| July 5, 2007

Whether you like Michael Moore or not, the man has a penchant for creating conversation about important political topics that matter in America. He does that in Sicko in spades. Far less biased than his last documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, this takes a scathing look at the United States’ healthcare system, the only wealthy and industrialized nation that does not provide coverage for all of its citizens.
In this documentary we see a different Michael Moore. He has toned down a bit, and actually doesn’t appear until the end of the first hour. He lets the examples speak for themselves. We see numerous cases on how this current healthcare system is failing us. Nearly 50 million Americans have no coverage. 18,000 of us die each year because our healthcare plan does not cover what we need to stay alive.
Story after story, Moore shows us tragic examples of family members who have lost their lives because their HMOs rejected their claim. Then there is the story of a man who accidentally cuts off the top of two of his fingers while operating a power saw. His HMO puts a price on each finger, 60 thousand for one, and 12 thousand for the other. What type of nation do we live in where stuff like this happens every day?
A former health insurance employee explains to us that companies actually look at it as a loss when they are forced to pay for citizens bills. Certain insurance companies actually rewarded its employees who had the highest rejection rate. What type of system is that?
Moore shows the recorded conversation that took place in 1971 between Richard Nixon and John Ehrlichman discussing health maintenance organizations, the birth of HMOs, designed to make money and give less treatment to people. It is shocking that they actually say that. Then when Hillary Clinton tries to revamp the healthcare system after Clinton is elected president, 100 million dollars is spent in advertising to combat her ideals, which ultimately caused her defeat. She is now the second largest recipient in the Senate of health care industry contributions. In laymen’s terms, they bought her off. This is why there are 4 healthcare lobbyists for every 1 member of congress, an absolutely staggering number. These insurance companies make an ungodly amount of money at the expense of us. When our HMO won’t pay for treatment, some hospitals put people in cabs and drop them off in the middle of the street, disturbing video footage shown in Sicko.
But Moore importantly never suggests a solution to the problem. Instead, he glaringly points out all its flaws. By going overseas to various countries, every health care system he visits has a much better system than the United States in that every citizen is covered, regardless of their pay grade. This may be the reason why the U.S. is ranked 37th in health systems in the world. Various drugs in England only cost 10 dollars regardless of the amount. Moore takes a handful of 9/11 rescue workers who are not insured in America and sails to Cuba. One woman, who pays 240 dollars for her medication in the U.S., gets the same medicine for 5 cents. In Cuba, the access to their health care is universal. We also learn that the only free medical care you can get in the U.S is at Guantanamo Bay, where they hold some of the nation’s worst criminals, including al-Qaeda terrorists. We don’t take care of our own, yet we take care of terrorists? That doesn’t make much sense.
Michael Moore has created a humorous yet severely alarming documentary that should resonate with everyone that watches. Something needs to be done about our current health system, which is not working. This may be his best documentary. Whether you love him or hate him, you definitely will take notice at what he shows us here. Don’t miss this one.
Grade: A

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