Killer of Sacred Cows
Friday, August 10, 2007
  Michael Moore's "Sicko," or, Jesus Was A Socialist
I've just finished watching Michael Moore's "Sicko." And I have some thoughts on the matter.

Here's the thing about medical care: We all need it. Most liberals that I know agree that we should, as a society, cover people's needs. This is addressed largely to the people out there who hate that idea - the ones who think the current American system is the best in the world. The ones who live in a society of "me" instead of a society of "we." The ones whose motto is: Everyone look out for number one and devil take the hindmost.

If you think that a doctor should profit from his or her work to the tune of a living wage - a single mid-sized car, a five-figure income, a two- or three-bedroom house - hey, I'm all for it. That goes for a medical researcher developing new drugs, a pharmacist dispensing them, or anyone else working in the medical field. Everyone deserves a living wage.

If you think that a doctor, or anyone else working in the medical field, should profit from his or her work to the tune of a Mercedes-Benz, a six- or seven-figure income, a six- or seven-bedroom house, or a closet full of Armani suits, you've got another think coming.

If you think that a bureaucratic paper-pushing CEO should profit off of health care for anything more than a living wage, I'm going to fight you with everything I've got.

See, the privatization of health care is immoral. Flat-out. It's immoral. It's sinful. It's wrong.

It is not moral to keep people from necessary health care just so you can save the money it would have cost and get yourself another Armani suit instead.

It is not moral to run medicine, or hospitals, or insurance companies as for-profit businesses.

It is not moral to deny people care that they have paid for.

It is not moral to deny people coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

In point of fact, It is FUCKING IMMORAL to profit on anyone's medical woes. FUCKING IMMORAL. No, it's more than that. It's FUCKING EVIL.

A doctor does not need a closet full of Armani, or three or four Mercedes, or a palatial estate. Neither does a CEO. Nobody *needs* to make more than a five-figure income. NOBODY. If you think you *need* that Mercedes, or that six-bedroom house, think again.

If you support the privatization of health care, you sicken me. More to the point: If you are pro-profit, you are anti-human.

A memo which responded to "Sicko," written by the CEO of Blue Cross, said snarkily: "As a viewer, you are made to feel ashamed to be an American, a capitalist, and part of a 'me' society instead of a 'we' society." Well, guess what, bucko? First of all, you SHOULD be ashamed. Secondly, we are NOT a 'me' society - we just think we are! We pretend to be, and the pretense is wearing thin. Regardless of vaunted American individualism, there is no such thing as a "me" society anywhere on this earth. Society is not a group of one. Society is inherently a "we."

As a member of a "we," you have obligations to the other members of the "we." That's the poor person who doesn't have insurance or a job. That's the person who just lost their job because of cutbacks and can't afford COBRA. That's the person who's working three jobs to make ends meet and can't get health coverage because he's not working full-time at any of them. We ALL owe each other whatever help we can give each other. Medical care is a moral issue, and it should be supported COMPLETELY by taxes.

It's time to repeal the laws that allow insurance company executives to get away with murder by neglect. If someone dies and you could have covered their treatment but you didn't, that's murder. You had intent, motive and opportunity, and you opted to keep the money rather than save the patient. That's MURDER.

It's time to repeal the laws that allow insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

It's time to enact laws that make for-profit medical care illegal and require all health care to be provided on a non-profit, taxpayer-covered basis.

If this makes you uncomfortable - if what I'm calling for makes you angry, or annoyed, or pissed off because how dare I challenge the capitalist system, just remember: It could be you next. All it takes is a cancer diagnosis or a car accident to make you one of the people whose entire life savings disappears due to the co-payments, the deductibles, and the non-covered conditions. You are not immune from these possibilities. 75% of able-bodied Americans become disabled at some point in their lives - and when you're disabled enough, you can't work. When you can't work, health care goes away. Then what are you going to do?

The root of the problem is unchecked capitalism. Unchecked, unregulated capitalism is the best way to create a class system with the extremely rich and the extremely poor and nobody in between. It's wrong. It's evil. Jesus did not preach capitalism. Buddha did not recommend it. Neither did Muhammed.

Guess what? Unchecked capitalism is also in direct contradiction to American values! What are American values? Freedom, liberty, justice, equality, right? Well, unchecked capitalism:
- Contradicts the value of freedom - those who have no choices are not free, and those who have no money have no choices
- Contradicts the value of liberty - because those who are shackled to debt and trapped in fear have no liberty
- Contradicts justice - because it is unjust to penalize people who do not have money just because they do not have money
- Contradicts equality - because only those who have money will profit from such a system, and that is inherently unequal.

It's also in direct contradiction to Christian values. Jesus said "Sell all you have, and give it to the poor." Paul required his followers to live in socialist communities, caring for those who cannot care for themselves - the widows, the orphans, the poor. Socialized medicine and socialized economy - communalist living - is the Christian way.

If you're a die-hard capitalist, or if you think this is a Christian nation - and especially if you're both - then great! Do what Jesus said, then: sell all you have, and give it to the poor... and then see how long you last when the "Christian" government doesn't provide you medical care. See how long you last when you're one of the poor.

If anyone can provide me with a good reason - a moral reason - for allowing capitalism to run rampant and unchecked, I'm all ears... but I doubt you'll be able to provide one. Justify denying health care to anyone. Justify it. Show me how it's moral.

And then, when you can't, sign up to help me get those laws changed.
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