Living in these Sick Times


Why does the US health care system suck so badly? That’s Michael Moore’s question and the polemical, and sometimes quasi-comical, film-maker has adroitly set his sights on our insurance companies, HMOs, the AMA, and, in general, our lack of compassion for treating the people who need it most. "Sicko" deals with those without health care – and a guy who must choose between re-attaching severed fingers (one for $12,000, another for $60,000) – and those who have none, Those without suffer most egregiously, to be sure, but watching worthy (supposedly insured) cases get denied treatment by insurance companies, and hearing about excessive health-care lobbying in Congress and learning the US ranks No. 37 in the world in health care (USA! USA!) and that we’re the only westernized country without universal health care … It’s not a pretty picture. Moore takes us to England, France and Canada where all fare better, live longer – and doctors make a damn good living, too. He takes us to Cuba where the 9/11 heroes (and others) he brings over on a boat are treated far better than at home, begging the question: why? Like all Moore movies, there’s an "entertainmnent" value to the serious documentary – he uses old film clips, "naive" questions from not-ego-free Moore, takes a furtive trip around an English hospital to find where someone might actually pay for something. They’re Moore-isms. They don’t distract. They’re part of his shtick and really, they amuse. Fact I didn’t know: Behind the HMO takeover in 1971 was one Richard Nixon, as if I need one more reason to … Look, "Sicko" is tough in many ways, and you can’t help but feel compassion for those swept under the rug, and it should help build a groundswell for universal Health Care in the 2008 election. "Farrenheit: 9/11" didn’t topple Bush (officially), but this one may really usher in change. It’s at the Somerville Theatre at 3 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

55 Davis Square, Somerville,  

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