Health Care in the United States is “SiCKO”

Michael Moore's SickoMichael Moore’s latest film, SiCKO, is from beginning to end an all-out assault on the for-profit U.S. health care system. Most of us have heard of the 47 million Americans, including 10 million children, without health insurance, a number that has been steadily rising over the last few years.

But Moore clearly states in the opening minutes of the film that SiCKO isn’t about them.  The focus of the movie is on the nearly 250 million Americans who are insured.  He focuses on how the health industry in the U.S. is set up not to provide, but rather to deny care.   As a former “denial management specialist” says in the film, “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 profit.”

Energy Deregulation in IL an Attack on Working People

Ameren PlantAmeren, which provides energy services to customers in Missouri and Illinois, has begun circulating a letter to all of their Illinois customers, warning them to expect even higher rates during the summer, along with tips on how to “tighten their belts”.  Millions across the state are already outraged at the massive increase in their electric bills since the start of the year.  This has led to widespread discontent among working people, as explained by Patty M., a retail worker and Ameren customer, who told Socialist Appeal: “Our bill doubled in one month, but my income didn’t double.”  The deregulation policies in the utilities sector can only be described as a direct attack on working people.

Price-Gouging the Uninsured

It is well known that the U.S. lacks a universal health care system.  The for-profit health system is yet another example of capitalism’s inability to play a progressive role for the majority of society.  Despite being the wealthiest nation on the planet, millions are effectively barred access to any kind of health care due to a lack of insurance. Those who are insured have to pay exorbitant amounts in the form of premiums and co-pays. But what happens if you don’t have insurance, but are sick or injured and have to go to the hospital anyway?

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion

There is a stage in every great revolution when the masses – or at least the most militant section of the masses – begin to feel that they have been cheated of the fruits of victory, that power is slipping through their fingers and they have to act to prevent this from happening. A desperate minority moves to take power and is crushed. This marks a decisive turning point in the revolution, where the conservative wing crushes its former allies and proceeds to consolidate its power as a new ruling class. This stage in the American Revolution was Shays Rebellion.

Originally published in the book Marxism and the USA, published by and available from Wellred.

What About Russia?

USSR Military Parade As early as 1936, Leon Trotsky predicted that the Stalinist bureaucracy that usurped power after Lenin’s death, would not be satisfied with its legal and illegal privileges, but would inevitably strive to replace the nationalized planned economy by privately owned monopolies. The capitalist counter-revolution in Russia, however, offers no way forward to the peoples of the former U.S.S.R.. It has been accompanied by a horrific collapse of the Russian economy, living standards and culture, as Trotsky predicted. If there is a country in the world where capitalism stands condemned, that country is Russia.

Originally published in the book Marxism and the USA, published by and available from Wellred.