I saw Sicko for free.

See, I started right out with full disclosure like a good blogger should. While I’m disclosing, I have to admit that my feelings about this movie are not going to be the same as fully insured Americans. They think they are insulated and safe. I am uninsured. When Tommy turns 18 in a year, he will be uninsured and uninsurable. Since TennCare reforms have taken place, he will be ineligible for TennCare. I try to avoid getting medical care for myself, which means I become a hermit during flu season. I lost enamel when I was given the wrong antibiotics as a baby, grind my teeth at night and now my teeth are literally rotting out of my mouth. I had a tiny bit of dental work done and refused to return until Doug had worked off the bill. Yet, none of the work he did for the dentist made a dent in the bill. Apparently, he worked on their computers and network in exchange for being allowed to owe them money. It’s ugly, I don’t smile and I frequently put my hand over my mouth when I talk. It probably won’t kill me. In the past year, my hair started falling out. I hate looking in the mirror. Based on family history and having less energy than I did when I had a newborn keeping me up all night, I’m sure my thyroid is misbehaving. I can’t get medical care because I can’t risk having such a major preexisting condition, I can’t afford the lab tests and I absolutely can’t afford the medications. I expect poverty to be written as the cause of death on my death certificate. I have sat on the patient review board at Lakeshore. I have encouraged people to lie to get their children psychiatric care. So, all that personal blathering aside, I went to see Sicko.

I know this movie is not a documentary. I see it more as a form of protest. Instead of getting arrested in Oak Ridge, Michael Moore makes films to try and make changes. He is a good storyteller. You would have to be a cold hearted monster not to find humor and sadness in the stories that are told in this movie. Do I believe the stories? Yes I do. I have spent days upon days fighting with insurance companies to get medical care for Tommy over the years. Every year his deductable gets larger, coverage gets smaller and he is allowed less doctors and services. I recognize that there are a million success stories about people getting saved by good medical care. I have also spent hours and hours in the emergency room, trying to get a sick person admitted and many times, having them sent away until they are worse. I recognize that the presence of the camera and lots of careful editing is used to make the story. I know that all of the countries that are glamorously praised for their medical care have problems that were completely ignored. I don’t believe for a minute that the prisoners at Guantanamo are getting good medical care. However, my mother lived in Cuba for much of her childhood and she doesn’t describe anything as scary as our government describes. If this was a completely fictional movie, I would call it very entertaining, but it’s not a flight of fancy. It’s thought provoking and frustrating and I want Britain’s Tony Benn to be my senator instead of Bill Frist or Bob Corker. Do I think I’ll see health care improvements in my life? No.

Despite all the chaos on Doug’s blog earlier today, we took Sarah and Tommy. They liked it. We all drank the kool-aid and lived to tell the tale.

Doug took pictures of the evening. As always, people will have to identify themselves in the flickr comments, since some bloggers prefer a level of anonymity that our family doesn’t even attempt. Those of you unafraid to be recognized are welcome to use these pictures in your own reviews.

19 thoughts on “I saw Sicko for free.

  1. If your son is uninsured, I would like for you to contact the Tennessee Health Care Campaign. I think that he should be eligible for CoverKids. Our number is 1-615-227-7500. Call this weekend and leave you name and phone number and i will call you on Monday. Take care, Tony Garr

  2. The only reason I stay at the job I have is insurance. Recently, and true story, I had a hystie. I paid diligently on a “polite payment” plan. My last payment was May 28 which was deposited almost immediately. They served me with a warrant on June 12 although I paid every month (even having it drafted out of my bank account.) The officer who served me said he had served five civil warrants that week. It was Tuesday. They still haven’t given me a reason on why I was served, no apology, nothing. I emptied my savings account and paid it off but they negotiated a reduced price for immediate payment.
    Snake Oil salesman, I’m telling you. That same day they also served one of my employees who was still being treated.
    Great.
    I wish I were lying and I didn’t write about it on my blog about the civil warrant. I got it worked out, but I think insurance companies/medical greed is the worst thing ever.
    Cathy, I’ve never been served with a warrant in my life.
    thanks for talking about this.
    Man, did it ever piss me off. And it pisses me off that we fight with insurance companies everyday. My dad is having medical issues.
    Did I mention they cancelled his insurance?
    Arrrgh!

  3. Newscoma – That’s a terrible thing to have happen when you are recovering from major surgery. Why do we stay silent about things like that? You did nothing wrong. They did.

  4. I actually didn’t feel any shame over it. I was angry and raised ungodly hell about it. I really went into bear mode and it was resolved because I was done with it.
    I’ve filed complaints with about a dozen people and am waiting for some word before I start rattling chains.
    I would have already done it, but my employees were so frightened about it all. BUT, the hospital backed down after we started pushing back.
    But thanks so much for the kind words.
    Still irritates the s**t out of me.

  5. There is a dental clinic in Nash that helps people in your circumstances …they are wonderful.
    Interfaith Dental Clinic
    This clinic provides affordable dental care for low-income, working families who do not have dental insurance. Every patient pays on a sliding fee scale according to his or her income and family size. Patients receive quality, comprehensive dental care and are discharged from the program with improved health, self-esteem and employability. http://www.interfaithdentalclinic.com

  6. The system totally sucks and i don’t need “Sicko” to point it out. I can look at my life.

    My husband is disabled. He gets medicare. My kids are supposed to qualify for medicaid. They did in Ky. When we moved to TN, I was told that because we had an “asset” (a house with a payment equal to our monthly income which we were trying to sell) the kids did not qualify for medicaid. I then tried CoverKids. They approved my oldest, but denied my two youngest on the fact of our income being “too low”. They referred me back to TennCare. Currently, 2:3 have no medical coverage at all.

    As for me, because I am married, I don’t qualify for any programs at all. Only if I were single or pregnant could I get medicaid. Way to promote marriage and family, eh?

    I pay $120/mo for the most crappy coverage on the planet, and I now have $11,000 in medical bills to show for it. And a pre-existing condition that prevents me from getting a new policy. Nice.

  7. Doug,
    Does that mean I have to move to Knoxville if there is a secession from the Union?
    ***that would be cool***
    I like the French’s working hours and their coolness with it.

  8. Your post brought tears to my eyes, it’s hard for me to understand that you live in a wealthy country but cannot afford healthcare. I hope to be able to see the movie in the future. I wish you all the best!

  9. I live in Massachusetts, which is one of the states with the best health care coverage, and I still have really poor coverage. Hopefully Obama will fix this terrible health care system!

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