We aren’t watching the fireworks this evening due to rain, but they certainly flew in the car on the way home from the theater this afternoon. Tim and I went to the Spectrum to see Michael Moore’s latest documentary, SiCKO. I left with my blood boiling.

This was one of our most patriotic moves, one where we spent a good hour and 53 minutes educating ourselves on the American people’s dependence upon the whim of profiteering HMOs and pharmaceutical companies. Sure, I laughed at the part where Bush said, “Too many OBGYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.” I also cried for those murdered at the hands of the greedy. To call unnecessary loss of life anything less is unthinkable.

This movie was, at the very least, an upsetting reality check. I think most people understand that health care in America is in dire straights, but this is the first time the larger picture has been revealed. Many of the alarming facts in Moore’s movie are posted on his website. More personal accounts are available on SiCKO’s blog.

The question I’m left with is, “What are our nation’s family values?” Can somebody show me evidence demonstrating that we have any? The government certainly doesn’t support families when health care is privatized to the detriment of providing care, when daycare costs equal every cent people make at work, when many of our schools are in a state of disrepair and offer substandard learning, and when secondary education sends students deep into debt before entering the workforce. Ultimately, isn’t our government supposed to be “by the people and for the people?” What does this say about what Americans think of themselves? We need to stop being sheep and lead the fight, to believe that we are worth more than the value an insurance industry places upon us. When will we?take back our country? Let’s walk the “family values” walk and claim that right for ourselves once and for all.

I sincerly hope SiCKO inspires people to stand up, to research and support the National Health Insurance Act. House Resolution 676 has been introduced by Reps. John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott and Donna Christensen and needs our support. This system is already been proven to work in England, France, Canada and, I dare say… Cuba. It can work here too and we can?do it one step better, although the HMOs and pharmaceutical companies are paying government officials a lot of money to convince us otherwise. We’ll surely be hearing a well funded rebuttal campaign from the profiteers in an effort to discredit Moore too.

In my opinion, there was one comment in SiCKO which was presented in a somewhat confusing fashion. An ex-insurance investigator whose?job was to look for pre-existing medical conditions and use them to disqualify people from coverage claimed that his duties were not considered illegal in several states. This was certainly true during the years he was working in the industry, but it has since been rectified on a Federal level by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA says of pre-existing condition exclusions:

  • The law defines a preexisting condition as one for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received during the 6-month period prior to an individual?s enrollment date (which is the earlier of the first day of health coverage or the first day of any waiting period for coverage)
  • Group health plans and issuers may not exclude an individual?s preexisting medical condition from coverage for more than 12 months (18 months for late enrollees) after an individual?s enrollment date
  • Under HIPAA, a new employer?s plan must give individuals credit for the length of time they had prior continuous health coverage, without a break in coverage of 63 days or more, thereby reducing or eliminating the 12-month exclusion period (18 months for late enrollees)

It took a lawyer to point this out to me, but this one small hiccup should not distract from the ugly truths the film unveils. The man in the interview was speaking the truth in regard to his experience, recalling how this type of work made him feel and fully disclosing that he had gladly left the industry years ago. Moore, illustrating the time line of health insurance, was right to include this portion of history. I just think it could have been more clear that, thankfully, the definition of “pre-existing condition” has changed.

On a personal note, what has my panties in a bunch is learning that my former dentist is a hack. Experiencing the pain of my tooth being ground out of my head?after 6 shots of Novocain, and having subsequent pain and pressure ever since, I’ve learned from my new sedation dentist (a necessity after acquiring a sudden fear of my former dentist) that my cap?fails on three separate levels:

  • a gap exists between the root and cap allowing for decay
  • the bite is completely wrong
  • and the cap itself is too large to fit.?

What’s more, my former dentist said last month that my newly broken molar required another cap. Funny. My newly consulted ?sedation dentist?said a filling would suffice. I’m beginning to understand how my former dentist paid for his high end, office-wide renovation.

It’s almost more painful to hear that “the top of the mouth is easiest to numb” than to experience the fact that it wasn’t, and now I’m supposed to pay $800 to have the cap recast. That’s right. The burden of the full amount falls on me. We have no dental insurance. How do you like that? A job in the state’s health care bureau doesn’t even get you dental coverage for six months. It’s ironic and infuriating. The fact that we can afford to fix my face isn’t the point. The point is that far too many people can’t. I’m experiencing something akin to survivor’s guilt knowing that my pain will eventually subside as surely as theirs never will.

The finale of the fireworks is sounding off in the city. It’s as distant as the dull echo of the promise I vaguely remember, the one granting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Oh right. We’re allowed to “pursue” happiness. Apparently, a very wealthy and powerful minority believes we just aren’t allowed to achieve it. According to SiCKO, they aren’t allowing for?life or liberty either.

Michael Moore speaks on behalf of H.R. 676 at the Capitol
Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Michael Moore Denied Entry into NYSE
June 29th, 2007


CNN Gets Blitzed by Michael Moore
July 9th, 2007