When the twin towers fell in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, Reggie Cervantes was among the first on the scene.
Like many first responders, Cervantes was never quite the same after the tragedy. She now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which has kept her from being continuously employed, thereby making it impossible to find affordable health care.
She moved her family to Oklahoma, where, Cervantes said, doctors who had treated survivors and responders in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing had a reputation for specialized PTSD treatment. However, it wasn't any more affordable.
"If you do any research, you find that a lot of doctors in Oklahoma are specialized in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, but paying for it is a nightmare," she said. "It's even harder to find a doctor that is willing to deal with workers' compensation."
In addition, the Yukon resident said she has heart and kidney problems, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, caused by breathing in the caustic debris from the World Trade Center site.
So when Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore announced he was looking for "medical horror stories" for his latest movie, "Sicko," Cervantes answered the call.
In the film, Moore investigates and analyzes the medical system here in the United States, most notoriously by juxtaposing our system with that of communist Cuba. Moore took Cervantes and several other first responders to Cuba to see just how universal health care might stack against the U.S. system.
"Well, I found out that health care in Cuba is free and they actually have affordable medications," she said. "Their treatment is also a lot more holistic than here."
Cervantes " who has seen the film four times so far " said the film is "shocking."
"When you see it," she said, "you are going to have a lot of questions." "Joe Wertz