Friday, November 16, 2007


I just finished watching "Sicko." Here are a few thoughts before I go to bed.

I enjoyed Michael Moore before he started taking himself so seriously. At one time he was a pest that used irony and confrontation to make relevant points about greedy, selfish people. He seemed sort of cavalier and fun, making a difference almost by accident. Sometime around "The Awful Truth," however, he decided he was a combination "celebrity" and "guardian angel," and he became more concerned with his image, and more manipulative in his techniques, than he ever was before. He also stopped being funny. He also developed a sort of embarrassing love of Canada.

Maybe Moore is fighting back against the equally-manipulative conservatives, trying to use their own slick messaging against them. The thing is, most lefties -- like myself -- pride ourselves on LOOKING for truth, as opposed to cynically manipulating people, no matter how grand the cause.

So whenever Moore gets that sad sound in his voice, I squirm nervously. When a woman grieves over her child's death IN A PLAYGROUND, I turn slightly away. And when Moore wraps it all up by bringing in 9/11...well, gag.

But he probably does it because it works. All those Canadian, French, and English people who interject that they "love America" might touch the hearts of swing voters in the USA, but I can't help thinking that Moore's noble goal (universal health care) is being advanced by transparent methods (the French have universal health care AND THEY AREN'T EVIL!)

Anyway, there's no doubt in my mind that the American health care system is a wicked muddle of greedy jackassery, kept in place only by hysterical fear-messaging on the part of politicians and pundits (who are bought off by those who grow fat on the system). We're on the same page there.

And yes, thank goodness for the Canadian medical system, which guarantees that I will never go without treatment, will never pay money for necessary treatment, and will always be able to go for free checkups.

But the day I walk into a hospital emergency ward and only wait a few minutes for treatment is the day I'm...well, being interviewed by Michael Moore, perhaps. Emergency room treatment here will rarely take less than four hours and hospitals are quite full. Family doctors are scarce. Even so, however, I have never waited more than 90 minutes in an "urgent care clinic" (though they aren't open all night).

  • Many years ago I dropped a glass at Club Abstract and cut my hand open. I was driven -- in drag -- to the emergency ward at 2am, and I got out of there at around 6am. Most of that time was spent pressing a towel to my hand and waiting for the doctor to see me. Granted, my injury was not that serious, four hours is not long (considering that 2am is the busiest time at a hospital), and I didn't need to get any sort of approval or pay any money for my treatment. And the nurse liked my outfit.
  • It takes at least two weeks for me to get an appointment with my "hand doctor" (regarding my tendonitis), but he's always ready for the appointment when I arrive and -- as usual -- no approval or payment is involved.
  • I did need to pay for my "hand cast."
  • My diabetes supplies -- insulin, pentips, blood-testing strips -- are not covered (at least they weren't last time I checked, seven years ago). I don't know WHY they aren't covered, and they're VERY expensive. Fortunately my company's benefits pay 80% (though they get bitchy about the "usual and reasonable" thing).
My point is -- as others have noted -- the Canadian system is not perfect, even though Moore portrays it as being so. But as far as I can say it is LEAGUES beyond the American system and I'm very glad to have it (and help pay for it).

No comments: