Since I watched SiCKO[imdb] the other night, I figured I would loft some thoughts out about it. It’s not easy because I certainly have an appreciation as much as a total annoyance with Michael Moore[wiki]. It’s nothing politically related, just a matter of preference. He’s good at what he does, but there is a certain point where you just want stop watching or listening to the guy for the sake of enjoying the silence.
Overall, a pretty good movie. Even being a documentary, it entertains as well as educates people on the reality of the health care system in the states. Being in Canada, there are people here that are surprised by it. It’s rare, but some folks, even this close to the border, have no frame of reference as to the state of the system in the U.S.
“But you guys are supposed to be one of the richest nations in the world.”
I’m not going to get too deeply into that statement, but the reality of it should give any American a reason to say, “Yeah, you know, you’re right. But why don’t I have any health care coverage unless I have a sweet job with sweet benefits?”
I had a job with the University of Iowa, a state owned and funded institution, for nearly a year before I started to display my lack of satisfaction with the position I had. Being a broadcast engineer, I was working with high voltage equipment on a regular basis. I even crunched my hand under a 200-pound power supply to a FM transmitter, covered by workman’s compensation but no broken bones or bleeding.
It was that instance that freaked me out. You’re told how vital you are to an operation like that, but working in the most hazardous position in the whole place, they never gave me medical coverage at the start. I mentioned that I was going to have to find something else with benefits, meaning leaving the stations. I had medical within a week or so after that, dental came a little while later.
My story pales in comparison to some, but it’s tough for nearly anyone. You can get any job anywhere, but the first question out of anyone’s mouth is, “Benefits?” Sometimes that American dream gets limited by what job you can or can’t do simply by working the job you hate because it has more benefits than the job you want or love. It’s an awful catch.
The one point that I constantly point out to people about this subject is that the main reason we don’t have anything protecting the health of the U.S., such as a universal or socially controlled medical program, is taxes. That American dream is the ability to have whatever you want, as much as you want, and the opportunities are, supposedly, limitless to achieve it.
But don’t you dare make Americans pay taxes. No one wants to pay extra money to the government for anything, even if that means that universal health care coverage would mean anyone working a white collar job to the three part-time jobs, single mom of two kids would have the same amount of medical coverage in the event that either of them contracted a life threatening illness like cancer or TB. The only difference between those two people being socio-economic status, and there is a good chance, rich or lower class, neither would budge on the thought of giving more of their money to the government in exchange for free health care or reduced cost of medication.
That’s when the title of SiCKO starts to make sense to me. It’s a sick circle that the U.S. has gotten itself into. I would love for it to change, but that would really take a revolution of a magnitude that I can’t fathom. That’s not to say that the system here in Canada is the perfect example of what to do, but there isn’t far to look for the positive effects this could have for an entire nation. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if the government cared more to spend money on its own people?