Inspired by my current battle with my graduate student insurance (a.k.a. "One step above no insurance"), I watched Sicko. It made me angry, sympathetic, frustrated, and sad.
But first, let me catch you up to speed on my insurance saga.
I have had the same crappy insurance for the past three years that I have lived here. For the first two years, nothing changed in each renewal cycle. My deductible remained the same ($100) and my referral process (i.e. not needing one) never changed. Suddenly, this year, they changed it and never notified me. Unfortunately,before I discovered the change in the policy, I had racked up a visit to the emergency room and a visit to a specialist's office without a referral. Now I am in a full-on war with the insurance company to get them to pay for this. They are hoping that I will just give up and pay up. However, they failed to realize that I am an obnoxious and aggressive New Yorker. In the meantime, they have also told me that the orthopaedist that I have been seeing for over a year and a half will need a referral for my next visit. Are you frickin' kidding me?
Anyway, back to Sicko. Let me give my disclaimed first. I fully recognize that Michael Moore has an agenda. He presents his material in a clearly biased and slanted view. However, he never claims otherwise. He fully acknowledges that he films with the intention of making a political and/or social point. While this discourages some (mainly people who disagree with his positions), it encourages me. Of course, I'm smart enough to balance his information with my own knowledge and my own thoughts. Despite this, Sicko pist me off.
One of the last things that Michael Moore said in the film was that until our nation stops focusing on "me" and starts focusing on "we," nothing will get better. He is completely right. As Americans, we are so consumed with personal gain and personal achievement. We have completely lost sight of the concept of community and democracy. The whole basis of democracy of being rule by the people for the people is completely contradicted by the way Americans now live. While we try to run the government "by the people," we completely lack the element of "for the people." We no longer care about those less fortunate (they are "lazy" and there are "too many" programs to help them already) or the children of those people (because it is obvious that the children should suffer for the "sins" of the father, right?). I cannot say how many times my stomach has turned when someone has said, "I don't want my tax dollars going to support all those other people." My question is, "What about the WIC that pays for your kids' foods? What about the Social Security benefits you receive? What about the Medicaid/Medicare your parents receive in their old age? Who do you think pays for that? Everyone around you!!!!" Why is it all about me, me, me?
Many years ago (you know, when the puritans came over), the Church and church provided social welfare for those who were less fortunate. Even those who were fortunate but fell upon hard times were cared for by religious institutions. that has obviously faded away into the distant past. Now that the religious institutions do far less than they used to (and I am by no means saying that they do nothing! They do ... just not as much as they used to), there are few people to help others.
Maybe I am crazy. Maybe grad school has taken it's toll on me. But I just don't see what is so wrong with helping others out. Why should a person go without cancer treatment because they cannot afford it? They deserve to die? To suffer? Why should a child suffer from rotting teeth all through their youth? What have they done to deserve that? They deserve to suffer simply because their parents have no insurance or have no decent job? Definitely. Of course. That's logical. Because living a healthy life is a privilege, not a right!, that can easily stripped away for simply sins like the lack of a decent job or unfortunate genetics. That makes complete sense.
It also amazes me that Americans will rush off to a fundraiser to shell out their cash to specific people when they become ill or fall upon hard times, but those very same people aren't willing to pay a bit more in taxes to prevent those illness in the beginning. Ugh! It makes no sense to me. I would love for someone to help me understand this.
Please don't take me as a unpatriotic or un-American. I love being in this country and all of the many privileges that come with it. Especially as a woman. I recognize that I am extremely blessed in the accident that was the place of my birth. However, that will not stop me from moving abroad. As soon as The Boy graduates his law program, we are *hopefully* moving to England or Italy or another major metropolitan area in Europe. I would like to see how the other half of the world lives. I'll come back to visit, though. All my peeps are here!
It saddens me the state we are in. For a country that claims to be so damn Christian, we ceretainly have failed to live in Jesus' image.