John R Selig

Writer. Photographer. Podcaster. Outspoken.

Make Seeing Michael Moore’s “Sicko” a Top Priority

Originally Heard on the John Selig Outspoken Podcast

John Selig Outspoken – Episode 2

My husband and I were able to attend an advanced screening of Michael Moore’s new movie “Sicko” one week before it opened. Since watching the movie I have been on a mission to get as many people to see it as possible. If you’ve not yet seen “Sicko,” I am sure you have heard comments from friends who have seen it.

I don’t often get on a soapbox to urge people to go to a movie. But in the case of “Sicko” it’s imperative that you see this movie and drag your family and friends to see it ASAP. This will be one of the most important movies that you will see in a long time.

The healthcare system in the U. S. is broken and all Americans are suffering because of it. The United States, the wealthiest country in the world, currently ranks only 37th in the quality of healthcare. We are the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t have a national healthcare system and we are far from the top when it comes to life expectancy.

U. S. Healthcare is set up to make the insurance and pharmaceutical industries boat loads of money. Insurance companies reward employees for denying patients’ claims. In fact, some insurers require a set percentage of claims be denied. Currently 47 million Americans don’t have health insurance. Care for the 250 million that have coverage is often denied for reasons such as pre–existing conditions and non–coverage of experimental treatments.

“Sicko” dispels propaganda from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that have spent millions of dollars propagating fear of “socialized medicine.” “Sicko’s” audiences see how well national healthcare delivery has been working in Canada, England, France and even Cuba and how pleased patients and healthcare professionals are in those countries.

“Sicko” takes on the healthcare industry in a way that those who see it will be moved as well as angered and determined to do whatever it takes to improve the quality of healthcare available to Americans.

“Sicko” blew me away beyond my wildest expectations. Watching the audience’s reaction to the film was almost as exciting as watching the film itself. This is Moore’s best film. It will appeal to everybody who sees it. The medical industry executives don’t want you to see “Sicko” and they are all petrified of your reaction to the film. A reminder, you doctor is not the issue. Unfortunately, most are as powerless to fix the problem as their patients.

On July 6th Michael Moore released an internal Blue Cross Blue Shield memo that was leaked to him by a Blue Cross employee. Barclay Fitzpatrick, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, was downright depressed about the movie he had just seen as he lamented “You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore’s movie.” The industry’s only hope, the memo indicated, is for the movie to be a flop by audiences not going to see it.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association both gay men and lesbians in committed relationships are at a disadvantage compared to married heterosexuals because many insurance companies and employers deny spousal benefits to unmarried partners. More companies are adding domestic partner healthcare coverage but far too many don’t.

Even GBLT individuals who have insurance may be reluctant to use it to access care for fear that their health conditions may be leaked back to employers who self–insure. They fear being dropped from insurance or being fired for having a disease such as HIV/AIDS that could result in insurance premiums going up for all employees. There are many gays and lesbians who don’t have health insurance offered by their employers or who can’t afford to pay for insurance coverage if it is offered.

I urge you to run, don’t walk, to see “Sicko.” Politicians are extremely nervous about this movie. Democrats are as nervous as Republicans. It is imperative that we let those in power or who are seeking office know that the healthcare system in this country is broken and that “We are as mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it any more.” After seeing the movie I urge you to visit and follow the suggestions to take action.

Obviously, we need to hold all politicians’ feet to the fire over GLBT issues but we must also hold them accountable for making sure that all Americans have affordable healthcare available regardless of sexual orientation.

© 2007 John R. Selig. All rights reserved.