Last night, upon the insistence of my hospital pharmacist brother, I watched Michael Moore's most recent film, Sicko. The film truthfully depicts the American health care system (hospitals, insurance providers and pharmaceuticals) and that of other countries, my brother had assured me.
So I (finally) watched the film.
And it made me very, very angry.
The film received good reviews across the ideological spectrum, from Fox News to the New York Times. AlterNet credits the film with pushing Universal Health Care to the forefront of American politics during the presidential campaign season.
And did I mention that the film makes me very, very angry?
Canadian acquaintances have long told me they love their health care system, and wonder why citizens of the United States, which has one of worst-ranked health care system in the Western world and the worst ranking (among industrialized nations) in terms of preventable deaths, don't insist upon a humane system.
Sicko really brought the disparities to the forefront, and highlighted the lies that American politicians and the health care industry spread concerning socialized medicine. Moore allowed health care insiders, politicians and patients to speak for themselves. And speak they did.
How can it be that countries like Canada, Britain, France and even Cuba value human life enough to treat their citizens as human beings when it comes to health care ... while the American government in collusion with the health care industry is only interested in persons as a source of financial revenue?
How can anyone calling himself or herself "pro-life" oppose a health care system that treats human beings as persons with intrinsic value? How can anyone who values human life insist that poor people don't deserve adequate medical treatment, or support a system that routinely denies coverage for needed (even life-saving) drugs and medical treatment for citizens who do have insurance?
If there is an unethical and immoral medical system in the world today, it is that of the United States, a system based on greed rather than humanity.
As someone who pays (a lot!) for my own health insurance, I was forced to sign a waiver with my insurance company exempting them from paying for any future claims for a certain condition that my wife has, a condition which the insurance company feared they might (one day) have to fork over too much money for drugs or medical procedures. My family is treated like a cash machine from which the insurance corporation is determined to extract as much profit as possible, to line the pockets of rich executives and big shareholders.
And this morning I read the story of a CNN news anchor's awful experience in a hospital's emergency room.
In Canada, former Baptist pastor Tommy Douglas, named the greatest Canadian ever, led Canadians to an understanding that human life is more important than corporate profits.
In Canada, Britain and France, citizens pay taxes to support police departments, fire departments, libraries, parks, education, road improvements ... and health care. We as Americans pay taxes to support most all of the same social services ... except for health care.
It is time we Americans stop believing the lies of politicians and the health care industry concerning socialized medicine.
The truth is that our health care system is an immoral industry that values greed over human life (that there are many good, honest, ethical individuals and organizations within the industry I do not dispute; the industry, however, is not pro-life).
The truth is that socialized medicine as practiced in countries like Canada, Britain and France, while not perfect, is vastly superior to the current American health care industry.
Why? Because socialized medicine respects human life over and above material wealth.
Isn't it time that America stands up to be counted as a nation that values human life?