Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sicko - Policies and Procedure

I watched Moore's new movie 'Sicko' last night and I think it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen - namely on the universalism of health-care. Here is my take on the movie.

Firstly, universal health care does work and works in a variety of ways in several countries including France, Canada, Britian, and Cuba...and the majority of these countries are not socialist or communist - actually 3 of the 4 have conservative govt's. I think Moore brings up the idea that we see other countries new consumer goods and we buy them (since they are good ideas) - why can't we do this with health care? And 2 of these systems flourish in leaps and bounds - Britain only asks you pay $10.00 for all your perscriptions and France even has doctors who make house-calls (for free). I seen those examples and I was shocked - great ideas.

Secondly, universal health care is an idea that works for the poor and rich alike - it's very Robin Hood-ish indeed - takes from the more wealthy (in taxes) and helps to keep the system going so all can access it - even those without jobs. For me, this is the absolute selling point of the system - no one gets left out of essential care - irregardless of their class status. To me, this is an absolute Christian value and I can't see why any Christian would ever speak against 'helping the less fortunate'.

Thirdly, one example of someone losing their loved one for the sake of not getting essential health care in a progressively rich country is one too many. Moore however does not stop at one story - he has a plethora of examples to choose from (about 30 people) - even Americans in other countries weigh in...even 6000+ e-mails of medical horror stories. Now some Americans may not like Cuba but Che's daughter said some of the most encouraging things I have ever heard - I paraphrase - 'Cubans can not understand how the richest country can even have problems - shouldn't everyone be well taken care of'?' Some examples are: a man having to chose between fingers he cut off in an accident (couldn't afford both), a ladies daughter not getting antibiotics for her daughter (later died), and some victims of the 9/11 disaster not getting adequate medical care for conditions suffered from their volunteer work. Very sad indeed.

Fourthly, a system of health care and insurers that is run 'for profit' is a system in need of serious change. Health care is as essential to the human as the need for food and water is - it is essential to human happiness & life (which I think are mentioned in the constitution). People are getting rich by denying some people the cures to their very ills and this is not only barbaric, it's straight from the pit of evil (apparently some people can be worth less than a dollar sign). No one single person should be denied the right to 'live' - this is an absolute essential to humanity - that to deny it is tantamount to crimes against humanity.

Fifthly, people do not need to fear their government. Ironically, it seems the opposite is what true democracy is - government revering it's own people and listening. France was an overwhelming example of the people speaking out and being heard - and the government listened - including things like standing up for a 35 hour work week, holidays, and their health care system - and they were heard. They do not fear their government but respect that role it should play - and the government listens. I actually find it much scarier when business is in charge since ethically business is not a 'person' nor does it care about people - it's mission is to make a profit. If business can get away with selling your families drugs that will kill them - they will do just that - or have we forgot about the tobacco industry. Just thought I'd remind ourselves of that.

So for me the movie was a contemplative experience - I thought about what humans will take as they are told what to do - that even sometimes ethics can be cleansed from the human conscience if we are told this 'is our job' or 'this is just how it is'. Collectively we are being taken apart and being individualized - we are losing a grip on our collective strengths as a people. We are a democracy and in a free country - just how much more of this are we going to take? Shouldn't accountability start with us and not with lobbyists? I am ranting a bit but honestly - if you knew a better way why wouldn't you ask for it?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Society,

This is something that I have lived and am currently living...I had friends that wanted me to write to Moore when he was gathering info for his documentary and I didn't simply, because I didn't want to waste any good time I have left fighting a system that had already stolen so much from me.

I don't think capitolism is the problem though. I think part of the problem is that insurance and drug companies have too much power and too much political pull. In the U.S., middle to low income patients are little more than paying gueinea pigs for the drug companies and the insurance companies cause all kinds of problems with honest communication between doctors and patients. They also decide how long we can stay in the hospital and what drugs we can take. Drug companies also control medical education in the U.S. through grants, etc. Young doctors can offer little practical adivise concerning illnesses anymore and only know to offer drugs. It is the way they are educated. If you sit in the doctors offices, it is easy to pick out the drug salesmen. They wear nice clothes, drive fancy cars, and the places that they do business in have a constant stream of people day and night...

If you want to know what I truly think is the crux of the problem, it is not capitolism or socialism, it is a lack of good values. People have, by and large, quit caring for one another. We are a narcissitic nation that values the fulfillment of our own selfish desires above the well being of our fellow man. It is materialism run amouk.

Government will never fill the role of God and we should not look to it to solve our every problem from the womb to the tomb. Neither should we conspicously consume everything is sight including one another. Whatever government we live under, we should look first to God and then to the needs of one another. Any human government can only be as good as the humans who run it. Daniel Webster said that people would either be governed by the Bible or the Bayonet. Our system was designed for people who are individually governed by God and that is the key to our freedom. A people that is governed by their own selfish desire is headed for greater government control in every area. That is the dark side of socialism. Sharing is an ideal situation when the community is made up of naturally generous people but that is seldom the reality. Socialism is also subject to the corruption of its elites, those who learn how to work a sharing system to their own greed. Both systems fall the to same disease in the end. I can no longer place my hope in either of them. We all need an intervention, and intervention of God.

Pam

SocietyVs said...

"If you want to know what I truly think is the crux of the problem, it is not capitolism or socialism, it is a lack of good values." (Pam)

I think your right in this regards - I am not here to defend either system - but to show that Socialism is not the perceived evil it is thought to be by some (and sometimes the media pushes this view)...which I think is important enough to note.

As for Capitalism - I have my beefs with the system that makes 1% of the population holding 80% of the wealth - which is a figure from the film Sicko - and the British dude in the film wonders why we let this happen? Proverbial wool over the eyes in a sense. Whatever happened to sharing...maybe that's why I have some leanings to socialism - or communalism - the idea is about 'sharing the wealth'. But they are both political systems anyways and can be subject to control by a few.

Look at me talking politics - LOL - oh yeah.

Anonymous said...

All we can really do is live what we believe. Share because it is the right thing to do. Reach out to those in need because it pleases God. Hopefully, what burns within your heart will light another heart that has been darkened by such a painful world. Christ lives within us and that is the true hope of the world whether we are healthy or not. As an unhealthy person, I can tell you that compassion is worth its weight in gold. There is nothing more discouraging than to be sick and treated like a piece of meat. If a doctor can do nothing but offers his compassion that can take a lot of pain out of the day but honestly, doctor visits are generally excruciating and discouraging and terribly expensive. If I had the guts, I'd just turn my back on it all and trust God...but then, He made us to fight with all we've got to hang on to this life and in the end that's what most of us do. It just seems that those on top are the ones that know best how to cash in on the suffering of others. I don't know how people live through it without Jesus in their lives.

Pam

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree with you more.

1) You equiated the refusal to pay for someone else's health care with taking away 'their right to live'. Where does that stop? Does that mean the government is supposed to give people the food (because food is necessary to live), a place to live, clothes to wear? The more things government starts giving away, the less incentive there is to go to work. By the way a lot of people in France and Germany don't go to work because they get enough in the form of handouts. They have rediculuously high unemployement rates, high suicide rates, low GDP/captia numbers, and embarrassingly low economies.

2) I'm not sure how you can say those countries are not socialist. The US is about as conservative as it gets in the world, and yet, even here, the top 10% pay 50% of the countries taxes. Why start a company -providing new jobs and services for consumers- when the government just reaches its filthy hands into it more. We should be cutting back on the government, and stop punishing the rich!

3) The claim that robbing people who earn their money and handing it over to poor people is an excellent form of Christianity is not only erroneous it is a lie and immoral. "Government Systems" don't actually care for or love anyone. Love is not something that happens automatically because of the land's laws. It's a personal decision.

4) Ideas are not going to end poverty. In fact, Jesus clearly says there will always be poor people and the Church will always have them. To say ideas are going to heal people is like giving away cook books to starving people. The important stuff that matters is free acts of charity and not forced hand-overs.

5) The important thing is giving people "equal opportunity" and not prizes for doing nothing. If people have needs they need to get out there and work! If someone wants to help them out its their choice.

6) The true SICKO is the movie itself. What else do you call it when a bunch of suffering people get illegally taken to Cuba as a publicity stunt. If anyone actually cared about people they wouldn't be doing stuff like that.


Mathew Canonicus

the_burning_bush said...

What about relying on God to take care of people? The Bible says that not a single sparrow falls to the ground apart from God's will.

What about the Church caring about the sick? What about us simply loving our neighbor?

chris said...

Okay, I don't want to get involved in this discussion, but I have experienced the helath care system here in ther states first hand. My wife's grandfather's insurance premiums were raised way beyond his financial reach when he was diagnosed with cancer. he had been on the plan most of his working life! My wife was recently denied coverage due to pre existing conditions. She is in constant pain, and needs medical attention, but my plan at work is too expensive to add here to it. We wouldn't be able to eat. So yeah, I agree with Mr Moore on this one, and a lot of his other views as well!

Anonymous said...

Chris,

I think the expense for nothing is the crux of the problem in the U.S. It isn't like most of us are asking for something for nothing but simply, that insurance provide what they promise to provide. If one pays $12,000. per year for insurance, one shouldn't have $20 or $30 thousand in medical bills, as well. People in the U.S. also shouldn't be asked to pay the lion's share of reasearch on drugs. People working in health care and related fields should be able to provide well for themselves but I don't think they should become beyond wealthy upon the suffering of others.

I don't know if the government can fix it but the entire system is out of balance.

Pam

chris said...

Yeah Pam, I agree that something must be done. It seems to be working in all of the other countries that has universal healthcare. To me the bottom line is healthcare should be a basic human right, not a money making venture!

Anonymous said...

If you socialize medicine, do you think as many people are going to want to spend as many years in medical school as they do now?

Do you think companies will want to invest the billions they do in medical research if they can't make money at it?

I think Pam's got a good point about enforcing insurance companies to pay what they promise, but if you stop the profit you stop the activity.

I'd rather live in the US with our health care plan than any place else with their health services. When I spent a semester at Oxford the teachers told us right off the bat, 'Our health care can't do over here what it does for you in America'.

Matthew Canonicus

Megoblocks said...

IMHO, the benefits of what Moore is wanting in Sicko do not come even close to outweighing all of the problems tacked on. In his usual manner, Moore completely makes his documentary one sided, glorifying what he wants as some sort of Holy Grail to the problems of this country.

To the_burning_bush - God is always there, but as the saying goes, "Trust in God, but tie up your horse." He isn't around to pamper us constantly, for there would be no growth on our end. And He's never promised us an easy life this side of life anyway. Lying back and simply saying "God heal me" is an attitude that leads to a lot of trouble and needless suffering.

Anonymous said...

Education was once a privelege in this country and now it is viewed as a right. That didn't help the quality of education in fact, it is at an all time low. I don't think demanding health care as a right will improve the quality either but neither will it improve when those who enter the field do so out of greed and not compassion toward those who suffer illness. In fact, I think anytime that we enter any profession simply for the money, we do those whom we serve and ourselves a huge diservice. I don't think we need a system change but a huge attitude change. Materialism is a sin that is detrimental but because the majority of us suffer with it, we don't deal with it as the evil that it is.

Capitolism and Socialism are both of Ceasar. It is only Jesus that can change a greedy heart to one that is filled with compassion and seeks the benefit of others. That is the kind of chang, I believe, we need. Outward change will make no difference.

Pam

SocietyVs said...

"You equiated the refusal to pay for someone else's health care with taking away 'their right to live'. Where does that stop?" (matt)

Well...isn't it? If health care is not available for someone - they usually die or is there some other trend I am unaware of with human disease and suffering? What's so scary about a slippery slope of human allevation to suffering?

"Does that mean the government is supposed to give people the food (because food is necessary to live), a place to live, clothes to wear?" (Matt)

Yes...and they regulate the laws of business in these areas. But what would you do tommorrow if groceries or water had a huge jump and was un-affordable to some? If we make this comparison - why can't health care be as affordable as a month of groceries for all?

"They have rediculuously high unemployement rates, high suicide rates, low GDP/captia numbers, and embarrassingly low economies." (Matt)

And this shows a universal health care system does not work...okay. Also these same stats are common in all developed countries and America is not exempt...and America can tap on murders, prison rates, and shoot-outs in schools into the mix if we wanna play 'blame that country'.

"I'm not sure how you can say those countries are not socialist." (Matt)

Easy - they are not and only Cuba actually claims this - fact is Canada, Britain. and France all have Conservative parties in power (this is not disputable - it is a fact) - same as America. The one difference might be is that these countries see the need to protect 'every citizen'.

"We should be cutting back on the government, and stop punishing the rich!" (Matt)

Why do you care about the 'rich' so much - they don't care about you. Fact is - gov't cares about you and your only hope for a decent life in any country relies heavily on that countries founding laws (ie: constitution). If those laws do not exist - business is more than happy to oblige in demeaning humanity for a buck. Punish the rich - get real - I see punishment of the poor in Capitalist countries way too often. You have to ask yourself - why do so many poor people exist in a nation with so much money? Is this intentionally built into Capitalism or is it something business has seen fit to abuse for profit? Either way it exists and it's rather strange.

"The claim that robbing people who earn their money and handing it over to poor people is an excellent form of Christianity is not only erroneous it is a lie and immoral." (Matt)

Actually towing the line for big business (mammon = profit) is immoral to the human race...the same race God loves and the same system Jesus outright battles - 'you either serve God or mammon'. Just what do you think Jesus meant by mammon? I also find it funny the disciples in Acts give 'everything they have' to help the people in their community - that's way more socialist than it is capitalist. And all I am asking that we as Christians recognize this idea in the scriptures. But health care for profit will destroy some - does God want some destroyed?

""Government Systems" don't actually care for or love anyone." (Matt)

Ahhh...better re-read your constitution their Matt. The gov't may not 'love you' but it sure as hell 'cares' for you. Or did justice systems just spring out of thin air? How about laws? What about the right to live freely? Now the Gestapo - yeah they didn't love their people - actually set in motion their destruction - but you don't live under a regime like that nor do you have their constitution enacted. The constitution you live under protects and civilizes your society - I would call that 'care'.

"Ideas are not going to end poverty. In fact, Jesus clearly says there will always be poor people and the Church will always have them." (Matt)

But Jesus never states poverty is 'okay by him' - just that it always existed. The fact it does exist always is also the same fact our faith does - to care for those downtrodden and hurt people. Poverty is not okay - and to use Jesus' words as reason is beyond comprehension - or have you never read the beatitudes (Matt 5) or read about Jesus's mission and his actions? I see Jesus destroying poverty and class systems all the time in the gospels - so WWJD in our days? A little more of the same I am dead sure of that (Matt 25 - sheep and goats parable).

And ideas are going to end poverty since this is where it all begins - yes! Those gospels contain ideas that get us thinking - and this is where it all starts - with a better way - for everyone. Or do we financially world-wide not have the cash for such an endeavor? You'd be lying if you say we didn't.

"The important stuff that matters is free acts of charity and not forced hand-overs." (Matt)

Why is gov't helping a forced hand-over? I don't quite get the concept - unless you hate taxes? Or you don't trust your gov't? Or you don't want to help? There is an answer there somewhere - but I am not that smart I can pick it out of your mind.

"The important thing is giving people "equal opportunity" and not prizes for doing nothing. If people have needs they need to get out there and work!" (Matt)

Work is good but not everyone can work - there just isn't enough jobs, disability, sickness, etc. Ideally equal opportunity is a grand concept - lets apply that to health care now.

"What else do you call it when a bunch of suffering people get illegally taken to Cuba as a publicity stunt. If anyone actually cared about people they wouldn't be doing stuff like that" (Matt)

Or you can call it compassion - those same people you de-cry could not recieve adequate health care in their own country (USA) - and you're proud enough to defend that? Thank God for Cuba I say - at least they got some attention for their conditions (which they were never going to get in America). Which to me is my whole point - if certain people are suffering in the richest country on earth - is that okay with you? Is that okay with your faith? Does God back America so much He would just laugh about these preventable deaths? And if God ain't laughing - who is?

SocietyVs said...

"What about the Church caring about the sick? What about us simply loving our neighbor?" (BB)

I agree - we need to all get involved in the betterment of those around us - as best we can. However, when it comes to health care this is a life/death issue for some - are you willing to stand in the gap for them? If so, let's all start doing something about it.

SocietyVs said...

"It seems to be working in all of the other countries that has universal healthcare. To me the bottom line is healthcare should be a basic human right, not a money making venture!" (Chris)

Chris my deepest regards and empathy go out to your situation with you and your wife - and I think if she needs the help - there has to be an answer somewhere. All I know is that health care should never be an issue for someone in a wealthy and developed country.

SocietyVs said...

"If you socialize medicine, do you think as many people are going to want to spend as many years in medical school as they do now?" (Matt)

Yes - a job is a job after all. Just because you socialize medicine doesn't mean the job is less appealing. But what we do know for sure - is doctors in a for profit system will turn away patients and let them suffer - is that appealing? I have never seen this happen in my life in Canada - and if I ever saw it first hand I would outright denounce the doctor and ask for his medical profession to be questioned and/or outright canned as inhumane.

"Do you think companies will want to invest the billions they do in medical research if they can't make money at it?" (Matt)

Yes - for the betterment of human life in their well-to-do country and to keep their consumers alive - didn't you insinuate earlier that business cares about us? Or is it plain obvious they don't - they are so selfish they would pull all research because they can't make money on it now - which shows their true character (if this is what happens) - they despise us when we don't have money?

"but if you stop the profit you stop the activity." (Matt)

If you get profit out of the system altogether - then we don't have to worry about insurance companies at all or the bullsh*t about 'keeping them honest' - is a profit driven company so petty that it needs us to keep them 'honest' - isn't that a little strange to you? So if they can pull one over on you they will? Screw that...get rid of the middle man altogether - no one likes being scammed.

"I'd rather live in the US with our health care plan than any place else with their health services" (Matt)

Congrats - now tell it the Chris' wife who can't get the affordable heath care you can...I'm more than sure she will love to hear this gloating.

"the benefits of what Moore is wanting in Sicko do not come even close to outweighing all of the problems tacked on" (Megoblocks)

Benefits - all humans have equal access to health care providers and are not turned away.

Problems - ? You tell me what outweighs the decency of human life and respect for the lives of all people in America (poor and rich alike)? Money? Jobs? Civil unrest? Just what - I need to see an answer that doesn't put profit higher than the individual person's right to 'live'.

Anonymous said...

Society,

I agree with everything you have said. My only difference is the solution and as a Christian, I think I've spent too much time looking for political fixes for social problems when my focus should have been on spreading the gospel. It is changed hearts and minds that will make the system work in our favor. I am old enough to remember when this country was not so compassionless and driven by material wealth.

It is good to share our wealth but sharing by legal compulsion is no longer sharing. To those who value their material wealth above all things, it is robbery.

Pam

SocietyVs said...

"I think I've spent too much time looking for political fixes for social problems when my focus should have been on spreading the gospel." (Pam)

But even a portion of the good news - if not the majority of Christ's kingdom - is about all of us living a good life (equally). In a democracy if the Christian nation wants to really accomplish something - ban together and fight for a better health system for all - and hopefully Hilary gets in and re-enacts this discussion...I think as people of faith we should pray for stuff like this come to pass - so all people are given the right to more life (health care) - which is very inherent in the idea 'you shall have life - and life abundantly'.

"To those who value their material wealth above all things, it is robbery." (Pam)

I agree...I make a good amount of money where I live - and I'd be more than happy to help out people with some of my extra cash for programs like health care or social programming to make someone else's life better - is that really that bad a concept? If not, then if the gov't can't help - churches absolutely need to.

Anonymous said...

I don't dislike the idea of everyone having health care and I don't mind spending some of my money for it either I just think that the current system would work just as well if people had a giving, sharing attitude. It is Christ Who built compassion for others into me. Without Him, I was just bitter and constantly concerned about what I needed. I also hate abortion but I know that no matter what laws are enacted, women won't stop having premarital sex or putting their freedom and careers over the life of their unborn children. I think it is only Jesus Who can change hearts that have become so hardened. I also know that it is foolishness for me to think that any politician or group of them will do anything that will remove an important plank in their platform. As long as abortion is legal and readily available, they've an easy constituency to win every time they bring the issue up during election season. Also with the health care issue, change will not happen over night. Unless there is a violent overthrow, we will not have truly socialized medicine in this country. It will come about through socialization of insurance companies by way of government subsidy (sp? ask for clarification if needed :0). What I see is the same corruption remaining in control and we'll still get the shaft.

I do agree that we should pray and also put feet to our prayers by the way we live out our lives. Truly, we can only clean up our own back yard and hope for the best. My hope is in God because when I watch politicians and the way they opperate, I know things aren't working as good as they are because of them! I really think God has placed them before our continual gaze that we might see how inept man is at running things and turn to Him!

Then there is Hillary...well, I hope Rudy burries her again! That woman doesn't bring out the lady in me...;-}

Pam

SocietyVs said...

What's totally crazy is I have to argue with Christians about this idea...wow!