Universal health care – Michael Moore’s “Sicko”

Cheryl and I watched Michael Moore’s “Sicko” documentary recently, and it left us both with our jaws on the floor trying to figure out why America can’t get on the boat of Universal Healthcare.

Universal Healthcare for wedding photographers in Santa Barbara

As self employed wedding photographers here in Santa Barbara, we’ve had to make decisions on insurance, and what level of insurance to pay for. This has been a mind boggling experience and probably the biggest area where I’m jealous of my friends who work for big corporations and have great medical benefits.

Amazingly enough, living in other countries you don’t need medical insurance (don’t tell the insurance companies this in America… they might freak out!) Even in Cuba they get free medical care (and don’t scoff at the comparison of American healthcare to Cuba… they rank something like 13th best country in the world to America’s ranking of 12th…)

Well, ever since becoming self-employed I have been dumbfounded as to how we can live in a country that is advanced as ours with a socialized school system, a socialized postal system, a socialized military (that’s stretching it huh?) and so on… and yet our medical system remains privatized and in as such making a killing of our own people.

I won’t go into all the details of the movie, but wow… was I ever blown away at what our country has done politically to ensure we don’t have Universal Health. 🙁 It makes me sad. The sick in our country should be taken care of, regardless of if they can afford it or not. Decisions about your health shouldn’t come down to how much you can afford.

It was shocking to learn that Hilary Clinton, a one time HUGE proponent of Universal Health, has become a tool like all other politicians and has been paid off by the health care industry to drop her stand on Universal Health and shut up about it. It was sad to see how American politicians have used the term “Socialism/Socialized” in regards to Univesal Health to cast it in a negative light for our “anti-socialist” nation so that we would steer clear of this type of health system.

It was sad to see how the health care system pays people to turn down health claims, and the more claims these people are able to turn down the more of a bonus they receive… all at the expense of individuals who truly need care.

Alright… I’m off my high-horse and I apologize for the rant, but seriously, go watch this movie. I don’t care if you don’t like Michael Moore, this is a good movie to open your eyes to what we’re missing out on here.

Just curious, how many of you reading would support universal health and how many of you would oppose it, and why?

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  • Kevin said:

    With as little as I really know, I believe I would support it. I would like to know what the doctors of the good 'ole USA say.

    I recently went self-employed, but right before that we got pregnant. I called my insurance broker and he said, "Oh no Kevin. Your wife is not insurable." My first question was, "What?" He said pregnancy is a pre-existing condition and will not be covered by any insurance carrier when changing insurance. Thanks to COBRA I get to pay $300 a month to insure just my wife under our existing plan for one year. It costs less for both me and my son to be insured then just my wife. Crazy!

  • admin said:

    And to think... in countries with Universal health, your beautiful wife would have had no issues whatsoever, she'd be taken care of as anyone who's pregnant should be. gotta love it.

    I'm curious what doctors would have to say. Sure, I bet they'd probably make less money, but I bet that the ones who actually care about people more than the money might say that this would allow them to do more preventative care and keep Americans more healthy from the start? (but I'm a photographer... not a doctor)

  • Jennifer said:

    I lived in Germany for five and a half years and everyone has health insurance there. Everyone. The rich, the homeless, the middle class...everyone. I am completely in favor of socialized medicine. I paid more for my health insurance there, but it was based on income, which in my opinion, was ultimately fair. I made enough to pay a bit more. If you don't make much money, you pay very little or nothing. And yes, the doctors do make less money there. But they don't have as much pressure on them, either.

  • Tim, I'm going to send you an article I recently read about Sicko. Maybe it'll give you some extra perspective.

    I completely agree that there are problems with how our healthcare (truly, it should be called "sick-care") works, but I would never support Universal Healthcare. I have several friends who have Univ. Healthcare (in other countries), and they have to wait months (up to a year!) for an appointment, and there are other issues as well.

    At least in the USofA we can CHOOSE to use a different provider, or take our "business" elsewhere if we don't like our current provider. In Univ. Healthcare, who are you going to switch to if you aren't lovin' your current doctor? I personally drive 3.5 hours to see the most fantastic pediatrician in the world! With Univ. Healthcare, I'd have to use the closest one to my house - and you KNOW, with where I live, that's not going to get us a very good ped!

    Anyways... nope, not a fan of Univ. Healthcare. I'll send you the article, and you'll have to let me know what you think of that perspective! :-)

  • I still hold to that Universal Healthcare ABSOLUTELY should be something that is an American standard.

    It's an ABSOLUTE shame that there are people in this country who cannot receive healthcare because they cannot afford it.

    We believe that anyone here should receive an education, but why deny this same person quality healthcare.

    That's awesome that you can drive 3.5 hours to see the most fantastic pediatrician... sadly there are TONS of people in this country who can't afford to see a pediatrician at all, they can only afford to hit the emergency room once their sickness has increased to the level that they can't stand it anymore...

    In a country as great as the USA this should not be happening.

    In universal health, you would still have the option of purchasing your own insurance and seeing whatever physician you wanted and using a private network doctor, but at least everyone who's living would be able to seek healthcare and not have to put it off til they're on their death bed...

    I'm not saying that Michael Moore is preaching absolute truth here, but he sure is pointing in the right direction.

    Having to make a decision about your health based on whether or not you can afford to see a doctor or not should be a thing of the cold war era...

    In the USofA you can only CHOOSE if you have $$$ or a job that offers you the ability of this choice...

    With schools you can choose to go to the "crappy public schools" that you're "forced" into, or you can poney up cash out of pocket for the elite schools. Healthcare would do well mirroring this.

    I look forward to the article, but unless it shows us how EVERYONE who's a living human being in this country gets worthy medical care, then it's fallen short.

  • In my opinion the way to make Universal Health care REALLY work well is to not allow private health care as an option. Here's why I think that.

    Look at your example of the school system. The rich in this country really don't give a crap about the public schools because their kids don't go to the public schools. Most likely as the gap between rich and poor grows wider and wider the level of quality between public schools and private schools will also grow wider and wider.

    What do you think would happen if the ultra rich HAD to send their kids to the same schools as the inner city kids (I know... it'll never happen, but just go with me.) Suddenly the public schools would see BIG improvements and everyone would benefit.

    Same thing with health care. Universal Health care will probably most likely kinda suck. Long wait times, bad doctors, poor quality etc etc because the money to really do the system right won't be there if the rich have the option to pay the cash and have their own program. If Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or George Bush had to go through the same system as everyone else the system would invariably improve drastically because the rich have the power and means to improve the system.

    I know this is all a pipe dream. This will never happen at least in our lifetime, the rich will never allow themselves to play on the same field as the poor, either in education or in health care, but that's my two cents. :)

  • It's just so idealistic that I think it's far from realistic. Sort of like Ron Paul (in a Republican debate at U. of MD @ Morgan State earlier this year) - when asked what his plan would be with regard to the troops in Iraq, he said something along the line of "I don't believe in war." That's nice, but not at all practical.

    Anyways... sure, it would be nice if we all could get wonderful healthcare whenever we felt like it. But I don't think universal healthcare would quite give us "wonderful" healthcare. I think it would just give us mediocre healthcare, without the choice to go elsewhere.

  • Scott and Pete said:

    The last time I checked the only thing the government does well is win wars! For the love of god that's why we have UPS and FED EX today because the US Post office was so inefficient. Good luck I will keep paying my insurance premiums
    just like I do with all my other bills.

  • Michael said:

    My best friend is Canadian (he lives in SoCal). His father was visiting down here and helping him with some work on his house. He fell off their very tall brick fence and shattered both of his heels. They took him to an emergency room and the doctors told him they needed to get him into surgery immediately. Unfortunately, his Canadian health care wouldn't allow it. Instead, he had to return to Canada and it took a week until they were able to perform the surgery. He's had complications ever since and now they may need to fuse his ankles.

    I have not yet seen the movie, but I understand that in it Moore praised the Canadian health care system. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like something I want (even with the problems my own family has had with US health care).

    Some Canadian health care statistics: "In 2006, the average wait time from seeing a primary care doctor to getting treatment by a specialist was more than four months. Out of a population of 32 million, there are about 3.2 million Canadians trying to get a primary care doctor. Today, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Canada ranks 24th out of 28 major industrialized countries in doctors per thousand people."