Go See a Blockbuster, Then Stay for Sicko

I saw Sicko in New York Sunday night. It's playing at the AMC Lincoln Center / IMAX on 68th and Broadway (same theater referenced in the Lazy Sunday video, no less).

It is a must-see movie. In my opinion, it is the best edited of Moore's films. And it might also be the best narrated. I used to dislike Moore as a narrator. But this time around, he sounds good, and we don't see as much of him as before.

The movie is mainly visceral. It is meant to make you mad as hell. Regardless of your political affiliation, you will probably exit the theater wanting our healthcare system dismantled and replaced. If not, then perhaps you have no heart or you are too wealthy to worry about an injury or illness bankrupting you.

The major problem with Sicko is that it offers not a single idea on how to turn back the clock 40 years and get healthcare right in this country. Sicko is in great need of a sequel. At least Michael Moore offers ideas on what to do on his website. But we could use a 30-minute video on what we need to do next.

So Sicko does not explain how to reverse 40 years of mismanagement and privatization of our healthcare system. It does not explain how much a single-payer system would cost (hundreds per citizen, possibly $1 Trillion per year). But the visceral impact of the film is clear. When we see doctors in the UK, Canada, Cuba, and France, treating patients for free, we should be furious and ask "why don't we have that?" Sicko will infuriate you. Seeing a Cuban doctor patting an American saying, “It is going to be alright,” is both humbling and infuriating.

There are some contexts not shown. We see a British internist who earns $150,000 per year and lives in a $1 Million London town house. But is he an exception or the rule?

We see Cuban doctors treat American exceptionally well, but surely the care the Americans received was a cut above what an average Cuban would have received? Still, their diagnoses were as good if not better than the diagnoses the patients received in the US of A.

And there are contexts and details that are on full display. We see both scholarly and ordinary Canadians and Britons explain why their systems are so precious, and why they were built. We see how their people are more productive and happy when they don’t have to worry about or pay medical expenses. We see that the French are not as nasty and as evil as we have recently been led to believe. We see a link between free universal healthcare and life expectancy, infant mortality, and economic prosperity. Moore doesn't show us a chart, but smart viewers should be able to figure it out.

You're smart, right? You will love this movie.

Healthcare should be free of charge to the public. Now why isn't it? That's the question the movie asks us.

Moore hits a few out of the park. There are some tangents and sequences that are simply priceless. And the film made Sunday night's audience of 800(one of the largest in the city) both cry and burst with spontaneous applause. It was really something.

It is a must see movie. Expect an Oscar nomination or two (best documentary, best editing).

Oh -

And when Moore reveals that he anonymously paid the $12,000 health care bill of a blogger critic’s wife, it is amazing. That guy is going to literally shit himself when he sees this movie. It is one of many ‘holy shit’ moments in the film.

What? He already shit himself back in May? I'm often among the last to know in the age of Teh Internets.

BTC News has an excellent essay entitled Health care in America is un-American. Go read it. It summarizes the crisis better than I could above.