Image from MichaelMoore.com
Jamie here, still reporting from Ohio. The Other Half and I went to see Michael Moore's Sicko with his sister and her husband, and I wanted to comment a little bit here.
First, I'd like to say, this movie didn't grab me in the same way that Fahrenheit 911 did. I saw that one prior to my immersion into politics was complete, so a lot of that movie was new (and shocking) to me. I was already aware of much of what was in Sicko, so while the movie was still affecting, it didn't resonate quite as strongly. That said, Sicko is still quite a film.
Now, I'm not going to argue the merits of Moore's examples in this film--did he twist the truth here and there? I don't know. My gut instinct says no, but he may have directed you to his point of view by omission in places. Mostly, he guides you along, telling the story he wants to tell, probably glossing over some of the "bumps" in the story. I think most documentarians with an agenda are guilty of this. So, the details may be fuzzy, but I don't think that's really important, when it comes to this film's overall message.
Sicko is an argument for universal health care, or what opponents call "socialized medicine." It points out that we have socialized fire departments, police departments, libraries, schools and the like, so what's the big deal about socialized medicine? It also points out that England, Canada and many other countries already have this sort of health care, so why don't we? Why could one illness bankrupt people who already have insurance, let alone the uninsured?
Despite any possible fudging of truth Moore may have employed, I simply do not see a valid argument against universal health care. What is so wrong or scary about "socialized medicine?" It seems to boil down to a fear that somebody out there will get something that they don't deserve. They frittered away their money, didn't plan for the future, and ended up in debt--big deal, they deserve it. Compassionate Conservatism anyone?
We have an amazing ability in this country to become divided on partisan lines about any issue. Health care is an odd one to fight about. What sane person wouldn't pay extra taxes if it meant not having to pay so much for insurance? Or doctor visits, or medicine, or surgery, casts, dental work, glasses? Holy crap, man, are we so worried about the words "socialism" and "taxes," that we've lost the ability to do basic math? Are we so eager to poke holes in a Michael Moore film, that we say, "well, health care in Canada isn't really as good as he paints it, so the whole thing should never be done here."?
Ultimately, for any flaws Sicko might have, it brings these issues to the fore, and in doing so may spark enough debate to get this ball rolling. For that, it is highly recommended.