Instead of sweating outside in 98+ F heat, I decided to brave the motion picture industry and see a movie.

Mike Moore’s Columbine was over the top. His F-911, while creative and amusing, took took too many liberties or swipes without a basis (although I enjoyed it and agreed with his message).

So I was expecting to find some excess, some pandering to a particular audience, and some questionable holes in his documentary about health care in the United States. I was sorely disappointed. No excess, no trash, no pandering, just an extremely well-done indictment of our Health Care Conspiracy.

Being a lawyer, I deal with many aspects of this industry, from malpractice issues, to unpaid bills, to medical provider liens, to negotiating treatment for uninsured clients just so they can survive, while I pursue the one who injured them.

My personal and professional experiences with the industry have been uniformly bad. I can attest to every single example highlighted by Moore, and more so. Let me amend that. Every doctor and nurse I have dealt with have been professional, courteous (to a lawyer yet!) and informative. They are not the problem – they are victims no less than you and me. Their insurer based headaches are constant. How would you like being told that a necessary treatment is “experimental” and therefore, denied? Every day. Every week. Every month. Every year. Given their hippo-critical oaths, I can understand that it stresses them out horribly.

But Moore deals not with doctors, at least not US doctors. Instead, he interviews a 24hour SOS doctor who travels from home to home, providing in house emergency care. In Paris. He talks to several English doctors who are SHOCKED at the idea that care would be withheld because there is no insurance. He interviews Canadian staffers about how UNIVERSAL COVERAGE WORKS, and works well.

All those horror stories that you read about? Those are paid political announcements – via your congresscritter and well-greased and lobbied senator – directly from the 1,000 or so highly paid lobbyists on K-Street representing Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Big HMOs and for-profit Hospitals.

There are too many examples to choose from, but the story of the guy whose planing tool removed two finger tips, and he could only afford to have one re-attached is probably one that you cannot forget.

I guarantee you this. Walk into this movie, even with your mind made up to criticize and complain, and you will walk out a changed person. The evils behind a for profit, destructive and disfunctional health care system are obvious, and so are the advantages of EVERY OTHER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THE WESTERN WORLD. Only ours is so profit driven and ready for total collapse.

It is not working here. Our health care system is worse than broken. It is destroying families, lives, and shattering hundreds of thousands’ futures. It is a moral and ethical crime that must be eradicated. Ok, we have some of the best health care opportunities in the world – except that 99% of us won’t see or experience it. Not the 50,000,000 (Try to wrap your brain around that astounding number for a bit. Talk about a crime.) uninsured, but neither will the 250,000,000 who pay for or who have health insurance. We are as badly screwed as those uninsured.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE. It will change your mind about what our country is all about.


  1. adrienrain

    There may be health care rationing in countries with a national health service, and it may be a total bore – especially if you want silicon implants. But we have health care rationing here and it isn’t just for elective surgeries! Ask the lady who died on the floor of Martin Luther King hospital here in L.A. about health care rationing. Ask the paraplegic guy who was thrown out of a medical van owned by some Presbuyterian hospital into the gutter on Skid Row, so that his colostomy bag burst. Ask the lady that Kaiser turned loose in a hospital gown on Skid Row.

    Those guys don’t even qualify for the rations……………………….

  2. Bill Jonke

    Just don’t ask me anything about Blue Shield of CA.

    Talk about your Health Care CROOKS!

  3. allan hirsh

    mr. hirsh
    I am most pleased to read this article and comments. I sometimes suspect that there is a “tendency” to get a report from someone who really does not agree with a liberal cause but instead spends time roaming the internet to have a life and be mischievous. I intend to see the movie this week, and as stated it is a good thing to have a counterbalance to the usual “swiftboating” criticism that comes about. I dropped a subscription to the NYer after David Denby’s finky review of “Fahrenheit 911.” I also wonder if after the Bush era, presuming there is an end, will all the good nazis remember how they behaved under this regime.

  4. Jim C

    No , I believe most of us are quite aware what our country has become ” all about ” . We are slowly becoming about greed , pure callous unmitigated greed . We have been fed this conservative poison in steady doses for years until we have become almost immune to reality . How else can one explain how we can observe superior health care systems all over the world yet defend this greed driven mess we have ?

  5. Wayne K Dolik

    I just saw Sicko and it truly rips the thin veneer of greed off of the health care system. Health Care should not be for profit, and it isn’t unless you live in America. Here’s my story about how we had to leave our HMO Kaiser to save my late Mothers only working leg.

    It’s easy to give a family lies and distortions when their trying to help a loved one. Kaiser Bellflower has been dumping people in the City of L.A. for years. Read this.'s+Leg%2C+Lost+HMO+Arbitration+Prevents+Payback+of+Bills

  6. Carl Nemo

    Hi Wayne Dolik,

    Thanks for sharing the link concerning your family tragedy relative to HMO administered medicine. Kaiser Permanente is one of the poster children HMO’s for malpractice and general bumbling/fumbling relative to it’s memberships’ needs. Mention Kaiser to anyone in my area; ie, the Portland,Oregon/Vancouver Washington area and you’ll more often than not hear some tale of woe. One guy joked with me that it’s the only place where a janitor can work his way up to physician… :))

    None of them are perfect, but I’ve heard that United Health Care is one of the better one’s to interface with and you can choose your own primary care physician and referrals to specialists is quite easy without having to go through the primary care physician as with most HMO’s all the time. You also have access to Urgent Care facilities and a much larger selection of area hospital facilities whereas with Kaiser they generally force people to use their facilities which are not always convenient to visit in terms of distance etc. So if you have an option to change providers during an open enrollment period and United Health Care is available in your plan, you might consider moving to United. They get great ratings among health care providers. Again, thanks for sharing this personally tragic information.

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Carl Nemo

    I, like most of us, get damn depressed at times! Whether it’s the war, health care, Congressional corruption, the intransigently criminal “Bushista Whitehouse” shenanigans it all seems to be never-ending and they also seem to be winning!

    People foolishly thought the election results or 2006 would offer a glimmer of hope for “we the people”, but instead hopes were dashed when we got to witness the truly ugly face of our new-age/NWO pols; i.e., the “republicrats” all marching lock-step to the jody calls of their NWO drill-masters. We’re still in Iraq and Bushco is still flipping the bird to “we the people” and as far as universal health care is concerned…”forget it”…!

    Today it was revealed that the war is costing us $12 billion per month, that’s 12,000 million bucks per month that we don’t have. The MIC is allocated about $460 billion per annum for budgeted expenditures, this extra 12 billion per month is frosting on the cake for the MIC and 20,000 camp-following contractors that are sucking on the U.S. Treasury from the big guys; i.e, Halliburton, Bechtel, KBR, GE, Blackwater Security, down very minor contractors that are simply making canteens which might even be outsourced to China, but of course built to MIL-SPEC standards…?! Does this mean we aren’t capable of making canteens, or course not, but if a supplier can get away with this nonsense they will do so. Let the Chinese make the canteen, but charge a hefty tariff on the canteens without allowing them to pass this tariff on in their pricing, which will at least benefit the U.S. Treasury and the people of the U.S. But no, we’ve not only lost manufacturing opportunities via out-sourcing, but the ability to make a buck through tax revenues too. Meanwhile Washington spends, spends and spends some more, never raising taxes. Instead they cut taxes and continually raise the national “debt ceiling” which is at 9.7 trillion dollars. Does anyone see something wrong with this paradigm and the eventual outcome…?! There’s no such thing as a free ride except in a “fools paradise”.

    Americans have no government assisted health care except for Medicare and Medicaid which is for seniors. Jobs are still being outsourced at the rate of several million per annum. The loss of jobs in this country is like a black hole event horizon, that’s virtually sucking our manufacturing infrastructure dry, that which allows us to survive as a nation into oblivion, as reflected in our massive three quarters of a trillion dollar annual trade deficit and rising all the time. The most important export from this country from the ports of New York and Los Angeles is scrap metal and cardboard. The big ticket industries in this country are the weapons of war courtesy of Halliburton, KBR, Boeing, Lockeed-Martin, Raytheon, L3 Communications, and a host of other MIC related industries.

    The U.S. dollar is tanking against 56 world currencies at this time and in the past few weeks is making swan dive into oblivion. Very soon the U.S. dollar will no longer be the worlds’ reserve currency. The oil producing nations demand payment in Euro’s at this point in time. The Euro has appreciated 35 percent against the U.S. dollar measured against equal parity; i.e., one for one. So oil is not only expensive, but it costs us 35 percent more than it should based on the once mighty dollar’s devaluation. So the Bushista’s will achieve their dream of turning America into a deadbeat,financially broken “banana republic” with Generalissimo Bush in control…no?!

    The U.S. stock market was the worst performing of 26 of the worlds major exchanges in 2006 and it’s going to be a repeat in 2007.

    Meanwhile the average American is hyped about the latest electronic toy introductions, star gossip/intrigues, nighttime talent shows, gadgets in general, all the while serving the debt on second and third mortgages against their home’s equity; i.e., heavy, heavy…”DEBT”…! The average credit card debt per household is $7500 per capita and rising all the time. Americans are living in a fools paradise. We have the lowest savings rate in the world and the lowest rate of home ownership; i.e, mortage-free home ownership. The U.S. government has become a premier deadbeat nation along with it’s citizens. None of this can end up well for sure…I’m sure! In truth, we have no money for health care nor anything else for that matter when it comes to the welfare of “we the people”. Our elected reps are thieves, plain and simple…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. Kim Scipes

    I periodically look at Michael Moore’s web site, as he often posts interesting things there.

    I just looked at it tonight, and it shows a clip where Moore appears on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer–and Moore tears Blitzer a new one. It was especially gratifying to see Moore take the offense, and especially after CNN aired a misleading hit piece by Dr. Sanjay Gupta prior to interviewing Moore. It sure looks like they were trying to set Moore up, but he turned the tables on CNN!

    Well worth a look. At .

    And also on the website, Moore provides data–with specific references–which shows Gupta was wrong.


    Kim Scipes

  9. nuQler Ostrich

    There is only ONE CANDIDATE for President who had the courage 4 years ago to call for “Universal Health Care” in this country. No other candidate had the courage to even use the term “Universal Health Care.”

    Now all the other Democratic candidates are using the words while selling corporate profiteering insurance.

    Nobody wants to even mention this candidate’s name.. The Candidate who was right on this issue in 2004, and right on Iraq in 2004, and right on NAFTA in 2004, and I can go on.

    His name is Dennis Kucinich and the media will refuse to give him any credibility.

    As Americans, we can choose for ourselves without the media’s interference which candidate we support. The reasons for the corporate profiteering media to ignore a candidate like Kucinich are obvious. He doesn’t accept campaign contributions from multinational corporations.

    I know which candidate I support. I support the ONLY CANDIDATE to offer a single-payer Universal Health Care plan for all Americans.

    It’s really that simple.

    Dennis Kucinich.

  10. freedem

    I have recently found a new toy at Google that will graph United nations data and madea graph that showed both child mortality and life expectancy with the size of the bubble based on numbers of Doctors per person. Cuba showed what can happen if you allowed anyone with the talent to learn to become a doctor, Moore doesn’t exaggerate at the huge numbers.

    What is particularly interesting is that all the countries that have a better record than the US also have health care as a normal part of Government. Moore outlines Canada, the UK, and France, but even they are not the best who are much more socialized than those countries.

    I have more info on my Blog

  11. history guy

    None of you seem willing to notice the rationing of health care in these socialist utopias you speak of. Half the people in Canada needing an MRI come to the US to get it because of the 6 month wait. Hospitals in the UK are told to quit performing surgeries for weeks at a time to allow the budget to catch up. Yes, our health care system has major issues, but have you ever known our government to do anything well? Many of our health care problems are caused by government requirements and meddling. Did you know you can’t purchase insurance that does not include pregnancy coverage, even if you are male? It’s a government regulation.

  12. Carl Nemo

    Hi history guy…

    You are correct in that there are shortcomings in some of these countries that are offering universal medical care, but that does not mean that we have to emulate them. Witnessing those shortcomings we have to come up with something far better that precludes such delays and beaurocratic nonsense.

    I spoke with a young woman who had recently graduated as a MRI specialist. She makes and excellent living and travels to various small cities throughout the Northwest to operate MRI equipment; ie., small outlying hospitals that have no qualified personnel to operate the equipment. There’s no shortage of MRI machines throughout the nation, but there’s a shortage of qualified operators. So this would offer booming career field for young persons that don’t have the time or resources to become M.D. or even R.N.’s, but could focus on becoming a specialist in the MRI field among many other niche specialties in medicine that have a shortcoming of support specialists etc.

    Whatever the problems they can be circumvented rather than duplicated and the U.S. should and could have a public medicine program that could be an example for the world. The big problem with the medical field as in politics is there’s too many greedy crooks from Big Pharm, to insurers, and doctors themselves representing all specialties.

    Quality dental care should also be integrated into the program because most folks don’t realize that many more serious illnesses have their root cause in bad dental hygiene and maintenance. The program should cover not only medical, but naturopathic, mental health, and chiropathic options too.

    Doctors that want to participate in the government sponsored program could sign on as Preferred Medical, Dental, Chiropractic, Naturopathic providers agreeing not to charge above a certain rate. Those that don’t want play the game can continue to practice under the old paradigm, but in short order would dry up like slugs in the noonday sun. They’l soon realize they best go to collective watering hole if they want to have any type of business which would still be rewarding, but not usurious. The same would go for medical equipment and service providers too.

    Everyone in the U.S. wants to be a millionaire and seems to have lost sight of achieving a balance between the acquisition of material wealth against conducting their lives in an honorable, productive fashion.

    Americans work their butts off 24/7/365, pay their taxes etc., and get little to nothing in return for their efforts except to witness their government suck-up tax-revenues plus indebt us even further in order to conduct endless adventuristic wars; ie., the “care and feeding” of the M.I. Complex is what it seems to be all about and to hell with “we the people”.

    Carl Nemo **==