“We” First, Not “Me” First
I’ve recently started watching all of Michael Moore’s documentaries- I think he’s brilliant. After Columbine, a film was made called Elephant, which was pretty much an indie film that reinacted the events of that day. I saw it, and it was very good. I was deeply moved by what I saw. So when I saw Bowling For Columbine, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know how that tragedy was going to change the world. Michael Moore’s search for justice from the American Government left me moved, and motivated.
Today, I finally watched SiCKO. I cried. I cannot believe what the price tags are on the health and well-being of the people are in that country. I was appalled (though I am now strangely motivated to move to England or France). At one point, during the documentary, we see a handful of 9.11 Rescue Workers and Volunteers that now suffer from dibilitating medical conditions as a direct result of their involvement with working at Ground Zero, and are shown how they have been refused medical care coverage or support, despite the fund that was set up by the government in their honor. Michael Moore had to take them to Havana, Cuba, to be treated (for free!!!). One woman, who suffers from severe lung and throat problems, had been paying $250 a month, just for inhalers so that she could breathe. In Cuba, for the same amount of medication, she spent 10 cents. She was out in the street, holding her inhalers, absolutely bawling her eyes out. When you’re spending $125 twice a month, when you’re only getting just over $1100 in support, to pay for your home, your food and your family, it’s insulting that she could go to a third world country, and get a months worth of medication for less than the price of a gumball. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Michael took a half dozen other 9.11 volunteers to the hospital in Havana. They had been fighting their HMOs for medical tests and treatments for 5 years, but couldn’t afford it. All in one day, in Havana, they were all properly diagnosed and treated, and given treatment regimens to follow, and didn’t pay a cent.
There were also several stories of people whose family members have died because they couldn’t pay hospital bills, or "pre-approve" ambulances… etc. Other parts told stories of patients who had been tossed into cabs with nothing but the hospital gowns on their backs, delirious, sick, injured and confused, in the middle of the slums, by hospitals that hadn’t received payments. Other parts explained how billion dollar HMOs have staff, specifically to investigate you so that they can deny you coverage. They will go to the lengths of looking at your medical records to piece together different symptoms you’ve experienced, so that they can tell you that you have a medical condition that you don’t know about, so they have to cancel your coverage. One woman lost her health insurance because she didn’t tell them about a yeast infection she’d had once. Thanks USA, for putting a price tag on the human existence. My heart breaks for them. I wouldn’t trade my Canadian citizenship for anything.