Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation
We were on an airplane returning from the NYC Ziegfeld Theater premiere of Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary film, SiCKO, and I told my husband that if the plane went down and we died, I would now feel just fine about that. Our story, so like so many millions of other American stories, had been recorded and shared. Our sordid financial failures had been aired in the film for all to know, and we had lived to see the day when at least some people spread the blame for our demise across a U.S. healthcare system designed to bleed us dry. We were freer than we had been in 20 years.
It wasn’t as if I wanted to die – no suicidal wishes here. I just knew that the road ahead wasn’t necessarily any less difficult, and I was growing tired of the struggle. Ending on an up note seemed not so bad in comparison to spending another decade or two fighting a healthcare system that really dislikes working class patients and makes it difficult to secure care.
So these four years later – almost to the day -- am I still feeling like there would have been a sort of restful content if the plane went down? Absolutely. Yes. I am absolutely OK with this struggle against healthcare corporate greed coming to an end soon. My story of healthcare doom and gloom won’t be a historical footnote until we make it one. Americans are suffering and dying in alarming numbers because corporate America hasn’t profited enough yet – and the candidates they fund won’t stand up to them or for us.
I’ve been fighting with others to see the end of the corporate welfare state – there is no one more entitled than corporate America. No one strips working folks bare of their dreams like those who manufactured them. And in the corporate healthcare world in America, the only dreams many think are worth having are of money and profits and more money and more profits.
Nurses were there outside the Ziegfeld Theater when SiCKO premiered in June 2007, and the nurses are returning to New York City again.
The nurses will be protesting on Wall Street next week – noon, Wednesday, June 22, Federal Hall, New York City. If you’ve never protested with the nurses, you need to experience it. The nurses speak with clarity and with truth and with passion. If you can, clear your schedule and join in. It’s time those who created this nation’s economic crisis pay to repair it and lots of us need to say so.
Meanwhile, the patients are fighting to stay afloat and to find those providers who tell the truth and treat people like patients instead of cogs in the ever-flowing profit wheel. Most politicians don’t care much because the corporate profiteers fund their campaigns. Patients being bled dry don’t give much to the re-election effort; the providers who do the bleeding of patients give plenty.
Patients, we don’t have many trusted friends left in the U.S healthcare system. Soon, the connection between wealth and health will be fully actualized, and we’ll be more invisible than we already are to the engines of healthcare profit.
The nurses came to DC last week. One of the rank and file nurses from Arizona recorded her own report on the day here.
Now come on to NYC. Bring your righteous anger about what has been taken from us all in favor of the few who already had grotesque accumulation of money and of influence and power.
The Wall Street behemoths that created the financial crisis in this nation need to be made responsible for fixing it – all hands on deck to save the nation. And to do that we need to tax them on the speculative transactions the rest of us don’t even understand except to know that those transactions escape taxation – and the folks who profit wildly from the speculation and the transactions pay a fraction of the tax burden that the rest of us do. Time for a change for this nation.
Join us. Main Street’s time has come. And our heroes are not fair weather politicians or slick marketers who side with us only in election cycles. We are our own best hope and our only chance to pull our nation back from the brink. See you on Wall Street. I guess I have to be grateful the plane stayed aloft for SiCKO’s 4th anniversary celebration to include nurses all over again. Main Street nurses. Main Street patients. Defenders of the truth. Ya’ll come.
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