Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

February 4th, 2011 4:58 PM

Super Bowl Commercial for the Dead Patients

I’d love to see a Super Bowl commercial Sunday that stated the facts about how many Americans will die on Super Bowl Sunday this year because they didn’t have access to the healthcare they needed. 123 will die on Sunday, and perhaps a photo of one of the dead every 12 minutes or so during a commercial break would be instructive. That’s how often someone dies in the country because he or she couldn’t get care.

The Dead Patient’s Society grows larger by 123 every single day in America. There is no time off for major sporting events.

Every 12 minutes while we jam in nachos and giggle about the most creative Super Bowl ads, someone will die who could have – should have – been saved. That dead person didn’t have the cash or the credit or the insurance approval to get the care he or she might have accessed in order to survive to see the Packers and the Steelers play.

The patients die while doctors and hospitals hold at arm’s length the treatments that could have saved lives. I don’t understand how they do it. I have never understood how the people or provider organizations that take oaths to care for the sick and relieve suffering can get a phone call from an insurance company and then turn their backs when payment is denied. Or how they see a shivering, hurting person and turn them away when care is so easily available. Too bad we cannot run the sick to the field on Super Bowl Sunday and have teams of medical experts rush to treat them. But then they are not star football players, are they?

Oh, I understand the evil empire of the for-profit insurance giants and that providers cannot give away healthcare lest they go broke. I do get that. But, still, I do not know how neighbors turn their backs on neighbors and doctors turn their backs on patients. I couldn’t do it. Maybe I am weak in that regard. I always wonder why we don’t see and hear more about the dear doctors and providers who defy the financial death warrants and treat people in spite of the financial risk. I know there are some. We just don’t hear about them too much. Some doctors say they have to be careful lest their hospitals and other doctors punish them for speaking or acting outside the profit-making fold.

The death every 12 minutes of a sick or injured American won’t make the news on Super Bowl Sunday. It didn’t make the news today, and it won’t make the news tomorrow. We care an awful lot more about the big game than the end game for patients in America.

The membership ranks grow daily from all walks of life, all ages and from all across the nation. While a people’s revolution unfolds in Egypt – and perhaps beyond – American patients are staging their own silent and deadly revolt. Slow, wasting, preventable deaths don’t make the evening news in America or elsewhere.

The 123 Americans who died today without access to life-saving treatment are part of the acceptable cost of doing business for the American healthcare industry – and they are part of the acceptable political casualties for those elected to govern for the common good who just don’t quite do that.

Even our loved ones and neighbors are sometimes immune to the ravages of patients’ realities. Obedient up until the very brutal end, patients and families often don’t know how to fight back against the hospitals and providers who won’t supply the care – or they are mislead into thinking there is nothing that can be done, and the insurance companies that deny the treatment suffer only minimal challenges to their control over life and death decisions for thousands and thousands of people every month.

Monday morning, the big game will be over. Either the Steelers or the Packers will be the champions, and we’ll look forward to next year’s football season and the chance that our favorite team might make it to the big game. For me, it’s the Broncos, so chances aren’t so great.

But for hundreds of Americans, there will be no new season. The rest of us will have been very distracted by all the energy surrounding the game and the hype.

If we had a progressively financed, single-standard of high quality care for all in America, more Americans could enjoy life more fully and be more a part of the communities in which they live. I’m betting many of those who will die this Super Bowl weekend would rather have been cheese-heads than deadheads. But I am also betting most Americans will not be thinking too much about that while such a large and showy distraction allows so many of us to look away.

But if there were a face every 12 minutes on one of those super important, Super Bowl commercial breaks, and a brief line or two about why that person just died and how simple it might have been to save that life, maybe we’d be forced to face our super bowl of suffering. And maybe if we posted a price tag for that live-saving treatment denied, we’d be able to compare the cost for advertising time during the Super Bowl compared to cost to save a life. At least we ought to know honestly what our values really are – saving human life just really isn’t one of our super-priorities.

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... www.theonion.com President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States www.theonion.com WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract pando.com As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors pando.com If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa ...by Nick Turse www.michaelmoore.com Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 www.theguardian.com Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? www.huffingtonpost.com I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | RootsAction.org act.rootsaction.org The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles