Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Moore's 'Sicko' Reveals a Broken System

You don't have to be a fan of filmmaker Michael Moore to realize that the man has something important to say in his new film, Sicko, now showing at Tulsa's Circle Cinema and at AMC Southroads.

It's a scary film, and not because of Moore's commentary or his occasional grandstanding. What's scary here are the stories Moore collects from ordinary Americans about their battles with the health care system, especially their treatment by the insurance companies.

Watching the film's testimonies from a variety of Americans, you quickly realize that me, you, and almost everyone we know is just one medical catastrophe away from bankruptcy. For Americans diagnosed with serious diseases who happen to lose their jobs, there's little other choice.

Even employed folks with full medical coverage find themselves denied treatment in many cases. Why? The answer, Moore discovers, is no big secret: it saves the insurance company money to deny their costumers expensive medical treatment. In support of this indefensible practice, Moore interviews former insurance company employees, including an M.D., who publicly confess their part in such denials of medical service.

As you can guess, Sicko is not a happy story. But it's an important and deeply humane story that needs to be told. As Moore makes clear, we live in a great and generous nation, a country that prides itself on its democratic values. In a rich country, all Americans, you might think, deserve first-class medical care, care that is sorely lacking for those of us unlucky enough to get seriously ill and not have the deep pockets to afford effective treatment.

Go see Sicko. If nothing else, it will make you mad. Better yet, it might make you aware of a medical system in need of serious reform.

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