Yesterday we saw Sicko at the Mayan Theater (an independent theater a couple of blocks from our apartment). The architecture of the theater is amazing, especially considering it's an independent theater and probably doesn't have terribly deep pockets. The Mayan is part of an independent theater chain called Landmark. They are big supporters of indie film and run an amazing print and online 'zine called FLM. Mandy and I first heard about them in Cincinnati where they ran a small art house called The Esquire and a first-run theater called Mariemont. It turns out there is an Esquire here in Denver too, also run by Landmark. The other cool feature of the Mayan is they run brew-and-a-view movies on Fridays where they show bad sci-fi movies and sell discounted six-packs of beer to help facilitate an atmosphere of reckless abandon.
On to our thoughts about Moore's Sicko. I will try steer away from spoilers insomuch as they exist (pssst! the American heath care system sucks). I am also not going to launch into one of my long, protracted rants about documentary filmmaking; so don't worry.
If you haven't seen the film, you can download it from any number of BitTorrent sites such as PirateBay, ISOHunt, or Mininova. Moore has endorsed the downloading of the film, so long as people aren't making a profit from it. While this may make morally justifyable to download it, the distributors of the film would still sue you. Though, the odds of anyone catching you are so remote, it's definitely worth the insignificant risk. It's really worth watching, whether you like Moore's style or not.
I've read several stories of people spontaneously holding meetings in the halls outside of theaters, writing their congressperson, and punching insurance CEOs in the face. Regardless of his tactics, Moore's made a film that seems to be resonating with almost everyone who sees, red or blue, democrat or republican. That's amazing.
It resonated with Mandy and I because, like 50 million other Americans, we have no insurance. If something catastrophy were to happen to either us, we'd be screwed. Plain and simple. There are two important things to consider when I write this. 1) For the past year we've had good jobs in fortune 500 companies with a combined income of over $100,000 and 2) We've researched and attempted to purchase insurance on our own.
The insurance that was provided by our well-paying jobs sucked. It barely covered prescriptions let alone doctors visits or any kind of out-patient surgery. For example, I've needed an MRI taken of my knee for almost a year now. Even when I did have good insurance provided by my employer, the out-of-pocket cost for the MRI was $2,700. For one knee!?!?
Last year, Mandy and did research on purchasing our in insurance since we were so fed up with our current coverage. We both applied, as a married couple, to an insurance broker who spoke for the six major insurance companies. I was accepted, Mandy was declined. The reason for the denial was her pre-existing condition of endometreosis. This is slightly ironic considering Mandy runs every day, has a body mass index below the standard, and is very good health. I, on the other hand, am overweight, do not regularly exercise, and take daily medication to deal with high blood pressure.
If having a good job and being prudent about trying to procure insurance isn't trying to look out for one's self, I don't know what is. We are the people being screwed over by insurance companies. So the movie resonated with us. I've also discovered that basically every person I've spoken to who's had any real interaction with the health care system has similar stories. It's intensely frustrating since, short of moving to France or Canada, there is little we can do to alleviate our situation let alone help others who are in much more dire positions than we are.
If you haven't seen the movie I strongly urge you to do so.
If you have seen the movie and would like more information about what to do now, check out this site: www.sickocure.org I have about as much faith in web-based petitions and online protests as I do in the Easter Bunny, but it's something, at least. Beyond that, what do we do if we want to foment change? Riot? Strike? Sign online petitions?