21 May 2007

Sicko at Cannes and HCAC on KRFC

Tomorrow night's "Imagine Action" program, 6 - 7 p.m. on Fort Collin’s KRFC (88.9 FM or online here), will focus on health care reform. Guests will be Health Care for All Colorado and Physicians for a National Health Program member Dr. Cory Carroll, a local family practitioner and president of the Larimer County Medical Society; Rudy Deutschmann, president of the State Association of Health Underwriters; and HCAC board member Eliza Carney, who will discuss the 208 Commission and the political process around health care reform.

The call-in number is 970-221-5065.

In more international single-payer news, take a look at Salon’s feature article on Michael Moore’s new film Sicko. It will do your heart good.

Author Andrew O’Hehir writes that Sicko is

both a more finely calibrated film and one with more far-reaching consequences than any he's made before. Moore is trying to rouse Americans to action on an issue most of us agree about, at least superficially. You may know people who will still defend the Iraq war (although they're less and less eager to talk about it). But who do you know who will defend the current method of healthcare delivery, administered by insurance companies whose central task is to minimize cost and maximize shareholder return? Americans of many different political stripes would probably share Moore's conclusions at the press conference: ‘It's wrong and it's immoral. We have to take the profit motive out of healthcare. It's as simple as that.’

Sicko purposefully does not focus on the 50 million or so Americans who don't have health insurance, as scandalous as that is, but on the horror stories of middle-class working folks who believed they were adequately covered. There are so many of these they begin to blur into each other: the woman in Los Angeles whose baby was denied treatment at an emergency room outside her HMO network, and died as it was being transferred hours later; the woman in Kansas City whose husband was repeatedly denied various drugs his physician prescribed for kidney cancer, and who in the last stage of life was denied a bone-marrow transplant that could have saved his life; the woman who was told her brain tumor was not a life-threatening illness, and died; the woman who was told her cancer must have been a preexisting condition, and died.

If the Salon article whetted your appetite for more reviews, here’s one from The Guardian:
His question: what has happened to the idea of universal healthcare in the United States?

In four tidy acts, Michael Moore spells out the facts. Act one: 50 million Americans have no health cover, and 250 million who think they do, through costly health insurance schemes ($2,000 per person a year), are often denied treatment when they need it….

Act two: when did it all start going wrong, asks Moore. The answer: in August 1971. President Richard Nixon and his adviser Edgar Kaiser plot to break the system. "The less care they give, the more money they make," says Nixon, caught on tape….

Meanwhile astute national publicity campaigns have demonised the concept of universal healthcare by associating it with "socialised medicine", which in American English translates as "Soviet medicine" - the kind such oppressive regimes as Canada, Britain and France have adopted for their citizens….

Act three: Moore pays these regimes a visit….

Act four, the most powerful: Moore decides to test the US administration's claim that Guantánamo Bay prisoners get the best free healthcare in the world. He takes 9/11 volunteer rescue workers, whose health problems were not covered by the state because they weren't on its payroll when they ran to help, to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba….

And lastly, the news, also in The Guardian, that the U.S. government is trying to impound Moore's film – a claim that’s hard to dismiss considering everything else in our country’s recent past. “Now, according to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company is behind the film, the US government is attempting to impound the negative.”

The pretext would be Cuba. Moore had applied for permission to travel there but received no reply until this month, when “the treasury department notified Moore that it was investigating him for unlicensed travel to Cuba.

Watch a trailer for Sicko and more on Moore's website.

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