So, I saw Michael Moore's latest flick last night, and I've gotta say I'm once again impressed. (There was one of those 'call this number and get two free tickets with two free popcorns (you cheapskate) offers in the M&G that don't get passed up round our house.) It's all about the injustices of U.S. healthcare.
Impressed with the man's balls, and refreshingly impressed by South Africa's healthcare system. No, it doesn't feature in Sicko, although Moore does explore the Canadian, French and British healthcare systems (all of which are light years ahead of, and incomparably more compassionate than, the U.S.). He even goes so far as to highlight the fact that the 'enemy combatants' held at Gitmo have medical facilities which far outstrip that which the majority of Amerkins have access to. Which is kinda cooked, but then this is one screwball world we're living in.
It's a disturbing film, appropriately alarming considering its subject matter, but don't let that put you off - if anything, it may well make you realise that even down here in deepest darkest Sarfefica we're actually quite fine, thank you very much.
Now before the chorus of the disgruntled raises its hackles and aims some well-honed missiles of cynicism at me, hear me out.
When I broke my left leg dancing (it's a long story, one day I'll tell you all about it, but for now can you please just sit down while I tell you this bloody story. Thank you.), I ended up going to McCord's Hospital on Ridge Road here in Durbs-By-The-Sea-Stone-City.
After an initial evaluation by a nurse who was beside herself with laughter at the fact that I had broken my leg whilst cutting the proverbial rug, I was pumped full of industrial-strength painkillers and sent on my way with a cast that pretty much came up to my chin. (OK, I lie, but for a shattered ankle and fractured fibula you've gotta wonder why in the name of strawberry flavoured nipple clamps they had to plaster my leg all the way up to my package. But I digress.)
Upon waking up the next day, I was one surprised motherfucker. Surprised, for one, at waking up with a leg in plaster (couldn't remember a thing. Industrial strength, as I say.) and suprised, secondly, at how little the whole bangshoot had cost. Eighty Zuid Afrikaansche Rands. That's, like, less than ten dollars US. Now that included being admitted, having a nurse see to me, getting X-rayed, having a doctor check out the X-rays and make a diagnosis, pump me fulla those goddamn wonderful drugs so that I wouldn't scream like a ten-year-old girl when they put me in plaster and sort me a pair of crutches.
Watching Sicko last night reminded me of all this, and I now realise that down here in deepest darkest Durban, the government health care on offer is actually quite fine. Sure, the queues are long (not at 5am, though...) and we're not talking Private Hospital Care, but it's adequate. And I know this, because the movie revealed just how screwed the American system is. On the face of it (and it's not a pretty face, let me tell you, after seeing the sad results) universal healthcare is about as foreign to the US as universal suffrage was to the 12th Century.
This is not to say that I'm about to stop paying for Discovery. But that's not my point - my point is that as far as I'm concerned, basic health care is available to a far greater degree in South Africa than in the Younaaided Stays. And that's gotta count for something, when some of my compatriots are all-too-readily slagging off any and all aspects of living in the old S of A.
So I bless my cotton socks. And keep paying my health insurance. (Hey, I'm not 18 anymore.)