We watched the Michael Moore documentary the other night, and it is sticking with me. I’m not a Moore fan, and I have all sorts of advice for him to improve his films (like, don’t appear on camera!), but this 2007 release is perhaps his most subdued and effective yet.
Its strong and memorable aspect is how it lays out the big picture arguments against our current health care system, and highlights the absurdity of perpetuating it. Just about everyone agrees that it is a flawed system that is failing to provide minimal, not even adequate, health care for Americans. But it is not being changed and the prognosis for change is poor indeed. My take from the films POV is that the big giant reasons our system persists is 1) the entrenched financial interests that benefit from the system have way too much control over our political leadership, and 2) there is lingering national paranoia about the spectre of “socialized medicine”.
Neither I nor Michael Moore can offer any solutions to number 1 other than to somehow find the political will. But Moore easily refutes obstacle number 2 by pointing out that Americans already benefit from a lot of socialized services. Like for example, libraries, and schools, and firefighting and rescue, and postal service. Why the f*ck not Health Care? It is clearly working better than our system in the other countries profiled by Moore in the film.
To find the origin or our current mess, Moore singles out Nixon for endorsing the prototypical HMO in private and in public back in the 60’s, but I blame the red scare and the subsequent cold war as more culpable.