Go see Sicko

Posted on | July 15, 2007 | 8 Comments

My husband and I just came back from watching the new Michael Moore film – Sicko – which was mysteriously billed as a comedy at our local theatre (if only!). I’m not a political person – I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only voted in one election – but this movie really must be seen by everyone in the U.S.

As usual, Michael Moore overdoes it – he certainly tends to oversimplify the situation until all the shades of grey disappear and you’re left with just black and white – but I think the issues he touches on should be discussed and debated and pondered, both by people in power and by the electorate that puts them there.

A really good Slate article analyzes some of Moore’s missteps in the film while acknowledging that it highlights real and disturbing attributes of our failing system.

In my own mini version of Sicko, I just received a letter from my insurance company – Blue Horizon of New Jersey – denying further visits to my physical therapist for treating my knees. They had only approved 9 visits which amounts to a month of therapy, hardly enough, in my and my therapist’s view, to even begin to address the problem. In their letter, they claim that since my therapist’s progress report indicated that my pain is now on a scale of 4 out of 10, I have achieved the parameters necessary for daily life. Well, I beg to differ. My daily life used to consist of some exercise. Now, I can barely walk for a prolonged period of time. My heart rate has gone from 60 to 85 and my level of physical fitness and general sense of well being has deteriorated quite a bit in the 8 months since I’ve been sedentary. I do plan to appeal the decision by the way.

I used to be incredulous when I heard that insurance companies would reject a relatively inexpensive procedure to arrest a problem in its initial stages, thinking (naively) that when the problem worsened, they would have to shell out that much more money to make up for lost time. After seeing Sicko, I realized that insurance companies aren’t worried about more expensive problems down the line because their strategy is to always deny care.

There’s a very “Moore” bit in the film where his film crew follows a woman who was denied treatment by her insurance company and heads to Canada where she’s “married” to a Canadian friend, giving her access to Canada’s health care. It’s played partly for laughs, but watching it made me glad that I’m married to an Italian. From him, I know that a nationalist health care system isn’t the cure-all (no pun intended) Moore tries to make it out to be. Still, I think I will try to get that Italian citizenship through my marriage to him after all.


8 Responses to “Go see Sicko”

  1. parikha
    July 16th, 2007 @ 9:59 am

    Ooh, we can’t wait to see Sicko! I’m so sorry for your trouble with your knee therapy. When I nearly sliced my thumb off, I contemplated taking public transportation to the nearest hospital because I was too scared of how much the ambulance was going to cost me :P

  2. Veronique
    July 16th, 2007 @ 10:58 am

    Yeah, the american health care system sucks… There are times when I have opted to not see a doctor because of the hassle the whole endeavor will be!

  3. Gudrun Johnston
    July 16th, 2007 @ 11:18 am

    Oh Connie….I start to bubble with outright incredulity at the healthcare (or lack of) in this country…I really can’t get my head around it…I find it totally shocking and terrifying!I grew up in Scotland where there is a national healthcare system and yes it has some problems but after living here for a few years it seems way way superior. I could go to the doctor over there whenever I wanted (with an appointment of course) and just ask a question ..for free…my family in Scotland (and I) have only had good experiences with doctors/hospitals in Scotland.
    Here…I don’t ever go…
    The healthcare issues in America make my husband and I seriously consider living back overseas again (and we may do that)….I would definitely get your Italian citizenship if I were you!
    Hope you get more treatment for your knee!

  4. Anonymous
    July 17th, 2007 @ 5:28 am

    You should have your hubby create a financial blog so I can snoop around there as well:)
    Hope your knee gets better!

    July 17th, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

    Insurance of all kinds is great till you need it..It is just another sham to make money off of vulnerable people by the money machine we call big business which sadly is running this wonderful country into the ground…
    It’s just like when you buy the extended warranty and the items always breaks after it has expired…

  6. kelly
    July 17th, 2007 @ 10:39 pm

    I saw Sicko this weekend, and thought it was great. As a nurse and a health care consumer, it is a frustrating system to have to participate in. I would have liked Moore to interview nurses and technicians that practice in a national health care system. You might try swimming while your knees are healing.

  7. JoLene Treace
    July 18th, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

    Connie I feel your pain. JACO and other governing bodies have insisted on a numbering scale for pain. In reality it is highly subjective. Perhaps you are under-rating your pain. When I had my two herniated disks in my neck, I was rating the pain as a 2 (out of 10). I rated it at that as I looked at it in the context of how bearable the pain was, rather than how severe I felt the pain was in the context of my high tolerance for pain. My problem was much easier to fix to an acceptable level, I had a fusion in my lower neck. The suggestion to do swimming was excellent. I am a nurse (actually I think I may have told you that already) so I can relate too from that end. Anyway, my good wishes go out to you.

  8. Deborah
    September 1st, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

    didn’t think he could do it again after ferenheit, but somehow I think this film is more important to us all in a seriously non-partisan way.

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