At our recent family reunion we watched the film, Sicko, by Michael Moore. I guess enough of us are political animals it was a good thing to do on such an occasion.
One of my nephews was cleaver enought to pirate a copy off the Internet before it was released to the theatres.
This film, which is a criticism of the Health Care System in the US is well worth the viewing. Hopefully, it will fuel the debate in the US to bring about significant changes in their heath care system which fails to meet the needs of far too many of its citizens.
Watch SiCKO and Call Your Congressman in the Morning - CommonDreams.org
I like to refer to most universal, single payer (government) health care programs as "socialist". In Canada, it is not seen as radical as some Americans might think socialist implies. Even Conservatives, in Canada, know that to radically alter our much loved but much criticized health care system, would be political suicide. They try to tinker with it and would like to see a two tier system of privately and publically funded programs. They also can be pressured by American private health care providers to open a place in our system for them to exploit. We resist so far!
A two tier system will result in creating a two quality system, one for the rich, one for the rest of us. I hope our American neighbours come to understand this in their deliberations for even the "progressive" Democrats seem to be only suggesting ways to have private health care delivered to everyone rather than a universal single payer (government funded) system. Time will tell.
Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ Leaves Top Democrats Ill at Ease - CommonDreams.org
In the film other countries systems are applauded. The British, the French and the Cubans seems to have found ways of guaranteeing health care to all. This takes the economic anxiety out of the concerns for getting better.
The French seem to have perfected this as Moore illustrates with one fellow who felt that he was not fully ready to go back to work, so the doctor gave him a perscription for three more months rest, which the system paid for. His salary was paid for those three months 60% by the government and 40 % by the employer as the fellow went to the Riviera to recover his health with some fun in the sun. (even I found that enormously generous) . In France, you can order a house call from a doctor the way you might order a pizza! That was novel not me. Cuba, for all its economic struggles has managed to create a very good health care system. In fact, they have so many doctors they export them for economic advantage and for foreign aid such as the 12,000 doctors in Venezuela in exchange for oil. They were even prepared to send doctors for relief in the Katrina disaster but were bared by the Bush administration.
What is common with all these systems is that for the patient the doctor can say. " Don't worry about the money, your job is to get better." The doctor also is relieved of the economic burden of collecting funds for his services. His job is to serve the patient to the full extent of the system. The system can do more in the area of preventative medicine which has very little short term profitability (which is of little interest in a "for profit" system) but which in the long term can save money and create a healthier community.
Before a Society can come to create such a common welfare system it must see health care as a right not a privilege. Surely this is not a great leap as even the US recognizes education as a right and not a privilege. They are not dissimilar.
Second, a Society my also believe that we are in fact, "our brother's keeper". Surely a nation that celebrates itself as a Christian nation should have no problem with that.
Third, money is not the problem. If Cuba can do it the wealthy US can do it. If spending more on the military than all the rest of the World was not their first priority, it would be easy.
There are other advantages to such a health care system for industry no less. Industry will know its costs for supplying health care for its employees which is universal and "transportable "from one work place to another." a healthier workforce is to everyone's advantage. In Canada, our health care system is an economic advantage in convincing companies coming here rather that in the US.
Also, it would be nice if my aged aunt could visit her property in Florida where she lived for many Winters among her friends there. She dare not to go as she can no longer get private health care insurance there and she does not want to get risk the cost of sudden illness and being transported home for medical care. There must be other Canadian "snowbirds" who would love to be spending their money and retirement years in the US.
I hope the next few years sees the US develop a health care system which serves the people rather than corporations and limits the profit/greed motive, recognizing that health care is not a commodity to be sold to some and denied to others.
BlueCross Secret Memo Re: ‘Sicko’ - CommonDreams.org