My New Hero Speaks

"Dave Petrakis is my new hero."
Melinda Sordino

In the indie movie Speak, Melinda Sordino (played beautifully by Kristen Stewart) was in awe of Dave Petrakis' courage to speak out his disappointment in Mr. Neck's classroom wherein he forces students to conform to his preferred teaching dynamics. Dave Petrakis is played by Michael Angarano whom I remember most for being Elliot (Jack's son) in Will & Grace. I was laughing my head off the first time I saw Robert John Burke in Gossip Girl as Bart Bass because he played Mr. Neck in this film. It was hard for me to differentiate Mr. Neck from Bart Bass and vice-versa because I hardly saw the difference; he was acerbic in both roles. While it would be a neat trivia to share that Speak is where Kristen and Michael developed their real life romance, my blog post isn't entirely about this movie. It's merely a backdrop. I do admit, however, that the movie and quote above did inspire me to make this blog. Hopefully it'll make sense to you why I chose that title to characterize my post after you finish reading this.

Just a few hours ago, my brother and I finished watching one of Michael Moore's controversial documentaries entitled Sicko. I have a weird relationship with documentaries. For some reason, I find it rather hard to finish one because I always end up either being grossed out or terribly sad. That applied to Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me. It's not that I don't want to hear the truth about things. It's the attachment I develop to discovering such truths scare me. For me, documentaries are like a slap in the face -- they really drill it on you that we're living in dangerous times, that this is not the best world to live in. It has the tendency to develop paranoia in people. I have long accepted the fact that these are difficult times but I'd rather keep an optimistic/pragmatic view on things. Imagine living your life being on guard 24x7, always laboring in fear of what will happen the moment you shove a French Fry down your throat. Will I die in a minute because of one small indulgence? However, I'm making an exemption for this documentary because it deals with an issue close to my heart -- health insurance.

For any corporate employee, health insurance is a big thing especially if your monthly salary -- after taxes, of course -- can't pay for premium health care. It was one of the main reasons why I accepted my current job because it afforded a good health insurance package for me and my parents. It's not absolutely stellar but it'll do especially since doctor consultations are expensive, even the tests and the medicines that follow after. Michael Moore's documentary exposes the state of health insurance in the United States. To sum it up, it's a profit vs. people issue. I was shocked to find out that accessibility to good health care is a problem. The list of pre-existing conditions alone was unbelievable. Stories of people who suffered from the system were featured; most of those stories didn't have happy endings. Loss of lives happened due to health insurance companies refusing to cover medical expenses. Even the simple non-declaration of a yeast infection caused one health insurance company to drop one of it's beneficiaries. Sure, maybe the person forgot to declare it. To err is human. But to drop off from the insurance completely and force the person to pay back the company because of this small thing? I have no words.

There were shining moments in Michael Moore's documentary but none of them are found in the United States. These are triumphs in Universal Health Care wherein countries like Canada, United Kingdom, France and even Cuba (!) were featured. People in those countries, rich or poor, didn't pay for anything. Their governments take care of all medical expenses: from consultations to tests and medicines. Even compensation for women on maternity leave! My love for Europe grew ten fold at the end of the documentary and made it more sensible to be the continent where I would work if I choose to go the overseas route. I was in tears when four 9/11 New York firefighters got free medical consultations, tests and treatments in Cuba of all places; they were even accorded a heroes' treatment by Cuban firefighters. Sicko makes you wonder what has happened to the country they call "The Land of Milk and Honey." Now, I fear for my friend who's migrating to the US with her kids in about a month to join her husband. How would they be treated there?

In the same breath as Melinda Sordino, I'd like to end my post with this...

"Michael Moore is my new hero."


xoxo, l.p.


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