A feisty troublemaker sooner or later sticks his neck out.....


An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis

            Don’t bother picking holes in Michael Moore’s “Sicko.” Instead, just watch and consider. Naysayers will vilify him; supporters will lift him to their shoulders. His true value lies somewhere in between. Whenever society fails to address an inherent problem – gun violence, war by trickery, healthcare - a feisty troublemaker sooner or later sticks his neck out to wrap the problem in inescapable public significance. Sam Adams did this for the American Revolution and then went off to France looking for new causes, leaving the real work of his initial contribution to others.

            The compulsion of Michael Moore, troublemaker, is to expose the details of our various shames until we can no longer ignore them. It doesn’t matter a whit whether he is irresponsible or incomplete; he forces national attention on the issue. You can no longer buy a gun at Wal Mart. You understand that we were tricked into Iraq. And now you know we are being scammed literally to death by the insurance companies and the AMA.

            There can be no argument that the problem exists. Nearly 50 million people are uninsured; millions who are covered are often wiped out by chronic or catastrophic illness. The system is designed and controlled by the insurance giants who profit from them (around 20 million per year for the CEOs and a brutal exclusionary system for the nation’s citizens.) Under their system, which is the only one we have, the inequities and tragedies are manifest. Current political candidates argue ineffectually and endlessly about the problem while the electorate knows their debates will come to nothing no matter who is elected.

            Moore asks why, when police, schools, fire and postal services are free, isn’t medical care also. How to pay for it? Higher taxes, but remember, your insurance premiums will vanish. He takes us in this movie to Canada, France, England, and Cuba to sample their universal health care systems where care is free for all and finds that things work in the absence of the bureaucracy that has infected and crippled American health care. Imagine this: British doctors get bonuses for leading their patients to healthier lifestyles.

            Gathering up a group of people who worked in rescue at Ground Zero, he points out that no one will treat them in the U.S. because they were uninsured bystanders who volunteered that day. They didn’t have the coverage the firefighters had; but they have the same lung disease. What a delicious irony that communist Cuba treats their illnesses and treats them like human beings. Was it a set-up? Of course. But Moore got us to listen.

            “Sicko” will be justifiably criticized for building its case on half truths, but it has put the issue of health care in bold type. As one Frenchman says, “In France the government is afraid of the people; in America, the people are afraid of the government.” Michael Moore asks, “Who are we? Is this what we’ve become?” Don’t pick holes; just hear that message.


Copyright (c) Illusion

Return to Ellis Home Page