(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sickos and Socialized Medicine

Prepare yourself American healthcare, you have a new enemy. Villanous traitor to some, ultimate patriot to others, Michael Moore is on the war path again. This time, however, the fight is not on the front lines of Iraq but rather on the wards of the hospital. Inspired by three Canadian teenagers he met while filming Bowling for Columbine, Mr. Moore has decided that Canadians have it better when it comes to healthcare. Sensing controversy, the director has wasted no time getting the cameras rolling on his latest shock doc tentatively entitled Sicko.

While the film’s intentions are not yet clear, it is appropriate to assume (based on celluloid precedent) that they will lie diametrically opposed to the current state of affairs. Mr. Moore is a shrewd businessman who senses the dollar in every contentious statement and knows he can work the public like a cash machine if he pushes the right buttons. To be fair, his high profile arguments have ignited a newfound social interest in many important issues and will no doubt continue to do so regarding the state of healthcare presented in his new film.

Reactions to Mr. Moore’s creations tend to be divided strictly along party lines, but I am interested to see the divisions created by Sicko’s socialized premise. The majority of my friends at Vanderbilt could not praise Fahrenheit 9/11 enough, however I wonder if they will sing a different tune when Mr. Moore’s lens rests squarely on their way of life. Is socialized healthcare a feasible alternative? Do Canadians have it better? For an animated discussion of these issues look no further than the IMDB message board for the film. Just a few quotes from some of the posts:

“As an accident prone Canadian, who has used our healthcare services numerous times in the past few years, I feel lucky to have a socialized health care system.”

“Bush is an imperialistic idiot, but Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, was a malpractice attorney (and always fought on the side of the insurance companies) and made his millions off of doctors.”

And my personal favorite:

“Go drink a Molson and calm down.”

Apparently Mr. Moore is already inciting argument and he hasn’t even filmed a frame. Go dig in your closet and get out your dirtiest pair of scrubs; this is really going to get messy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Australia? Nobody ever mentions Australia. Their medical system isn't exactly socialist, but compared to the U.S. it's VERY socialized. And as such doesn't have the problems that Canada's does that are so easily poked at. I guess nobody wants to take a look at Australia because they're AFRAID because it really is better!
And as for doctors who gripe about medical malpractice suits and insurance... I suggest to those doctors that they plea to NOT be self-employed. If they had to answer to superiors, and risked losing their job and not getting a good reference, maybe that would be a viable alternative to law suits.
The rest of society, if we make a mistake at work, we get written up, possibly fired, and may even have difficulty finding a new job in the same field.
The only way to have a system of checking a doctor who's not taking the job seriously is law suits. If we get rid of medical malpractice suits, and the doctors don't have anybody to answer to... Imagine what it would be like if doctors, who hold the power of life & death over sick people, can do whatever they want unchecked?
You can arrive to work drunk, butcher people, show up late, leave early in the middle of surgery - and nobody could do crap about it. That might sound good to you if you're a doctor... but just wait until it's the doctor's mother under the scalpal of someone who went into the profession for all the wrong reasons - the tune might change.
That said, I would favour getting rid of ALL medical malpractice suits IF there were a viable system in place where doctors who make blunders are FOREVER EVERYWHERE BANNED from practicing medicine and have to go get a job pumping gas!
But no... that will likely never happen because even doctors who make huge blunders repeatedly are often still allowed to practice - they just move to a different state - or they go to a poor area where the people can't afford to be picky. Uh-huh. That's certainly ethical.
Nobody talks about that crap... it's easier to focus on the so-called frivolous lawsuits, and argue to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

3:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the system in unGodly but happy Sweden could be reflected upon as a good model for America.
It is of the spirit of socialism but with less of the ideology. The only ideology driving it is a fairness that all people who become sick can get good treatment - regardless of means - not the ideology of the buck.
I know the Swedes are like robots for efficiency but Americans are resourseful and clever too.
Anyway thats my laymans input.

6:00 AM

Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

4:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Australia while a country to be proud of has its own problems, as with any system...


I don't want politicians in charge of my health

8:52 AM

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Anonymous xlpharmacy said...

The film brings out some interesting points about America's socialized medicine. While we feel that we are getting the worst health care possible just check out what other countries are receiving!

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Blogger Kenneth said...

Private health practitioners sometimes make it hard for people to receive the health care that they need. So now they have no choice but to take advantage of their country's socialized health care programs. Whatever "advantage" may that be.

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