By Donna Smith –
Come on to Philadelphia on June 30th, if you want to know the low down on what the high court of the land says about health reform. Some real people who serve as the world’s highest profile examples of the dysfunctional healthcare system in the United States, filmmaker Michael Moore, and health insurance industry whistleblower Wendell Potter will converge for an evening of comment and conversation just as the political frenzy over the Supreme Court ruling is announced on the individual mandate for Americans to purchase health insurance that is part of the law passed in 2010.
When the Supreme Court rules, the nation will either continue on the pathway to implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (or if you like, and depending on the political flavor, Obamacare/Romneycare) or it will be back to the legislative drawing board to discard and revamp the mess.
The politicos are salivating, and their media friends are right there with them. They can hardly wait to claim their ground even as real people continue to suffer illness, bankruptcy, and death trying to survive illness and injury while the medical-financial-industrial complex grows more bloated and profit-driven every day in America.
But I doubt there really will be much talk about what any of it means to real patients and their families. Except in Philadelphia on June 30th, as eight subjects from Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, SiCKO, about the broken U.S. healthcare system, Moore himself, and Potter take the stage.
SiCKO turns five at the same time the nation will be buzzing about the political implications of whatever the Supreme Court decides. Those of us who appeared in the film and had our stories recounted for the whole world to see have a perspective that mirrors what families are facing all across the country. Moore selected each of our stories from the tens of thousands he received not because we were so unique but just the opposite – we are representative of thousands and even millions of real Americans just trying to live our lives without interference from insurance company underwriters, utilization review teams, and medical debt collection agencies hired by our doctors and our clinics and hospitals. We told the truth in SiCKO, and we’ll tell the truth again in Philadelphia after the Supreme Court decision.
Michael will be able to offer his own special commentary on the Supremes, and Wendell will give us a view from the dark side – he’ll tell us what the insurance industry insiders are probably thinking and doing in response to the high court’s decisions. It will be an evening of incredible intensity and education.
The SiCKOs so hoped we’d be part of some film archives by now. After the initial rush of our film’s opening and watching ourselves fade back into lives of often quiet desperation and continuation of the struggles that made us perfect fodder for Moore’s work, we stayed in touch with one another as part of a sort of blended family. And we invite you to join that family of Americans who don’t care much what healthcare policy does for one political candidate or another – we care what healthcare policy does for our kids, our grandkids, our parents, our neighbors, our friends and each other.
Join us in Philly (click on the link for more information). Reggie and Billy, 9/11 first responders, Julie Pierce, Dawnelle Keys, Lee Einer, Adrian Campbell Montgomery, Larry and Donna Smith. Still SiCKO. And we’re going to come together to support the work advancing healthcare justice in Vermont and with Healthcare-Now, one of the nation’s great grassroots organizations pushing for expanded and improved Medicare for all.
We’re still SiCKO after all these years, and if we’re going to change that, we’d better claim what we’re up against and get on with the work of making patients the “deciders” and not nine robed judges who will lift their corporate masters no matter which way they have ruled. On the one hand, if the mandate is thrown out, the Romney-ites will go insane with jubilation about the joy to be found in a free-market healthcare system and letting those who have the money get the healthcare needed. On the other hand, if the mandate is upheld, Obama fans will have given the healthcare corporations the hugest bail-out imaginable. For the medical-financial-industrial complex it’s a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose scenario of the highest order.
What say you? What say the patients? What say the families? What say the SiCKOs and our fearless filmmaker, Michael Moore, and his unlikely friend, Wendell Potter? Come on down or up to Philly and let’s get down to the business of real people. See you soon.