Starring Michael Moore
TMG Scale 6.0 more or less
Michael Moore is a bright man. But all too often he is more like a cheap sausage maker—what goes in bears little resemblance to what comes out. And while much of what goes in is grade A stuff, it is mixed with a lot of filler and junk. Moore often raises very good points and is as provocative as they come. So why does he mix incredibly worthwhile and hard-nosed journalism based upon solid facts with just bogus fiction and glop? I have no idea. Hey now! This is a documentary. TMG warns you are going to get documentary style commentary in return.
The movie launches with a guy who cuts off the ends of two fingers with a table saw. We are asked to whimper for this guy but no remote explanation why he and his wife did not have health insurance. This guy seems to care less about his lost finger than I do.
Next we endure a pathetic vignette of two parents with scumbag kids who would not even clean up a room for them to live in. Their son is featured with his kids screaming and crying like maniacs. What an incredibly stupid way to begin a serious piece on the many shortcomings of the health insurance industry. Moore then highlights a 5′ 11″ 175 pound female denied health coverage because of her body mass index was, well, . . . you do the math. Well yeah…ya think? I have not seen a movie start with so many unsympathetic characters since Vertical Limit (2000).
Next up is a woman whose insurance company refused to pay for an ambulance. This was an obvious wrong and so easily reversible—as it indeed was. It was all fixed with one letter. Health insurance horror stories are a dime a dozen—–insurance companies constantly shoot themselves in the foot—but they handle millions of claims daily. They certainly should screw up less, no doubt. “I always thought the health insurance companies are there to help us” Moore whines. Despite all these pathetically flawed setups, TMG watched on.
Moore lost a huge opportunity to point out that we are a nation of whiners who would be much better off paying for our own health care. John Stossel has documented the case better than I ever could. If you research the history of health insurance and ever took insurance 101 in college, you know that insurance is not designed to provide for a commodity like health care. Health insurance should be limited to major medical cases like cancer, serious injury, surgery—the kind of fortuitous events insurance is designed to provide.
The film’s aim at drug companies is well taken. A huge fraud in America is Medicare Part D that pays over a trillion dollars a year of your money to enrich drug companies. Medicare Part D was a total George Bush fiasco and a sinful waste that only increased drug costs for everyone. Why President Obama wants to make the situation even worse is beyond comprehension. TMG is stridently independent of party or ideology.
Moore finally strikes hard with the case of Tracy Pierce who was treated, er uh… rather not treated, at St. Joseph Hospital in Kansas City Missouri. I applaud Moore for exposing St. Joseph Health Center of Kansas City Missouri as clearly one of the worst hospitals in America. This is the hospital that actually bragged on radio and television ads about a “30-minute guarantee” in their emergency room, and that if you died there in violation of the 30-minute guarantee, they would send you two free movie tickets. Truth is stranger than fiction. TMG likes movie ticket give aways, but come on.
The movie drones on with ridiculous featurettes from England to Cuba that even a third grader would recognize as overly conjured up. Moore is an intelligent guy. He just has a very funny understanding of the meaning of ”free.” Health care is not “free” when financed by governments who take most all your money to begin with. Moore can, fairly or unfairly, provoke us all into thinking or reconsidering our positions on a panoply of issues. Moore’s Bowling for Columbine was intellectually stimulating and actually quite funny—except for its disgraceful treatment of Charlton Heston. Most of us easily concluded that Klebold and Harris, their pathetic families and irresponsible school administrators were largely to blame, not inanimate pieces of metal and gunpowder. If Moore would only stick to facts and the good cases, he might retain some credibility on par with O.J. Simpson. He just mixes in so much junk that we trust him less than a two-bit sausage maker.