Saw Michael Moore’s documentary, Sicko, yesterday. From the full capacity crowd at the theater and the occasional spontaneous applause during the movie, I can see it will be a huge hit – and likely a topic of conversation for some time to come. In addition, I think it will do more than ignite conversation. I think it will accelerate change.
Although I haven’t exactly appreciated some of Michael Moore’s behavior in the past, I must say that this film is very effective, entertaining (if you can even say that about a movie which showcases people’s misery) and above all, for most of us, it rings true. Almost everyone in the US has had (or knows someone who has had) a nightmare experience with our medical health care system. I am reminded of Steve Case’s experience maneuvering through the system when his brother Daniel was diagnosed with what turned out to be fatal brain cancer.
Clearly our system is broken for both the rich and the poor.
As Sicko suggests, there might be good reason for us to learn from other country’s health care systems. I was particularly impressed with the ways in which other systems are paying attention to prevention than we do in the US. I have been thinking about the spa industry worldwide for many years now and how spas (which are increasingly moving toward places to pursue wellness) fit into a country’s health care options. The answer may be that it really depends on the health care system, on the country, on its political system, on the culture and traditions of the people, etc. It is as complex of an issue as is figuring out how to improve health care in the US.
Increasingly, I find that one of the spa industry’s greatest contributions might actually be fostering an understanding between people and countries which might help open all of us up to change. It is in the spa world where one learns about Ayurveda from India, traditional Chinese medicine from China or naturopathy often used in the UK and Australia. In many cases when we visit a spa we are doing more than just having a wellness experience, we are learning about how other people in the world stay well or get well. This results in a greater appreciation for various cultures.
And like in the movie Sicko, I think it gets us Americans off of our high horse.