SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- If you caught last week’s column, you know I was traumatized by watching the movie “Sicko” by Michael Moore. It was traumatic because it rocked the foundations of my core beliefs that “socialized medicine” ala Canada and England were the worst things in the world.

I had known about the movie for a long time and would have never watched it because, after all, it was made by Moore, who I considered to be lower than pond scum. Still, rather than face the possibility of being stupid about something, I actually coughed up three bucks and endured the irritating and boring style of Moore and came away “with a different point of view” (as Johnny Cash once sang).



Now I am looking at the possibility that I had fallen hook, line and sinker for a load of lies from my peeps in the conservative movement. To try to decide where the truth lies, I started looking up on the Internet what Canadians say about their supposedly terrible health-care system. Another eye opener – mostly they love it. That’s not because they are idiots, it is because they evidently really do get much better care than their stupid neighbors to the south.

Well, I thought (not willing to have been so wrong all this time), why should I believe the Internet? After all, you can write anything on the Internet, can’t you? I got to thinking: I will do some basic research of my own.

(Side note: In a quest to cut my Qwest bill, I bought a MagicJack gizmo a few weeks ago. For years I have been too cheap to pay for long distance from Qwest and have just used calling cards or my cell phone on freebie weekends instead. I do have Qwest Internet service, so for 40 bucks and a dollar a month I hooked up to MajicJack VOI telephony.) Which (back to my point) gives me “free” long distance to people in the United States and – Canada! All I had to do was get a few Canadian phone numbers in our same time zone and call some folks up there and ask them what the real story is.

Most Canadians think you are out of your mind for calling them from another country just to ask them about their health-care system. The bottom line is, they like their system, a lot. Some even gloat over the fact that they have a longer life expectancy than we do.

I even talked to a person who had a friend, a nuclear physicist (obviously no dummy), who moved to the U.S. for the bigger bucks but kept (rather than selling) her house in Canada to maintain an address, so if she needs it she can go back there for health care!

At this point, I have to accept that Moore’s movie is believable. Don’t take my word for it; you should watch it for yourself, especially since our illustrious government is going to hit you with a new trillion-dollar tax and “reform” our broken health-care system yet once again. To me, that means that, unless they tear it down completely (and they won’t, because they are bought and paid for by the special interests) we are going to end up worse off AND saddled with a new trillion-dollar tax bill.

Everything bad we have been told about “socialized medicine” is covered in the movie. Examples: long waits for service – lies; crummy, underpaid doctors – lies; unavailability of quality drugs – lies; hidden costs – lies; unaffordable, nation-bankrupting costs – lies. Speaking of costs … if you read my column much, you know I buy drugs from Canada for pennies on the dollar. Even with prescription drug coverage, I can buy – outright – drugs from Canada for less than the co-pay costs to get them here! What does that tell you about the cost of prescriptions? It tells me the drugs actually cost less than the insurance co-pays! If you look at the “list price” of the drugs, you can see (in some cases) the profit is 300 to 400 percent!

Which brings me back to my “bankrupting costs” point. The only difference in the drugs is the profit. The Canadian pharmacy from which I have been buying for years is obviously making money. In contrast to that, if you come down to the good-old U.S., not only are we paying three or four times what the drugs are worth, we are being taxed into oblivion to “bail out” the poor corporations that would just go broke if we tax-saps weren’t shoveling money to them.

What is all this really about? Profits and greed. Outrageous, mind-boggling greed. It’s about CEOs who pay themselves hundreds of millions of dollars to … what – lose money? They aren’t losing anything personally! That handfull of insiders is getting obscenely rich when the rest of us are suffering loss.

They are able to do this with one simple talent. They bribe politicians. Of course, it’s not called it a bribe … it’s called a campaign contribution. Whatever you call it, paid-off politicians are steering us toward a real health-care crisis and muy pronto. Make no mistake, the crisis is this: the same bunch of politicians, who are still owned by the same bunch of lobbyists for the same bunch of special interests, are getting ready to stick it to us again!

Rick Coddington is a third-generation native New Mexican. He attended UNM and studied political science. He has lived in Socorro since 1974. His opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.