Thoughts on Sicko

Michael Moore - Sicko

Email from Daniel Rivera-Franqui

Hey Bob! It seems the campaign against Moore’s movie has started already. Health care companies (well, long before the movie) are, as always, extolling the “virtues” of the American health care system, claiming that in countries with socialized health care they have to wait hours upon hours to get care, people do not get the attention needed, people are not able to choose their doctors, etc. etc. etc.

Like that doesn’t ever happen here! I know several people in the US who have insurance who weren’t able to get proper medical care when needed. Also, if you’re under a HMO like Kaiser, you can not choose your doctors, they are assigned. Most important, as Moore points out in the movie, very few who live in a system of socialized medicine want to swap for what the US has.

Their claim is pretty much that of “hey it is better for you to pay hundreds and hundreds in insurance and get treatment only under certain, exclusive circumstances than it is to just get free quality health care even if you have to wait a bit more to get it.” Moore’s movie even proves wrong this idea that socialized health care doesn’t work and that it is just a big huge mess.

The health care industry’s claim that paying for (at times) half-assed treatment (or in other cases, no treatment at all!) is better than getting it for free reminds me of a column I read about open source. The column’s author (who for the life of me I cannot remember his name) claimed that open source software felt like it had little to no value at all compared to paid software. In other words, software that you get for free (and are able to modify too!) is practically worthless. Yup, same argument as the health care industry: Why get free chemotherapy to cure you of your cancer when you can pay thousands for it? (or, if you are young, be denied treatment at all because you are too young to die)

Uh huh. Better not tell that to the Internet, which mainly runs on open source software like Apache, PHP, and MySQL, and which bypasses the profit motive. We need a health care system that similarly bypasses the profit motive. Hey, maybe we could have open source health care. Everyone works together towards improving it.

I sincerely hope this movie lights up a fire under our collective asses and moves the country toward socialized health care for all.