Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sicko: Michael Moore takes on US Healthcare

Oh, this is going to be good. Taking a group of 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for free health care? Moore was right to spirit away a copy of the film. This was a deal breaker for me: living in a country that allows its citizens to go bankrupt over basic health care? That's insane. I could post for days on the many, many frustrations of the US health care system--and I actually have benefits. Good ones at that.

Still, even the good benefits discourage use. It's a system that creates excessive administrative work for users, further discouraging use, and a system that relies on disinformation and excessive loopholes which people with money can either pay, or pay to avoid. In fact, many people have health care brokers to deal with health insurance plans--they're too complex to navigate on one's own. And if you do get very ill, you're faced with a "benefits specialist" who will help you try to figure out how to best configure your benefits to avoid massive costs in the thousands, on top of your excellent benefits. Do you ever want to hear: "Your husband's treatment will cost half a million dollars, currently you are liable for one fifth of that fee..."

People without benefits--some 50 million--have a whole other set of problems. A fellow Canadian, also living in the US said to me once, "What's the big deal, you can always buy health insurance..." Well, that's actually not true. You have to be part of a company to buy into most plans. Independent users can buy into HMOs but the costs can run more than the cost of renting an average 1 brm apartment in the average Canadian city and there is generally an assumed deductible that makes this out of reach for most.

Reality check. This health care system is one scary beast. Beware the politician who looks south and sees progress...what they're really seeing is a chance for fees. Lots and lots and lots and lots of fees and lots of administration to administer those little fees and on and on and on.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Great blog Lemonhound! I can't wait to check out "Sicko." Here's a clip you can use in your post:

http://www.thenewsroom.com/details/321195/Entertainment

It's Moore being interviewed at Cannes and you can use it for free and make $$.