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August 06, 2007

Sicko and the Health Insurance Industry Evil

Frinklin and went to a showing of Sicko at The Grand Cinema last night. Initially Frinklin wanted to see The Simpsons Movie tonight, but I wasn't in the mood for the ginormous multiplex, so I talked him into the health insurance documentary instead...what?

Little did I know I'd end up in hysterical tears on the way home, sitting in front of the house yelling, "And they're all evil! Evil!!" While my husband grasped at what the appropriate response would be to this statement.

This is your typical Michael Moore movie. In turns dramatic and funny, over the top and obvious. Hillary Clinton is the "sexy, sassy" bombshell wife of President Bill Clinton who brings the idea of Universal Health Care to the uneducated masses and when the idea fails is never allowed to mention it again. George W. Bush is seen as a bufoon and the Republican Congress is easily bought by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Canada, England, France, and Cuba have Socialized medicine and therefore have superior health care than the U.S. Which, after watching not just this movie, but other documentaries and reading pieces on medicine in other countries, I am inclined to agree with. As someone who is seriously wanting to start a family soon it kills me to hear the expectant mother in the UK state that all new moms get six months paid maternity leave and another six months optional unpaid leave. And in France you get a nanny to assist with laundry and meals twice a week, it's mandatory to take at LEAST five weeks vacation each year, and doctors make house calls. Did I mention it's all free? Those crazy French.

The harder parts of the film are the insurance denial horror stories. The woman with the haunted eyes that tells the story of her husband who died of liver cancer while the insurance company denied treatment over and over again. "Experimental treatment" they claimed, month after month as his doctor tried valiantly to find something that would fall under the banner of "conventional" treatment. When the doctor found a bone marrow donor that matched perfectly and declared it his last chance, the insurance company denied that too. The woman pled her case in person in front of the insurance board who condemned her husband to die for no good reason. Whoops - there was one good reason - money.

Or the story of the baby with a deadly feaver insured by Kaiser Permanente who was brought to the wrong hospital - MLK in Los Angles - a place infamous to those in Southern California (I used to listen to LA radio and hear about how many people they would kill every month). Kaiser insisted that the baby needed to be taken by car to the nearest Kaiser hospital for treatment while the mother begged that the baby be admitted and receive treatment immediately. While the hospital, the insurance company, and the understandably hysterical mother argued, the baby was eventually moved, and died.

The movie ends with the much-talked-about trip to Cuba with 9-11 rescue workers and a number of other people. Initially they plan to go to Guantanamo Bay to get the same health care as the "evildoers", but abort that plan when alarms go off as they get close. They end up at the Cuban hospital instead where everyone appears to receive the treatment they need, free of charge.

What really got to me about this movie are the people who sit on high in the insurance companies denying claims for no good reason other than to keep the money in the hands of their company. There is a woman who testifies before Congress that in order to move up in the health insurance industry, she had to deny claims, and it is further discussed that saving the company the most money would win you a bonus within the company.

This is a seriously fucked up system. A very evil system.

It is truly evil to allow people to pay you, to allow them to think that they are paying you to protect them when they are at their most vulnerable - potentially dying from a terrible disease, or that their loved ones are dying from a horrible disease, when all the time you are looking for ways to undermine and destroy them. There is an entire system in place to ensure that your benefits are not paid, or if they are paid, that they are returned to the insurance company at a later date, and that you will be retroactively billed. Or that you will be dropped from the insurance company for making a claim.

I can't help but think what would I do if Frinklin were hurt or dying, and the insurance company that we have, that he works for, were to screw us in such a horrible way. Oh, the pain I would rain down upon them...

Universal Health Care Now!

Posted by Ensie at August 6, 2007 08:26 AM

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