Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fear and Debt

From a SiCKO movie review in the Twin Cities Daily Planet

All of the pieces I've read about “Sicko,” have what I find to be a glaring omission.

Not one mentions the comments by Tony Benn, a former member of Britain's Parliament. Yet Benn's statements probably are the most profound element of the film.

He notes, as other good people often do, that “if we have the money to kill (in war), we've got the money to help people.”

But, more importantly, Benn tells Moore, that all of Europe and many other places have good health care systems while the United States lacks such a basic service because in Europe and elsewhere, “the politicians are afraid of the people” when the people get angry and demand some action. In the United States, he observes, “the people are afraid of those in power” because they fear losing their jobs, fear being cut off from health care or other services if they speak up and make demands.

“How do you control people?” Benn asks, and he answers: “Through fear and debt.”

His point is that in the United States we have a great overabundance of both.

Yeah, I know. I have written about it quite a lot. But James Fuller makes another point in his movie review that I think is worth mentioning:

[I]f the gutless Democrats went out and explained, clearly and often, how a government run single payer system actually works, and what it really costs, and what the people of Canada, France, Britain, Germany and other countries really think of their health care systems, the ignorance-rooted suspicion could be reversed in a matter of months. And I believe that is true even assuming the inevitable all-out ad and PR campaign by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to protect their enormous profits.

(Does it occur to anyone that the profits they suck from our system, while we struggle for and often are refused decent health care, are truly enormous if the industries are willing and able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to protect those profits?)

Every American I know is fed up with our present health care mess, and more and more are deeply angry.

I would use the term "taxpayer-funded" (not "government run") single payer health care program. The government doesn't need to "run" it, it just needs to be the payment mechanism. There is no doubt that SiCKO is raising the level of conversation on the issue of national health care. I just hope that it can lead to a policy change.


Scribe said...

I found that comment on fear and debt very powerful myself; in fact, I was just visiting with my brother about that statement last night.

SiCKO was a very powerful movie and said much more than just about healthcare; it spoke directly about what's wrong with our current political system and the Powers That Be.

By the way, I've nominated you for (tagged you with) a "Thinking Blogger Award," which you can learn more about here:

ClipedWingAngel said...

Sicko will open in OKC at Bricktown tomorrow. I hope people go see it but more importantly, I hope people read your blog!

Reggie Cervantes
WTC Survivor Rescue Worker
Sicko Cuban patient
ClipedWingAngel yahoo

PS I am going to see Sicko with friends on Friday 7/13 6pm at Harkins in Bricktown! Join me?

OkieLawyer said...

I'll be there.

BigAssBelle said...

one thing that must happen post-Bush is that we most restore integrity and competence to government. this myth that all government is bad and therefore must be eliminated is a lie. it is equalled by the lie that the free market can solve every problem. the experiment has failed. we must reverse course on this and put into place adequate government support for all citizens of this country.

after seeing sicko i wrote at length about my experience with an ailing husband. with half our regular income and the best insurance offered by the State of Oklahoma, our copays and out of pocket and uncovered and ER expenses ran over $30,000 yearly for several years running. we are still paying $1500 per month out of pocket for the policy and copays. i'm not complaining ~ at least we're covered to a degree ~ but it is telling that among the small group i attended the film with, two had been forced into medical bankruptcy as the result of accidents happening while uninsured. it's insane.

reggie ~ you are a hero.