Wayback Machine entry with comments.

I haven’t had a chance to see Sicko yet. It’s showing on only three screens in the entire area, and I’m waiting for it to hit a theater near us.

I’ve been reading, with interest, the views of the movie. I have no doubt, as some people have stated, that Michael Moore ‘staged’ events and used emotion to make his point. He makes no apologies; at a minimum, his use of such has started an overdue and desperately needed debate on health care in this country.

I’m disappointed in our candidates for President. Of all of them, only Kucinich has the courage to defy corporate inspired ‘fear’ of socialized medicine to call for what’s really needed. Edwards push to have health insurance carriers devote more of a percentage of profits to health care is nothing more than a sop to the issue. Other options, such as those similar to Romney’s poorly designed and ill thought out health care initiative in Massachusetts, are only designed to add more money to the coffers of the private health insurance companies, as well as prevent the burden of caring the uninsured from falling to the hospitals and doctors, rather than extend health care to all.

Moore’s choice of highlighting the troubles for those already covered by health insurance was ingenious. If he had focused on the ‘bums’, those of us who don’t have health insurance, he would have played into the conservative agenda in that people can get insurance if they only work for it. What Moore has done is show that it doesn’t matter if people have insurance or not, the people in our country are not getting the care they need.

Of course, once the movie released, we heard all the opinion pieces about how systems in Canada, the UK, and elsewhere, where health care is provided for all, have severe failings and how the people of these countries would really much rather have our system. Isn’t that what David Gratzer said, in the Wall Street Journal?

Under the weight of demographic shifts and strained by the limits of command-and-control economics, government-run health systems have turned out to be less than utopian. The stories are the same: dirty hospitals, poor standards and difficulty accessing modern drugs and tests.

Of course, other experts debate his statements, and we go back and forth, not sure what is the truth.

Times have changed, though, and we’re no longer dependent on having to listen to what one expert says to another. If I don’t think weblogging is a good replacement for traditional journalism, it does provide a way, in circumstances such as these, for us to talk to each other. To hear what each other says on personal issues such as health care, and how we, personally, feel the health care system in our respective countries cares for ourselves, our families and friends.

Hello, I’m Shelley. I live in St. Louis, Missouri, in the US. I currently do not have health insurance. My income is erratic and I can’t always count on having the $400.00 dollar a month to pay the premium.

Has not having health insurance changed my lifestyle? Oh, very much so. Because of two bad falls during hikes in the last four years, where I hurt both my back and my ankle, I’m wary now of hiking in more challenging terrain. If I were to fall now and break a bone or tear ligaments, I couldn’t afford to have such treated.

It’s hot to walk in the city, but I haven’t hiked much in the country this summer. I’ve been bitten by ticks every summer and I’ve had bad reactions every year; reactions that have gotten worse. I can’t afford to take the chance to get bit by ticks again this year and have the allergic reaction become worse. Additionally, my state has put out a warning for a significant increase in disease bearing ticks this year. If I can’t afford an allergic reaction, I certainly can’t afford Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

As for the rest of my life, well, I try to eat well, get plenty of sleep, and walk when the temperatures hit below the 70s at night. I’m looking forward to the fall when I can walk in the country again.

Others of my family and friends do have insurance.

I have a close female relative who had surgery for colon cancer a year ago last November. She went through chemo, but still has a 72% chance of cancer re-occurring. That doesn’t mean she’ll die, just that she needs to be more aware and have more regular tests and be ready to aggressively attack the cancer if, when, it re-occurs.

One such test is a colonoscopy. Her ontologist wanted her to have another one, but when she talked to the insurance company, they stated that the only time they authorize a colonoscopy less than two years after the previous is if the person is a ‘high risk’ for colon cancer. My relative’s doctor hit the roof. If previous colon cancer and a 72% chance of re-occurrence is not considered ‘high risk’, what is?

I have another friend who has just gone through a rather extensive, over 50 physical. His plan is focused more on covering high hospital expenses than day to day care or preventative care such as physicals. He’s had the blood work, the high blood pressure check, and the cholesterol check, which was high. He had a stress test and a colonoscopy. So far, he’s had to pay 1200.00 and counting out of his own pocket for these ‘routine’ physical tests.

I had a friend in Boston whose father had significant problems with dementia. The nursing home where he was placed was a decent place, but costly. Her father couldn’t get help to pay for the place because he had too much money. What did he have? He had a house. She had to sell the house and exhaust his income just so that he was ‘poor’ enough to get the care he needed.

When I have had insurance, I’ve had doctors who are only allowed 15 minutes with each patient; I’ve had surgery on an out-patient basis, because I’d have to pay thousands if I stayed overnight; and I had one doctor who wanted to prescribe Xanax as a sort of all purpose cure all. Since she was my ‘assigned’ physician, I couldn’t see anyone else without going through a lot of hassle, so I didn’t go back. I guess I didn’t die, so whatever it was I had wasn’t terminal.

I’ve also had excellent doctors who have treated me with humor, patience, and with a genuine desire to see me healthy. Too bad I can’t get through the door to see most of them without having insurance.

Would I switch what I have for what people have in Canada, Germany, France, Australia, or the UK? Absolutely.

So, who are you, where do you live, and if you’re not in the States, would you rather be sick here? Or in your own country?

The Michael Moore Wolf Blitzer smackdown at RawStory.

There’s a reason I asked what I did in this post. Because of what I’m reading in the mainstream media contradicts what I’ve heard from webloggers who live in other countries.

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