Sunday, July 15, 2007

Universal Health Care? Meh

Michael Moore was bumped a few weeks back on Larry King for an exclusive interview with Paris Hilton. This was a sound business decision. Paris Hilton was bound to draw more viewers. With all the talk of "Sicko" in the news, the fact is that in 22 days it has earned about half of what Harry Potter earned on Friday. We often complain about a coursening culture, yet celebrity gossip and entertainment is more valuable to people than an education about health care in America. The numbers don't lie.

According to the latest figures, the average price for a movie ticket in America is $6.55. Sicko has earned $13,936,000 at the box office, which is splendid for a documentary, but a piddling compared to what other highly visible movies generate.

This works out to about 2,176,333 tickets sold. Some of these are repeat viewers, but for the sake of argument, let's count this as individuals who watched the movie. There are 301,139,947 people in the US. Approximately 47 million of them have no coverage, and others are being eaten up alive by the spiraling costs.

Here comes a documentary about an issue that is devastating people and more people will be watching an episode of wrestling than show up to this movie. This is how politicians know they don't have to take us that seriously. We scream about the uninsured, but don't take the two hours to watch a movie about it. Half of Republicans are for universal coverage, but they vote for candidates that are in the pocket of big pharma.

In our capitalistic culture, let me put the numbers of 'Sicko' in another perspective. The lobbying budget for the past ten years for the health care industry has been $2,200,000,000 dollars. Until we begin to show more passion than having 1 in 150 people show up to see a Michael Moore movie, the system is not going to be overhauled.

The politicians are indeed listening to those who are most interested, and it ain't us.