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Sicko review (Michael Moore documentary)

Updated on November 7, 2010
OECD Figures, 2004.
OECD Figures, 2004.
OECD Figures, 2004.
OECD Figures, 2004.

Sicko review

I just saw Michael Moore's Sicko, lucky enough to see its screening at the Cannes Film Festival, and was deeply moved by this tragic portrayal of the disastrous state of our very expensive (see the stats to the right, below), but poorly-managed health care system.

The film walks viewers through several parts, each underscoring that what we call health care in the US is structured badly:

  • People taking severe cuts to their standard of living because they were not covered by health insurance, including one man who had to choose to save only one of two fingers severed in an accident (a modern variation of Sophie's Choice, I guess)
  • People getting care unapproved for payment, including one for an ambulance, and another because she didn't disclose having a yeast infection years before
  • Medical directors, applicant reviewers, medical boards, and "health insurance company sleuths" to deny applicants, deny treatments and even scour through medical records to retroactively deny payment for care - health care companies even incentivize doctors to deny treatment
  • Hillarycare and the war against "Socialist medicine", including a tract from 1960s era Ronald Reagan, and Nixon's support for the for-profit model.
  • The high degree of commingling of political and health care business interests (lobbyists becoming politicians and vice versa)
  • How the Canadian, British and French systems work, and how even Americans manage to benefit from their systems. One young woman in France says she feels guilty for the high degree of care she enjoys there while her parents have worked their whole lives in the US for a vastly inferior system. Moore, commonly derided as anti-American by rightists, makes a point of presenting Canadians and French who are pro-American and even conservative, but that still think of universal healthcare as unquestionable.
  • Americans live shorter lives and have higher incidences of diseases than other countries that have socialized medicine. We have the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world, with Detroit's rate higher than El Salvador's.
  • How a fragmented, decentralized system dumps people from hospital care at clinics' doors when they don't have the means to pay anymore.
  • 9/11 firemen and volunteers that, years after being heralded as heroes, are now struggling with health issues that they can't afford to pay for. Moore takes them to Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) since the government brags that the quality of alleged enemy combatants' care is much better.
  • After being turned away, the 9/11 heroes are treated by Cuban doctors, not paying at all for treatment, and one woman paying the equivalent of 5 cents for an inhaler she had to pay $120 for in the U.S. That brought her to tears. A local Cuban fire station honored them, as well, dispelling the myth that Cubans (like the French and Canadians) are viscerally anti-American.
  • A nice final touch that lifts you from almost killing yourself out of depression is an anecdote, rich with irony, in which an anti-Michael Moore site was almost shut down because the founder couldn't afford to run the site and pay for his wife's medical bills. When Moore offered to pay and was dealt a big F-U by the site founder, he sent a check anonymously. The site rages on to this day.

It doesn't have to be this way

The most instructive point of this movie is to make Americans realize that it doesn't have to be this way. Healthcare costs amount to 17.3% of GDP and projected to rise to 20% by 2015 (article)? Only 83% of Americans have health insurance, and even that 83%'s care seems tenuous?

The fact that's demonstrated by the movie, and readily-available statistics, is that we can have far better care, have 100% of people covered AND pay less. What that would require would be completely restructuring a system that has all the wrong incentives.

I lived in the Netherlands for 2 years and enjoyed medical care that was at least as good as what I have here. And the Dutch pay half of what we pay, and everyone's covered.

My only criticism

The only thing I was expecting Moore to include is that we pay so much more than the other countries profiled. The closest is France, which still only pays about half as much as we do, and remember, their relatively extravagant system pays for nannies, doctor house visits, etc.

However, the movie does a wonderful job of bringing this issue to the fore, educating people about how bad things are and how much better it can be, and hopefully to provoke a discussion. And hopefully this is an issue that we can discuss without having to endure character assassinations and other distractions about the filmmaker.


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    • CarltheCritic1291 profile image


      7 years ago

      Although I do not like Michael Moore, he does make some good points with this movie.

    • profile image

      muhammed atta 

      8 years ago

      I keep seeing the word "free health care". if it is free, then absolutely no need for government involvement, because well meaning citizens deliver their services to those in need. What role is there for government when it is "free"

    • TravelinAsia profile image


      8 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      As a Canadian, I can walk into any hospital in my country and receive medical attention for any illness or injury I may have. We expect free health care in Canada, and we consider it to be a basic right. I believe that Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and almost all European countries have similar health care programs for their citizens, so that all people can receive medical attention when they need it, regardless of their financial situation. The United States does not have free health care for their citizens, and people without health insurance can find themselves unable to receive treatment when they are ill. This seems very strange to me, that a country with so much money, can allow this to happen. I do not consider health care to be something that is "optional", and the fact that Americans are now debating whether it is worth the cost, and complaining about Barack Obama's plan to provide health care for all Americans is mind boggling to me! Can you really put a price on health care?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      9 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Even Obama's plan won't cover 100% of citizens. Last week the congressional budget office released a study showing that Medicare benefits will decrease if BHO gets his plan passed.

      The federal government is prohibited by the constitution from interfering in health care anyway.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You can all go to Canada France or UK. Nobodies stopping you

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 

      10 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great hub! I'm glad you were able to cover this topic so well!

    • JennifersJumpers profile image


      10 years ago

      Great review. I haven't seen the movie yet, buy my brother still talks about it. I really have got to see it.

    • profile image

      Les Moore 

      10 years ago

      I work at an insurance company and I think its a joke that Micheal Moore is exploiting issues such as this to make millions of dollars off his movie and not even having a clue why the insurance is in such a bad state. First of all many states have pre existing condition rules so people pay into insurance all the time rather than purchasing it when they get sick or need services and cancel it when they get better. Healthy people won't purchase health insurance when they don't need it driving up costs for the sick people who buy it because they need to have it. My company pays out 95 cents on the dollar to pay insurance claims, and runs the company, paying out salaries, administrative costs, etc on the rest. If there is anything left over that is the profit. My company makes about 2/10ths of 1 perecent in profit. The insurance companies clamp down on the hospital and doctor costs for the consumer. The government could do far more to set rates charged by doctors and hospitals which are unacceptably high but don't blame insurance companies for the cost of health care in the US. Focus on doctors and hospitals who charge exhorbitant rates because of malpractice insurance that is so high that we have no doctors staying in many specialties such as Obstetrics and Gynecology. Also, how can he say that everything is so wonderful in these other countries. Access to care is far better in the US. You can usually get a doctors appointment in 24 hours in the US , but you will easily wait a week in Europe. I have relatives in Canada, Italy, and France and they have told me that they wait alot longer to see a doctor. We expect a lot more out of our health care system in the US also which we provide many more services. Of course it costs less in Europe because it is paid for through payroll taxes or a national sales tax but it isn't free. I wonder how much access to services are affected in a severe downturn such as is going on now? With no jobs and consumption dwindling, who will pay for the healthcare? I just wish that MM painted a truer picture of the health care systems in different countries rather than showing sad situations that occur in the US system.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This movie made me cry so hard, at several points! Such a sad reality! It is a crying shame that the so-called richest country in the world, never mind that we are hugely indebted to China, (one day they will come and carry us all away as bond-servants- LOL) cannot protect its citizens.

      I agree with Paula about Austria having one of the best health care systems. While I was still living in Austria, I met many Americans who relocated to Austria because they were suffering from bad health conditions that were not covered by their US health insurance. At the time, I couldn't make sense of what they were saying about US healthcare. An American friend (who became very close to me while I was living in Austria) was suffering from multiple sclorosis and was denied treatment in the US. She moved to Austria, lucky for her, her mom was Austrian and got the needed treatment in Austria, free of charge. As a matter of fact, if one is below a certain income bracket and is sick, the government pays for all the medicines, no copays or all that jazz!

      I was very sick for a couple of years while I lived there, and all my bills were covered by the universal health care system. Nothing came out of my pocket, which also helped me to heal faster and took away most of the anxieties associated with a severe illness. I got the best physical theraphy at first 5days/week and later 3days/week, including all the latest experimental treatments as well as alternative medical treatment. AND I DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING! The ambulance picked me up everyday and dropped me back at home everyday!

      And all that jazz about medical services in the US being superior to other western countries, or even in the world as a whole. I know for a fact that this is untrue, and I am talking from personal experience. In Europe they have very well trained doctors and CLEAN HOSPITALS, with up-to-date equipment, not the rickety, outdated equipment that I have seen in a lot of the hospitals in the US.

      Americans, most of whom have not really been abroad, and when I say abroad, I don't mean Jamaica, or Hawaii, think that the US is the most advanced country in the world, the best place in the world! Well, with all the bills that they have to pay, most AMericans can't really afford to visit other continents and see for themselves how things work. The government has sold us a lie that all other countries are backward and don't even get me started on the level of ignorance in this country! Americans always seem to be under the impression that America is the best place in the world, blah blah!

      Truly, let's face it, life is really tough in this country. I have seen more homeless people here than I have ever seen anywhere else! And I have been all over Europe and many other countries around the world.

      I also always hear the argument oh the best, lastest research is being done here blah blah. Well how many people ever in their lifetime, ever get a chance to actually partake of the so-called best research? How many people ever have access to the Johns Hopkins, or the Mayo clinic or the St. Jude's children's hospital? It is the same group of CEOs and their kids who can afford it. So it really means nothing, the best research? As long as most people cannot afford to partake of the benefits of such research! fancy having to choose between which of your fingers to save?

      Anytime I go back to Europe, I get all my dental work, physical theraphy and all done before I come back to the US. And that's another thing, your little insurance premium in Europe, covers everything! -Dental, optical, hospital stay, false teeth, etc, covers everything! No pre-existing conditions, no partial payments and co-pays, those co-pays drive me crazy. I can't even afford to go to the doctors here because everytime I visit my doctor, I pay a $30 co-pay, plus other bills. Pray you don't ever get admitted into the hospital, you pay between $500 - $1000 deductible before the insurance coverage even sets in!

      And is anyone noting that most employers nowadays, don't even pay a 100% for the premium? You have to pay between 20-50% of the premiums, plus co-pays, plus referrals, about $50 on the average to see a specialist? ANd who says there are no wait times here? I once waited from 9am till 10:00pm in the emergency room, and I had to leave eventually without getting seen? Talk about wait times? I wait on the average about 1.30minutes to see my family doctor every single time, and that's with an appointment- all the triple booking and so on! Don't even get me started on the referrals and pre-authorizations!

      Okay, so in Sicko you see that in France a new mother can take up to a year paid leave, right? Well in Austria, a new mother can take up to two years! A lot of these countries are so family friendly, its like you get paid to spend quality time with your family. So people are more relaxed, they travel, have long vacations and are happier in the longrun! Here you are almost having a heart attack monthly with the bills, and the credit cards which provide a little cushion to help people survive?

      people are working three jobs and cannot make ends meet! Here, in the US, people are looking for ways to make elementary and high school kids stay in school till 6:30pm, i.e. babysitting services, so that their parents can work longer hours! Its a shame, the health system is not the only thing broken in the US, but it definitely is one that seriously needs to be changed.

      I think Michael Moore did a great job, and those ignorant people who think that it is just propaganda, better hope and pray that they never suffer a major illness, so that they don't have to discover by experience the truth of these things that he is bringing to light.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      red123: You shouldn't feel insulted. There was nothing in the film attacking doctors and other caregivers on their competence or intent. The system itself is broken. The system goes after the structure of the insurance system primarily. Look abroad at other countries that have better-structured systems and you see people, on the whole, enjoying better health outcomes. If you're in the US and believe the finest doctors are here, then you have to wonder what the source of this discrepancy is, then.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I am a physician and am frustrated with our health care system at times, with my patients and my own family, BUT this movie is such a huge slant on the actual happenings and it twists and takes things way out of context. It insults me as a health care recipient and a very caring health care provider.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I was soo releived that Michael did this movie. Western medicine is good for broken bones and SOME infections. Everything else in between they SUCK at and they just cover up the symptoms. they don't CURE anything!!!!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks... really good, informative hub. Great comments too, especially from Bartholomew, lari and poor Rose.

      It's not only greed that's the problem, but also a selfish lack of compassion for other people. The system is not a computer or machine, it's people making decisions.

      Going beyond that, no elected government can maintain any policies without the tacit acceptance of the majority of its citizens. Ultimately therefore, it is the citizens who are responsible, and the state of affairs a reflection on societal values.

    • profile image

      Paula Angelique Hafner 

      11 years ago

      The best care is in Austria, that is why my mum kicked my American bum father out.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      A great hub, and it's good to see so many comments from those concerned about the flawed system we live with. I couldn't agree more, livelonger, that we need to elect a Democrat in 2008 -- along with a Democratic Congress. The current Administration wants to privatize everything at the expense of the poor and middle class, including Social Security. If we are to survive as a nation, we must close -- not expand -- the gap between the rich and the poor.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you Iari for an objective perspective. The heart of the problem in the US is greed. Insurance companies, which provide almost no value, extort an enormous portion of our health care budget. Doctors also are happy to see the status quo unchanged because they earn more by cherry-picking the patients they want, and bilking the insurance companies.

      We'll see if a Democrat wins the White House in 2008. All of the leading contenders, including Hillary, have proposals that will vastly improve the quality and fairness of our system (although still not at the level that you in the UK enjoy, but at least it's a step in the right direction).

      If a Republican wins, we're truly f*cked.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I am a doctor working in the UK, and I must say that SICKO opened my eyes to an impossible state of affairs. I cannot imagine how any doctor can work in the US system, not being able to discharge care without inhibitions. I do not mean that as a criticism, but as a thought process, considering that I've never been put in that sort of position before. Here, even drunkards, a number of whom are jobless, get a CT scan if there's any iota of doubt that they might have suffered a head injury that necessitates one - no one has to call up any insurance company.

      I am surprised at the amount of bile thrown in Moore's way. I was on one of the anti-Moore sites and some person was stating how he got an MRI for a supposed problem, which although has made his parents bankrupt, he's thankful for anyway. My first question was, what if he has another problem, as so often happens. What does he do then? Rose's story above highlights this point. I feel so sad, and crying almost that this lady I have never met will be denied healthcare because the US cannot provide affordable healthcare to all.

      I will not for one suggest that the UK, or France, or Canada are perfect because they are not. However the principle uderpinning provision of healthcare is sound. As Bartholomew pointed out, government intrusion into our lives is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it doesn't gag us. The US doen't have to adopt the same model as these other countries but you need to adopt the same principle, otherwise I fail to see how you can truly regard yourselves as the greatest nation on earth. There are enough resources and ingenuity to create a truly remarkable and free healthcare system for all in America, if only the Government is bold enough to re-define the roles of the HMOs.

      Honestly I am well and truly shocked. I hope someone can remedy the situation soon.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      I don't think I would have ever thought much about the failings of our system until I had a few people very close to me denied coverage for "preexisting conditions", and Sicko brings to light other problems. As with most problems that deserve remedying, a personal story often makes the problem clear and real. Which is why sharing stories like yours is so important.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks, livelonger. Weird thing is, I never worried about this before, because I'm ensured (as is my father) but the coverage simply is not enough.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      Rose: Wow, what a story; thank you for sharing it. Our pitiful policy has disastrous, cruel consequences for real people like you. I hope for a surprising remission for you.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I just wanted to say I hope we get a way of affording health care soon. My father recently had colon cancer. He survived, thank heaven, but we are now in a serious amount of debt.

      I just found out a few months ago that I now have breast cancer. It really shocked me. I have always eaten well, exercised (I'm an endurance swimmer) and have never smoked or taken any recreational drugs. I have the occasional beer, but nothing excessive.

      I have not told my friends, family, or anyone about my condition. I am refusing treatment, simply because I cannot put my family through that financial hell again. My doctor told me I will probably be dead within the year, and I have accepted this.

      I hope my family can forgive me, and that they can understand why I have done this. Perhaps my brother can get a good education with the money I have saved them. That will make it all worth it, I think.

      I have no dependents, thankfully. I don't know what I would do if I had a husband or kids. But I don't, so that makes it easier. Our society has sent me a clear message: I don't deserve to live. However, it is tragic how many children will lose their parents, and how many people end up sick and homeless, because they cannot afford a place to live. Hopefully they can find a solution soon. I will probably be long gone by that time, but I still have hope for others.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      What a great comment, Bartholomew. You're 100% right, but you have to remember that we're a relatively young nation, so we culturally can act a bit childish sometimes. With the childishness we do have this petulant revulsion towards authority, and the ultimate legal authority is the government.

      I just came back from Hillary Clinton's rally here in my hometown, where she stressed that making substantial improvements to our health care system will require the will of millions to work with the government to rein in the power of the insurance companies so that we can have the sort of optimum (read: not perfect, but far better than what we have now) health care system that most developed countries have.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks for the great review. I watched Sicko today and must admit I was shocked to see the stae of affairs the richest nation in the world is in, even afterscraping off the polish Moore applied to make the misery shine. I should tell you I am not and American. I am Dutch.

      One point I want to make is this, though: Moore depicts European universal healthcare as mystically better than American healthcare coverage. One vital point he leaves out though is this: Our healthcare would be nowhere if our government did not also enforce a certain amount of legislation. Here in the Netherlands and to the best of my knowlegde in most other European countries as well, insurance companies are forced to accept people, are not allowed (as far as basic coverage is concerned anyway) to even ask for pre-existing medical conditions, are forced to cough up under normal circumstances within a reasonable frame of time (making it impossible for a company to spin things along until someone dies or they give up) and are not allowed to so blatantly misrepresent themselves in their marketing campaigns. The add shown in Sicko telling people that no-one is turned away while in fact people are turned away all the time would be totally illegal here. Finally, and crucially, the person determining whether you require medical care is your chosen physician. He, and only he, is responsible for your medical care. Our insurance companies aren't involved in the medical process at all and they most certainly cannot approve or deny care.

      These laws have motivated our insurance companies to distinguish themselves by other means. Preventative medicine is one of them. Some companies here will pay you for expenses incurred by trying to live a healthy life. There is one that will pay for your heart-friendly, low-cal butter for instance, and another that will pay a substantial part of your gym membership. Some have even started paying for alternative medical treatments in an effort to please their customers in the hopes that they will get well cheaper. All in all, our companies have been forced to lower their expenses by encouraging healthy living rather than denying care.

      The point I'm trying to make is this: Universal Healthcare will never be succesful even with oodles of cash thrown at it unless you can trust your government to have the muscle and the inclination to make it happen. As long as you have government officials that allow themselves to be bribed (quite legally, as far as I can tell), as long as the organisation determining whether you require care is the same as the one who will lose money when they provide it, as long as your government is legally impotent to combat even the grossest of the injustices committed by the HMOs, as long as these things do not change, you will never have acceptable universal healthcare.

      As far as I can tell from the limited contact I have had with Americans in my life, there is an almost universal fear in your nation of the government deciding how you should live your life. It doesn't work that way. I live under a strong government and yet I am a free man. I choose my doctor, I choose my school, I choose where I want to live, what career I want, who I love or hate and I am perfectly at liberty to disagree with anyone about anything I choose. I have a strong government that ensures that no private organisation can ever take such enormous advantage of me in times of weakness, sickness and fear as you allow your HMOs to do.

      I chose the word "allow" with care. Right now, in your proud nation, organisations have come into being that have the power to determine whether you, your children and your loved ones live or die. Unless you have a very sizeable amout of cash stashed away somewhere your well-being is in the hands of people who will never see you and whom you will never get to see. The fact of the matter is that there is only one organisation in your country with the strength, resilience and legislative power to effectively take on your HMOs. It is your government. That means that, in a very small way, it is you. You have your choice of leaders. You should make that choice count.

      My heart goes out to all of you who have suffered at the hands of a privatised healthcare system. What has happened to some of you and what is happening to others as you read this is beyond comprehension.

    • maricarbo profile image


      11 years ago

      Some health care systems in third world countries are better than ours.  The problem is that the physicians and the drug companies are already accostomed to this system which allows them to profit excessively, and to take advantage of us, the patients.  The film Sicko is excellent, and I think everyone in this country including school children, should see it.  We need to change our system radically but in order to do so,  the doctors, hospitals, and drug companies are going to have to agree to a sacrifice at first.  Are they willing to take a cut in pay?  They are earning millions right now.  Restructuring would do that.    We need someone in power who can effect real change in this area.  Seniors need to be given more respect.  We treat them as if they don't matter but they should be treated like gold. In my system a senior would get preferrential treatment; they would go up to the front of the line, especially if they are over 60. The same goes with babies. There are those of us who cannot wait. Getting health care should not be a matter of what insurance I pay into.  What happens to us when we retire or lose a job?  Our health care decreases.....or ceases.  That should not be.  Everyone deserves health care just as we all deserve clean water to drink, and clean air to breathe.

    • profile image

      Horizon BCBS NJ 

      11 years ago

      As an emplpoyee at Horizon BCBS NJ I can say it is a lot of unprofessionalism going on which has a lot to do with how claims get paid incorrectly, denied in error, etc. There are so many on going systematic/coding errors we have a hard time determining if a claims are paying correctly. We constantly has to have physicians file updated, and submit tech issues daily. Horizon BCBS even is outsoursing 80% of the call center to people who cant speak clear english but because they dont get benefits and is cheaper for Horizon BCBS the physicians have to deal with invalid benefits verifications, and just complete inadequate services. The service Director Kim Eason has been made aware but doesn't seem to care. She just terminated 60% of the call center, and one of team leaders shows favoritism so just know that there are friend and family in position of handling health care claims, instead of diligent knowledgable workers that can give world class customer service.....

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      12 years ago from San Francisco

      Agreed. I think profit for the insurance companies is also a huge sink of money. The fact is that the profit motive for *insurance companies* does in no way improve care. The primary way they reduce costs and increase profits is by denying care. The profit motive is pointless for an industry that does little except manage paperwork and billing; there is absolutely no innovation.

      The situation is a bit different for the pharma companies. Without a profit motive, they might not invest in the R&D needed for drug innovations. I'm personally comfortable with for-profit drug companies to exist, but I think the US, with its splintered insurance industry and heavy lobbying, shoulders the biggest cost for drug development in the world. Other countries, with centralized buying and better bargaining power, pay less for the same things. Again, another nail in the coffin for privatized health insurance.

    • profile image

      Don K 

      12 years ago

      Did some research as far as taxation in the countries Moore used as examples , lots of people screaming that they are paying more because of socialized medicine.Here are the facts.Canada 15-29%(Federal)France 10%-48.09%U.K. 0-40%U.S.A. 0-35%So with these comparisons I am not sure why we can't go to Universal healthcare. The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care, $7,129 per capita. Yet our system performs poorly in comparison and still leaves 46 million without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

      This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment though a single nonprofit payer would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

      Its a no brainer. How rich do these insurance exec’s need to be? Does the money fill the holes they have where there morals and ethics

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      12 years ago from San Francisco

      Being stuck in legal limbo because of your sexual orientation is another issue. I thought NJ offered domestic partnerships/civil unions? At any rate that really sucks and I hope your wife's employer figures things out soon. The inequality you're dealing with wouldn't even be an issue if we had universal health care, though.

    • becauseilive profile image


      12 years ago from N.J.

      Great hub, thanks so much for reviewing the movie. I saw "Sicko" listed on the movie theater marquee signs and was wondering what it was about. I fail to understand why the U.S. is so behind when it comes to providing AFFORDABLE health coverage. I am having the hardest time right now with health insurance. My girlfriend actually works for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, and they offer domestic partner benefits. Okay, great. So we went to sign me up as her dependent and guess what? Can't do. The legal department is "reviewing" new state laws to "redetermine" what the criteria are for qualifying as a domestic partner. And until they figure themselves out, no new domestic partners may be added to any policy. When Danielle asked what the time frame was for that, would it be 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 YEARS? she was not given an answer. It's absolutely ridiculous. Gay people in New Jersey cannot legally get married, so what are we supposed to do?

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      I agree that the US system is a bunch of crap. I just don't need cherry picked and manipulated statistics, facts, and stories carefully edited to make the point. Go and watch the documentary "Dead Meat" about the Canadian medical system. That will give you a real good idea about how much Moore fudged to make this movie.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Moore does one thing - it makes you stop and think!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Thanks for the review on Moore's movie and the health care system. Although I won't pay to watch anything Moore puts out, it does create debate which I can only hope I will see a change in my lifetime. It is not a pretty picture. Changes in the health care system seem to be impossible. Democrates and Republicans spend so much of their time trying to get credit for any changes that actually are suggested, nothing will change. I blame our elected officials and leaders for being so lame. It is proof that whoever we elect in public office, they all seem to become part of this, hate and blame game.

      Here is my short story. My wife got sick and eventually ran out of benefits. She lost $40K a year income. I then had surgery that turned out bad. Soon lost my benefits. I lost $46K a year. Eventually we got far behind on medical bills. We lost house of 24 years, both cars, everything. Nobody cared. It happens all the time.

      Finally took 4 years to recoup and get things back on track. If I wasn't the kind of person who could make things happen, we would be on the street or living with our kids. Makes you think, doesn't it?

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      12 years ago from San Francisco

      Agreed, Lyricallor. Unfortunately, keeping good healthcare is a reason lots of people stay at jobs. It can impede a free marketplace of labor.

      I feel for your husband and you, Stacie (wspó?czuj? Wam). My parents are the picture of health but retired and paying through the nose for healthcare because of silly preconditions and their age. They're both waiting to get old enough to get on Medicare. Poland's system is good for its universal coverage, but it's a much poorer country with fewer resources, and many of its best doctors have emigrated.

      cgull8m: Agreed. Today's disaster is the result of many years of double-digit inflation in healthcare costs. I really think Hillary was ahead of her time. When she said the healthcare industry was at the brink of driving the US to bankruptcy, she was derided for it then. Today, we all know that's true. 16% of our (growing) GDP?!

    • cgull8m profile image


      12 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Hub, well done. They had this whole documentary in Google Video before it was removed. We just have to wait and see here. It is sad only the rich could afford full health care, it wasn't like this 10 - 15 years ago.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      12 years ago from Seattle

      My husband is in the middle of going through a medical crisis--he will be receiving treatment for the next eight months that makes him feel like crap every minute of the day, but will hopefully make him healthy in the long run. Unfortunately, my contract is almost up at work--which means becoming employed by a new company...with new health insurance...and nobody seems to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. We have to go on COBRA, which is so expensive. I wish access to quality, affordable healthcare could be easier in the U.S. On the other hand, my husband is from Poland--where he can receive the treatment for free, but they don't offer as effective of a treatment as you can receive in the U.S., and he would have to get on a waiting list. So, he probably wouldn't be able to receive treatment until his condition has gotten worse. Craziness. Thanks for the hub, I'm excited to see the film.

    • Lyricallor profile image

      Lorna Lorraine 

      12 years ago from Croydon

      As a State employee I have one of the better health care coverages and there are still deficencies...I really need that with my health issues but I really feel for the elderly and those people without proper heath coverage.

    • Mark Rollins profile image

      Mark Rollins 

      12 years ago

      Excellent work at this. Not only did you present good info about this movie, but about the health care system as well.

    • constructicle profile image


      12 years ago

      great hub

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      12 years ago from San Francisco

      Angela - Moore's considerably less polemic this time around, and his "stunts" seem less like grandstanding than to make a genuine point. I was mildly irritated at Fahrenheit 9/11 but really liked Sicko. And this issue is one that just about everyone can agree on.

      Ralph - You're right. Hopefully Medicare can move in the direction of covering the uninsured, eventually becoming a genuine alternative to all the for-profit insurance companies out there. (Kind of like the AMT is slowly replacing the bloated, labyrinthine IRS tax code).

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      12 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Great Hub! We are overdue for a major overhaul of our health care system. We already have an excellent single payer system called Medicare which could be extended in increments to the rest of the population starting with children, the unemployed and others who have no health care insurance.

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 

      12 years ago from Around the USA

      Thanks for this review. I look forward to watching the documentary, even if I don't like Moore. "U.S. health care" is an oxymoron.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      12 years ago from San Francisco

      I agree with both of you. The fact is that every other industrialized country is able to do those things *and* save money. Our current system is an utter disgrace.

    • embitca profile image


      12 years ago from Boston

      I lived in Australia for four years back in the early 90s and their universal healthcare system was awesome. If you needed to go to the doctor, you went to the doctor. Here, even when you do have insurance, sometimes you wait months just trying to get an appointment. It's totally ridiculous. And now Massachusetts has passed a law forcing everyone in the state to get health coverage --- a far cry from what had been envisaged for this state once upon a time. Forcing people to pay for healthcare they can't afford is NOT universal coverage.

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      12 years ago from Oakland, CA

      The health care system in the United States is deeply flawed, especially in relation to mental illness.  Any time you're put in a position of having to prove you are "sick enough" to get care, it's a bad set-up. Thanks for the review! I want to see it ASAP.


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