outside of your family doctor. Iím sure if I knew some Frenchmen or Englishmen they could also supply an itemized list of what they think works and what doesnít work, of course Moore generally only presents the good to support his point of view, but even armed with that knowledge itís still fairly certain that those systems work better than ours, well, at least if you're working class. He also goes through the trouble to point out that people in these socialized care nations live longer than we do here, but Iím fairly sure thatís a result of having Mickey Dís, KFCís, and Taco Bellís on every corner more than our shitty health care system.

Why canít socialized health care work in this country? Well first I think the U.S. is just too damn big. Thereís 300 million people in this country and providing health care for every last one of us, though it should be so, would be a daunting task to say the least. Secondly and far more importantly, socializing health care would mean taking away billions upon billions of dollars from insurance companies. Insurance companies probably have the largest army of lobbyist in the world and certainly pay out more to politician than any other industry. This system has turned CEOís into billionaires and who in the hell is going to voluntarily give that up? I say voluntarily because my government doesnít have what it takes to manage these clowns, so they would have to willingly want to change the system. And if the system is getting you and your stockholders STUPID paid, which is why they are primarily there in the first place - not to service their customers no matter what that damn gecko says, then why change it?

Since Iím a reasonably well informed person, I can say that ĎSickoí didnít tell me anything that I didnít already generally know. Yes, I even knew that Cubans received generally better health care than many of us do here in the United States. I will admit that I have been making a concerted effort to become less informed as being informed has not served me that well in life and usually only leaves me depressed. I will also say that those who like Michael Moorer generally love his dirty drawers and those who dislike the man hate him to his very core. Anyone generating that kind of passion in people must be doing something right, and as such ĎSickoí is certainly required watching. I sure hope they fix this health care thing though because Iím not even trying to live in France. Who the hell wants to live in France?

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