Monday, February 08, 2010

Health Care Reform Restart: Watching "Sicko" is a Pre-Requisite to Discussion


Just saw Michael Moore's film recently. In the interest of spreading key info, I've transcribed and highlighted a bit of dialog. You fact-checkers can read the whole screenplay here (but I recommend you also watch it)...

Birth of the HMO
2/17/71 taped White House conversation between Nixon and Ehrlichman --
Ehrlichman: "...narrowed down to one issue and that is whether we should include these Health Maintenance Organizations like Edgar Kaiser's Permanente thing..."
Nixon: "Now let me ask you... You know I'm not too keen on any of these damn medical programs..."
Ehrlichman: "This is a private enterprise one."
Nixon: "Well that appeals to me."
Ehrlichman: "Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for a profit. And the reason he can do it...I had Edgar Kaiser come in to talk to me about this. And I went into it in some depth.
All of the incentives are toward less medical care, because the less care they give them, the more money they make."
Nixon: "Fine."
Ehrlichman: "...and the incentives run the right way."
Nixon: "Not bad."

The next day Nixon gives a speech --
"I am proposing today a new National Health Strategy. The purpose of this program is simply this -- I want America to have the
finest healthcare in the world, and I want every American to have that care when he needs it."

Tricky Dick indeed!

Democracy and Healthcare --
Interview with former British M.P. Tony Benn:
Moore: "When did this whole idea that every British citizen should have a right to healthcare?"

Benn: "Well if you go back, it all began with democracy. Before we had the vote, all the power was in the hands of rich people.
If you had money, you could get healthcare, education, look after yourself when you were old. And what democracy did was to give the poor the vote.
And it moved power from the marketplace to the polling station. From the wallet to the ballot.
And what people said was very simple. They said, "In the 1930's, we had mass unemployment. But we don't have unemployment during the war."
"If you can have full employment by killing Germans, why can't we have it by building hospitals, schools, recruiting nurses and teachers?"
If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.
It's as non-controversial as the right to vote for women. People wouldn't have it in Britain... they wouldn't accept the deterioration or destruction of the National Health Service. If Thatcher or Blair said "I'm going to dismantle National Healthcare.", there would have been a revolution.
I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world. Far more revolutionary than socialist ideas, or anybody else's idea.
Because if you have power, you use it to meet the needs of your community. And this idea of choice which capital talks about, "you've got to have a choice", choice depends on the freedom to choose. If you're shackled with debt, you don't have a freedom to choose."

Moore: "It seems it benefits the system if the average person is shackled with debt."

Benn: "People in debt become hopeless, and hopeless people don't vote. They always say everyone should vote, but I think if the poor in Britain or the United States voted for people who represented their interests, it would be a real democratic revolution.
So they don't want it to happen. So keep people hopeless and pessimistic... see, I think there are two ways in which people are controlled.
First of all, frighten people, and secondly, demoralize them.
An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.
And I think there's an element in the thinking of some people: "We don't want people to be educated, healthy and confident, because they would get out of control."
The top 1% of the worlds population own 80% of the world's wealth.
It's incredible that people put up with it, but they're poor, they're demoralized, they're frightened. And therefore, they think perhapes the safest thing to do is to take orders and hope for the best."

6 comments:

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This is so true, that's why health programs are included in most of the candidates projects, but I believe it's the government's obligation to the people.

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