15 July, 2007


The psychology of FEAR is "cognitive dissonance".

I am safer by submitting, but by submitting I will continue to fear.

I think the greatest cognitive dissonance is the fact that BUSH FAILS IN EVERYTHING but GETS RE-ELECTED.

I call it "Winning by Failing".

In such an environment, where accountability is negated .... ANY TRUST IS USELESS, hence all democracy is worthless, or, in yet other words. the powerful have achieved their goal, namely that meaningful participation is sabotaged, starting in the head of the potential participant.

The powerless are excouraged to feel powerless.

Have you watched SiCKO? There is a scene where an old socialist in England explains this dirty trick explicitly:


Very worthwhile to use his exact words. One can't put it any better IMHO.

Here is the quote:

"See, I think there are two ways in which people are controlled. First of all frighten people, and secondly demoralize them." -Tony Benn, Former Member of British Parliament

"An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern. And I think there is an element in the thinking of some people, 'we don’t want people to be educated, healthy and confident, because they would get out of control.'"

MANY MANY people have understood. the above quotes are discussed in many internet fora !!

It's time we DID something against fear and demoralization.

IMO the best direct action is still:

ON the 11th of every month AT THE COURTHOUSE STEPS, and hand petitions to all layers and D.A.s and secretaries:

==== PETITION =====

911 was an inside job! Yes, don't brush it off, don't feel it being someone else's job to get the facts and prosecute. IT IS YOU, we the people, are taking to task RIGHT NOW.

WE WILL try to prosecute you for neglect of duty.

You have been warned. We must stop the next bloodbath. We must stop taking part in ALL covert terrorist activity, we must stop torture and ALL unconstitutional activities, we must stop breaching the human right convention, it is the law of the land.


Then write down their names, telephone numbers etc AND FOLLOW UP on every 11th, with phone calls, faxes and handing out more PETITIONS and WARNINGS and DVDs and flyers.

Shall we?


“See, I think that there are two ways that people are controlled. First of all frighten people. And, secondly, demoralize them. An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern. And I think there is an element in the thinking of some people, “we don’t want people to be educated, healthy and confident, because they would get out of control.”

Whatever your political background, and personal thoughts about Michael Moore are, I challenge you to put them aside and see this movie. You should challenge yourself to see the movie, see if you can sit and watch the entire thing and still walk out of there with a single reason that we should not have universal access to affordable medicine in the United States.


aaron nuline Location: Concord, North Carolina, writes:

a state of fear

I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.
- Thomas Jefferson

Fear is not the natural state of civilized people.
- Aung San Suu Kyi

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.
- Henry David Thoreau

A State of Fear

The second half of the 20th century certainly saw plenty of economic losers among those of us living in the United States of America, but I think it’s safe to say that I’m speaking for a majority of the American population, when I point out that our recent history has included most of us having enough food to eat, enough water to drink, and plenty of clothing to wear. Most of us have some sort of roof over our heads and a car to drive about town. We have access to medical care and some sort of a free education. But beyond just meeting our most basic needs, many American Baby Boomers and the generations of their children who’ve followed, have been able to fill their closets with expensive clothes, their living rooms with flat screen televisions and their stomachs with a seemingly endless supply of cheap, processed food product. The post World War II era in America can be aptly described as a period of relative easy for those of us in the majority middle class. We’ve devoted our spare time to shopping, lawn care, or just washing our autos, with little thought given to the anomaly that is our point in human history. It is difficult for those of us who have grown up in the relative luxury of this our materialistic, consumer culture to fathom real want. And this is why it is so easy for us to fear and so easy for that fear to be used against us.

Our national savings rate is just one example of how strongly we are attached to our habits of personal consumption. The savings rate for the average Americans as a percentage of disposable income dipped into the negative numbers in the second half of 2005 and has stayed there ever since. It seems as if these days, we Americans are willing to go into debit by borrowing money on our credit cards or against the equity of our housing bubble homes in order to maintain our non-negotiable way of life. Why is it that even when it appears obvious that a more practical approach would involve reducing our levels of consumption, most Americans are seeking such shortsighted means to address the material wants they have come to think of as needs? As a society we have come to associate things with happiness, consumption with contentment and we are deeply afraid of what living with less might mean. In the face of resource depletion, energy descent and global climate change, why don’t we just make do with less? Because we’re afraid of change, afraid of the unknown and afraid, if only subconsciously, of learning that maybe having bigger, better and newer might not really deliver the happiness the advertising industry promised. Yes at the center of our fears is the suggestion that this might all have been a big lie and that we have been slow to recognize the costs of our actions in terms of real happiness and the bankrupting of biodiversity on this planet; to say nothing of our insane levels of personal financial debt. These days we’re afraid of many things, chief among them that we might have destroyed our children’s future for nothing. There is an awful lot of fear going around.

Of course there are other, more palpable fears out in our society at present; fears manufactured by those who profit from this culture of consumption. There are those who are not interested in the health and human happiness of the people in this country but rather they are infected with the fear of change in a way that is so absolute as to turn them against all other human beings and in fact against all other species of our planet in favor of gathering personal wealth in the form of material goods. Some speak of this sort of sickness as greed. Others call it gluttony but at the heart of this avarice is fear. And as it will do, this fear has caused those who have it to spread it out among the rest of us. Fear of change has been injected into our American dream to paint its revision as a nightmare. Yes, this spreading of fear has been on purpose. And it is getting worse.

As a nation we have allowed the US government to scare us into accepting a dramatic reduction in our personal freedoms over the past several years. As a response to the terror acts of September 11th 2001, Congress approved the USA Patriot Act, which among other actions allows the federal government to access our tax and medical records, agrees to secret searches without probable cause and even gives the government the ability to track which books we check out of our public libraries. During the months immediately following 911, thousands of men, many of them United States citizens who happened to be Muslims, were detained and held for weeks in secret locations without being charged. Since those events, more than 8,000 Arab immigrants have been interrogated solely because of their religious affiliations. In addition the US government has and probably continues to participate in ‘extraordinary renditions,’ the term used to describe the kidnapping of suspects (formerly innocent until proven guilty) who are then flown to other countries for interrogation. All of this in the shadow of the fact that our government has largely repealed Habeas Corpus, the right of a prisoner to petition the courts against unlawful imprisonment, a fundamental right of Western law dating back to the 14th century. And of course we all know now about the current administration’s program of secret wiretapping which allowed the executive branch access to the phone conversations of American citizens without court authorization. Why would Americans allow such an erosion of civil rights here in the land of the free? It’s simple, as a people we have given in to their fear.

In 2003, the US military invaded the country of Iraq because George W. Bush and his administration told the American people, and the world, that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and that he was an imminent threat to the United States and our allies. In the run up to the war, the Bush administration also constantly suggested a connection between the terror attacks of September 11th and Saddam Hussein. Yes, fear was central to our willingness to support the invasion of a country that had not harmed us. Lost in the terror talk was the fact that we were the ones that armed Saddam in the first place or the fact that the Middle East is sitting on top of the remaining 2/3 of the oil left in a world that has peaked in global petroleum production. The truth behind the decision to go to war was hidden by a heavy dose of fear. We now know there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction and the Bush administration has now publicly denied any connection between Saddam and 911. Lots of scary for nothing, but so much damage has already been done.

More than 3,500 U.S. soldiers have died fighting over this error and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi have been killed because of the decisions made by our president and yet the authority of the current administration, both morally and legally, has faced relatively scant opposition. Most Americans now say they oppose the war but the vast majority aren’t willing to take to the streets in protest or even talk openly about impeachment. They are afraid of being labeled un-American or worse yet, they are afraid of being punished by those in power. What a sad state of affairs that our government might make such a colossal mistake in terms of human lives lost and money needlessly wasted (the cost of the Iraq war now topping 1 trillion dollars) and yet we as Americans are scared to do anything about it. Or perhaps it’s a combination of fears too great to overcome; afraid of the terrorists, afraid of our own government, maybe even afraid of what will happen to our economy here in consumption USA if the Middle Eastern oil goes to China or India instead of suburban American. 40,000 people die in America each year in automobile accidents yet we are mostly unafraid of cars. Fewer than 2,800 died on September 11, 2001 and yet we have allowed our leaders to twist those events into a national fear so strong that it has replaced reason, prudence and discretion.

But still I argue that this fear of terror, this terrorism on the part of our leaders, who pass out anxiety on the nightly newz, is possible only because we are in our hearts afraid of living in a manner different from the affluence most of us have come to know. We associate having fewer toys with a less satisfying life. We relate physical labor to a painful existence. We correlate small, simple or uncomplicated ideas with a life lived of less enjoyment. We are a product of our product culture, and we are deathly afraid of changing it.

Most of us have known a life lived largely with the creature comforts of a relatively high level of material wealth and are therefore easily frightened by any idea of going without it. This fear takes many forms as it calls attention to our culture as a way of life based on material wealth, not on human connections to each other and our natural world. But there are other ways to live. It is possible to imagine a world mostly free from fear. The problem is casting off the prevailing anxiety of our present way of life. In order to glimpse a fearless existence we need the ability to temporarily escape to a place where we are free to envision it.

I recently spent 4 days living completely outside in a farm field in central Tennessee. I was there to attend the bonnaroo music festival and this meant sleeping in a tent, eating under a trap and walking miles a day to get water, to use a portable toilet and to listen to phenomenal music under the blaring sun in daytime temperatures of around 95 degrees. And it was awesome. I was with 4 friends and we largely traveled together. We went without most of the comforts of our regular lives, though we had a roof, albeit fabric, and food and water and companionship. We took some tea and we drank some beer. I brushed my teeth with a plastic toothbrush and ate fried mushrooms from a food vendor and was treated to the most spectacular laser light show I have ever seen, so I can’t claim to have lived in anything like the conditions faced by many of those in third world countries. I don’t mean to suggest that my vacation from consumer culture was without some of the advantages of our affluent society. Tickets to the event after all were $200 a piece. But I did go without air conditioning. My group had no television. There wasn’t any way to get around without walking. No couch, no bathtub and no Internet. We shared cell phones and kept our food cold with dry ice. Like I said, not poverty level existence by any means, but my traveling companions and I went without much of what most people think of as necessary in modern American life. And because of that, not in spite of it, we had a blast. The atmosphere was one of kindness with a focus on each other, friends and strangers alike. People gave things away, shared and talked to new people. Obviously festivals are a time of fun but this environment left me free to suppose that our existence is not predetermined as that of a frightened citizenship who work most of their days indoors to collect things and but stuff and consume crap before falling asleep in front of an idiot box. We hear everyone talk about, “What is really important,” during monumental points in our lives. After the death of a loved one, during a graduation ceremony, in the toast of a wedding couple we hear our fellow citizens talk about how people, not things, are that which is most important. And then most of us go back to a way of life that is exactly opposite from that which we hear in such speeches. Think about what life would be like if we could live out this dream. Are we too scared to even imagine? I know that idea frightens those who sell us our substitute.

Two weeks home from the music festival one of my friends, who had just been for the first time, asked if I ever experienced an emotional hangover upon return from this annual event. I told him that yes, after a few weeks of pleasurable nostalgia concerning the trip, my return to the work-a-day world of our crazy culture creates in me a longing to return to that farm field, that place where I walk, I sing, I feel and I enjoi the people and the world around me; not through a film of fear but through direct experience: joy, pain, laughter and ache; all in a good days fun. The experience revives my heart and refreshes my soul and one year from now I hope to return to that place where I know others set aside fear and rejoice in a few days lived without it. In the meantime I’ll try to remember what it is that tugs at my spirit while I am away working hard (too hard I think sometimes) to realize this dream as a new reality. The answers are all so simple that even I forget them sometimes so it helps to go and listen and be reminded and be thankful. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity again. Certainly long term life can’t continue on in a field without making plans to meet our most basic needs and wants. But this trip always brings to my mind the idea that happiness is not wrapped up in all that we so desperately cling to and fear for losing in terms of all our stuff.

Of course those of us who are aware of the fact that this fabulous wealth of oil will be in short supply are guilty of cultivating fear. Those who understand the hard facts that surround the warming of our planet also used fear as an alarm that panics people into denial or worse, brazen opposition. Too little top soil. Not enough fresh water. Extinction. Die-off. Famine. Floods. Disease. Death. The sky really is falling and we are not afraid to shout it out in our own fright and to frighten others. But I’m not so sure that such behavior helps, especially if we don’t offer a vision of how we all might be better off if we change our destructive lifestyles. Fear is after all, the very same behavior that lead to all our problems in the first place. Had we been content to wander this Earth and take what was offered we might have been happy and free from fear even still today. But our ancestors stopped to try and force their will upon the planet. Not satisfied with what was available, our species entered off on this journey of sickness in separation from nature, of which fear and its anxiety are a symptom. It is too late to go back of course. The idea that we can again roam the Earth free from long term fear is untrue. There are too many of us now and we’ve forgotten how to do it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t examine the mistakes of our recent past. It doesn’t mean that we can’t see fear for what it is, a debilitating emotion concerning anything but the most fight or flight response. FDR was right, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” To think otherwise is to burden ourselves with the idea that we can alter the unalterable or that we can not do that which can be done. It clouds our vision and makes it hard to understand the true state of our predicament - this materialistic way of life is killing us; both as individuals and as a nation.

The truth is that we’re afraid of losing the very stuff that is making us sick. We cling to our disease as if to let it go or to leave it unprotected is a sin. We tell ourselves, “We mustn’t change the way we live. We mustn’t stop the firefight of its protection. To do so would be to… to…” In truth to do so would be to live again and to turn our society from one so concerned with avoiding death that we are willing to avoid living life. And even though this knowledge and the truly logical behaviors associate with it are easy to understand, practicing such an obvious inspiration is not so easy least you alienate yourself from all the others who are afraid. Those who are afraid want you to be afraid as well. Talking about fearlessness is heresy. Teaching it is a sin. Working against the establishment of fear can also get you in trouble, but having gotten a glimpse of a world without it, I really just don’t have a choice.

So it is with these thoughts that I suggest you plan your own personal vacation from fear. It might involve time spent quietly alone. It might mean switching off the television, tuning out NPR and going offline. The outdoors will help and will make you too far away to be bothered with the fear that spreads across our country. It’s probably a lifelong process to try and heal from its effects and doubtless fear will be plentiful in our nation for generations to come. Genuine catastrophes and fear mongers alike will see to that. Me, I’m doing my best to balance my life and live it with time devoted to cultivating a fearless existence. No one’s perfect. Life’s not fair. And bad things are going to happen to all of us. It’s not about being unprepared or looking at life through rose colored glass but I promise, if you can cultivate a time of your own away from fear, you’ll live a life with more room for joy and just maybe this planet will be a better place because of it.


Anonymous said...

hmmm, I thought your entry was interesting, however i want to ask, what are you afraid of? my response is probably an over simplification but if one chooses to live life in fear because of what is being touted in the media then, well, they choose that. the only way to not live in fear of global warming, peak oil, the death toll in Iraq, the current political administration, terrorism don't read/watch the news. change your behavior. that is the only thing you can do. change the way you live your life. if you want that feeling that you had at the festavil in tennessee then live your life that way. be the change you want to see. i could give a long bleading heart liberal soliloquy just as you just did, but it is a waste of time. take a stance and change your life. Don't be an over consumer, purchase only what you need, purchase a hybrid, or take public trans or two wheel it, compost, live in a smaller space, convert your home to solar and get off the grid. give your extra close away to those who really need it, purchase environmentally safe cleaning products, recycle, minimize or eliminate electronic toys, get the idea. there are actions you can take to minimize your own impact. just don't give lip service to what is going on in our society, do something about it, be a role model for your friends and family if you aren't already.

nulinegvgv said...

Thank you for your comment. I must admit this post was almost entirely for me. That is, I wrote this because I needed to get these ideas out of my head. The contrast is so stark each year when I visit the festival I described- the difference in the way people behave in the makeshift society that springs up in that farm field always sends me home scratching my head in wonder about the way we live our lives in American society today. I wrote what I did knowing that I would be incapable of transferring the feel of that festival. Perhaps someone else could convey its magic with written words, but mostly I think you would just have to go and feel for yourself. When I get home, not walking everywhere feels weird.

My family and I participate in many of the activities you mentioned. In fact I am kind of a compost nut. I’ve been known to pick up a half eaten apple off of the sidewalk and take it home to feed to our semi-urban chickens. And our household has been TV free for more than two years now. Truth be told, that’s the sort of stuff most people like reading about. Writing about growing more of our own food or making compost tea always gets attention. In fact the most widely read piece I’ve ever written was a 15 line description of how I grow my own Luffa shower sponges- tens of thousands of hits on the Internet in less than a week. I know people aren't especially interested in my rants about life. But I find it feels good to get them out. Also, least I make myself out to be properly prepared for the effects of peak oil and climate change, I am still unprepared and learning. But I am making change and sometimes I write about that too.

I know that I alone have the power to resist the fear prevalent in our society and to be the change in my own life. I am doing that in response to my understanding of how the world really works, and I write about it so that I might help others to make similar changes if they so desire. Every so often however, I still use this cyberspace as I did originally, as a place to come and air out my own thoughts so that they might make more sense to me.

To answer your question, I can think of two fears I struggle with. The first is dying without a chance to see our country really recognize the wonderful opportunity of community; an opportunity I think we are largely missing or at least have forgotten about. I am also afraid of dying alone. In retrospect, maybe those two are actually one and the same fear.

Anonymous said...

if you haven't heard of this guy check out his website, the more i read of him the more respect and admiration i have, and ultimately the more infuenced i am by his examples to make significant changes in my own life.


I am a diabetic with complications so you’ll know what that all means, but this story I tell you is about my wife. You see, we come from Boston and when my office closed we needed to re-locate to Tampa, FL. about a year ago. I had heard from co-workers that Tampa General Hospitol would be a good hospitol should I need one ever. Last November 06 Flu season we needed to go to the hospitol. My wife at first stayed in bed, in pain, vomiting, fever and I fought back at home with normal asprines, juices and she just would not get out of bed. Finally, I realized by the 3rd day there was no improvement and she felt so bad she asked me to call her an ambulance and rush her to the hospitol because she felt she was dying. I decided to drive her to Tampa General Hospitol Emergency Room at noon. I was alarmed at the dirty, wretched looking emergency room at Tampa General, but I wasn’t there to judge so I took my wife in and filled out the intake forms for her and gave the receptionist my wife’s Blue Cross insurance card. The receptionist then told to sit my wife in an available seat in the waiting room. The place was packed with patients like sardines, some waiting on gurneys, others waiting on the remainding chairs. Luckly I found the last chair and sat my wife down. She was uncomfortable sitting and I felt so sorry for her. I asked her to take my cell phone and whether its 2 minutes or 2 hrs from now to call me and I’ll leave work and bring her home to rest right away. I asked did she understand? My wife nodded yes. I said I must go now to work, but call me when you’re done. Then I went to work. My shift ended at midnight and I still hadn’t heard from my wife, so I thought maybe she called her daughter who lives in the neighborhood to take her home or got a taxi ride home. I dialed my wife’s cell phone and it rang forever, then I heard my wife’s voice in the weakest tone I can ever remember. I say, ‘Honey, where are you? who got you home? your daughter?’ My wife said, ‘No. I am still in the same chair you brought me to.’ I said,’what? You have not been moved by the medical staff from that chair for over 9 hours?’ My wife said, ‘ nobody has seen me.’ I said,’what do you mean no one has seen you? Who took your temperture?’ My wife says,’no one. What!?’ I say. ‘Then who took you blood pressure?’ My wife says,’no one yet. They have not come to help me yet. I just want to go back home it hurts so badly to be seated. Please get me. I have to lie down so badly.’ I say, ‘okay honey. I swear to God I’ll be there in 5 minutes.’ Then I rushed to Tampa General Emergency Hospitol and it was just has she said. There she was practically all by hereself, so it wasn’t like the staff did not see her. They were clueless looking people. I walked over to my wife and she was quietly weeping to herself. I bent over and said let’s go honey. I going to take you back to bed. And so I helped her out of the chair, she was in so much pain and delirious but not a single staff member came over to inquire. We left with as much dignifty and without complaint as we needed to just leave this outrageous savage place. So that night my wife goes through another night of pain, vomiting, and my wife is sure she is dying. I thought enough is enough. I got us dressed and took her to the airport and we flew on the first flight that next morning from Tampa to Boston. After a 4 hour flight we arrived in Boston, and I took her to the New England Medical Center Emergency Room right away. It was near noon again but this time the hospitol was immaculate in the emergency room and we were about the only ones in there. I told them my ordeal and within minutes, MINUTES, my wife was being seeing by doctors and nurses and medical staff who placed her immediately in an private emergency bed and gave her numerous IV’s. This time I stayed right by her bedside the whole time.


If you don't believe me, watch SiCKO, the movie!


Here are the subtitles:

We got issue in America...
Too many good docs are getting out of business.
Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their
Their love with women all across this country.
I don't have a job. I don't want to have more debts.
I don't pay off anything else I already have out there.
This is Adam.
He had and accident.
He's one of nearly 50 million Americans, with no health insurance.
But this film, isn't about Adam.
So this is the table saw. It was spinning that way...
This is Rick.
I was gripping a piece of wood.
and I grabbed it here and it hit a knot...
He sawed off the tops of two of his fingers.
... and it was that quick.
His first thought?
I don't have insurance, how much will it cost?
Am I gonna have to pay cash for this?
2 or 3 thousand dollars or more?
And does it mean we're not gonna get a car?
Rick also doesn't have health coverage.
So the hospital gave him a choice.
Reattach the middle finger,
for $60,000,
or do the ring finger,
for $12,000.
It's an awful feeling.
to just try to put a value on your body.
Being a hopeless romantic,
Rick chose the ring finger,
for the bargain price of twelve grand.
The top of his middle finger
now enjoys its new home,
in an Oregon land fill.
I can do that thing, where, you know
the old man used to like pull the finger off.
But this movie isn't about Rick either.
Yes, they are nearly 50 million Americans with no health insurance.
They pray everyday they don't get sick,
because 18 thousand of them will die this year,
simply because, they're uninsured.
But this movie isn't about them.
It's about the 250 million of you,
who have health insurance.
Those of you who are living
the American dream...
It's moving day,
for Larry
and Donna Smith.
They've packed everything they own, in these two cars.
And are driving to Denver, Colorado,
to their new home...
... in their daughter's storage room.
This is home sweet home.
- Look at all that. - We'll get everything organized.
We will...
- What do we do with the computer? - It stays there.
So, this is where Heather talked about we might have to put our bunk beds.
I see what she's talking about.
It wasn't suppose to end-up like this for Larry and Donna.
They both had good jobs.
She was a newspaper editor
And he was a Union machinist.
They raised six kids
who all went to fine schools like the University of Chicago.
But Larry had a heart attack...
and then another one...
and then another one.
And then Donna got cancer.
And even though they had health insurance,
the co pays and the deductibles soon ended up.
To the point where they could no longer afford to keep their home.
Alright, if somebody had told me 10 years ago
this was gonna happen to us because of healthcare,
I would have said you're... : "it's not possible.
"Not in the US, we wouldn't let that happen to people."
My God...
- Are we gonna quit? - No.
It's just hard.
They were bankrupt.
So they moved in, with their daughter.
We've got it all figured out.
We emptied the dresser so you have a spot.
Nice, very nice.
Even their son Danny popped-in
from across town to welcome them to Denver.
What do we do about people like you guys.
- I don't know, that's a good question. - Seriously.
Who will pay the deductible for 9,000$ is what I'm trying to understand.
that's part of healthcare.
What about the people like Cathy and I
that have to come up there and move you every 5 years,
every 2 years, every year because you don’t have enough money
- to stay where you are. - That's what Russell keeps saying too.
I'm sorry it's not what we wanted to have happen in life.
And we're doing all what we can to make the change.
You don't know what that feels like inside
at fifty some years old,
to have to reach out to my twenty-something year old
for help.
It's gonna be hard for 4, 5, 6, 7 month, it's gonna be hard.
Now I'm having an overwhelming feeling
of you bring your problems with you no matter where you go.
But I don't know what to do about that.
By sheer coincidence their daughter's husband, Paul,
was leaving on a job the very same day they arrived.
We gotta go.
Paul was a contractor.
But they weren't many job lately.
So he found work out of town.
I'm sure you'll keep a telephone on most days, you know.
Weird situation, ain't it?
You can tell me where dad is going?
Why is daddy going to Iraq?
To do some plumbing.
This I do earlier in the morning. The first thing I do is I clean here.
At age 79, Frank Cardeal, should be kicking back on a beach somewhere.
But even though he's insured by Medicare,
it doesn't cover all the cost of the drugs
that he and his wife need.
Being that I'm an employee here
my medicine is for free. So that's why I gotta keep working.
Until I die.
There is nothing wrong with that.
I always gotta keep my ears open because there's always spillage's.
Sometime you get a gallon of milk.
Tomato Sauce, oh, you're in trouble, it'll take half an hour to clean that up
And I look on every aisle to be sure every thing is clean
and if I seen something I pick it up whether it's paper or garbage
One day I had the keys in my hand,
and they went in there.
And I had to climb in there to get the keys out.
It's a sad situation.
If there are golden years, I can find them,
I'll tell you that.
She had a painkiller for her hip.
The bill's suffering... This is two hundred and thirteen dollars
- What, for a painkiller? - I didn't take it.
I backed off, I said no, I gotta come back.
What's in it? What's in theses new drug that they all prescribe?
That's why I say,
I believe you need the half of the things they tell you.
Because I have never taken medication.
And now, as I'm getting older,
I don't even like to take an aspirin.
I do like a little Brandy.
I don't really know how this happened
but the trunk kind of came forward into the back seat.
Laura Burnem was in a 45 miles an hour head on collision
that knocked her out cold.
Paramedics get her out of the car
and into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital.
I get a bill from my insurance company,
telling me that the ambulance ride
was not going to be paid for because it wasn't pre approuved.
I don't know exactly when I was supposed to pre approuve it, you know...
like after I gain consciousness in the car,
before I got in the ambulance or,
I should I've grab my cell phone off from the street
and call while I was in the ambulance-- I mean
it's just crazy.
I've applied for Healthnet insurance, for Jason.
They rejected him because of his height and weight.
Jason is six feet tall and a hundred and thirty pounds.
I applied for health care through BlueCross BlueShield
and they answer me that my body mass index was two high.
I'm five one, I weight a hundred and seventy five pounds
I always thought that health insurance companies were there to help us.
So I posted a note on the internet,
asking people if they had had any similar stories
about problems with their insurance company.
Within 24 hours, I had over 3,700 responses,
and by the end of the week,
over 25.000 people had sent me their healthcare horror stories.
Some of them decided not to wait for me to get back to them.
Like Dough Noe, who decided to take matters into his own hands,
without my permission.
His daughter Annette was 9 months old when they discovered she as going deaf.
His health insurance company, CIGNA,
said they'd pay for an implant in only one of her ears.
According to the letter they sent,
it's experimental, for her to ear in two ears.
If a Cochlear implant is good for one ear,
it doesn't even make any sense that it wouldn't be good for the second ear.
Especially when a child is just starting to learn how to talk,
she has to learn from both sides of her head.
That's when he sat down to write CIGNA a letter.
This is to CIGNA. "Noted filmmaker,
"Michael Moore is now in the process
"of gathering information for his next film.
"I've sent along information concerning
CIGNA's lack of caring for its policy holders.
"Has your C.E.O ever been in a film before?"
Before he knew it,
he received a call in his voice mail from CIGNA headquarters.
Tuesday 8:54 am.
Obviously all this worked
because Annette is going to get her second implant in July.
- Dear Mike, I work in the industry... - I work for an HMO...
I started to get hundreds of letters of a different sort
from people who work inside the health care industry.
- I want to tell you, I hate HMOs. - They'd seen everything.
- And they were fed up. - ... a corrupt system.
Health insurance companies suck. Flat suck.
Like Becky Melky
who was in charge of keeping sick people away
from one of America’s top insurance companies.
I work in a call center, so people call in
and their asking for insurance quotes.
They are certain preexisting conditions
basically, industry-wide that will not be covered, diabetes,
heart deceases, certain forms of cancer,
that if you have these conditions
you almost likely not going to get your health insurance.
How long is this list of conditions that would make you ineligible?
It's a very long list.
A long list...
You could wrap around this house...
Sometimes you know ahead of time that they're gonna be declined
at the end of the application, and you're like
God, you know like one time I got a couple,
and they were so happy to get...
They were so happy that they were... I took them through this application.
And the husband was late for work.
And the wife said to him don't worry baby, it's gonna be okay because...
we have health insurance now.
And when I looked at their application,
I could tell they were both gonna get declined
because of their health conditions. And they were so happy...
I thought God, they're gonna get that phone call in a couple of weeks
telling them that they're not eligible for insurance.
And I just felt so bad because I just really thought
and I knew and I couldn't say anything to them.
I just felt like crap.
And that's why I'm such a bitch on the phone
to people, because I don't wanna get to know them, I don't wanna...
I don't wanna know about their lives, I just...
wanna get in, and get out, and get done with it because I can't...
I can't take the stress I'm...
In spite of Becky being a bit of a pain on the phone,
a quarter of billion Americans
are still able to get health insurance.
Call toll free.
Let's meet some of these happy insured customers,
like Maria, who has Blue Shield,
and Diane, who has Horizon Blue Cross.
Laura has insurance through BCS,
and Amy is fully insured by Megalife.
And it's good thing that they're all fully covered,
I ended out being diagnosed with rachio-cancer.
Brain tumor.
Breast cancer.
Brain tumor on the right temporal lobe.
Because they were insured,
they got the red carpet treatment at the doctor's office.
She requested
for me to see a neurologist.
The way they were gonna treat it was to remove it.
The surgery was scheduled for December 9th.
I was waiting for my first dose of chemo.
They got their treatment, all right,
But not before battling with their insurance companies.
My insurance company
denied all IV drugs for me.
And all I was getting was IV drugs.
This was a preexisting condition.
It's not medically necessary.
We don't consider that life threatening.
Diane died from her non-threatening tumor.
Laura's cancer is now spread throughout her body.
Amy's cancer found its way through the brain
and killed her a couple of years later.
While vacationing in Japan,
Maria became ill
and got the MRI that Blue Shield of California
had refused to approve.
The doctors in Japan told her she had a brain tumor.
Blue Shield had said repeatedly she didn't have a tumor.
That's when she said...
Well, I'm pretty sure I have a lawyer.
March 13, 2003.
Let me direct your attention to exhibit one.
Please, describe for me what it is.
It is a denial for referral
to an ophthalmologist.
- Is it your signature on the document? - Yes.
Let me direct your attention to exhibit 2.
This is a denial of...
a request for referral for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test of the brain.
- It has your signature? - Yes.
I'd like to direct your attention to exhibit 3.
Please, read this document.
This is a denial of a referral to
a neurosurgeon.
Can you explain for me how you came to sign
the denial letter?
This is a standard signature that's put on all denial letters.
Is that your signature or is that stamp?
That is a stamp.
Did you ever see
a denial letter
before your signature was stamped on it?
No, but the denial letters are fundamentally
the same there.
The denial letters that are sent out...
- The answer is no. - No.
All right.
The very definition of a medical director
is somebody who can save the company a lot of money.
Doctor Linda Pino was a medical reviewer for Humana.
She left her job because she didn't like their way
of doing business.
You look at a particular case or a question at hand,
and you start looking for ways to deny in order to save money.
I mean, that's your goal. So, you look to the language which says
there's exclusion, and you say: "Ha, ha...
"this is great, this is a technical denial."
I don't have to get to any of the kind of muddy issue.
I can just deny it.
The doctor with the highest percent of denials
- was actually gonna get a bonus. - Really?
That was the way they had set the system out.
Any payment for a claim is referred to as a medical loss.
That's the terminology the industry uses.
I mean, when you don't spend money on somebody, you deny their care,
or you make a decision
that brings money in and you don't have to spend it,
it's a savings to the company.
This is Tarsha Harris.
Blue Cross didn't deny her her treatment,
and actually approved her operation.
But then, they discovered
that in a distant past,
she had had...
yeast infection.
Apparently, it's common. Men, women can get
a yeast infection.
So, I was prescribed the yeast infection cream, general cream,
and it went away.
She later applied for health insurance
and that's what you're supposed to be disclosing, serious ailments.
The yeast infection was independent and it's not a serious ailment.
There was nothing else she could have done.
It wasn't until they were gonna have to spend money that they looked.
If they'd taken 5 minutes beforehand,
and wanted to clear up the yeast infection,
they could've looked in her medical records or talked to her doctor.
Because of the undisclosed yeast infection,
Blue Cross dropped Tarsha Harris.
She thinks she's put this behind her.
And then, Blue Cross changes their mind,
tells the doctors we're taking the money back,
go get the money from Tarsha.
The fact in the matter is
it was a yeast infection. That's all it was.
I'm still a little bitter
because I don't trust insurance companies now.
To me, it seems they're always gonna be looking for a way out.
You know, what happened to helping the person that's sick?
Don't make their problems worse?
This is Lee Inerm.
If they weren't able to weed you out in the application process,
or deny you the care your doctor said you needed,
and somehow ended up paying for the operation,
they send in Lee,
their hitman.
His job is to get the company's money back
any way he can.
All he has to do
is find one slip up on your application
or a preexisting condition
you didn't know you had.
We're gonna go after this like it's a murder case.
And I mean my whole unit dedicated
to going through your health history for the last five years,
looking for anything that would indicated
that you concealed something, you misrepresented something,
so that they can cancel the policy,
or chart the rate so high you can't pay them.
And if we didn't find anything you didn't disclose
on the application, you can still get hit with a preexisting denial.
Because you don't even have to have sought medical treatment for it.
In some states, it's legal to have what's called
"Prudent Person Preexisting Condition",
and that's a mouthful, I know,
but what that says is if prior to your insurance kicking in,
you had any symptom, which would incline
a normally prudent person to have sought medical care,
then, the condition of which that symptom was a symptom
is excluded.
I know!
It's labyrinthine, isn't it? But that's how it works.
They're supposed to be fair and even-handed,
but with an insurance company, it's their frigging money!
So, it's not unintentional,
it's not a mistake,
it's not an oversight,
you're not slipping through the cracks,
somebody made that crack and swept you towards it.
And the intent is to maximize profits.
Looking back, I don't know that I killed anybody.
Did I do harm in people's life?
Hell, yeah.
I haven't worked for insurance companies for a long time,
and I don't think that really serves to atone
for my...
participation in that mess.
I am glad I'm out of it, though.
Julie Pierce was struggling to get care
for her husband Tracy,
who was suffering from kidney cancer.
Julie works in the intensive care unit at Saint Joseph medical center,
in Kansas City, Missouri,
which provided her family with health insurance.
Every month, there was a new drug that the doctors wanted to try.
My insurance denied it.
One letter might say not a medical necessity,
one letter might say it's not for this particular type of cancer,
and they denied it.
Then, we came up with the bone marrow
It had showed to stop it,
sometimes, completely get rid of it.
Tracy's doctors said that this treatment had been successfully tried
on many other patients.
If one of Tracy's brothers turned out to be a suitable donor,
they were promising bone marrow treatments
forbidding Tracy's cancer.
Two weeks later, the bone marrow nurse at KU called me and she goes,
we've got the results back. His youngest brother is a perfect donor match.
We were ecstatic.
You know,
I think that's a the happiest I had seen him
in a while.
we submitted it, and they denied it.
Said it was experimental.
So, I found out that there is a board of trustees over our medical plan
that actually work at my hospital.
And they are the final decision makers on what gets approved
and what doesn't get approved.
Julie and her husband and their son, Tracy Junior,
demanded a meeting with the health plan's board of trustees
the very people who had the power to approve their claim.
They told Julie that they were sympathetic
to her situation.
I said, your sympathy does me no good
when I'm burying him next year.
And I told them, I said if I was...
Bruce Van Cleef was our CEO, I said,
I bet if it was Bruce Van Cleef's wife,
it were to get approved.
No, it's nothing like that!
And I said, or maybe if my husband was white..."
And I got up and walked out of the room.
When we got home,
I found him up in the bathroom,
and I knocked on the door and said, "What are you doing in there?"
"Nothing". And I opened the door
because usually, he'll say: "What do you think I'm doing in here?"
And he was sitting there and he was crying.
And he said: Why me?
"I'm a good person".
And I said: But we're not done fighting this.
We're strong, yeah.
And he said...
You know, he goes: I can see now that I'm gonna die.
He said: "But I can leave everything in the world
"but I don't want to leave you and Tracy."
The doctor told me he would die in three weeks.
On January 13th, which was my birthday,
he went to sleep,
and he died five days later, here at home.
He was my best friend,
he was my soul mate,
he was my son's father.
I mean, we were to grow old together.
They took away everything that matters.
I wanna know why, why my husband.
Why wasn't he given the chance to live.
You preach these vision and values
that we care for the sick, the dying, the poor...
that we're a healthcare
that leaves no one behind.
You left him behind! You didn't even give him a start!
It was as if he was nothing.
And I want them to have a conscious about it.
And I don't think they do!
I don't think it has faced them one bit...
at all.
There was one person in the healthcare industry
who did have a conscience.
Dr. Linda Pino,
former medical reviewer at Humana.
My name is Linda Pino,
I am here primarily today to make a public confession.
On spring of 1997,
as a physician,
I denied a man a necessary operation
that would have saved his life and thus caused his death.
No person and no group has held me accountable for this,
because in fact, what I did was
I saved the company a half a million dollars for this.
And, furthermore, this particular act
secured my reputation as a good medical director,
and it insured my continued advancement in the healthcare field.
I went from making a few hundred dollars a week
as a medical reviewer
to an escalating six figure income as a position executive.
In all my work, I had one primary duty,
and that was to use my medical expertise
for the financial benefit of the organization for which I worked.
And I was told repeatedly that I was not denying care,
I was simply denying payment.
I know how manage care maims and kills patients.
So, I'm here to tell you about the dirty work of manage care.
And I'm haunted by the thousands of pieces of paper
on which I have written that deadly word: denied.
Thank you.
How did we get to the point
doctors and health insurance companies
actually being responsible for the death of patients?
Who invented this system?
How did this all begin?
Where did the HMO start?
Thanks to the wonders of magnetic tape,
we know.
I am proposing today a new national health strategy.
The purpose of this program is simply this:
I want America to have the finest health care in the world,
and I want every American
to be able to have that care when he needs it.
The plan hatched between Nixon and Edgar Kaiser worked.
In the ensuing years, patients were given less and less care.
Bigger logs-in in the nearby public hospitals
and less quality medical care.
Been here 'bout 18 hours, since 7 in the morning.
What looks cramped and unsightly can also be dangerous.
While the health insurance company became wealthy,
the system was broken.
37 millions Americans are without protection
against catastrophic illness.
The losers are the poor,
who may now postpone urgently needed healthcare
until it's too late.
This went on for years,
until this man road into town,
bringing with him his little lady.
Some men couldn't handle it.
Today I am announcing the formation
of the president's task force on national health reform.
chaired by the First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hillary Rodham Clinton decided to make healthcare for everyone.
her top priority.
Universal coverage now!
It will not depend upon where you work, whether you work
or whether you have a pre-existing condition.
Healthcares, they can never be taken away.
Some republicans complain Mrs. Clinton is getting a free ride
because she's the President's wife.
It's fairly risky business, I believe,
what President Clinton did, to put his wife in charge
of some big policy program.
and while I don't share the chairman's joy
at the holding hearings on a government-run healthcare system.
I do share his intention to make the debate
in the legislature process as exciting as possible.
I'm sure you will do that, Mr. Armey.
- We'll do the best we can. - You and Dr. Kevorkian, I think.
I have been told about your charm and wit, and let me say...
The reports on your charm are overstated,
the reports on your wit are understated.
Thank you, thank you very much.
She drove Washington insane.
Do you really want the federal government to control your healthcare?
You won’t have the choice of your own doctors.
- Less government... - More government control.
- More government... - Less control for you and your family.
When your mama gets sick,
she might talk to a bureaucrat instead of a doctor.
This is a total mess, and it's about to get messier.
Not this big, bureaucratic, socialistic plan that they have!
- Socialist takeover... - Socialized medicine.
What really amounts to a giant social experiment.
Nothing puts more fear in us that the thought of that.
And the chiefs fear mongers against socialized medicine
have always been the good doctors
of the American Medical Association.
This would put the government smack into your hospital,
defining services,
setting standards,
establishing committees,
calling for reports,
deciding who gets in and who gets out.
After all, the government has to treat
everyone fair and equal, don't you know?
Take us all the way, down the road
to a new system of medicine for everybody.
Yes, medicine for everyone,
the AMA didn't want that
And to drive the point home further,
they held thousands of coffee clatches all over the country,
where they invited their neighbors
to come and listen to a record,
made by a well-known actor,
on the evils of socialized medicine.
My name is Ronald Reagan.
One of the traditional methods
of imposing statism or socialism on our people,
has been by way of medicine.
The doctor begins to lose freedom.
It's like telling a lie, and one leads to another
A doctor decides he wants to practice in one town.
And the government has to say to him : "You can't live in that town,
"they already have enough doctors, you have to go some place else."
All of us can see what happens,
once you established a precedent,
that a government can determine a man's
working place and his working methods
and behind, it will come other federal programs
that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country.
Until, on day, we will awake to find...
that we have socialism.
The White House said today it's time to turn down the rhetoric,
reacting to burning an effigy of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The times may have changed
but the scare tactics hadn't.
The healthcare industries spent over a hundred millions dollars
to defeat Hillary's healthcare plan
and they succeeded.
And I want to introduce to you
the president, because he loves
the Easter egg role.
For the next seven years in the White House,
she was not allowed to bring it up again.
Is anybody here older than two?
A decade and a half went by,
and still America had no universal health plan.
The United States slipped to number 37 in healthcare around the world,
just slightly ahead of Slovenia.
But that's understandable,
because Congress was busy with other matters.
Mister speaker, today I rise to offer congratulations
to the confectioners of Just Born Incorporated,
as they celebrate the fiftieth anniversary
of one of their most recognized and celebrated products,
not to mention my daughter's favorite, Marshmallow Peeps.
And thus the healthcare industry went unchecked
into the early twenty-first century.
Humana more than doubled its 4th quarter profit,
lifts its earning outlook for the year as well...
United Health has tripled its share's prices.
Making obscene profits...
... better than unexpected earnings, one of them....
There's a lot of really wealthy shareholders, out there.
Are they willing to actually share some of that wealth?
Turning their CEOs into billionaires...
and skirting the law whenever they wanted.
But their biggest accomplishment
was buying our United States Congress.
This is Washington at work.
Lobbying has become so brazen, the money is being collected...
With four time as many healthcare lobbyists
than they are members of Congress.
They even manage to buy off old foes.
For her silence, Hillary was rewarded,
and she became the second largest recipient in the Senate
of healthcare industry contributions.
We've given the entire health care system
over to the insurance industry.
And they have total control.
Well, not total control.
Drug companies like to buy their members of Congress too.
Here is what it costs to buy these men.
And this woman.
This guy.
And this guy.
And him too.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.
And the biggest check was saved for last.
Why did they hand out all this cash?
They wanted a bill passed.
A bill to help seniors with their prescriptions.
Let there be no mistake about it.
Republicans love their mothers and their fathers and their grand-parents.
as much as anybody else on this Hill
And we're gonna take care of them in this country.
Of course, it was really a bill to hand over 800 billion of our tax dollars
to the drug and health insurance industry.
by letting the drug companies charge,
whatever they wanted,
and making the private health insurance companies,
the middle man.
Everybody was going to get their cut.
The man they appointed to get the job done,
was congressman Billy Tauzin.
He was the right man for the job,
because he had a secret weapon.
No one in this house loves their mother
more than I love my mother.
I'd challenge you on that, sir.
Nobody in this... body,
loves their mother any more or any less than anyone of us.
I love that woman.
Do you think for a second you love your moms and dads
any more than we love ours?
Do you think Republicans and Democrats
will vote for you? Do you really believe that, Mr. Stark?
God bless you.
They all loved their mothers,
it's just that they didn't love our mothers...
as much.
Now I'm honored and pleased to sign
this historic piece of legislation,
the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act
of 2003.
What they didn't tell us,
was that the elderly could end up paying more for that prescriptions
than they did before.
Over two thirds of senior citizens
would still pay over 2000 dollars a year.
And when it was all over,
14 congressional aids, who worked on the bill,
quit their jobs on the Hill,
and went to work for the healthcare industry.
As did one congressman.
Billy Tauzin left Congress,
to become the CEO of Phrma,
a drug industry lobby,
for the salary of 2 millions dollars a year.
Oh, it was a happy day in Washington.
Many Americans knew
they were never going to see universal healthcare,
and that's why some of them
decided to look elsewhere for help.
We're driving across the Detroit river.
Back there is the Renaissance Center,
you can see the Renaissance Center, General Motors headquarters,
downtown Detroit, the skyline...
You get a really nice view from driving over the bridge.
This is Adrian Campbell,
a single mother,
who at the age of 22
came down with cancer.
I got cervical cancer and i was denied through the insurance company.
They say "We're not paying for because you're 22 and you don't have...
"You shouldn't be having cervical cancer."
"You're too young."
Forced into debt, but now cancer free,
Adrian was fed up with the American care system.
She had a new plan.
I have everything ready, before I even hit the border.
I got my passport ready, I got my money out for the... You know, the...
3 dollars and 25 cents to get across one-way.
And I got everything just sitting up here on my visor just ready to go.
Now Laura, be very quiet.
- Citizenship? - US.
- Where do you live? - I live in Michigan.
- That's not on, right? - No.
She may live in Michigan
but ten blocks across the border,
Adrian becomes a Canadian.
How long have you been living here?
- 3 months? - A couple.
I haven't applied for the ??? card yet
- I still have mine. - It takes 10 minutes.
That's fine, I don't mind.
OK, thank you.
I put down Kyle's address, at the clinic,
and when they ask, you know, what my relationship is
I put down that I was his common-law ... partner.
I don't like to lie and I don't like liars,
it's little white lies, but it's...
You know, I'm saving the money.
You don't have to bring a check when you go to hospital here.
You know, it's provided to us.
Something you don't have to worry about, you don't have to fight to get it.
Stress free.
They're calling the cops.
The presence of our camera crew
has alerted the clinic that something was up.
And I don't think I'm gonna get seen now.
So I have another idea.
I'm gonna go down to the other clinic.
There is... There is a clinic down...
One that we passed.
The police showed up over there?
Yes, what Adrian was doing was illegal.
But we're Americans.
We go into other countries when we need to.
It's tricky, but it's allowed.
It's kind of frustrating I haven't... I mean...
I'd just get married and that'd solve everything.
She'd be covered automatically
Americans marry Canadians just for the healthcare.
We're used.
Sounds like a good idea.
See if it works.
Start something... start a trend.
In Canada, they give everybody free healthcare, doesn't it work up there?
We wait months to get treatment
you can get in a week or a few days here.
In Canada, you'd have to wait 9 to 10 months,
for bypass surgery.
Many Canadians believe
it's the health care system itself
that's truly sick.
They pay their doctors less.
A surgeon can only do certain number of operation each year,
with only so many expensive new pieces of equipment.
It's easier for your cat or dog to receive a MRI here in America.
You die of cancer waiting for that chemo 'cause
like all of Ottawa has like one chemo machine.
And if you think socialized medicine is a good idea...
ask a Canadian.
So I thought who better to ask, than my Canadian relatives:
Bob and Estelle.
But they wouldn't cross the border into America.
They wanted me to meet them at Sears, in Canada.
Now, what do you guys doing here?
We buy an insurance: we're going over to the States.
We're going to the States to see you.
Right, you know, that's just across the river.
You wouldn't even go over see us over in Michigan
for a couple of hours without this insurance?
No, we wouldn't.
We're just adamant about it,
we would not do it.
If somebody punches us in the mouth,
if something, and something like that...
You don't want to get caught in the American health system thing.
We have nothing against Americans,
or America, or anything like that at all.
We're nice and simple people.
Yes, well, not very simple, but...
certainly very nice.
I decided to explore their anti-American views further,
over some fine Canadian cuisine.
We have a friend who went to Hawaii.
And he sustained head injury while he was there.
And before he was well enough to come home,
he had chocked up a bill of over $600,000.
So what middle-class Canadian
could absorb that?
I guess I feel bad that you would have to worry about something like that.
We're not criticizing your country, we're just...
giving you the facts that we could not afford
to be without insurance.
- Even for a day? - Even for a day.
To prove their point even further, they set me over to a local golf course
to talk to Larry Godfrey
who had a golfing accident while on vacation, in Florida.
I could hear a noise and...
feel a pain and the tendon snapped off.
This bone here that holds the biceps in place...
So this biceps muscle was released like elastic and then...
it ended up here on my chest.
The muscle came up your arm and ended up up in your chest?
Ended up right here.
Like all good golfers, Larry finished his round,
before seeking medical attention.
That's when he got the bad news.
I wasn't too worried because
I had out of country insurance but...
when he told me it was 23 or 24,000 then I....
Dollars, yes.
So if you'd stay in United States, this would've cost you $24,000?
$24,000, yes.
Instead, you went back to Canada,
- and Canada paid your total expenses... - Everything.
Paid for the operation...
- ...and that cost you... - Nothing.
- ...zero. - Zero.
I'm wondering, why do you expect your fellow Canadians,
who don't have your problem,
why should they, through their tax dollars,
have to pay for a problem you have.
Because we would do the same for them.
It's just the way it's always been and it's the way we hope it'll always be.
Right, but if you'd just had to pay for your problem,
and don't pay for everybody else's problem, just take care of yourself.
Well, there are a lot of people who aren't in the position to...
be able to do that.
And somebody has to look after them.
Are you a member of the socialist party here or....
Green party?
No, I-- Well, actually I'm a member of the conservative party.
Is that bad?
Well, it's just a little confusing...
it shouldn't be, I think that...
I think that where medical matters are concerned,
it wouldn't matter in Canada what party you...
you're affiliated with.
If any...
But, to us, as we look across the river here,
you know, why don't you think we don't believe that?
- What's wrong on this issue with us? - Well, I guess...
the powers that be don't...
share our beliefs that...
that health care ought to be universal.
I mean, Canadians didn't until...
we met up with a guy named Tommy Douglas,
who pretty much...
changed everyone's mind.
- One guy? - One guy, yeah.
- One guy did it, he... - Can he come over and visit us?
He's dead unfortunately, in fact he was...
He is just more seriously been revered as Canada's...
singular most important person.
We think so much of...
- You mean in your whole history? - In our whole history.
- More than your first Prime minister... - Absolutely, yeah...
Even more than Wayne Gretzky.
- No way. - Absolutely.
More than Celine Dion?
A great singer, more than Celine Dion.
- More than Rocky and Bullwinkle. - Maybe...
... as the blade went through, it cut the glove that I was wearing
and it sliced through the entire
group of fingers and completely taking them off.
- No money is being exchanged here? - No, nothing.
- There's no money being exchanged. - I'm over 60.
- We don't pay. - What's the purpose of the cash register?
I'm just wondering
where's the bread and the milk and the candy in here?
I can't pick up any laundry detergent here or....
I haven't been trained for that many years to be selling detergents so... no.
I next went to a state run hospital,
operated by the national health service.
I'm doing seven weeks and I get 6 months off, paid.
And then I can have 6 months of unpaid as well.
So I'm actually taking a year.
Well, that sounds like a luxury where I'm from.
Oh, really, it's not like that
in U.S., no... not at all, no.
So what do you pay for stay here?
No one pays.
They were asking how the people pay.
And I said but there isn't--- You don't, you just leave.
- It's national insurance. There's no... - Yeah.
... bill at the end of the day as it were.
Even with insurance, there's bound to be a bill somewhere.
- So where's the billing department? - There isn't really a billing dept.
Right, there's no such thing as a billing...
What did they charge you for that baby?
You gotta pay before you get outta here, right?
- Everything is on... - This is NHS.
You know, it's not America.
Maybe I'd have better luck in the part of the hospital
where things can get seriously expensive.
This guy broke his ankle...
How much will this cost him?
The emergency room visit...
He'll have some huge bill
when he's done, right?
NHS: everything is free.
I'm asking about hospital charges and you're laughing at me.
'Cause no one ever asks this question in...
emergency department, that's why.
I was starting to fall for this everything is free bit.
And then I discovered this.
So this is where people come to pay their bill
when they're done staying in the hospital?
No this is the NHS hospital, so you don't pay the bill.
You get to just go home?
What does it say "Cashier" here if people don't have to pay a bill?
All we have is an old man here, who stands behind
a counter and he gives people money if they've had to pay for transport.
Those who have reduced means get their travel expanses reimbursed.
Thank you.
So in British hospitals
instead of money going into the cashier's window
money comes out.
The criteria for letting up the hospital
are not if you've paid your bill, the criteria...
are you fit to go, and are you going somewhere safe.
Clearly, I was just the butt of a joke here.
What I needed was a good old fashion American
who would have some understanding.
When I first came to London
in 1992.
And we just ended up staying and we had...
three children here.
Well, I had them all on the...
NHS which is the national health service.
The British national health service.
I think like a lot of American assumed
that a socialized medicine was just bottom of the rung...
treatment, that you know that's the only possible way
it would be dingy and horrible and it would be like the USSR.
I mean, that's kind of how...
And... that's terrible, that's what I thought.
That's what I thought, too.
After having a baby, it's right back to the wheat fields!
And then it occurred to me that back home in America
we've socialized a lot of things.
I kinda like having a police department and...
a fire department and...
and the library and...
And I got to wondering:
Why don't we have more these free
socialized things,
like health care.
When did this whole idea that every British citizen
should have a right to health care?
Well, if you go back, it all began with democracy,
before we had the vote.
All the power was in the hands of rich people.
If you had money, you could get health care, education,
look after yourself when you're old, and what democracy did,
was to give the poor the vote.
And it moved power from the market-place
to the police station. From the...
wallet to the ballot.
And what people said was very simple.
They said, "In the 1930's, we had mass unemployment.
"But we don't have any unemployment during the war.
"If we could have full employment by killing Germans,
"why can't we have it building hospitals,
"building schools, recruiting nurses, recruiting teachers?"
If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.
This certainly flipped the pos[ition on the] issue
very straight forward.
- What year was this? - This was 1948.
"Your new national health service begins on the fifth of July.
"What is it? How'd you get it?
"It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care.
"Everyone, rich or poor, men, women or child could use it or any part of it.
"There are no charges except for a few special item.
"There's no insurance qualification, but it's not a charity.
"You're paying for it mainly as tax payers
"and it will relieve your money worries in times of illness."
Now... Somehow, that-- the few words sum the whole thing up.
I was amazed
when he said this all started in 1948.
The British have just come out of a devastating experience through WW2.
The country was destroyed,
and nearly bankrupt.
They had nothing.
In just one eight month period
over 42,000 civilians lost their lives.
But we went through in two hours on 9/11,
they went through nearly every single day.
Remember how we all felt after 9/11?
All of us, pulling together?
I guess that's how they felt.
And the first way that they decided to pull together after the war,
was to provide free medical care
for everyone.
Even Mrs. Thatcher said,
"the nation health service is safe in our hands."
It's... as non-controversial as vote for women.
Nobody could come along and say why women should[n't] have the vote now
because people wouldn't have it, and not in Britain.
They wouldn't accept
the deterioration or destruction of the national health care.
If Thatcher or Blair had said "I'm going to dismantle National Healthcare..."
That would be the revolution, yeah.
A report
from the American Medical Association into the health of 55 to 64 year olds
says Brits are far healthier than Americans.
For every illness that we look at,
Americans have more of it than English.
Cancer, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, lung disease,
all significantly higher for Americans.
Even the poorest people in England with all the environmental factors
that give them the worst health in the country can expect
to live longer than the wealthiest people in America.
I was wondering though, what's it like for the doctors here in Britain?
We have to live under this kind of state control.
And you're a family doctor?
Yeah, I'd supposed you'd call them "GPs" or General Practitioners here.
Right, so you have like a family practice?
Yeah, it's a NHS practice. We have nine doctors within that practice.
- You're paid for by the government? - Paid for by it.
So you work for the government?
- Government paid doctor? - Absolutely.
A patient comes to see you. Before you treat them,
do you have to call the government insurance company
before you can treat them?
No, I don't deal with money at all on an every day basis.
Have you ever had to say no to someone who was sick and needed help?
- No, never. - Have you heard of anyone,
being in a hospital and being removed because he couldn't pay the bill?
No, never. And I wouldn't want to work in that system.
So working for the government,
you probably have to use public transportation.
No. So, I have a car that I use and I drive to work.
An old beater?
You live in a kind rough part of town, or...
I mean, I live in a terrific part of town, it's called Greenwich.
It's a lovely house.
It's a 3 story house.
How many other families have to live in that house with you?
That's four bedrooms for
my wife and my son. It's just the three of us there.
How much you pay for that?
- £550,000. Yes, almost. - So, a million dollars.
Your government pays a doctor
on a national health insurance health care plan here,
- Yes. - and you live in a $1,000,000 home.
I think probably my friends think we do quite well.
Really? How well do you do?
I earn around 85,000 including pension...
- £85,000? - 85,000 pounds a year.
And that includes pension that they will pay to me.
They probably earn just over 100,000 pounds within my practice.
- £100,000? So, that's almost $200,000? - Yes, absolutely.
The money that we earn, we paid by what we do.
So the better we do for our patients, then the more we get paid.
What do you mean?
There's a new system,
and, in that new system,
if the most number of your patients have low blood pressures,
or you got most of your patients to stop smoking,
or you got most of your patients
to have things like mental health reviews, if they're unwell
or low cholesterol, then you get paid more.
This year, if you get people of your patients to stop smoking,
- this year, you'll earn more? - Absolutely.
- You'll earn more? - Yeah, absolutely.
So doctors in America do not have to fear...
having universal health care.
No. I think if you want to have
2 or 3 millions dollars homes and 4 or 5 nice cars
and 6 or 7 nice televisions,
then maybe yeah, you need to practice somewhere you can earn that.
But I think we live comfortably here, and London is an expensive city,
but I think we live very comfortably.
And you're getting by okay on the million dollars home, the Audi,
and the flat screen TV?
Yeah, we're coping with those.
I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world.
Far more revolutionary than socialist ideas, or anybody else's idea.
But if you have power,
you use it to meet the needs of your community.
And this idea of choice that Capitol[ism]
talks about all the time, "you gotta have a choice",
Choice depends on the freedom to choose.
And if you're shackled in debt, you don't have a freedom to choose.
It seems that it benefits the system,
If the average working person is shackled and is in debt?
Yes, because people in debt
become hopeless, and hopeless people don't vote.
See, they always say that everyone should vote
But I think, if the poor
in Britain or the United States turned out
and voted for people representing their interests, it would be
a real democratic revolution. So they don't want it to happen.
So keeping people hopeless and pessimistic...
See, I think there are 2 ways in which people get controlled:
first of all, frightening people, and second, you demoralize them.
An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.
And I think there's an element
in the thinking of some people. We don't want
people to be educated, healthy and confident
because they would get out of control.
The top 1 % of the world's population own 80 percent of the world's wealth.
It's incredible, the people put up with it,
but they're poor, they're demoralized, they're frightened.
And therefore, they think,
"Perhaps the safest thing to do is to take orders and hope for the best."
And hope for the best is what we do, right from the moment we're born.
We've got the worst infant mortality rate in the western world.
A baby born in El Salvador has a better chance of surviving
than a baby born in Detroit.
But it gets better when you go to school.
Classrooms with 40 students. Schools with no science labs.
No wonder the majority of our young adults can't find Britain on a map.
But that's okay, there's always college.
By the time we graduate, our asses are so in hot,
we're deep in debt before we're even having our first job.
I'm at about... let's say about 35,000 dollars in debt.
That's for my three years college.
That way you'll be the kind of employee they look for.
One who needs this job.
3,904, 3,905...
What employer wouldn't wanna employ someone thousands of thousands in debt?
Because they won't cause any trouble.
In addition to have to pay their college debt,
you need a job with health insurance.
It would be horrible to loose that kind of job, wouldn't it?
You can always quit, you know?
There's no law that says you have to work here.
And if that one job doesn't pay all the bills, don't worry!
You can get another one,
and another one,
and another one.
I work three jobs, and I feel like I contribute.
- You work three jobs? - Three jobs, yes.
Uniquely American, isn't it?
I mean that's fantastic that you're doing that.
Get any sleep?
And if you're not getting enough sleep... take pharmaceuticals.
You're tired all the time. You may feel sad, hopeless.
If you suffer from excessive worry...
You could be suffering from anxiety disorder...
It could be adult ADD.
- Talk to your doctor. - Ask your doctor.
Ask your doctor.
Yes, ask your doctor, and ask him for more drugs.
That should keep you pretty doped up until it's time to retire.
Did I say retire?
Well if you do make it to 80, I'm sure pension will still be there.
Unlike the new employees who'll never see a pension.
But don't worry, I'm sure our kid’s will take care of us,
considering the great life we've given them.
And remember, let's defeat the terrorists over there,
so we don't have to fight them here.
KAISER PERMANENTE is the largest H.M.O. in the country.
And Dawnell Keys was fortunate enough
to live fully insured by them.
It's a good thing, because one night,
her 18 months old daughter Mychelle, developed a fever of over a 104°F.
So like any responsible mom, she called 911,
and the ambulance took Mychelle to the closest hospital.
The hospital checked with her H.M.O. and they were told
that KAISER would not cover the tests and the antibiotics necessary
to treat Mychelle.
She would have to take her to an in-network KAISER home hospital.
KAISER said that I should bring her by car
to the hospital and that she shouldn’t be treated at Martin Luther King.
I just continued to ask them to treat her, and they refused.
My daughter got worse...
and she had a seizure.
Dawnell bet the doctors to not listen to KAISER and to treat her daughter.
I was escorted out of the hospital because they felt that I was a threat.
After hours of delay, she was transported to KAISER,
and got there just in time to go into cardiac arrest.
They worked on her for about 30 minutes trying to revive her.
And the doctors came in,
and let use know that...
She had expired.
I was in a daze.
A real daze, it just... didn't seem real.
I just held her.
I held her and I told her that mommy tried her best to help her,
to make sure that she was gonna get the treatment she needed to receive.
And that I was sorry,
that I was unable to help her.
This is Corrina, and her daughter Zoe.
Corrina is a graduate of Michigan State University,
and a native of my home town, of Flint, Michigan.
Six months ago, Zoe, like Dawnell's baby Mychelle,
came down with a high fever.
What happened is she stops breathing
for a little while, turned blue and passed out my arms,
which was...
It was... the most horrible moment in my life, I think,
just because I thought that she was either dead or dying.
And I had no clue what to do.
At the hospital, they gave her some medicine,
bring the fever down, and examined her, took some blood...
And what they determine was wrong with her?
It was a throat infection. But we stayed at the hospital from Friday to Sunday.
Just so they can keep an eye on her.
- And you stayed there that long? - Yeah.
They just basically kept an eye on her.
And how much did all this cost you though?
- 3+ days in a hospital... - Nothing.
- Nothing? - Nothing.
- Nothing at all. - And that's because...
- I live in France. - You live in France?
Ah, France...
They enjoy their wine, their cigarettes,
and their fatty foods.
And yet, just like the Canadians and the Brits,
they live much longer than we do.
Something about that seemed grossly unfair.
This is Alexy Cromone.
He spent his entire adult life in the US without health insurance.
I lived in America for 13 years.
I loved my life there.
But then when I discovered that I had a tumor,
and I didn't have health insurance,
unfortunately I had to come back here.
And even though I never paid any taxes in France, 'cause I never worked here.
I left when I was 18, I didn't even have a social security number.
For them I was saying, well...
he needs treatment, he has no income, so...
we're gonna give him, you know, the treatment he needs.
How're you doing now?
I'm healthy now,
but I had 3 months of intensive chemo therapy.
So after the 3 months, I saw my doctor and he said "You wanna go back to work?"
I said, "No, I don't feel like it.
"Just right now, I'm not ready." He said, "How much do you need?"
I said, "Well, I don't know..." He said, "Would 3 months be okay?"
I said, "I think 3 months will be fine."
He said, "Okay, so take 3 months off", so he wrote me a, you know, a note,
that I gave to my employer so as to make sure that I get paid.
- So I went to the south of France... - Wait a minute... you get...
three months off with pay?
Yes. Yes.
I get 65%...
paid by the government,
and then the other 35% is paid by my employer.
To make sure you got a 100%.
So, it was April. I was free again.
So I started right away. Sucking up some sun.
And that really, you know, helped me a lot to get allowed of
recharge my batteries and...
I mean, it was like... night and day.
In 3 months, I went from a 95 year old man to
35 year old man, you know, again.
And that's because I had that time to take care of myself.
I'm not really in a position to make any judgment
concerning the American system.
I think the United States are a great, great country
Americans are great people. I really love them.
But as a doctor... first,
as a citizen, second,
and eventually as a patient, third,
I'm very glad to be in France.
It's kind of a luxury here.
You are sick. You step into a hospital
You got the care you need.
It doesn't depend on your premiums. It depends on what you need.
One main principle is solidarity.
People who are better off pay for those who are worse off.
You pay according to your means
and you receive according to your needs.
Do you think that would ever work in America?
He could barely contain his seething anti Americanism.
And I just didn't want to listen to anymore of it.
So I found a group of Americans
currently living in Paris
who I know would tell me the truth.
I was diagnosed, 5 years ago, with type 1 diabetes.
I was actually a little bit nervous to tell them that I had...
- To tell the French. - To tell the French.
There's a place to check off
whether or not you have a chronic condition.
I was nervous that they were going to charge me more or something.
And instead, I went into a hospital,
and had round the clock care
and they do an amazing amount of preventative care.
So they asked you if you have a pre-existing condition
- not to punish you... - Yes.
- ...but to give you more help? - Yes.
I was in a hospital for a year
and as soon as I was in, it was...
"Well... Don't worry. Just rest."
- Yes. - People said "Rest".
How many sick days you got in a year. Three, four ?
- I think it's unlimited. - Yeah.
- You're sick... - Unlimited?
Yes. How can you limit sick days?
If you're sick, you're sick.
I've gone to the emergency rooms numerous times
with four boys.
And I've never waited more than an hour. Never.
I can call and have somebody come to the house within half an hour.
- No way ? - Yes.
Making a house call ? At your place ?
How many of you have had a house call from a doctor?
- No! - Last, 3 AM last Friday.
- And how much does this cost you? - Nothing.
What's the service called?
Where are we going?
We are going to see a man who has abdominal pain.
- Abdominal pain? - Yeah.
So... If it's just a stomach ache, why are we going so fast?
Where do we go next?
- The next visit? - Yeah.
One thing that I say to anyone who'd ask me why I'm in this country
it's that I think it's one of the familiest,
friendliest country than I know of.
And talk about family values. I mean child care, health care...
We don't pay for day care, we don't pay...
The day care where I set my daughter... and I was a teacher,
I mean, the standards are very high.
So how much does that cost you to have 2 children here in day care?
How much per hour?
Are you happy with how they're cared for?
Here, my kids, they are sure that they are going to get
you know, a certain level of care, a certain education.
college I don't have to worry about...
What do you mean?
- It's free. - You're kidding?
For nothing?
You can get college education for free.
- No way! - Yes!
There's not a sense of desperation!
That's the worse part.
Then they're happy?
They can spend time with their kids, they've vacations, family time...
So how many weeks of paid vacations?
Minimum 5 weeks...
5 weeks ? Minimum of 5 weeks.
That's the French law.
Except if you work for a large company. Then you get sometimes 8, 10 weeks.
Remembering that there's a 35 hour week.
The productivity rate is so high here.
I read that it was higher than the United States.
They're relaxed!
If they're working more than 35 hours a week,
they get extra days off.
That is for half time and full time employees as well.
You get 5 weeks paid vacations even if you're a part time employee?
- Of course, yeah! - Everybody.
If you get married, you get an extra week,
or extra 7 days for your honey moon.
In addition to your 5 weeks.
- You're paid on your honey moon? - Yes.
- You got 2 days off too... - Yeah, if you move.
If you're gonna move from one apartment to another?
- Yeah. - One day.
You've a day to move and they pay you that day?
When my daughter was 3 months, a free service
sent somebody to your home to give you tips
on how to put your kid to bed...
every single day, for free.
And they'll come to your house and do your laundry!
- It will! Sure! - No!
Stop! Stop!
What are you doing?
You from the government?
Can she do anything else?
If I want, yes.
She's, of course, taking care of the children.
And I think if I ask her to
to prepare a meal for tonight, she can do it.
No problem.
She's coming twice a week, 4 hours a day.
So I can do everything I want
for me, for the house, for my husband,
during 4 hours.
It's very precious for me.
You don't have any associations? Nothing to help like that?
Nobody from the government comes to your home in America
and does your laundry for you, if you're a new mother.
- It's difficult. - Yeah.
Something that I experience a lot with my own family is guilt.
Guilt for being here almost and seeing
the advantages and the benefits I have at such a young age.
Things that my parents work their whole life for
and haven't even come close to touching.
It's really hard to know that you're here
in a very privileged position
you know, not living the high life,
but in comparison, definitely.
And that seems completely...
One of the things that keeps everything running here is that...
the government is afraid of the people.
They're afraid of protests.
They're afraid of reactions from the people.
Whereas in the States, people are afraid of the government.
They're afraid of... of... of acting up.
They're afraid of protesting. They're afraid of getting out.
In France, that's what people do.
Free college education,
free medical care,
government employed nannies...
I began to wonder how do they pay for all this?
And then I realized... They're drowning in taxes!
I wanted to see what effect this might have
on a average middle class family.
So I went to find out.
- Hello! - Hello.
- Welcome. - Welcome.
It's really nice.
- It's the news. - Yes. Thanks.
What is your combined income for the 2 of you together
for... say one month?
And yet you live very nicely on that income.
And how much do you pay each month on your mortgage?
How many cars do you own?
- Two. - Two.
Do you owe any money from medical bills?
Is there any other debts, loans, anything?
Only the apartment.
And, what are your other big expenses?
The fish.
Vegetables are a big month expense for you.
Yes. Fruit.
- Yoghurt. - Yoghurt.
What are your other big expenses?
Very important.
- Kenya. - We like.
Are you happy?
After seeing all this, I began to wonder...
Was there a reason our government and our media
wants us to hate the French?
Are they worried we might like the French?
Or like their ways of doing things?
It was enough to make me put away my "freedom fries".
Meanwhile, back at home,
hospitals had found a new way to deal with patients
who didn't have health insurance
and couldn't pay their bill.
I was standing up against the wall and I saw a cab
do a u-turn,
pull up to the curb,
and I watched to see what was happening
because I had a feeling what was going to occur,
'cause it's not a new thing.
They pulled up right here by this yellow fire hydrant
and dropped Carol off and immediately pulled away.
And as soon as they pulled away,
she walked out into the street about out to here.
She did walk all the way down to the drive way down here,
completely confused,
not knowing... has no shoes on whatsoever
and just a hospital gown.
If you've ever been to a hospital, you know they're thin.
And that's when one of our staff members went out
and asked Carol if she needed any assistance
and found out that she was confused and disoriented
and didn't know where she was.
Kaiser Permanente in Bellflower hospital had put her in a cab
and directed them to bring her to this drop-off point.
But the names of the hospitals had been taken off of both bracelets
before she arrived here.
I have seen others here that have come through our doors,
who have got IV still on their arms.
They told me that at their shelter alone,
over 50 patients had been dumped there by hospitals.
Their options are very few :
either open the front door and let them out,
which isn't the humane thing to do, something we don't want to do,
or we try to find some place for them to go.
And right now, Skid Row is the best bet in town.
In fact, the night before we were there,
the county hospital run by the university of Southern California,
one of the richest private schools in the country,
dumped another patient off on the curb.
A woman unable to pay her hospital bill.
Do you know how you got here?
- By the cab. - The cab?
From General Hospital, [they] gave him the cab fare.
He dropped me off there, he actually forced me out of the car.
Ma'am, are you in pain right now?
- Are you in pain? - Yes, I am.
Is there anything we can...
She, at this time, has broken ribs, broken collarbone,
and stitches that are not completely healed
across the top of her head and on the side of her head.
Now let me ask you, ma'am.
Before they dropped you off,
- did they ask you if you knew where you were going?
So they didn't ask you any questions about your orientation,
whether or not you knew what was going on.
No, they just told me to take care of myself.
May I take a minute to ask a question that has been on my mind?
Who are we?
Is this what we've become?
A nation that dumps its own citizens
like so much garbage on the side of the curb,
because they can't pay their hospital bill?
I always thought and believe to this day
that we're good and generous people.
This is what we do when somebody's in trouble.
Anybody gets sick, we all get together and help.
People with a good heart...
You feel like you're sacrificing,
but then you get a blessing from doing this
and that's the way we all feel.
... and a good soul.
We've got a lot of community support,
and we're gonna all keep working until we locate this child.
Neighbors who are quick to lend a helping hand
to anyone in their hour of need.
I deliver meals to them,
but my life has been so blessed that it's just the least that I can do.
They say that you can judge a society
by how it treats those who are the worst-off.
But is the opposite true?
That you can judge a society
by how it treats its best?
Its heroes?
The firefighters and police, rescue and recovery workers
have responded with true heroism.
It was their initial heroism
that thwarted the objectives of the terrorists.
Without regard, in many instances,
to their own safety and security...
They truly are heroes.
We owe them everything!
Here they are, folks, the men and women
who have been on the frontlines, for New York,
and for all of us in America!
Tonight is dedicated to you!
Don't forget about the raffles going on over there,
we got $1 each.
I spent two and a half year down there,
I got upper and lower, breathing problems.
I need a double lung transplant
but I was diagnosed for pulmonary fibrosis.
I haven't slept in a bed in over 5 years, I sleep on a chair...
with a blanket in the living room, because if I lay down, I can't breathe.
There were hundreds of rescue workers on 9/11
who were not city employees,
but rather went down to Ground Zero on their own to help out.
We need volunteers for Thursday!
And many developed serious respiratory illnesses.
That's when the government said,
"They are not our responsibility, because they weren't on our payroll."
John Graham is an EMT volunteer from Paramus, New Jersey.
He was in Lower Manhattan when he heard the planes hit,
and rushed over to help.
He worked in the rescue effort for the next few months,
but then had trouble receiving benefits for his illness.
No, they'd just deny it for any reason.
It's just a terrible waiting game.
I really feel like they're waiting for you to die.
It's terrible.
I never thought that we would do this.
That the United States would do this.
William Maher is a volunteer member of New Jersey's fire service.
He spent two months working on the pile at Ground Zero,
recovering bodies or body parts, and it deeply affected him.
I'm experiencing a lot of disturbing dreams,
or whatever you'd like to call them,
and it affected what I was doing at night,
and you know, unaware of it
because I was asleep and I just kept grinding and grinding my teeth.
The upper fronts are damaged, practically beyond repair
because of my constant grinding over the last three years.
Before, I was at workers-comp. board already
for the 9/11 volunteers fund, and I've been denied 3 times,
and hopefully I will go on my 4th appeal soon,
if I can get the necessary documentation.
Of course, there was a $50 million fund set up
supposedly to help rescue workers.
Ladies and gentlemen, the governor of New York, George Pataki.
But the government, like the health insurance companies,
made it very difficult for people to receive help.
You have to have spent a certain amount of time at Ground Zero,
you have to be able to establish that,
you do have to file an affidavit within the next year,
relating your work experiences at Ground Zero
and even with all of that, it's not automatic.
There is a presumption, when certain illnesses occur,
but that presumption can be rebutted by other medical evidence.
So we think it is a very fair approach that protects our heroes.
I'm sorry.
Reggie Cervantes was a volunteer emergency medical technician on 9/11.
Nothing makes it go away sometimes,
not water, not cough medicine, not anything,
It's just...
burning in my throat and irritated and it just gets to me coughing.
Sometimes I have trouble breathing
because I can't catch my breath.
Reggie spent her days at Ground Zero
carrying bodies and treating other rescue workers.
My airway was totally burnt that first week,
and I had trouble breathing by then.
But we wanted to see if we could dig anybody up alive,
we wanted to see...
if we had lost anybody, if we were still missing somebody.
I wanted to help. I was trained for this.
You know, you see somebody who is in need, you help them.
Reggie had difficulty getting treatment.
Too sick to work, and with no income,
she was forced to quit her job,
and used her savings to move her and her kids out of the city.
It's hard to figure out how you're supposed to get help.
We're trying to go about it the right way.
But we're ignored.
But not everyone after 9/11 was ignored by the government.
We're now approaching the 5-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
So I'm announcing today that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,
Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Binalshibh,
and 11 other terrorists in CIA custody,
had been transferred to the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
On that island today
are some of the world's most ardent enemy combatants.
These detainees are deadly and include the 20th hijacker,
as well as a number of Osama bin Laden's personal bodyguards
and others who had a direct role in the September 11 attacks.
The kind of people held in Guantanamo
include terrorist trainers, bomb makers...
Many of them have American blood on their hands
and they are certainly the elite of Al-Quaeda.
It seems to me we have an obligation
to treat these individuals as enemy combatants.
And then I learned it wasn't all bad news, at Gitmo.
Detainees representing a threat to our national security
are given access to top-notch medical facilities.
They have acute care, 24 hours a day,
in which surgical procedures,
everything can be performed right there, in the detainee camps.
This is the dental clinic, well, the health clinic/dental clinic.
We have a physical therapy department,
we have X-ray capabilities with digital X-rays.
We have one single operating room.
Health personal to detainee ratio is 1 to 4, remarkably high.
We do sick call on the blocks 3 times per week,
care for them there if they can.
We'll bring that detainee back to the clinic to be seen there.
Screening for cancer is taking place there.
Colonoscopy is a procedure
which is performed there on a routine basis.
We have diabetes, high blood-pressure, high cholesterol.
We do periodically monitor of the weight and nutrition of the detainees,
so that we can track those detainees
to make sure we're seeing them frequently,
monitoring their labs [test results] and their overall health.
Their medical attention...
They're getting way better medical treatment than...
I've ever had.
So you think it's as good as most HMOs in the US?
Certainly very similar and as good, sir.
I live with an impression that health care there is...
clearly better than they received at home
and as good as many people receive in the USA.
So there is actually one place on American soil
that had free universal health care.
That's all I needed to know.
I went down to Miami, Florida,
got myself a boat,
and loaded up Bill,
and John...
- Thanks. - Welcome, sir.
... and anyone else I could find
that needed to see a doctor and couldn't afford one.
So many people showed up, I had to get a couple extra boats.
And I called up Danna Smith from Denver,
who is now on 9 different medications,
and asked her if she'd like to come along.
I figured she'd like to get out of her daughter's basement for a while.
All right, let's go!
Which way to Guantanamo Bay?
Can we go?
We're not going to Cuba, we're going to America!
It's American soil!
We made it.
There it is. There's the runway.
That's the prison over there where the detainees are.
- We're very close. - Yes, we're very close.
The white building is the hospital, I think.
Okay, let's go.
We commandeered a fishing boat,
and sailed into Guantanamo Bay.
As we approached the line in the water
between the American and Cuban side of the bay,
we were told to be careful for mines.
Permission to enter.
I have three 9/11 rescue workers.
They need some medical attention.
These are 9/11 rescue workers, they just want some medical attention.
The same kind that Al-Qaeda is getting.
They don't want any more than you're giving the evil-doers.
Just the same.
No one in the guard tower was responding and then,
suddenly we heard a siren
and we figured it was time to get out of here.
But what was I supposed to do with all these sick people
and no one to help them.
I mean here, we were stuck at some God-forsaken Third-World country
and communists, no less.
When I was a kid, these people wanted to kill us.
What was I supposed to do?
Excuse me, we're looking for a doctor.
Is there a doctor here in Cuba?
All right, thank you very much. Thank you.
OK. OK. I know what you're thinking.
Cuba is where Lucifer lives.
The worse place on Earth.
The most evil nation ever created.
How do we know that?
Cause that's what we've been told for over 45 years.
... that a series of offensive missile sites
can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability
against the western hemisphere.
I'm not gonna yield until Fidel Castro
allows freedom on the island.
You can count on it.
Put it in the bank.
It seems that what really bugged us about Castro
was that he overthrew the dictator that we liked.
And replaced him with a dictator that we didn't like:
And so now, after all these years,
the one thing the Cubans do have,
is free universal health care.
They've become known around the world
as having not only one of the best health care systems
but as being one of the most generous countries in providing doctors
and medical equipment to Third World countries.
In the US, health care cost run nearly $6.000 per person.
But in Cuba, they spend only $251.
And yet the Cubans are able to have
a lower infant mortality rate than the US,
a longer average live-span than the US.
They believe in preventative medicine.
And it seems like there's a doctor on every block.
Their only sin, when it comes to health care,
seems to be that they don't do it for profit.
Anybody got any medication right now for the pharmacy?
Hello. Are you the pharmacist?
You have this?
- Cause this one's similar to yours? - Yeah.
It's a $120 in the US.
- This is a $120 in the US. - Yes.
3.20. So how much is that in American dollars?
It's like a... 5 cents.
- 5 cents? - Yeah.
Thank you very much.
Muchas Gracias.
A $120 is a lot of money when you're getting
a $1000 in security disability [checks] and you need 1 or 2 a month.
5 cents here, it's like the biggest insult.
It just doesn't make any sense.
I wanna fill a suitcase up and go back home with it.
I took my group of sick Americans to a hospital
to see if they could get some care.
They didn't ask for money or an insurance card.
Just their name.
That was the entire intake session.
Thank you very much for doing this.
I asked them to give us the same exact care
they give their fellow Cubans citizens.
No more, no less.
And that's what they did.
I'm Dr. Roque. I'm going turn on my decent specialties.
- John Graham. - How are you feeling?
My lungs hurt. I have pain.
I get pretty severe nose bleeds at times.
I get terrible headaches in the middle of the night
but I haven't been evaluated
for the sleep apnea for 9 years.
- Yeah, I have... - Many medications for lungs problems.
Almost every medication for lung problems, I've got.
After 9/11, since the things that have happened, my teeth sort of falling out.
Because of certain conditions, I was grinding.
There's one test that they recommended I take,
that is about 5 to $7.000.
The dentist that I talked to, it's like $15.000 or more.
Now it's 2 years I have no medical coverage
so I can't go for the last part of the test.
It's okay, everything's gonna be okay. Right?
I am so...
It's so hard for me to digest somebody saying it's free.
Because 20 years of our lives have been spent fighting.
So I am so grateful. I...
No, You don't need to say that.
Come on, don't cry. Everything's gonna be okay. Right?
At least what we can do, right?
Reggie was diagnosed with a series of pulmonary and bronchial problems.
The Cubans doctors gave her a treatment plan to follow back home.
Along with some of those 5 cent inhalers.
William Maher received a number of treatments on his neck and his back.
And having ground down his teeth for 3 years straight
due to post-traumatic stress disorder
he left Cuba with a new set of teeth.
After a series of test on his heart, lungs, blood and stomach,
John now knew what his ailments were.
He was given a strict plan to follow, plus a number of treatments
and was feeling better than he had in years.
The Cubans doctors were able to take Donna of 5 of her 9 medications.
And with a correct diagnosis,
gave her a treatment plan to help her live a more normal life.
When the firefighters and paramedics in Havana
heard that the 9/11 rescue workers were in town,
they invited them over to one of their fire houses.
And so, on our last day there,
as we arrived, they stood at attention
because, they said, they wanted to honor
the heroes of 9/11.
My brother.
The brothers we lost on 9/11 was felt around the world.
Don't hesitate to hug your brother.
It's very important to them to wear the SCBA
so they don't end up like me.
These tanks.
SCBA : Self Contained Breathing Aparatus.
If this is what can happen between supposed enemies,
if one enemy can hold out his hand and offer to heal,
then what else is possible?
"Mike, fahrenheit is not a temperature measurement."
That's when I heard that the man who runs the biggest
anti-Michael Moore website on the internet
was going to have to shut it down.
BAD NEWS He could no longer afford to keep it up
because his wife was ill
and they couldn't afford to pay for her health insurance.
He was faced with a choice of either keep attacking me
or pay for his wife's health.
Fortunately, he chose his wife.
But something seemed wrong about being forced into such a decision.
Why in a free country
shouldn't he be able to have health insurance
and exercise his 1st Amendment right
to run me into the ground?
So I wrote a check for the $12.000 he needed to keep his wife insured
and in treatment, and send it to him anonymously.
His wife got better
and his website is still going strong.
It was hard for me to acknowledge that
in the end, we truly are all in the same boat.
And that, no matter what are our differences,
we sink or swim together.
That's how it seems to be everywhere else.
They take care of each other.
No matter what their disagreements.
You know, when we see a good idea from another country,
we grab it.
If they build a better car, we drive it.
If they make a better wine, we drink it.
So, if they have come up with a better way to treat the sick,
to teach their kids,
to take care of their babies,
to simply be good to each other,
then what's our problem?
Why can't we do that?
They live in a world of "we",
not "me".
We'll never fix anything until we get that one basic thing right.
And powerful forces hope that we never do.
And that we remain the only country in the western world
without free universal health care.
You know, if we ever did remove the chokehold of medical bills,
college loans, day care,
and everything else that makes us afraid to step out of line,
well, watch out,
cause it'll be a new day in America.
In the meantime, I'm gonna go get the government
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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, July 15, 2007


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