Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I just saw Sicko.

It's pretty standard Michael Moore. Which means that it's heavy on editorial, highly provocative and, um, heavy on the heavy-set storyteller/demagogue.

I'm not all that concerned with Moore himself. Nor am I interested in analyzing his style. But I do give a dinosaur shit about the latest problem he's chosen to tackle: U.S. health care.

I personally have never heard anyone describe the current state of our health care as ideal. Or, for that matter, as sound. Even folks who loathe the work and opinions of Michael Moore think we have a crisis in dire need of a fix.

The way I figure it, there are two lessons to take from Sicko:

1) Doctors should not have to be businessmen.

2) The marketplace that guides U.S. health care needs to be turned upside down.

Any doctor who is in it strictly for the money is doing it for the wrong reason. Simple and plain. With so much of American life defined by how it generates profit, aren't there some things a little bit sacred that should be held above the bottom line? I get that capitalism requires all of us to think of ourselves as corporations, but I recall reading something somewhere about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And doesn't health care fall into the "life" category? We all do need it at some point. And no entity seems to be able to afford evolving costs. Rather, no entity wants to bear the costs as they are. Why not dial down the profit motives on all sides and let doctors just practice medicine?

As for the marketplace, the thesis statement from Sicko appears to be that the fundamental difference between U.S. health care and those systems employed by the U.K., France, Cuba, etc is this:

The U.S. system rewards deprivation of care while systems in other countries (notably France) reward proficiency of care.

IMO...that's pretty effed up.

It's not necessarily an endorsement of a single-payer system. But I do believe the private-public partnership that governs U.S. health care needs to be overhauled. Personally, I'd start with the incentive system. No one and no thing should ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be rewarded for denying health care. Period.

I'm not sure exactly how to accomplish that. Other people have some ideas, though. The French, for one, don't have a perfect system. But they do seem to have their hearts in the right place.

I also think the guys who hate on Michael Moore might be onto something. Link again for the lazy.

I haven't found any other ideas that I'd be willing to subscribe to.


Then again, I've only been trolling around the internet for an hour or two.

The answer ought to be in there somewhere. I'll keep digging and get back to you.

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