I Dare Rush Limbaugh to See <em>Sicko</em> And Not Shed A Tear

People are being killed by the giant insurance and hospital-industrial complex, aspiercingly and movingly conveys.
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I can't remember who said it to me during the whirlwind of the Cannes Film Festival last week, but it went something like this: "Sicko will definitely play to Michael Moore converts, but it could also woo people who hate Michael Moore, too." If "Michael Moore Hates America," as certain conservative critics allege, they'll have a hard time proving it once Sicko is released. Sure, the freedom-fries crowd will go ballistic over the movie's favorable (and also satirical) look at France's universal healthcare and its French socialized-medicine physicians driving around Audis and living in spectacular homes.

But then again, everyone -- Democrat, Republican, from sea to shining sea -- knows someone who has been fucked over by the U.S. healthcare system. Or has been fucked over themselves. It's no exaggeration: people are being killed by the giant insurance and hospital-industrial complex, as Sicko piercingly and movingly conveys. Tapping into the raw emotion of this injustice, the movie has the power to unite all of us who have played the maddening game with insurance companies, wondering whether this or that medical procedure will be covered, and for how much.

I dare Rush Limbaugh to see Sicko and not shed a tear. He might call Michael Moore a communist, but to call him a traitor this time around doesn't apply. Say what you will about Michael Moore, and many have, but with Sicko he's tapped into a source of pain and frustration that transcends political beliefs. There will be lots to criticize and pick apart, facts will be challenged (rightly), and the movie will engender lots of debate, hopefully. But the central point rings true: the U.S. healthcare system does not serve the American people, and with baby boomers retiring in 2008, it's only going to get far worse.

Moore is such a polarizing figure that many people will swear off seeing the film, of course. But as Moore said at the Cannes press conference, he now has a track record that should answer his most vehement critics. "I would hope by now that I could catch a break," he said. "That somebody will say: 'We don't like the way this guys looks, but he warned us about General Motors, he warned us about high school shootings, he warned us about Bush and the reasons for this war,' and it's my profound hope will people listen this time. Because I don't wait 10 or 20 years before we have universal healthcare, and we, as Americans, take a look into our soul, so we can be better citizens in this world."

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