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The International Writers Magazine
:
Reality Check

Michael Moore and his 'Sicko' Utopia
• James Campion

It's not the notes you play; it's the notes you don't play.
  - Miles Davis


Michael Moore is one of the few completely moral public figures left. He really is. Everything you read about him, his over-zealous bending of truth, his leftist propaganda, and his antipatriotic rhetoric, pales in comparison to his impeccable moral structure. He's a rock of optimism and compassion in a selfish, paranoid, dehumanizing world.
Moore may be misguided at times, even silly, and after watching an advanced copy of his new documentary "SiCKO", I render, certifiably insane, but he is nothing if not a true Christian; champion of the poor and unfortunate and the bane of the coldly unfeeling machinations of corporate greed.

But when the credits role on this baby, there is only one sicko remaining, and it is Michael Moore.
Here is the premise of "SiCKO": We need to have an American health care system that caters to the whim of every whining poof in this country, and in the meantime, wrest its control away from evil pharmaceutical companies and voracious HMO's while handing the whole kit-n-kaboodle over to the federal government, like in Great Britain, France and Canada, where all the infirmed are treated and no one is denied, doctors are rewarded monetarily based on performance, drug companies swoon, and respect for common decency trumps the hard-line of profit.

Without certain hidden sacrifices, this kind of utopian pabulum only works in the Hundred Acre Wood alongside the impenetrable spirit of Christopher Robin's sweet and lovable pal, Pooh, but here on planet reality, and more specifically, the Untied States, it is bankruptcy personified.

For two hours "SiCKO" poses plenty of engaging and serious questions about the corruption of health care in this country, but in beseeching the heavens for change, never answers the most glaring one: Who will pay for it?
Assuming drugs and doctors don't grow in the rabbit tunnels of Wonderland, problems abound.

Firstly, while France has the finest health care system in the western world, they have built it by raising taxes, halting wage increases, and cutting back on social programs. We have all seen what kind of manic furor these sacrifices incite around here. A quick research on Great Britain's National Health Service reveals tons of bugs; long waits, limits to care, sub par doctor requirements, etc. These are quirks the British with their stiff-upper-lip culture permit. We have feebly quivering lips attached to people who love to sue here. And Canada? There have been a series of studies that reveal many under their system must get supplemental insurance to bolster questionable general coverage.

Let's see: Pay higher taxes, give up our handouts, and still pay for additional coverage? You supply the joke here. I'm tired.

Moore spends an hour of his film lauding other nation's superior health systems, but fails to broach the tax burden on the citizens, aside from two minutes chatting up one pleasant couple outside London, which reveals nothing. He sure doesn't dare mention the enormous size, ill-health, and voraciously self-centered nature of our citizenry in comparison to these other proud but comparatively tinier, far healthier, and socialist-leaning countries. And he sure as hell, although he just finished one such film last time out, doesn't broach the complete and utter dysfunction, corruption, and abject idiocy repeatedly portrayed by our federal government.

Face it; we've seen how this nifty government of ours has mishandled its only true task: Protect of our borders. In the last 10 years alone we've been invaded by millions of illegal aliens and had two major cities attacked by third-world bandits. And to combat this we've decided to absolve the illegal aliens and cram billions of dollars down a sinkhole called Homeland Security. Yeah, no thanks. If I have to pay exorbitant sums to keep the government's gloved finger out of my asshole every year at my physical, I will.

Don't get me wrong; Moore is dead on about insurance and pharmaceutical companies. They do not exist to aid, but profit. They are companies, not churches or charity groups or Friends of Jesus. They do not exist to pay out. They exist to hold on. This is economics 101. Simple mathematics. Human compassion and empathy have no place in business, and business, as with everything else, is the way of health care here in capitalist land.

Apparently this has been lost on Moore, whose opening quote in "SiCKO" is "I thought insurance companies existed to help people?"

This is when you get the feeling the next Moore film will be about his disillusionment with the whole Tooth Fairy con.
Insurance companies are a rip-off. Of course they are. This is the case with all insurance companies. Just try and get them to honor their agreement. It's a scam, and everyone knows it. It's like professional wrestling or religion or diet pills or civil rights or seven dollars for a cup of coffee. It's the American way. We buy into it in a kind of mass delusion. It's comforting, like back when the school nurse told you that you were fine as blood gushed from your forehead. As Homer Simpson once philosophized, "It takes two to lie, one to lie and the other to listen."

But despite the air-headed cries for equality, there are moments of truly brilliant satire in "SiCKO": A Star Wars scroll, complete with soaring John Williams score, of the plethora of pre-existing ailments that allow insurance companies to deny you coverage, a tape of Tricky Dick selling us down the private-care river, a hilarious recording of a young Ronald Reagan spouting red-scare drivel to prevent a restructuring of our health care system, and a list of kickbacks from huge drug companies to members of congress, including our boy president and former HMO combatant and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The ending alone is a thing of beauty: Moore takes a group of ailing 9/11 volunteers rejected for care by the federal government on technical terms to Guantanamo Bay prison camp to receive the free health care provided to imprisoned terrorists.
    But, alas, there is no practical answer for greed and fear and rip-offs in "SiCKO". As everything we discuss in this space, Moore's bogeyman, as in "Roger & Me", "Bowling For Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" is systemic. So, instead of weeping at the unfortunates in Moore's film, or dreaming of a day when people actually give a shit about each other, we offer this:
    When you purchase insurance -- health, home, car, whatever -- make certain before you hand over your money and sign anything, that the insurance company provides, in clear and understandable language, a guarantee (in writing) of what you as a principle are entitled to, from that moment on. Insurance is a contract. Consider you are signing away your firstborn or a kidney, not purchasing gum from the corner store. You must make these bloodsuckers accountable at the time they take your cash, not when you request their cash, because if there is one usable aspect to "SiCKO" it is that if you deal with ruthless robber barons, you, in turn, must be ruthless.

Failing that, stash the money you piss away on health insurance and use it when your spleen explodes. Or find a political candidate who will stand on a platform to rid the federal government of useless pork like Homeland Security, NASA, Air Force One, Social Security, the Vice Presidency, and defer those monies into a National Health Care system that will only moderately drive our taxes up. Or, as we like to say here on planet Reality Check - "Ready Your Muskets!"
© James Campion July 2007
realitycheck@jamescampion.com
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