Thursday, July 12, 2007

Michael Moore's new movie

Last weekend, my husband Jim and I went out on a date. It had been many, many months since we'd last seen a movie at the theatre, and so, after a delicious Middle Eastern dinner, we finally went to check out the movie theatre in our new home town, which we have now been living in for 4 months already. I'd say it was about time!

Although I often prefer the cheerful, lighthearted movies, as I feel we are bombarded with enough negativity throughout our days as it is, I certainly appreciate a movie that makes you think and raises awareness. Michael Moore's movie Sicko does just that! In watching it, I went through moments of thinking, I'm calling my friend in Canada as soon as I get home to see if she'll rent us out a room in her apartment!, or I'm moving back to Europe!, where I am from.

The state of health insurance in the U.S. is quite frankly appalling. Whatever happened to the notion of health insurance existing for the purpose of helping people to afford the medical treatments they need? Isn't the idea that we all pay into a fund so that, whoever's in need, will be able to draw from that fund to cover their costs? Wouldn't we all hope to receive that kind of support ourselves if we were in need?

It seems the sole purpose of health insurance in the U.S. nowadays is for the insurance companies to make a profit. They have no regard for the consumer, and they try, in every thinkable way, to deny the insured the requested coverage whenever possible.

Some of the stories covered in Michael Moore's movie were heart-wrenching. To loose a child because your insurance tells you they won't cover treatment at the hospital she was taken to by the ambulance and, by the time, you get your baby to the 'proper' hospital, the doctors regret to tell you that she has 'expired.' To have to choose between having your middle or ring finger re-attached, because you can't afford to pay for both. To leave your cancer untreated because you are in your twenties and the insurance company dnies your claim, as you are supposedly 'too young to have cancer.' Where is the humanity in all this? Can people really be so heartless as to care more about the bottom line of their year-end fiscal reports than the lives and well-being of fellow human beings?

With the United States ranking 37th on the WHO list of health care systems, Michael Moore is infuriated, and I believe rightly so. We have more wealth and technology than any other country, and, nevertheless, 50 million of our citizens are without insurance, 9 million of them children.

Admittedly, Moore glorifies the other countries he contrasts with the U.S. in his documentary, and, most certainly, those countries have their own host of problems. However, I truly believe that proper health care should be a right every citizen is entitled to, and we shouldn't have to worry about whether we can afford to take our children to the doctors or have our fingers re-attached.

No wonder more and more U.S. citizen are taking their health care needs into their own hands and setting up funds and flex spending plans to cover their medical costs. That's not to mention how many of us are paying out-of-pocket for alternative treatments not covered by our insurance plans.

Though I fall far short of proposing a plan to run the health care system in this country, I would wish that the big insurance moguls take a look at their conscience and take a moment, every so often, to listen to their hearts and consider the possibility of doing their part in helping humankind, rather than capitalizing on the poor.