On Monday I attended the New York Premiere of the film “SiCKO” with my organization at the Zeigfeld Theater.
It was a “Star-Studded” premiere so to speak. I was seated near Russell Simmons and Damon Dash. I spotted Mr. Richard Belzer, and I even saw Mr. “Super Size Me” himself, Morgan Spurlock.
After an pretty lengthy (by that time I was getting annoyed because it was 8 and the movie was supposed to being at 7:30) introduction by Harvey Weinstein himself where for some reason he professed his man love for Ari Emmanuel, he introduced the main guest, Mr. Michael Moore.
Michael Moore then introduced his new movie “SiCKO” to the audience (with the backing of a lot of hospital workers). He seemed pretty humble and not at all like the crazy man who was yelling at the Oscar’s a few years back. After a few chants from the hospital workers about ending private insurance, the movie finally started.
Here is some background on me if you care to know: I don’t get into political arguments with people, nor do I discuss my politics openly. I do agree that debate can be good and open up conversation, but for the sake of maintaining my reputation for being a laid back guy, I abstain from getting into talk of politics with people. I just go vote when there is an election, and make my voice heard that way.
As far as my history with Michael Moore’s documentaries, I haven’t seen “Roger & Me” but I have seen both “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 911”. And I am not one of those people who believe that whatever is in a documentary is actual “Fact”. I am smart enough to know that all of what was presented to me in “Fahrenheit 911” required some research on my part to learn more.
While Moore may be an extremely polarizing figure (I admit I enjoyed the “Team America: World Police” joke on him), I think that with “SiCKO” he has pretty much made his most important film so far.
“SiCKO” is described as being “a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth.” And I can say that the personal stories chronicled in the film are really no laughing matter.
Michael Moore of course starts the movie with a dig at President Bush that shows him speaking about OBGYN’s(that had the majority of the theater laughing). I know he couldn’t help himself in poking fun at him. But it amazes me how our President can just say such odd things so often. Aside from that Michael Moore doesn’t really push a political agenda. He just lets the facts and stories speak for themselves and that’s why the film ultimately worked for me.
From the cringe inducing opening shot of the guy giving himself stitches because he had no insurance, to the woman who was denied coverage for an operation (Due to her Pre-Existing Condition: A Yeast Infection) all these stories highlight how broken our adopted HMO system of Healthcare is. The stories all hit home. It made me really appreciate the fact that myself and my family had good coverage. But the film also shows that having coverage doesn’t necessarily mean you are fully covered. We are all vulnerable when insurance companies try to find ways to not pay out benefits.
And I didn’t for once believe that the documentary glamorized the Canadian Free System of Healthcare one bit. The stuff about Canada and Cuba was done in a more “Hey if they have it, why can’t we?” sort of way. Also, no one was safe in this film, not even Hilary Clinton. Moore highlights how Clinton was an advocate for Universal Healthcare in her years as First Lady. But he also shows how years later she got money from the Healthcare Industry to fund her NY State Senate campaign.
One story that stuck out for me was the insurance “Bounty Hunter” guy who checks on your medical history for mistakes or pre-existing conditions. This is done so that if he finds something, he can get money back for the insurance companies who have paid people out. The fact that an insurance company can hire someone to do such a dirty job is initially shocking, but then when you think about it, it’s not entirely surprising.
Overall I thought “SiCKO” was a pretty good film. The stories in the film are relatable. Moore’s narration is good. And everything is edited perfectly right down to song choice and clips. Will this film change anyone’s mind about the US Healthcare System? You never know. But it sure does help start the topic of conversation going. I know many people who hate Moore will see the film and look to discredit everything in the movie. But anyone who does would be ignoring the main purpose he made this film to begin with. Our current system is only working for people who can afford it. And even people who CAN afford Health Insurance, can be faced with denial of treatment and not have procedures paid.
So who is benefiting from all of this in the end exactly?