America's disastrous health care system is heaving the country head-first into near-certain economic collapse. Just about everybody's either financially strained or going broke due to spiraling health care costs: the people, the employers, state governments and even the federal government. Multinational corporations are fleeing the United States due to health care costs, taking jobs and economic productivity with them. Meanwhile, 50 percent of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to medical expenses.
But not everybody's doing badly. The drug companies, surgeons, medical specialists, health insurance companies and private hospitals are making out like bandits, raking in multi-million dollar CEO salaries and -- I'm not making this up -- greater than 500,000% markups on prescription drugs. And while the American people get sicker, the drug companies, insurance companies and many health "care" providers (it's really more like "sick care providers") are rolling in cash. Drug companies are now among the richest corporations in the world, and they got there by inventing fictitious diseases, then selling drugs to people who mostly don't need them. See my CounterThink cartoon, Disease Mongers, Inc. to learn more about this topic.
Meanwhile, the American people are the most diseased people in the world among advanced nations. We spend more on health care than anyone, we pay the highest prices for medications, and we're constantly told that we have the best medical technology in the world. But if our health care system is really so good, why do 50 million Americans have no health insurance? Why are hospitals literally dumping uninsured patients on the street, abandoning the sick to protect profits while our politicians actually negotiate on behalf of Big Pharma to make sure Americans keep paying the highest prices in the world for medications? (Click here to see our CounterThink cartoon on President Bush's price negotiations with drug companies.)
What's wrong with America's health care system?
SiCKO is a must-see documentary
SiCKO creator Michael Moore answers that all-important question in his best documentary yet. Forget whatever criticism you may have heard about SiCKO -- this is a Michael Moore masterpiece: A courageous, impactful and outrageous documentary that exposes the arrogance of modern medicine and the utter failure of America's corporate-controlled sick care system to provide decent health care to the people. Watching this movie will leave you either steaming mad or shedding tears (or both). It reveals the deep-rooted corruption in America's health care system and explains why the whole system was actually designed to deny health care to the American people.
In SiCKO, what Moore does very effectively is tells this story to a mass audience, weaving together the emotionally-charged stories of American citizens who lost husbands, daughters and other family members to preventable disease, all thanks to intentional, well-planned payment denials by health insurance companies. In one segment in the film, he features archival footage of former President Nixon, who strongly approves of a new 1970's health care concept called the "HMO" where the more patients are denied health care services, the more money the hospitals and health insurance companies rake in!
In contrast to all this, Moore shows us the universal health care systems in countries like Canada, the UK, France and even Cuba... all countries where health care is free to everyone. It's called universal health care (or "socialized medicine"), and it's a system followed by nearly every modern nation in the world... and even some not-so-modern nations. Only America practices medicine in the Dark Ages, tied to a hopelessly corrupt system of financial exploitation and monopoly price controls, where Big Pharma gets richer, the FDA gets more powerful, and the American people get the shaft.
Moore, as usual, is being targeted by all sorts of critics who would like nothing better than to see this guy disappear and stop rocking the Good 'ol Boys boat that seems to be floating just fine in America (as long as you're part of the wealthy elite, anyway). For starters, U.S. government officials are investigating Moore for violating travel restrictions to Cuba. And why? Because Moore gathered a dozen Americans who were denied health care in the U.S. and brought them to Cuba where they received free, quality health care in a modern Cuban hospital.
The message is hard to miss: Cuba takes better care of its citizens than America does. In fact, Cuba is willing to take care of a few American citizens that America abandoned! That kind of "in-yo-face" embarrassment to U.S. officials isn't appreciated much in police-state America these days, where practically anyone who dares question the wisdom of the government is branded a terrorist. Moore is clearly being targeted not merely because he took some 9/11 heroes to Cuba and got them health care, but because he dared to make it all public. Humiliating the King is a quick way to find your head on a chopping block. Just ask all the scientists who publicly disagree with the Bush Administration's hopelessly politicized view on climate change...
Other critics of Moore are either the greedy, corrupt corporations impacted by his film (drug companies, health insurance providers, hospitals and so on) or juvenile stay-at-home back-seat Internet critics who don't like Moore for the simple fact that he dares to stand up and say "The Emperor Has No Clothes!" Nearly all the criticism leveled against Moore is without substance. People attack Moore personally, but they won't dare debate what he's presenting in the movie. Why? Because Michael Moore is right. America's health care system is an embarrassment to the nation, and to the world. It's so bad that most informed world citizens wouldn't be caught dead in this country, unless of course they actually visit America and have an accident that lands them in the U.S. health care system.
Personally, I opted out of the American health care system long ago. I'm a holistic nutritionist, and I exercise, eat right, get lots of sunshine and gorge on superfoods and raw berries. I have no need for a doctor, or a pharmaceutical, or a health insurance policy. I don't get annual physical exams, and I have zero risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or other common health conditions. (I posted my health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org if you want to see my blood workup.)
At the same time, I realize that not everybody is in such a fortunate health position. Most people simply don't take care of their own health, and while I could argue for days about the need for more patient responsibility alongside corporate responsibility, the fact is that relentless advertising from drug companies and food manufacturers has bred a mindset of disease, junk food consumption, pharmaceutical dependence and patient victimization. We have a health crisis in this country, and it's going to take genuinely radical reforms to turn this around and save America from a financial wipeout exacerbated by runaway health care spending.
What's missing from SiCKO
The material that's in SiCKO is hard-hitting, and it accomplishes what it sets out to do. But there's something missing from the film: A serious discussion about how a nation can prevent disease using nutrition, medicinal herbs, sunshine, clean water, avoidance of toxic chemicals, smart dietary choices, banning the advertising of junk foods and pharmaceuticals, and so on. Of course, that's not really what SiCKO set out to do, and this topic would require another film all by itself, but personally I wouldn't have minded a stronger nod towards solving our nation's health care problems through genuine prevention (rather than the current policy which is basically centered around waiting for everybody to get sick and then treating their symptoms while ignoring the true causes of their disease).
Of course, it might be tricky for Moore to argue for disease prevention given that he is obviously not the poster boy for ideal physical health. But he never claims to be. So the critics who attack Moore's own personal health are missing the whole point of the film. Moore is simply pointing out what's wrong with America's health care system, and he does so brilliantly and convincingly, regardless of his own personal health status. And besides, if you want to argue about the health of "experts," just walk into any hospital and take a look at the health of all the people who work there. Many aren't any healthier than Moore, and they work in the industry! The average lifespan of a U.S. doctor is less than a Cuban peasant. That's not a joke.
Regardless of Moore's present physical fitness challenges, he's obviously operating with a great degree of healthy skepticism about the way the U.S. operates today. Moore is an independent thinker who simply refuses to follow the crowd, and with this film, he's doing the job that the American people should have been doing all along -- questioning the sanity of our health care system. But sadly, the truth is that most Americans are sheeple who just follow the herd and do what they're told. A recent poll revealed that nearly 45% of Americans still trust the FDA! That's astounding, given that I've solidly established the Food and Drug Administration is far more dangerous to the health and safety of the American people than all the terrorists in the world. To learn more, read my article The lawlessness of the FDA, Big Pharma immunity, and crimes against humanity.
How will SiCKO play?
I think SiCKO's timing is perfect, and I think the movie will be a significant factor in the upcoming 2008 elections. Those politicians who run on a platform of radical health care reforms are likely to pick up a lot more support than those unwise enough to try to defend the current system.
This is a tough call for Republicans, since most Republicans support Big Pharma and the corporate control of modern medicine, usually at the expense of the people. Democrats, though, are also on Big Pharma's payroll, as was obvious with the recent voting record on the FDA Revitilization Act co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy. The truth is, Big Pharma owns virtually all the politicians in Washington (except Rep. Ron Paul, of course).
The movie will definitely get America talking about serious health care reforms. But as I've pointed out in a previous article, Where's the Health In Health Care Reform?, almost nobody is considering proposals that would genuinely solve the health care problem in America today. You can't "treat" your way out of a nation that has become so over-drugged, over-fed and over-diseased that even the little children are now being put on speed (also called "Ritalin"). Nearly 50 percent of American adults are now taking pharmaceuticals, most of which are utterly unnecessary from a medical point of view. Drug advertising has taken over the media, the FDA has suppressed natural alternatives, and the American Medical Association continues to peddle such health nonsense that it's amazing the AMA hasn't yet been invited to join the Smithsonian's Museum of Outdated American History.
The American Cancer Society, in my opinion, is a supremely corrupt, big-business front group that actually takes steps to ensure more cases of future cancer by "preventing prevention," the American Diabetes Association takes money from candy and soda manufacturers, and the American Psychiatric Association is so steeped in Big Pharma money that they've practically become inseparable. (Click here to see my CounterThink cartoon on this topic.)
The future of America looks dim
Clearly, something has to change in this country if we're going to survive as a nation. Under the current system of massive debt spending, widespread political corruption, war mongering and health care failures, the United States of America will simply not survive another generation. No nation that abandons the health of its people can expect to have a future. As Moore points out, however, there is a chance to save America, but only if we make significant changes starting now.
Truly radical changes must be put into place. I've offered many suggestions in a popular article, The health care reform legislation that Congress should pass, but won't. Lawmakers, you see, have no interest in actually saving America from financial demise. They're only concerned about the next election, and raising campaign reelection funds means kow-towing to the interests of the powerful corporations that really run Washington.
Personally, I don't see that meaningful reform is possible under the current system of politics in America. The Big Business sick care industry has a stranglehold on the American political system, and the whole ugly thing will mostly likely have to collapse and be rebooted before we'll see significant change.
And make no mistake: that's what's coming. I predict America will not survive its health care crisis. It won't be the first empire to crumble from arrogance and corruption. In fact, it will join a long (and growing) list of civilizations that have risen and fallen, securing its place in the pages of history as yet another imperialist nation that thought it could rule the world while abandoning the needs of its own people.
The bottom line on SiCKO
It's a must-see documentary. It's surprisingly even-handed and well grounded, never resorting to unsubstantiated claims merely to shock the audience. In fact, as a person who has been writing about America's health care problems for four years, I didn't detect a single false statement in the film. It's all true, and it's pretty damn scary. Go see it. It opens on June 29th.
And if, like one person featured in the film, I ever have to choose between reconnective surgery for my middle finger at $60,000 vs. my ring finger at $12,000, I'll choose to have my middle finger sewn on first just so I can visually demonstrate to U.S. Senators precisely how I feel about America's health care system today.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.