Friday, June 29, 2007

Dying To See SiCKO: Happy Friday and Turn Up The Volume

"Doctor Doctor...Give Me The News..."
-Robert Palmer

Michael Moore's new movie 'SiCKO' opens today at a theatre near you and is receiving rave reviews. For the growing numbers of Americans who have been denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions like cancer such as Yours truly, this is a movie not to be missed. And even for the invinceable who are healthy as lumberjacks or upstanding, square-jawed Dudley-Do-Right 'Captains of Industry' with divine rights to health insurance coverage, maybe seeing this movie might spark a jolt of conscience and perhaps even dialogue over what it means to live in a society where common decency for the human condition is the cornerstone of any civil society.

As a citizen of the United States with U.K. dual citizenship, I have seen the stark differences in the way that citizens of the U.K. treat each other when it comes to the subject of health care and most important, how their healthcare system values human life in the spirit of compassion, dignity and respect for one another. After elbowing their way to the trough, it is truly amazing to note the many ceos of this country who are immigrants from the U.K. who are now content with the mean-spirited "let them eat cake" philosophy behind the growing divide between rich and poor here.

I applaud Michael Moore for once again -- like he did so well in Bowling for Columbine --- speaking truth to the ugly power of greed and the sociopathy that motivates it from the feudal 'leaders' of this fractured country.



Citizen Carrie said...

I hope to see this movie soon. You had mentioned being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. It's amazing how the US tries to half-heartedly tackle this problem from time-to-time through private enterprise.

I've seen things go full circle. It used to be that if we or a family member had a pre-existing condition, we were doomed to be tied to an employer for life for fear of losing health insurance coverage. (Or rather, not being able to pay the out-of-pocket medical expenses while waiting out the next employer's pre-existing conditions requirement.) We passed COBRA in 1986 that allowed us to continue our coverage for (what was at the time) a generous 18 months as long as we paid the group rate, plus a small admin. fee. Now, premiums have risen so much that families cannot afford the monthly payments of close to $1,000, so they must opt to forego the coverage. On top of everything else, 18 months is often an inadequate amount of time to get another job, or get another job that offers health insurance coverage. So a lot of families are effectively back to square one, back to the pre-COBRA era.

2Truthy said...

citizen carrie,

I think I'll wait a couple of weeks to see it, after the crowds 'die' down --
(no pun intended:)But here is something you also may know something about, working in HR:
insurance companies lie.

For self-employed people like me with pre-existing conditions, trying to find health insurance at a reasonable cost with any real coverage is like trying to impeach Dick Cheney: it ain't gonna happen.

I have, on several occassions, said to various insurance companies "look, here's my wallet, just give me the insurance" and after reviewing the flimsy coverage (ridiculously low cap on 'catastrophic' illness, which is the whole reason most people seeks health insurance in the first place.

I would rather pay out of pocket (which has been more cost effective) for medical care than pay these bandits a dime.

I have a friend who's wife died shortly after giving birth tho their daughter of a rare immune system disorder. He had the MOST comprehensive health care coverage through his employer, a major corporation -- and guess what? After a year of intensive care and the whole nine yards (medications, home health care, specialists etc.) they cancelled his insurance, she died, and he was stuck with a bill in excess of $1M and forced into bankruptcy.

Citizen Carrie said...

So true. That's the main problem with a lot of the federal legislation regarding health insurance. The regs. are written with the point of view that people are actual employees of companies and are eligible for group health insurance coverage. (Regs. like COBRA and the portability of coverage provisions of HIPAA.) The laws totally ignore the plight of the self-employed, contractors, part-timers, people who work for companies that flat-out don't offer benefits, the unemployed who can't afford COBRA, etc. Private enterprise is not coming to the rescue to the millions of people who fall under these categories.

2Truthy said...

hey citizen carrie,

Could the insurance industry just be overhauled? The case with my friend shows how he played by the book and still got fleeced (he also lost his job.)

The major cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is medical bills and the fact that most of those forced into bankruptcy by medical expenses actually had medical insurance.

Citizen Carrie said...

The only thing that would work would be everyone paying into some sort of universal healthcare coverage. We need all of the well people to help pay for all of the sick people, which doesn't go ever well with the "every man for himself" crowd. I spent about half a minute looking at John Edwards' plan, and he seems to be on the right track, although it's still probably too gimmicky with private market incentives rather than a more unified approach.

I really MUST get off my butt and start researching these presidential candidates. I was hoping some more would drop out so I wouldn't have to worry about them anymore.

2Truthy said...


citizen carrie,

The Edwards plan comes closest to providing coverage but still falls short of answering how everyone will be covered since he it does not let go of those evil doers, the Insurance Companies...