Moore takes on health care industry in ‘Sicko’ |

Moore takes on health care industry in ‘Sicko’

Howie Nave

Howie Nave, left, meets with Michael Moore to talk about the director's 2002 film, "Bowling for Columbine." Moore's latest documentary, "Sicko," opens today in Sacramento and other cities.

What’s this? Filmmaker Michael Moore’s film “Sicko” is getting praise from both sides of the aisle, including FOX News? Say it ain’t so! Well, it is, and with good reason, too.

No matter what your politics or dogma, everybody gets sick, and when it comes to just who will foot the bill, it’s amazing what weird bedfellows you create.

The same guy who polarized this nation with his “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and way back with “Roger & Me,” Moore seems to have hit pay dirt finding common ground by going after this country’s national health care system. Or more appropriate, a failed system at best. The US of A may be a super power when it comes to policing the world, but sucks when it comes to taking care of its own. I have accused Moore (and interviewed him) of slanting the truth his way to make his own point (or agenda), but this movie actually points fingers at those in the health profession who would rather profit than save a life, bottom line.

When word first got out that Michael Moore would be visiting those who are the decision-makers in the health care industry, memos went out saying that all employees should be aware and not talk to a “large man wearing a baseball cap” when approached.

It’s been pretty common knowledge that people in this country will travel to both Canada and Mexico to buy drugs because of the prohibitive cost of those same drugs here in our own country. I usually refrain from being biased (or try), but I have not only seen this firsthand for years, but have experienced it as well within my own family. While we are off trying to save the world and offer aid like a blank check, our own citizens are dying in hospitals because they either don’t have the right coverage, or are deemed not sick enough to be seen because of their lack of coverage. I guess you have to die first in order to see an attending physician.

In his documentary “Sicko,” Moore does what he does best: sets up the scenario and lets the people tell their story, then backs it up with a paper trail and supports their story interviewing the other side. Only problem is the other side doesn’t want to talk. I personally like Moore’s guerilla warfare style of filmmaking, getting those to speak when they think the camera has been turned off so he can catch them either in a lie or tear down their explanation when confronted with proof.

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Did you know our country ranks 37th in the world for health care? Even the French do a better job taking care of their citizens than we do, and I tease the French all the time. So-called Third World countries do a better job of healing their folks than we do. It’s disgusting, and I hope this movie starts a nationwide push to change our attitude toward this national epidemic.

I have to give Moore credit where credit is due. Case in point: Hillary Clinton was slammed for her botched attempt to come up with a national health care referendum when her husband, Bill, was in his first term. Fast-forward to this century, and here she is running for president, and who is one of her biggest backers? Those in the HMO field! He could have left out that tidbit, but his point is, no matter what you are – be it Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever – this issue crosses political boundaries, and Moore exposes both sides of the fence, be it the corporate end or the physician who won’t see a patient because they have no coverage.

Even those who think they have coverage are shown in tears thinking they (or family members) are covered only to be shot down by insurance “hit men” whose job it is to come up with reasons why a procedure or operation should be denied. Those are the exact individuals you want to see come down with the same ailment or dilemma that they themselves are trying to deny coverage.

Of course, Moore’s stock and trade is embarrassing those into changing their policies. The big one that got him national press, and almost had the government confiscating his film (which he hid from them!), was taking World Trade Center rescue workers to Cuba for treatment because they were denied treatment for injuries they sustained in the line of duty after September 11.

Without a doubt, this is not only Moore’s most ambitious project, but clearly one he was very passionate about. I rate this one as his best, hands down.

— Howie Nave is host/manager of The Improv comedy club inside Harveys and reviews films for seven radio stations throughout northern California and Nevada, including the Sirius Radio Network every Sunday evening. He hosts “Howie’s Morning Rush” on Tahoe’s KRLT radio and you can see his film reviews every Friday morning on KOLO ABC TV Channel 8.

Keepin’ it reel:

Now Playing: “Sicko”

Starring: Michael Moore, Reggie Cervantes, John Graham and William Maher

Directed by: Michael Moore

Rated: PG-13 for brief strong language

Running time: 115 minutes

Howie gives it: 5 out of 5 bagels