I saw this film yesterday, with my wife and my daughter and my daughter's beau (we are on vacation right now till next Monday, yeah, baby, yeah!
I liked the film, even though there are some propagandistic flaws (for example, I don't believe that he really shows the viewer a "typical" French family and a "typical" treatment of strangers in a Cuban hospital). The issues that Moore brings up are most definitely very serious, and the documentary is, overall, very good, deep, thought-provoking, and, even though ironic and often sarcastic, nonetheless very kind and humane.
As for my experience of health care in the USA vs. abroad: I grew up in the former USSR, and I graduated from a medical school over there; so, I do have a first-hand experience on both "ends" in a system of completely socialized, government-run health care. It certainly had its drawbacks - dentistry, in particular, was, overall, very poor because there were constant shortages of materials for filling, little or no anaesthesia, etc. Yet, there were advantages, compared with the system in the US. We had the so-called "dispanserizations" - physical checkups for all people, including kids, at least once a year, which did not cost a thing. It did help to reveal illnesses at their early stage. When I was in third or forth grade, a doctor diagnozed recurrent tonsillitis in me, and sent me to a series of "sanations" (sprinkling of my tonsils with something like furazolidone, etc.). Of course I hated it, but there was no escape
. And my tonsillitis was really cured, it never became chronic and I never had any complications like rheumatic fever or kidney disease, which are so common - and so crippling! - in adults with chronic tonsillitis. What would happen if I were born in the US? Of course, if my parents had money, my tonsillitis would have been treated even better and cured; but if I were born to a family that had a small income? Shudders.
Also, we had house calls. I cannot imagine for a second having a sick child at home and a pediatrician not visiting this child every second or third day (in difficult cases, even daily).
Generally, I concur with the European idea of "solidarity" of people in matters of health care. I do not, in this regard, share the American philosophy of the "why should I pay for HIM or HIS kids?" kind. I believe socialized, taxpayers-supported health care should exist, just like socialized, taxpayers'-supported army or police of education exist. Private doctors can remain, it's fine - those people who can afford them, will continue to use their service. But people with modest income should be helped by socialized medicine without any interference of for-profit organizations like HMOs.