Thursday, July 26th, 2007
I am overwhelmed by the response to "Sicko." And I'm not just talking about all the wonderful, heart-felt letters you've sent me and the stories you've shared with me about the abuse you've suffered from our health care system.
No, I'm talking about how thousands of you are taking matters into your own hands and using the movie to do something. From Seattle to New England, each day I learn of numerous groups holding meetings or dinners after the movie to discuss it and to plot a course for action. A church in Plano, TX took its weekly bible study group to see "SiCKO." 70 people crammed into a Wisconsin coffee shop's back room. Groups are plotting over pancakes in Illinois and microbrew in Missouri. E-mail addresses are being exchanged in theater lobbies. A Connecticut group is inviting legislators to see "Sicko" and keeping a tally on their website. Local groups have been buying out theaters to have special screenings for their members. Information tables are set up, literature is distributed, action groups are formed.
It's all an amazing sight. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see the impact a movie can have. For all of you who have written me to ask, "What can I do," well, read more about what others have done, and then try these simple steps:
1. Call or write you member of Congress right now (I'll wait) and tell him or her that you insist they become a co-sponsor of H.R. 676 -- "The United States National Health Insurance Act." It's sponsored currently by Rep. John Conyers and 76 other members of Congress. Insist that your congressperson be one of those co-sponsors. I want to see 100 co-sponsors by Thanksgiving. Will you help make that happen?
2. Call and write to each of the candidates running for President. Tell them you expect them to back H.R. 676, and to take the Senator Brown pledge. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio refuses to accept his free, government-run health insurance until EVERY American is covered.
3. Organize your own local HealthCare-Now! coalition. You can do it in your own neighborhood. It has to start somewhere. Everyday people have to make this happen. Don't wait for someone else to do this. Ask yourself, "if not me, who?"
4. Call your local media and tell them about your health care horror story. Many papers and TV stations have been running these since "Sicko" arrived in theaters. They like the local angle. Tell them you saw the movie and that there's a "Sicko" story happening right here in (fill in the blank). Tell them you are passing it on to me.
Well, that's a start. Here's what I'm going to do. Because last weekend's "Win a Trip to a Universal Healthcare Country" was so successful (the winner will be announced next week), this weekend we're going to try something different: it's "Take a Republican to 'Sicko!'" C'mon, we all have a conservative in the family! They mean well. It's just that they believe what they've been told about that scary "socialized medicine." Treat them to the movie this weekend and tell them to send me their ticket stub and entry form. I will hold a drawing and the lucky winner will get to have me come to their home and do their laundry -- just like in France! Now, what would make a Republican happier than to see me working away in their laundry room?!
I truly believe that the health care issue is one where we can find some common ground with those who may hold different opinions than us. After all, they're getting the shaft by the same insurance and pharmaceutical companies we are. And sooner or later, they're not going to take it any more, either.
P.S. I will be on Jay Leno (The Tonight Show on NBC) tonight (Thursday) at 11:35pm ET/PT. I will be making a special announcement on the show.