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my "late edition" review of Sicko
Published on July 17, 2007 By Sean Conners aka SConn1 In Movie Reviews
Last week, after the initial crowds died down, I went to go see the new Michael Moore flick "Sicko" about the state of health care in America today. I purposefully went after the initial release so I wouldn't be there in a big fanatic crowd. And in fact, I chose a matinee showing to further my isolation.

So, it came as a bit of a surprise to walk in to the theater to find I had to sit near the front. The theater was not totally full, but pretty close.

Anyway, I took my free popcorn I got because I used my wife's "frequent moviegoer" card, and $4.50 small drink and made my way to the 3rd row and found a seat, and barely had time to silence my phone when the trailers started. I sat through the trailers wondering what the movie would be like. Indeed, I had anticipated the movie for awhile now. And while I wasn't naive enough to think that Mike's presentation would be 100% totally "fair and balanced," I hoped that he wouldn't be too far off the mark of his promise of a "non-partisan" movie.

And he wasn't too far off that mark at all. Moore pulls no punches in this movie going after the likes of democrats and republicans alike for the support for "healthcare for profit" in exchange for dump trucks full of money and lucrative jobs. Amogst the harshest criticizm is directed at Seanator Hillary Clinton. Moore points out that she takes more from the healthcare lobby than anyone except now ex-Senator Rick Santorum.

And Moore succinctly and literally points out "what it took" to buy off a host of politicians of all political stripes. But this movie is mostly not about trashing Congress or the President. He takes his jabs, but Moore decides to spend most of his time talking about what works.

!st, Moore travels to Canada, where something like 78% of citizens are pleased and happy with their system. Moore spends some time running through what the typical Canadian experiences are with health care. Moore also spends some time with folks who need to travel across the border to buy their perscriptions, which is a crime, in order to simply afford them.

He then travels over to merry ol' England, where the citizens also enjoy universal coverage, as do anyone who just so happens to be there. He illustrates this in a humorous, albeit painful segment where an American goes to England and wants to walk across the famous "Abbey Road" (from the Beatles Album of the same name) on his hands, where he breaks his back. Moore then follows the man's path through the British system where he gets free treatment and is never rushed to get out like in American hospitals being mandated by "for profit" insurance companies.

He also visits a doctor in England where Moore tries to feign a devil's advocate role in asking the doctor about his lifestyle. Moore assumes the argument that since medicine has been "socialized" he must be poor. After the good doctor shows off his luxury Audi, 5 bedroom home and other luxuries, Moore moves France.

In France, Michael finds that the health care system that is rated #1 in the world lives up to the hype. Free health care, cheap medicines, great service, including 24 hour housecall services. And the french absolutely love it. As did the Americans in Paris that Moore found. And for good reason. Not only Moore, but most people in the world recognize France's leadership on this issue. And it was most interesting to hear one man's reasoning as he cited our founding fathers and their wise words about the government, the people and fear. And who should fear who.

By the end of the movie, Moore's emotional and factual rollercoaster of a documentary definitrely will have anyone thinking. Most people will laugh at teh humorous snippets and sharp political jabs that are indeed thrown. And it is hard not to cry when seeing some of the tragic stories that our healthcare system has produced. And not by exception, but by rule.

Moore's main focus of this movie is not really about eh 47 or so million people who lack any kind of health coverage whatsoever, but more towards those of us who do have it. Or at least think that it's worth the paper it's printed on when something expensive happens. Many of the hassles I have experienced in my own life with the system in seemingly routine claims now make more sense now. The fix is in. And regular people really don't have a chance against these monster insurance companies that are in business for no other reason than any other business, to make money. And the math is really simple at the end of the day. Less coverage, more profit.

And our healthcare system needs to change.

I know the "capatalism-uberalles" crowd will always resist any kind of change that fetters their precious profit making in any way, but that is to be expected. The fact is, that health care did not exist in our founder's day. But the notion of protecting the people did. And in today's world, protecting the people and keeping the nation secure is synonomous with a nation with good health. We simply can't afford to continue down this road that sees our health slip further and further down the chain every year.

To be sure, we do some things right in this country when it comes to medicine. But we do a lot of things wrong. By continuing on the path of a "for profit " healthcare" system we allow our status as a nation to deteriorate. And while Moore has his ideas on what a new system should look like, the more important issue is that the status quo simply doesn't work. And "Sicko" should go a long way in stirring up that debate.

As far as every detail of the film go, I simply don't know yet. Some things I have checked on seem to be dead on accurate. Tho I do know that some, like CNN, have found flaw. I'll let them debate the details and see who ends up right. But even many critics concede that Michael doesn't stray too far in this film. And he simply didn't have to. I'm sure there is some "artistic lcense" being used for effect as well. But that isn't unusual, not even in documentaries. That is, unless you are talking to the crowd that hold Michael to an impossible standard that is held for no one else.

Whether you drop 10 bucks to go see it in a theater, wait for the DVD, cable release or network premiere, this is worth seeing. And perhaps his best work since Roger & Me. "

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