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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 06:15 PM
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Health reformers to piggyback on 'Sicko'
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Health reformers to piggyback on 'Sicko'

Michael Moore's blast at medical care is hitting as U.S. seems ripe for changes

By Victoria Colliver / San Francisco Chronicle

Michael Moore couldn't have scheduled the release of his movie "Sicko" -- an indictment of the U.S. health care system -- at a more opportune time.

The film, which opens in theaters in the United States on June 29, arrives as many states, including California, have introduced health care reform proposals. In polls, health care routinely ranks among the public's top domestic concerns. Health care reform is also expected to be an important theme in the presidential campaign for 2008.

Advocates already are trying to capitalize on the documentary, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France last week, to further their political agendas.

"From the perspective of the health care reform movement, a high-profile representation of what patients commonly experience at the hands of insurers certainly adds momentum to the effort for true reform, both in California and across the country," said Jerry Flanagan, health advocate for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, based in Santa Monica.

The California Nurses Association and its national arm plans to host private premiere parties around the country and use the film's release to distribute materials to audience members to support the union's preferred reform models. The group, which opposes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan, supports the state and national single-payer proposals by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, and Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.

"Obviously, we're looking at this as an opportunity to push the agenda in terms of comprehensive health reform," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses association. DeMoro was one of about 50 people who attended a screening a few days before its premiere in Cannes.

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