Sicko, Dems discuss health care
There are 50 million Americans without health insurance.
This year, 18,000 Americans will die simply because they are uninsured.
A baby has a better chance of surviving in El Salvador than in Detroit.
These are just some of the facts presented in Sicko, a 2007 Michael Moore documentary comparing the U.S. health care system to those in other countries.
The Colby Democrats held a screening of the documentary on Wednesday, October 28 to raise awareness about the controversial health care debate currently consuming the country.
The universal health care proposal supported by the Obama administration has received a tremendous amount of media coverage in the past several months, but the unique standing of Maine's politicians has made the issue a particularly interesting one for Maine residents.
"Especially in Maine, with [Senators] Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, we can impact this issue," Amanda Burgess '09, president of the Colby Democrats, said of Snowe's recent decision to support Obama's plan. Collins followed suit, expressing that she will also support a health care bill, making the Maine senators the only two Republicans in Congress to support the bill.
The issue is also extremely pertinent to students at the College, the club said, because it could profoundly affect their future. "We're all going to be graduating soon and will no longer be covered under our parents' insurance," Kat Cosgrove '09, Vice President of the Colby Democrats and of the Maine College Democrats, said.
Sicko seeks to demonstrate why a policy change is necessary, as Michael Moore uses wit and sarcasm to tell the story of the many Americans who have been slighted by the corrupt nature of the health care industry. The documentary features an interview with Adrien, whose insurance company would not pay to treat her cervical cancer because they told her "you shouldn't be getting cervical cancer, you're too young," as well as Maria, whose company refused to pay for an MRI that would have detected a tumor in her brain.
"I read about government policy, but it just goes way over my head if I don't hear peoples' stories, Hannah DeAngelis '12, a member of the Colby Democrats, said.
To support his condemnation of the faulty American privatized health care system, Moore explored what health care systems in other parts of the world are doing right, in hopes that Americans could learn from them.
"You know, when we see a good idea from another country, we grab it," Moore said in his narration. "If they build a better car, we drive it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. So if they've come up with a better way to treat the sick, to teach their kids, to take care of their babies, to simply be good to each other, then what's our problem? Why can't we do that? They live in a world of 'we,' not 'me.' We'll never fix anything until we get that one basic thing right."
Moore argues that universal health care seems to have worked well in the other countries like including Canada, the United Kingdom and France.
A French woman told Moore in the documentary just how much it would cost her for her young daughter to spend days in the hospital for monitoring after she was diagnosed with a potentially dangerous condition. "Nothing," she said. "I live in France."
The film was followed by an informal discussion with the Language Assistant in French Anne-Sophie Saudrais.
Saudrais, who has lived in France all of her life, thought Moore's portrayal of the French health care system may have been too favorable. "It was a little like everything is perfect," she said. "We still have problems, like government debt."
Overall, though, "how he showed the way we are treated was accurate," she said.
Saudrais said that the American health care system "seems very complicated to me, and very strange...When you're sick, you're sick, and you shouldn't be worried about having to pay."