Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Michael Moore's "Sicko" and the dire state of US healthcare

News Conference
William Maher and John Graham, two men who traveled with Moore to Cuba to receive medical care for health problems related to their work at ground zero, on Friday at a news conference criticized the U.S. health care system. At the news conference, held by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), the men said they traveled to Cuba after they were unable to receive care in the U.S.

Maher noted that many workers have died from injuries and illnesses related to their work at ground zero. "For those who are still suffering, hopefully we can get the help to them that they have not been able to get," he said. Graham, a disabled carpenter who has been uninsured since 2005, spoke of his difficulties receiving treatment in the U.S. for lung and kidney problems, injuries to his esophagus and stomach, and other ailments. He said that since receiving treatment in Cuba, "I know a lot more about my medical condition now than I did before."

Serrano said at the news conference that ground zero workers have "health conditions that have cost them employment, health conditions that have put them in difficult family situations, health conditions that have totally changed their lives forever." He added, "Our government... talks about how much we respect them" but we have, "in fact, ignored them" (Hayasaki, Los Angeles Times, 5/26).


There are images of patients dumped back on the streets of Los Angeles by local hospitals. In the most controversial segment, Moore takes Sept. 11 workers with respiratory problems to Cuba to receive care that eluded them at home. And he takes on politicians who accept millions from insurers and drug manufacturers.

Moore's team approached a number of California health and consumer groups, including the nurses association, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and Health Access California, for individual stories about patients who were denied care or otherwise suffered at the hands of insurers, pharmaceutical companies or other health business interests.

"Rumor is they literally had hundreds, if not thousands, of stories to go through," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer advocacy group.

Wright, whose group supports universal health care, said he hopes the movie draws attention to insurance industry practices that should be reformed or made illegal. For example, he pointed to lawsuits against Blue Cross of California and other insurers by consumers who were retroactively denied coverage after submitting claims.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Top Blogs Photarium blog directory Blog Directory - photarium

<< Home