Sicko

I recently saw Sicko, Michael Moore’s documentary about the flaws in the Health System of the US. Interesting, as usual, but not to be taken too litterally either. Apart from the usual “Guantanamo prisoners are healed and taken care of with top-notched equipment, let’s take my folks to Guantanamo Bay in a small boat, and ask to the guys with the big guns in the watch tower to open the door for us and have my people looked at in the prison hospital” pathetic piece of a show, there was also some comparisons with the Canadian (well, Ontarian, to be more precise), British, and French systems. Well, I’d rather say it’s a brief glimpse.

J’ai récemment vu Sicko, le documentaire de Michael Moore sur les failles du Système de santé américain. Intéressant, comme d’habitude, mais à ne pas prendre trop à la lettre non plus. Mis à part l’habituel coup de théatre pathétique à la “les prisonniers de Guantanamo sont soignées avec un équipement dernier cri, prenons mes gens à Guantanamo Bay dans un petit bateau, et demandons aux gars avec les grosses mitraillettes en haut des miradors de nous ouvrir la porte et de faire examiner mes gens à l’hopital de la prison”, il y avait aussi des comparaisons avec les systèmes canadiens (enfin, ontariens pour être exact), anglais, et français. Bon je dirais plutôt que c’est un rapide aperçu.

His point: Canada, the UK, and France have Free Universal Healthcare, and it seems to be working. Why shouldn’t it work in the US as well? I guess we’ll see if that’s possible once the new president gets to it.

Son argument: Le Canada, le Royaume Uni, et la France ont un système de santé gratuit et universel, et ça a l’air de marcher. Pourquoi ça ne marcherait pas aux US non plus? Je suppose qu’on verra si c’est possible une fois que le nouveau président s’y attaquera.

However, I have to say that things are not so free. I can’t speak about the UK, but I can speak about Ontario and France, for having had a bitter taste of one, and having grown-up with the other.

Cependant, je dois dire que les choses ne sont pas si gratuites. Je ne peux pas parler de la Grande Bretagne, mais je peux parler de l’Ontario et de la France, pour avoir eu un aperçu amer de l’un, et avoir grandi avec l’autre.

His example: woman travels from Detroit to Ontario, goes to a clinic there, and gets looked at for free. The trick? Pretending to be the common-law partner of a “Canadian friend”, putting down his address on the forms and papers, and making a little white lie like “I don’t have my OHIP card yet”. Convenient for her, but totally illegal, and thus risky for… erm… lemme see… said “Canadian friend”. Because if the governments looks into things a bit, making some random verifications, it’s the Canadian friend who will be charged, and, eventually, will have to pay for the “little lie”. OHIP covers most of healthcare, that’s true. However, to be eligible, you have to be a resident of the Province. If you’re from any other Province, bilateral agreements will get you covered as well. Only exception: Québec. Québec has no agreement with Ontario, so if a Montréaler gets sick while on a trip in Ontario, he’s gonna pay full price, baby.

Son exemple: dame va de Détroit en Ontario, va à un hôpital là-bas, et se fait examiner gratos. L’astuce? Prétendre être le conjoint de droit commun d’un “ami canadien”, donnant son adresse sur les formulaires et papiers, et sortant un petit mensonge genre “j’ai pas encore ma carte OHIP”. Pratique pour elle, mais complètement illégal, et donc risqué pour… euh… voyons voir… ledit “ami canadien”. Parce que si le gouvernement regarde la chose, fait une vérification au pif, c’est l’ami canadien qui trinquem et devra payer les pots cassés. l’OHIP couvre la plupart des soins médicaux, c’est vrai. Cependant, pour être éligible, il faut être un résident de la province. Si vous venez d’une autre province, des accords bilatérux vous couvrent aussi. Seule exception: Québec. Pas d’accord avec l’Ontario, donc si un Montréalais tombe malade pendant un voyage en Ontario, il va payer plein pot, le choupinet.

Most people are covered. But if you’re not, then before looking at your wounds, they’re gonna take a good look at your wallet. “That’s gonna cost you, mister. You sure you want to be examined?” is what you will hear, served with a good look of “what? not covered? is this man insane or what?”. Oh, and dental is not covered by OHIP (who needs teeth to drink Tim Horton’s coffee anyways?). Neither are the drugs. So you can get diagnosed for free, but you’ll have to pay for the treatment. Talk about “free” healthcare.

La plupart des gens sont couverts. Mais si vous ne l’êtes pas, alors avant de regarder vos plaies, ils vont longuement examiner votre portefeuille. “Ça va coûter bonbon, mon bon monsieur. Z’êtes sûr de vouloir être soigné?” est le genre de phrase que vous entendrez, servi avec un bon air de “quoi? pas couvert? mais il est fou ce mec ou quoi?”. Oh, et les soins dentaires ne sont pas couverts par l’OHIP (qui a besoin de ses dents pour boire un café Tim Horton’s de toute façon?). Les médicaments non plus. Donc on peut se faire diagnostiquer gratuitement, mais faut payer pour être soigné. J’t’en foutrai, des soins médicaux “gratuits”.

Talking about France, again, he paints a wonderful portray of my home country. As a Frenchie, I should be honored by such a nice picture. And it’s true, on the paper, we have many advantages. However, all is not free, and all is not necessarily fair either. The price for our Healthcare system comes with higher income taxes. Standard health coverage is given to those who work, and their family. For those who have low resources, they may be eligible for the “CMU”, Universal Coverage. That’s free healthcare for those who can’t afford it. However, even if you’re supposed to be accepted by all practitioners, many will take the luxury of refusing patients who are under the CMU. Why? Because they don’t get any money from the patient, they have to file a form and wait for the government to give them money. With standard patients, they get the money right away (in France, you pay first, and get reimbursed). Looks like some people have sworn the Hypocritic Oath, not the Hippocracic one… Drugs are divided in several categories, and are therefore more or less reimbursed by the French welfare. For those who work, the remaining costs are taken care of by the private health insurance companies, provided by their companies.

En parlant de la France, une fois de plus, il peint un portrait merveilleux de mon pays d’origine. En tant que frenchie, je devrais être honoré par un tel tableau. Et c’est vrai, sur le papier, on a plein d’avantages. Quoique tout n’est pas gratuit, et pas nécessairement équitable non plus. Notre système de santé vient au prix d’un impôt sur le revenu plus élevé (oui, une “cotisation” prise par le gouvernement, ça s’appelle un impôt…). La couverture normale est fournie à ceux qui ont un travail, ainsi qu’a leurs familles. Pour ceux qui ont de faibles revenus, ils peuvent être éligibles pour la “CMU”, la Couverture Médicale Universale. C’est une couverture gratuite pour ceux qui n’ont pas les moyens. Cependant, même si vous êtes censés pouvoir être soignés par tous les médecins, nombre vont se payer le luxe de refuser les patients qui sont sous la CMU. Pourquoi? Parce que le patient ne leur rapporte rien, ils doivent remplir un formulaire et attendre que le gouvernement les paie. Avec les patients normaux, ils ont l’argent directement (en France, on paie d’abord, et on se fait rembourser). On dirait que certains ont prêté le Serment d’Hypocrite plutôt que le Serment d’Hippocrate… Les médicaments se divisent en plusieurs catégories, et sont du coup plus ou moins remboursées par la sécurité sociale française. Pour ceux qui bossent, les dépenses supplémentaires sont prises en charge par les mutuelles privées, fournies par les employeurs.

I won’t deny the argument of “universal healthcare exists, and works, in other industrialized countries than the US, therefore it is achievable without becoming communists”. Just saying that it’s not so “free” in the countries Mr Moore has been talking about. My opinion? People who know how to save lives should do so regardless of how much money the dying man on the side of the road has in his wallet. That means healthcare should be provided to everyone. And that’s where the government kicks in. Healthcare is funded by the taxpayer. Yes, that means that the “healthy ones who have work” put money in a system they’re not benefitting from. I’d willingly do that. Am I a communist? No. Why would I do that, then? Because one never knows what can happen. I might lose my job and get sick. At that time, I’ll be glad that the system is here. There’s a reason why France’s motto is “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)…

Je ne vais pas nier la thèse du “une couverture de santé universelle existe, fonctionne, dans d’autres pays industrialisés que les US, donc c’est possible sans pour autant devenir communistes”. Je dis juste que c’est pas si “gratuit” dans les pays dont parle M. Moore. Mon avis? Que les gens qui savent sauver des vies devraient le faire quel que soit le contenu du portefeuille du mourant au bord de la route. Ça veut dire que la sécu devrait être offerte à tous. Et c’est là que le gouvernement entre en jeu. La sécu est financée par le contribuable. Oui, ça veut dire que les “travailleurs en bonne santé” mettent de la thune dans un système dont ils ne bénéficient pas. Je le ferais volontiers. Suis-je un communiste? Non. Pourquoi je le ferais, alors? Parce qu’on ne sait jamais ce qui peut se passer. Je pourrais perdre mon travail et tomber malade. À ce moment là, je serai content que le système soit là. Y a une raison pour que la devise de la France soit “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité”…

2 thoughts on “Sicko

  1. ElPadawan, you are sounding pretty jaded the last couple of days. Of course Obama is not magic. The world is not going to be suddenly a happy place, aids is not going to disappear…clearly. BUT he is not the same old same old digging all of us further in. He might turn out to be, but …so far anyway….he is a brilliant speaker. He seems sincere. He seems intelligent and pragmatic enought to surround himself with intielligent people and LISTEN to them. He seems open to listening to debate. He certainly has so far. He has been ethical, and calm and capable. He has listened to his advisors to great affect. So we have hope. The last administration was a complete disaster, and McCain either lost control of the party to the religious right and we got Palin…and that would be a disaster if the country was run by the far right. Or McCain chose her himself which displays a disasterous lack of judgement. Again a very bad thing for all of us. I won’t get into the mysogony issue.

    Obama is the best we’ve got, and could be great.

    Have you seen the video of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speach?” It might shed some light into the background of why Obama is being so widely hailed.

    The healthcare system. Of course it has problems. Here in Spain, in Canada, and probably in France and the UK as well. Nothing is perfect. I don’t know if you have ever been in the hands of the US system…it is a complete wreck. Of course our systems have problems, but they seem to be the best we’ve managed so far. and it would be a big big improvement on the American system.

    Democracy. Not perfect, but the best we’ve come up with so far.

    Obama. Not perfect, but the best we’ve been offered so far.

    Universal Health care. Not perfect, but the best we’ve come up with so far.

    I don’t think that should leave us bitter or without hope. I personally need to focus on whatever bits of hope there are out there. It can look pretty grim otherwise. SO yes. I am very happy Obama won. I am delighted that a candidate that spoke to the Americans with intelligence, not like they are stupid won. I am delighted that 10 million Americans voted who had never voted before. I am glad there is hope. I am glad there is a president that acknowledges there is global warming.

    I personally feel much more hopeful for my children because McCain lost, and because someone like Obama won. Lets hope no one offs him like they did Martin Luther King. Fingers crossed.

    Hope you’re feeling OK.

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  2. Oreneta, jaded? Maybe. About Obama, I’m not saying it’s not a good thing. America needs change, it needs hope, and that’s what *they* have voted. Maybe he’ll succeed in doing all the things he wants to do, and that would be great for America. What I don’t get is the global euphory about this, emanating from people who aren’t even capable of doing the same things in their own country. In France, poverty and hunger strikes even full-time workers, who sometimes have to fight over a garbage bin outside of supermarket, to get the discarded expired products. America said “we’re a democracy, current system sucks, we want something else”, and they voted for it. This won’t solve France’s problems, and instead of focusing on the big country overseas, they should take a better look at their own government, and ACT. I wish all the best to the new US president. If America can rise again, then it’ll be great. For them. In the meantime, while everybody is watching an issue in which they cannot even think about interfering, they’re not even able to take care of their own country. People act as if he was going to save the world. He’s not. He’s gonna do his best for his country. It may have an impact globally in restoring the global market’s balance. But it won’t be enough. People have to act about their own governments.

    And for Sicko, I just wanted to emphasize that it’s just the directors “own vision of the truth”, and that he’s carefully omitted some other parts of the story, just to enhance and exaggerate the difference and prove his point.

    Like

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