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Lack of Insurance

Posted Jun 24 2008 6:08pm


I watched Sicko today. Here’s a summary I found online:

Note to the president: Here’s your chance to lock up Michael Moore. The radically fierce and funny fireball he aims at our health-care system is a flat-out invitation to steal. First, Moore shows us how France, England, Canada and – yikes! – Cuba actually help sick people instead of letting them wither and die for lack of health insurance. Then he instructs us to loot those places for ideas. Anti-American? Hell, no. Moore argues that if another country builds a better car, we buy it. If it crafts a better wine, we drink it. Why not free universal health care?

As the agent provocateur of modern cinema, Moore is a moving target. Three of his docs (Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11) had the bad taste to be box-office hits instead of slouching quietly to oblivion like most documentaries. Look for the reform spirit of Sicko to spark fresh attacks from haters who smear Moore as a fat, shambling, condescending grandstander eager to shade the truth to force a laugh or simplify an issue. Back off, guys. For one thing, he’s dieting. For another, Sicko is a movie whose time has come, even if the Treasury Department is already on his case for illegally taking a boatload of lung-sick 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for free medical care they can’t get at home. Another dumb move from the Dubya camp. While political candidates sidestep the real health-care issues, like puppets of the pharmaceutical industry that finances their election campaigns (take that, Hillary!), Moore brings a blunt clarity to the table. In an era when the mainstream news media have lost the public trust to Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, Moore’s brutally comic take on matters of life and death is just the ticket.

To prep for the film, Moore used the Internet to solicit health-care horror stories, not just from the 47 million Americans who don’t have insurance but from those who do. It’s hair-raising, especially when we watch an L.A. hospital dump a dazed patient at a homeless shelter because her insurance has reached its cap. In France, no resident is denied care; that’s why the World Health Organization ranks it number one (the U.S. is thirty-seventh). Moore, who shot 500 hours of film that he had to whittle down to two, puts a human face on those statistics. He traces the privatized health system back to Nixon, who figured, “The less care they give them, the more money they make.” He got that right.

Does Moore cut a few corners? Sure. Some of the European hospitals he visits might be spiffing up for the camera. The drugs an American patient buys in Havana (five cents there, $120 at home) might not be up to FDA standards. And maybe the French are pushing it by doing a patient’s laundry. But the weight of evidence Moore marshals for taking the profit motive out of medicine is overwhelming. In a summer of dumb, shameless drivel, Moore delivers a movie of robust mind and heart. You’ll laugh till it hurts.

It was brilliant. And I believe I am the perfect example of what happens to someone in this country who doesn’t have health care. And can not afford medical coverage.

You have a disease that many people are able to control and live with. I’ve read blogs about people with R.A. who own businesses, run marathons, have a family full of little ones to take care of.  People who are dealing and coping, and can be positive.

But the reality is that when someones ability to fight their disease is based on their ability to pay, then something is wrong. Something is very wrong. I am the perfect example of a disease taking over when it never needed to be that way. I have been denied help over and over. I have a file full of paper work. I have denial after denial. The reasons I have been denied vary from my age, to my education level, to the fact that I am not pregnant. The reasons never make sense. I’m telling you, I still cant make any sense of it.

Every month I have to worry about how I am going to pay for my medicine. It’s humiliating. And no one makes it easy. This month my father told me he just didn’t have the money. That’s it. Just said no.

Then my doctors office called me and said they couldn’t fill my prescriptions anyways because I haven’t had labs done. So I had to make an appointment. Which means my seven hundred dollar tab is now going to be well over a thousand. And that’s just with the bare minimum. I cant afford extensive blood tests, or cortisone shots. Or the Xrays I need taken of my neck which tends to get stiff. Or Physical therapy to help my knees. Or a dermatologist to see whats causing this outbreak I’m having.

My sister sent them the minimum payments for May June and July. So she cant help me anymore this month. My doctors office is really great to let me make payments though. None of my other doctors ever let me. But they will come after you if you miss payments, or if the tab gets too high. They call and say “How would you like to make your payment today?” Oh. If it was only so easy.

Not to mention the gas. Lord, its going to cost me over thirty dollars just to get there.

All the money I had left from my younger brother is gone. It went to paying bills. My autistic brother lost a hundred dollars when I sent him in to pay our electric bill. A hundred dollars is such a big deal right now. So it took every last cent I had to make it up. Wait. That’s not true. We have eighteen cent left in the bank.

And its only mid month and there is no way our food is going to last until the first.

Oh yea, and my car insurance lapsed.

Sometimes its very overwhelming. And the stress doesn’t help.

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