I heart Michael Moore (and Oprah).

I can’t wait to see this movie. Health care is a major feminist issue and one of the main issues, for me, with regard to who I will be voting for. I know so many people that are uninsured, so many people that get hurt and can’t do anything about, people that have gone bankrupt from getting into accidents, women that are raising babies and are uninsured. The lack of access to medical care in this country is truly deplorable.
via Racewire.
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28 Comments

  1. Lucy Stone
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I wonder when/if this will come to cinemas in the UK. I’d love to see it, because this is an issue that is really close to my heart.
    I went to the official website for the film, trying to find any international release dates, and found this: “Michael wants you to share your Healthcare Horror Stories by shooting a video telling us about an experience you had with your healthcare insurance company. Michael will be screening the videos and sharing them with Congress” with a link to a page on YouTube to upload your video.
    I’m somewhat tempted to do it, since I have personal experience with both the US and the UK healthcare systems.

  2. jeff
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    This is interesting, and it raises a question I’ve had about feminism. I think it’s debatable whether this falls under the feminist umbrealla or not. I could see the argument that it’s more of a standard liberal/progressive issue than a feminist one; our current healthcare situation is bad for everyone, not just women, and it seems like some feminist types I’ve talked to are more of the libertarian, “we can be just as hardcore capitalists as men can” variety. That said, I am happy to look at the two as tied together.

  3. Posted June 13, 2007 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I wish I could be enthusiastic about Moore. The topic is so important but his “journalism” leaves a lot to be desired. He manipulated “Bowling for Columbine” in ways that angered many journalists. I don’t know if he has the integrity to do a good job with this, but he will raise the issues profile and mobilize action around it, whatever the film actually is.

  4. Dorothy_Parked_Her
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I agree that Moore’s supposed journalistic tactics can be cloying–even if part of me feels a teensy bit of satisfaction that liberals have a media manipulator to call their own. But I think that because health care (unlike gun control) affects ALL Americans in a very tangible, relatable way, his raising its profile should have a positive outcome no matter how pandering the movie seems. At least, I hope so.

  5. Posted June 13, 2007 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’m worried that he’ll paint such a rosy picture of the British National Health Service that he’ll just provide PLENTY of fodder for the right wing to run (true) horror stories about it and thus discredit him.
    Mind you, faulty though the NHS might be, the US is screwed, healthcare wise – that’s my view as a Brit. I doubt that’ll offend anyone here, somehow.
    I’ve moved to Germany which is caught between a national health service and private insurance, and I have to say it’s a mess – the two do not combine well.

  6. String_Bean_Jen
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Regardless of how we want to classify this issue, it’s universal. I don’t personally have a problem with Mr. Moore’s filmmaking style, though I can understand why some people might do.
    This film couldn’t come at a better time with the elections coming up. And I’m sure we all have our personal stories to share. Health insurance is incredibly important to me and it plays a huge role in what jobs I take and my education(like, what do I do if I decide to go to graduate school? Pay loads for some shoddy school clinic-type insurance?).
    My partner is British and he was here for a good half year (which is nothing to those with no health insurance, I know) without insurance, and the pair of us were petrified. He’s never been without care, obviously, coming from the UK. What if he got hit by a car? What if he fell really ill? He wanted to join a football league to meet people, but realized it would be stupid to do so not having insurance and with the risk of injury.
    About a year and a half later when he had been playing football here for a while, he broke his arm falling on astroturf-type ground. What on earth would we have done if he didn’t have health insurance? These are questions far, far too many people fear and face in the great U S of A.

  7. Kelly D
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Well, here’s one reason why health care is most definitely a feminist issue: a new study has determined that those with the high deductible health savings conservatives have been pushing so hard are more likely to pay considerably more for pregnancy related services than those who have a traditional health plan (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/12/AR2007061201817.html?nav=rss_health).
    Also, while I don’t have statistics to back me up — women are faced with many more long term health services needs through their life — annual exams, mammograms, birth control, etc. It is an issue for everyone, but it is most definitely a feminist issue as well.

  8. bear
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Kelly D – You would love the bday card I just sent my mom. It was titled “If Women Ran the World” and pictured a female doctor telling a male patient to put his unit in between two sheets or boards, mammogram style. It might be the best card I have ever sent.

  9. buffythewhite
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Michael Moore is a commercial filmmaker who uses sensationalism to distort subjects. It’s the nature of wanting your films to run in the local Cineplex vs in the art houses most true documentaries that handle topics evenly get shown. He takes 4 women who had difficulties with the health care system. It’s a meaningless number statistically. If I make a film and show you 4 people who had a great experience with their insurance companies does that mean they all rock? Of course not. When one sensationalizes topics instead of explores topics it stops meaningful dialogue. People not getting scans for brain tumors is not the problem with US health care. Routine, everyday maintenance and preventative care access that would keep the nation healthier overall is the problem. But that’s not sexy enough for Michael to do a film about. There’s no reason to go to Cuba for that. He’s a fraud.

  10. Sally
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Also, while I don’t have statistics to back me up — women are faced with many more long term health services needs through their life — annual exams, mammograms, birth control, etc.

    I’m pretty sure that women are also more likely to be bankrupted by health-care costs. There was that study a while back about health-cost-related bankruptcy that said that the average person affected was a single or divorced woman in her 40s who had health insurance when she originally became ill. This may be because women are already more financially vulnerable, or it may be because women are more likely to suffer from a bunch of chronic illnesses, like lupus and MS.
    Anyway, I definitely think this is a feminist issue. It’s also, I think, a class issue: it disproportionately affects the real middle class, as opposed to the upper-middle-class. (And while there are huge issues for poor people around healthcare, they’re a little different.) For various reasons, I think it’s an easy thing for feminists to overlook. Younger feminists generally aren’t affected yet. Older feminists are often, although by no means always, insulated by their class position. So there aren’t that many people working to make the connections and do the feminist analysis.

  11. Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Interesting how Moore is using so much patriotism in his interview–”This woman is a patriotic American”, “I live in the greatest country in the world,” etc. I suppose it makes sense since he’s trying to un-alienate people–but at the same time, it bugs the hell out of me that he has to put that spin on everything, lest he be perceived as a threat.
    Sidenote: It seems like a lot of feminists are backing Obama in 08 but personally I’ll be voting Clinton–mostly because of her dedication to health care, something she’s been working on since her husband was in office (despite the immense unpopularity of her initiatives at the time).
    As someone who grew up in Canada, universal health care just makes sense–I was shocked to move to the US and have to put up with hundreds of dollars for routine care and procedures. I have always grown up with the idea that health care is a human right–maybe the US government will start to lean this way?

  12. soupcann314
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I am personally all for universal healthcare for each and every person in the United States. But I know a lot of people who adamantly insist that the government is not up to the task of providing healthcare for everyone. They are terrified that their healthcare will be caught up in bureaucracy and they’ll never get the care they need.
    I think that if practically every other industrialized country can handle it, so can we. Admittedly, we have a larger population than those countries, but we also have more money. I guess I’m asking for experiences from people in other countries on how bureaucratic the whole process is. I hear horror stories of people waiting years for necessary surgeries in the UK, waiting for days in emergency rooms in Canada. I’m interested in what the actual experiences are, rather than the scary stories making the rounds in my (admittedly small) family & friends circle.

  13. Shells
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I just want to point out that Yes, people are waiting years for necessary surgeries & days for ER care– BUT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS HERE AND NOW IN THE STATES AS WELL.
    At least with some form of universal healthcare there is an end in sight and access to healthcare for all persons. It may not be perfect, and it may have flaws, but at least in a pinch someone will NOT have to worry about the huge medical bill that follows a medical crisis.
    As someone who’s put of LOTS and LOTS of medical care due to lack of medical insurance, people without healthcare wait years and years for necessary treatments and people without healthcare wait days and days in the ER for treatment.

  14. Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    My experience of the British NHS has always been good. Yes, non-urgent care can sometimes be slow and inefficient, but when you need it, it works and it’s free.
    I have lived in the US too, where I had good insurance. It was noticeable that Amerian doctors were more polite to patients (because those patients were also ‘customers’) but I never felt like the medical care itself was any better there.

  15. Kelly D
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    bear: Ha! Love it and sooooo true. You always hear that if breast cancer were a male issue, mammograms would be a heckuva lot more comfortable!
    I’d also have to say I totally agree with Sally — it totally is a class issue as well. Similarly, minorities are often disproportionately affected by health issues (hypertension, diabetes) and are more likely to get care when their health has already deteriorated or their illness is at a later stage, making their care even more expensive.
    I find it outrageous that the wealthiest country, which spends the most on health care, has some of the worst health outcomes (esp. in maternal and child health) among industrialized nations. Preventive health care is a must, and we will likely start taking that seriously when we have a universal health care system as it makes sense not only because we’d be taking care of our citizens, but because it even saves money in the end. I haven’t made up my mind about whom I’m voting for yet, though I definitely lean towards Edwards because his health plan seems the best at the moment. Though we’ll see. :) So, if Moore’s movie calls attention to all this, awesome, I don’t care how sensationalized it is.

  16. Lucy Stone
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I hear horror stories of people waiting years for necessary surgeries in the UK, waiting for days in emergency rooms in Canada. I’m interested in what the actual experiences are, rather than the scary stories making the rounds in my (admittedly small) family & friends circle.
    I’m an American who now lives in the UK, and I have to say that I prefer the UK SO much more in terms of healthcare. The NHS has its flaws, that’s true enough. But I’ll take them gladly over the flaws in the US system.
    As far as my personal experience with the two systems goes…in the US I had a lot of problems obtaining health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. I have received excellent care in the UK, and it would take a lot to make me want to go back to the US system. I know quite a few other American expats, all with varied experiences of the NHS. Some like it more than others, but the usual consensus is that in spite of the sometimes long waits…it’s still better care than the vast majority of us received in the US.

  17. Jessi
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Michael Moore is a commercial filmmaker who uses sensationalism to distort subjects. It’s the nature of wanting your films to run in the local Cineplex vs in the art houses most true documentaries that handle topics evenly get shown. He takes 4 women who had difficulties with the health care system. It’s a meaningless number statistically. If I make a film and show you 4 people who had a great experience with their insurance companies does that mean they all rock? Of course not. When one sensationalizes topics instead of explores topics it stops meaningful dialogue. People not getting scans for brain tumors is not the problem with US health care. Routine, everyday maintenance and preventative care access that would keep the nation healthier overall is the problem. But that’s not sexy enough for Michael to do a film about. There’s no reason to go to Cuba for that. He’s a fraud.
    A few points:
    As an assistant manager at an art house movie theater. We show “even” documentaries, and we have shown the three most recent Michael Moore films. But the fact is, documentaries are never “even”. There are always choices the director makes that push their own view of the situation. (Errol Morris points this out explicitly in “First Person”) If documentaries were all facts and statistics, nobody would watch them. They are supposed to play to people’s empathy.
    As to what is or is not “sexy” enough for Michael Moore, the GM, who has been working in theaters for decades, had to push for getting this film despite obvious political objections from the parent company (isn’t it scary that a corporation is more concerned about politics than profit?). And he said that F9/11 was sexy. This movie? Not so much. You can’t really cheer derisively at this film.
    Third, I’ve found that there is a difference between actual criticism and political criticism. I’m not accusing you of the latter, but keep in mind that when people are uncomfortable with the issue being handled, they tend to attack aspects of the messenger that have little to do with the issue itself. It’s true that Moore is a sensationalist and his films should not be taken as “fact”, but rather examples that make us feel empathetic. But I do see a similarity between attacks against him and the way conservatives will say that MLK was a sex fiend. Well, yes, that’s true. But what about the issue of racism?
    Conservatives will try to blow this off by saying Moore is a sensationalist. Well yes, but what about the other people in the film? What about health care?

  18. Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I can not wait to see this movie! Thank GOD the country is FINALLY discussing universal health care!
    It’s DEFINITELY a feminist issue. Health care is a HUGE burden to single and divorced women with children, and a necessity for pregnant women and any woman on birth control. Lack of access to health care causes millions of unplanned pregnancies and abortions every year. It’s why the United States is the leader among wealthy nations when it comes to unplanned pregnancies and abortions.
    The current system that ties insurance to employment is more likely to leave women uninsured, because we’re more likely to quit our jobs to care for kids and more likely to work part-time or low-wage jobs because of the childcare burden. Women also live longer and are more likely to wind up caring for a disabled or elderly relative.

  19. Sally
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    There are always choices the director makes that push their own view of the situation. (Errol Morris points this out explicitly in “First Person”) If documentaries were all facts and statistics, nobody would watch them.

    I would go further than that and say that any narrative, including the really dry ones based on “facts” and statistics, supports a particular point of view, whether the person creating the narrative is aware of it or not. In some ways, the seemingly-neutral ones are more dangerous, because it’s easier to forget that someone is deciding which facts are relevant and how they should be presented.
    That’s not to deny that there are legitimate criticisms of Michael Moore. I just don’t think that any documentary is really neutral.

  20. Moxie Hart
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait for this movie. I like Michael Moore, I think he’s saying what needs to be said & no one else, outside of the blogosphere, seems to be able to say.
    My dad is a retired NYC firefighter & I’m under his insurance. I have a chronic illness & even under GHI my bills for medicine run about $80/month. Not to mention my seasonique, which I just started, but it cost me $60.
    There was a time when I was briefly uninsured & my meds were $320/month. I make $8/hour plus whatever handicrafts & artwork I can sell. This is stuff I need to function in the world. Skipping doses is dangerous. There is nothing scarier than not knowing if the pharmacy will be nice & let you have a week’s supply of pills.
    It’s so fucked up that the medicine I need for a serious condition–not like a hair transplant or tummy tuck–should cost almost a week’s worth of pay. & what’s more, the drug companies won’t let a generic be created.

  21. Kelly D
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    More U.S. health care fun: the Commonwealth Fund has published a study ranking the states on quality of care. http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=494551
    Overall, the U.S. got a “D” for dismal grade and ranked the lowest of the six Western nations evaluated.

  22. prairielily
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    At least with some form of universal healthcare there is an end in sight and access to healthcare for all persons. It may not be perfect, and it may have flaws, but at least in a pinch someone will NOT have to worry about the huge medical bill that follows a medical crisis.
    Exactly. Yes, there are horror stories about people waiting in the ER for eight hours, but such stories also make the national news.
    Michael Moore’s movie premiered in London, Ontario. He talks about a Canadian man who had two fingers accidentally chopped off, and had them reattached at the expense of our socialized health care plan. He also talks about an American that cut off two of his fingers accidentally, and paid $12,000 to have one reattached. He couldn’t afford the $60,000 for the other finger.
    I don’t generally like Moore’s methods, but this is something important for Americans to talk about. I can’t even imagine not believing that access to quality health care regardless of wealth is a fundamental human right.

  23. Posted June 13, 2007 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I like Moore’s films overall, I don’t mind that I have to do some critical thinking while watching, I figure it’s good for my brain.
    I am very much looking forward to this one, as (as usual for him) it is an important one that needs to be discussed.

  24. Mina
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    “You always hear that if breast cancer were a male issue, mammograms would be a heckuva lot more comfortable!”
    Speaking of which, I heard that some women get ultrasounds for their breasts, instead of mammograms, in order to screen for breast cancer. Is this true?

  25. just saying...
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I feel very fortunate to live in Canada and have routine healthcare available whenever I need it. I work in the health insurance industry and find that more and more services are being cut from our provincial coverage making things more difficult for those without other coverage. We definitely need to fight to keep and improve the healthcare that we have. That includes men and women…illness is not gender biased and healthcare should be a right (not a privilege) for us all. I have not heard of people waiting for days in the ER in Canada but there are longer waiting lists for major surgeries, and you will wait for hours with those who don’t really need to be there if you aren’t really in a crisis. Doctors here are overloaded with patients and as a result consultations with patients can be rushed. It is difficult for many to find a family doctor accepting patients. Many necessary programs are being cut. At any rate, we have something. Keep fighting for healthcare! And, whether you think he is a sensationalist or not, Michael Moore has you talking.
    I am looking forward to hearing what Michael Moore has to say about Canadian healthcare in his new movie. Apparently he has said he needs to tone down his enthusiasm for us before we start to think he’s stalking us.
    On an off topic….in my workplace made up primarily of women, I am surprised how many letters we receive that are addressed “Dear sirs…”

  26. Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    You know what I hate about Oprah? The way that she pretends that she is just like everybody else in America and that is bullshit! She is rich. Why pretend that she will ever personally be touched by the healthcare crisis? She has mountains of money and can get the best health insurance money can buy.
    I will give her credit for at least tackling an important issue.
    So when is she going to do another interview with *insert vacuous celebrity*?

  27. Posted June 14, 2007 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    i am pretty excited about seeing this film, as i just took a women’s health class that discussed the problems that all americans, especially women and lgbt folks, face when trying to access the health care system.
    i’m curious as to whether moore will question WHY health insurance is connected to employment. this seems to be one of the biggest obstacles to overhauling the system. well, that, and the perception that a universal health care/insurance system equals socialism. i think it’s ridiculous that insurance is tied to employment and isn’t considered a basic human right or at the very least, part of the US taxing scheme. i guess funding the war is more important. gah.
    remember when health insurance used to be a part of a benefits package used by employers to lure the best and brightest? this is no longer the case. even if you have degrees and take non-entry level jobs, you still run the risk of being incredibly underinsured. this really scares me, ‘cos it makes me wonder what good having two or three degrees is going to do me when i might not be able to get a job with adequate health care coverage.
    insurance providers are covering less and less care. my mother’s company just changed providers and not only has her co-pay gone up, but she’s received bills for services that were covered under her old plan that are not covered by the new one. and it’s not like she’s having surgery or something. it’s crazy. she has no choice in the matter, ‘cos her employer is the one who decides which provider will get their business. they purposely screw over their employees so that they don’t have to pay as much into the system and cut into their bottom line. as long as employment and insurance are linked, this is going to be the case. fewer people will have adequate health care coverage while the rich stay rich off the backs of the middle class and working poor.
    i think that’s the key to understanding why moore looked at four women WITH insurance; he wants to say that even if you have insurance, you are one hospital stay or one procedure away from a financial crisis, even if you’re middle class. not to mention that the insurance company won’t even cover treatments for cancer or other necessary treatments.
    i think the film has great potential to get people talking and i think that’s what moore does best. he at least incites a national dialogue about whatever issue he’s documented. that’s important. i think most americans know firsthand about the kind of health care crisis we have, but we really need to start talking about what to do about it rather than assuming that eventually something will change, that someone is going to come along and fix it. the insurance companies and most politicians have no incentive to fix this, because THEY are the ones making money off the american public at a very real human cost. these morons in washington and the somem of the men running for president love to defend the lives of the unborn, but don’t give a flying fuck about those of us actually walking the planet. we’re expendable to them as long as they maintain their power and wealth.
    sorry, it just really makes me angry. there has to be a better, more humane way of doing things. i’m so sick of everything being profit-driven.

  28. GamesOnline
    Posted November 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I am personally all for universal healthcare for each and every person in the United States. But I know a lot of people who adamantly insist that the government is not up to the task of providing healthcare for everyone. They are terrified that their healthcare will be caught up in bureaucracy and they’ll never get the care they need.free online games

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