Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sicko comes to GJ

Michael Moore definitely brings out different reactions in people. My take on him is that he is meticulous, controversial, and tries to deliberately piss people off, sometimes at the expense of his message. Many people want to see through the hyperbole, on both his part and his detractors, to try to understand what he's trying to say. I guess those are the ones who make his films among the most popular in the documentary genre.

Moore's latest film, Sicko, has generated its' share of controversy, from the scenes shot in Cuba to the CNN coverage and resulting fallout. From what I've read, on both sides of the issue, the film can't be ignored if one wants a complete understanding of the issues at hand.

It's been close to a month since the film's release, and up until now the only place on the Western Slope that the movie has been playing has been Durango. That will change starting Friday, when Sicko begins its' Grand Junction run.

I'll be seeing the movie, but I have to take it with a grain of salt, simply by virtue of my own experience with the health care system over the last two years. I'm fortunate to be able to have quality health insurance partly paid for by my employer. My share of the premiums are fair in relationship to my compensation, and the co-payments were reasonable as well.

My wife's cancer made itself known to us out of town. Rocky Mountain Health Plans covered everything that my plan said they would cover. They were understanding and compassionate, deferring to the opinion of the physicians in Pittsburgh that Jan could not travel until her damaged spine was surgically stabilized. Once back in Grand Junction, they worked with us on prescription drug costs, which still amounted to $5000 in 2006 but could have been much worse.

My wife's initial 5 week stay in two different hospitals, surgery, ambulance, etc. amounted to over $250,000. While considering the implications of this for someone without health insurance, consider also whether or not you feel that access to quality health care services, without cost as a consideration, is the right thing for our society to do.

Sicko appears designed to inform and motivate people to find out more about the way that health care has been administered in this country. As a public safety professional with a career emphasis on Emergency Medical Services, it has long been my firm belief that EMS services are part of the community public safety system, and as such should be provided by government on the same basis as Police and Fire services are. While we are part of the way there in Mesa County, there is still work to be done.

With that in mind, I hope you'll join me at the theatre this weekend to find out more. Whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Moore's message, you're not better off not knowing.

Best wishes for God's blessing of good health.

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