You are going to see SiCKO, aren't you? Of course you are.
In response to the arguments in this movie, expect a lot of conservatives, both Republican and Democratic ones, to tell you how much more efficient private health insurance companies are than any government-run health plan could possibly be. They'll tell you that any health plan, government or private, has to ration health care because there simply isn't enough money to give everybody everything they could possibly ask for. And that part is true. But then they'll tell you that any private health insurance company has to, by definition, be more efficient than the government at doing that rationing because they can't dump any excess costs onto the taxpayers. Don't believe it.
Let me tell you a story of something that's happening right now to a talented (and good looking) semi-professional animé cosplayer I know; I'd give you her LJ handle, but I don't have permission yet and I don't know how widely she's willing to be publicized. Right now, she has been in more or less constant pain for several weeks. She desperately needs surgery on her wisdom teeth. If she doesn't get it soon, the pain will probably increase until she is unable to work. Her health insurance has offered to cover the several thousand dollar cost of the surgery ... but not the $500 or so cost of the anaesthesia. That's right: they are offering to pay for it if she is willing to have her jaw cracked open and major, painful surgery done on head, if she's willing to have it done while she's awake and feeling every bit of it that ordinary novocaine can't numb. Do I have to say why they would cover one but not the other? You and I both know why not: they know damned well that nobody will do that, which gets them off the hook for having to pay for the surgery. That way, her pain will increase until she's unemployed, and therefore no longer on her employer's health insurance plan. Then they can collect the premiums on whoever her employer hires to replace her, up until they get sick and get replaced too, without ever having to pay out. And they won't be the one who picks up the tab for the payroll and Social Security taxes she would have paid. You, the taxpayer will. And they won't be the one who pays for her unemployment payments. You, the taxpayer, will, through higher unemployment premiums through your employer. If, and I assume it won't come to this but if, she ends up crippled or brain damaged from the infection and ends up on permanent Social Security Disability Insurance for it, it won't be her health insurance company that pays for it. It'll be you, the taxpayer.
So why would anybody pay for this? Why do they? Aren't the insurance companies afraid that you'll go elsewhere? Please. Consider, if you will, the classic 1920s to 1970s Mafia protection racket. You own a store or a restaurant or a bar; the Mafia sends a couple of guys in and they say, "Nice place you got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it. You should pay somebody to protect it." This being the 1920s through the 1970s, the cops aren't going to do anything about them, so you pay. But if somebody other than the Mafia breaks in, are they going to protect you? If the place accidentally catches fire, are they going to put out the fire? As if. You pay for "protection," but they don't have to provide actual protection. They just have to scare you with fears of how much worse it could be if you don't pay. And that, my friend, is everything you need to know about private health insurance.
Don't believe me? Let me offer you two interesting American examples. First of all, consider that one of Michael Moore's publicity stunts involved ferrying victims of the 9/11 terror attacks down to Camp Delta at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Air Station, where the supposed 9/11 mastermind is being held, to try to get them government-provided health care that's at least as good as the health insurance that they're giving Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Hah, hah, very funny. But think it through one step further. This is George Bush's America. If some private health insurance company wanted to collect taxpayer premiums for providing the health care to Gitmo detainees, I guarantee you the Pentagon would write that contract, probably even without competitive bidding. If private health insurance is so much more efficient than government health care, why hasn't any private insurance company offered to pocket what it's costing the government and get rich off of the difference? I'll tell you why not. Because if they denied health care to the alleged terrorists at Gitmo as cavalierly and routinely as they deny health care to their "customers" in the US, the International Committee of the Red Cross would be all over them like a cheap coat of paint. Because providing health care to prisoners of war as bad as the average working class American gets would get you sent to jail for the rest of your life. Private health insurance is, literally, a crime against humanity -- but it's supposedly good enough for you.
Think I'm wrong? Consider this. Nobody should ever expect members of Congress to offer health insurance to the public that's as extensive as what they get. Face it, most of them were millionaires before they went into politics, and all of them are at or near the top of a very competitive professional field, so by definition their salary and benefits are more than yours. But ask yourself this: if private insurance is by definition more efficient than government health care, why doesn't Congress buy a private insurance program for themselves? Why aren't they paying premiums to Aetna or Kaiser Permanente or somebody? If private health insurance actually could deliver better benefits for the same price than government run health insurance, why don't they sign themselves up for better coverage at the same price? I'll tell you why: because they're lying to you. Every single politician who tells you that private health insurance is actually better than government run health care for the same price, or offers a lower price for the same quality of service, knows that it isn't true, and you can tell that because that's not what they vote for themselves if they have the choice.
Enjoy the movie.