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

June 23rd, 2013 5:04 PM

To Hell With the U.S. Health Care Dead and Broke, We are Junkies for Celebrity

US Cult of Celebrity and Health Care Justice

Come on, now.  I've tested this out for weeks. We outright kill 123 people every day in America with our health care system greed and neglect, and we bankrupt nearly 2,000 more each day.  In every state in the nation, every city, and every neighborhood we let the sick and the injured suffer if they don't have the cash, the credit or the public or private health insurance coverage to access care that would save their lives.  I haven't seen any other writer or reporter cover this in 2013.

Yet, the essays I write that get the most attention and readership (nearly triple that of any others) are those that in any way feature the name of a celebrity -- any celebrity will do.  Yesterday, for instance, I included Paula Deen's name in the headline of my blog, and the number of readers surged.  When I used Andrea Bocelli's name, the same thing happened.  And, oh my, when I wrote about Angelina Jolie and used her name, people really clicked on the blog sites.  You see, many Americans are so drawn to celebrity that they will read articles on subject matters -- like health care -- that may not even interest them the rest of the time.

The lesson learned from this for me and other advocates of truly universal, improved and expanded Medicare for all for life may be that we need to follow the health travails of America's celebrities and highlight how single-payer reforms would help those people.  Writing and speaking about our own, everyday, average people dying and suffering falls mainly on deaf ears.  More than 21,000 are dead already this year, but few really care much in terms of transforming the health care system to stop the deaths because they are not yet being directly touched themselves.  But if they read about a celebrity they admire or idolize being unable to get care for some reason, perhaps more Americans would engage in the need for change.  And I know there are many, many performers and artists who either have health difficulties themselves or have members of their families who struggle.

That may not be the right lesson, but I know even for myself that my big screen connection to Michael Moore in "SiCKO" made more people care.  It's just a reality for our modern American culture that we are not going to change any time soon. And I was so aware of the benefit that connection offered me that I resolved not to abuse the gift and to treasure that quasi-celebrity status afforded to me that few others get in the ranks of those damaged by the U.S. health care system.   Most of those killed and forced to go broke just become the part of the gruesome tallies

It is sad that we so obviously value some human life over others, but it is a reality.  My life may be as valuable as any movie, television or sports star's is, but their fame makes any calamity that happens to them more widely known and more deeply felt.  So, I'll keep you posted the next time I can work a celebrity issue into the discussion to fix our health care mess.  Maybe, just maybe, a few more people will be educated about the need to fix things and the word will spread until we reach a critical mass of real people suffering real trauma sufficient to equal one celebrity headline and cause an uproar to be heard around the world.

Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:

The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-industrial -complex system dead: 21,289

The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt: 342,204

** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.

Creative Commons License This content is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

You must log in to comment.

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

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States 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 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 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 Donna Smith 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? Donna Smith 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 Nick Turse 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 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? 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 Donna Smith 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 . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Enron billionaire John Arnold thinks everyone should believe him when he says we've got to cut pensions because he's so incredibly rich: John...

Mar 5th
4:20 PM
Read More

More in David Sirota's continuing series on the billionaire takeover of PBS: More PBS conflict woes as activists move to eject David Koch from board of...

Mar 3rd
12:35 PM
Read More

Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many? Ray McGovern Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative...

Mar 2nd
9:25 PM
Read More

Latest from David Sirota on Enron billionaire John Arnold smuggling anti-pension propaganda into "neutral" institutions like PBS and now, the...

Mar 1st
12:58 PM
Read More

Second Guessing a Life: US Health Care System Robs Security and Human Dignity Donna Smith The dysfunction of the US health care system...

Feb 27th
1:40 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