Thursday, January 3, 2008

Michael Moore versus the US Health Care System

After “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 911”, Michael Moore is now tackling the US health care system with “Sicko.”

By: Vanessa Uy

Using the 60th Cannes Film Festival - as a springboard- to launch his latest opus, Michael Moore’s latest documentary is no less a “scathing critique” on the US health - care system. To me, Michael Moore has chosen a very good topic with “Sicko” because the US health care system is long overdue for a long hard look.

Ever since the US President Teddy Roosevelt established universal health care for all Americans back in 1912, the lofty goals of the US health care system has been found wanting especially when it comes to results. Fast-forward to the Reagan years, it seems like Roosevelt’s “universal health care for all Americans” is more of a dream than reality. This is so because of the systems arcane bureaucracy has causes more harm- than- good. One of the excerpts of interest of the documentary is the “choosing which finger scene” where the accident victim is asked to decide whether he should choose to attach the middle finger for US$60,000 or choose to attach the ring finger for US$12,000. How can civilized people rationalize to have that kind of situation be accepted as the norm in America’s health care system?

Even though Michael Moore failed to include the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal in “Fahrenheit 911”, because the scandal leaked out-near the end of April 2004- a few months after the release of that documentary. The scandal that surrounds the US health care system probably can be dated back to the Ronald Reagan administration, inspiring songs like Metal Church’s “Fake Healer.” To me, there will probably be no other surprises in store that might suddenly emerge about the US health care system. Even 6 months after the premier of Michael Moore’s “Sicko.”

One of the points-of-contention in “Sicko” is Michael Moore comparing the US health care system with the one that is provided by Fidel Castro’s Cuba. As for anyone who’ve watched that BBC documentary about Cuba’s national health care system back in 2006. Here the BBC journalists were very impressed on Cuba’s national health care program which they described as efficient and very effective despite of operating on a budget that’s only a fraction of it’s American counterpart. And Cuba’s very good national health care system is what allowed Cuban citizens to achieve an average life expectancy that’s better than the US average despite of their national health care system operating on a “shoestring budget.”

Despite of the truth, the US authorities continue to vilify Michael Moore by placing him under arrest. This is due to some violating of some arcane law about prohibiting US citizens from traveling into Cuba or something.

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