Search - Frontline: Sick Around the World on DVD

Frontline: Sick Around the World
Frontline Sick Around the World
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 0min

Four in five Americans say the healthcare system needs fundamental change. Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a healthcare system, or are these nations so culturally different that thei...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Health, Television, Politics
Studio: Pbs Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/10/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A must see for all interested in reforming health care
A. Davis | 12/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this documentary after watching Michael Moore's "Sicko", and between the two, I liked "Sick Around the World" better. "Sicko" has its strong points, but it may be perceived as too politicized (which it is, and it's okay). Another reviewer complained that "Sick Around the World" did not cover other countries, such as Brazil, South Africa, and India, but I do not quite understand this complaint. The point of the documentary is to compare the health care systems in industrial countries, which are similar to the U.S., and the choice of selected countries is excellent. The narration was fine; I mean, it's not a Disney movie, right? I like that the narrator addressed shortcomings of universal health care in other countries. The stories of Switzerland and Taiwan, which switched to the universal health care very recently, are quite fascinating. If you have never been lived abroad and are interested in how other industrial countries treat their sick, you may find "Sick Around the World" eye opening."
Best hour you'll spend understanding healthcare reform choic
Robert Schwartz | Princeton, NJ USA | 06/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The best overview of real world health care I've seen, this eye-opening survey covers the pros and cons of systems in 5 countries. (In contrast, Frontline's more recent documentary, Sick Around America, was a disappointment.)

We and our leaders could learn a lot from the experience of Switzerland, Germany, and Taiwan, and maybe what to avoid from Britain and Japan. Canada is not mentioned, but these other countries present a rich range of hybrid choices that are more similar to our situation in the U.S.

For example, the staunchly capitalist Swiss barely passed national healthcare reform in 1994, but now their citizens are very satisfied. Switzerland spends more per person on healthcare than any country except ours, but we spend 50% more than they do -- $700 billion per year of excess! Yet our health and longevity are worse, and we have a million families per year declaring bankruptcy due to medical bills.

We can do so much better, and this video helps show how by detailing what works and doesn't in the real-life systems of other similar countries. I'm looking forward to Reid's follow-up book The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care due out in August 2009. In the meantime, you can view this documentary on the PBS Frontline site, which also has many useful links. If you have an hour, do it now!"
Nothing to Sneeze At
!Edwin C. Pauzer | New York City | 08/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Frontline's "Sickness Around the World," is about five universal healthcare systems in the world that provide more comprehensive care, at less cost than one can expect in the United States. T. R. Reid travels to Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland.

Mr. Reid seems clearly on the side of universal health care, but let's the viewers know the limitations of each system in each country he visited, and none of those limitations are the same as the nonsense being propagated on the blogs where disinformation abounds.

In Britain, where doctors are government employees, healthcare comes from tax revenue, but there is no waiting for critical care, and waiting time has been reduced to two to six weeks for non-life-threatening procedures. Doctors are actually paid more for keeping patients alive longer. Each hospital competes for patients by competing with superior care.

Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world, and the lowest infant mortality rate with healthcare at a cost of eight percent of their GDP. Their universal health care system boasts a higher percentage of privately owned hospitals than can be found in the U.S. Because they can afford to, the Japanese will visit their doctors three times more often than Americans, and undergo twice as many scans that will cost them $80.00 instead of hundreds to thousands. Families pay the equivalent of $750 a month, a cost that is shared by their employer.

Ninety percent of Germans take part in their universal health care system where 240 insurance carriers compete for each patient's business. Germans making $60,000 a year will share a monthly cost of $240 a month, but will be able to see a doctor the same day, and a specialist in a week or two. The downside is that German doctors are woefully underpaid.

Taiwan looked at all the universal healthcare systems worldwide, wanting to select the best of each. With operating costs at 2%, people's medical history are kept on "smart cards" that are mailed electronically to the government, who in turn pays the bills. There is no waiting to see any kind of doctor on Taiwan.

The ones who were dragged kicking and screaming to universal healthcare were the Swiss, where capitalism is king, and there are more gun owners per capita than in the U.S. With a vote that separated those opposed from those in favor by tenths of points, the Swiss embraced healthcare and never looked back. Their insurance companies and pharmaceuticals, which predicted dire consequences from the same are surviving quite nicely, in part, from money they make from U.S. consumption.

Each country shares certain features: Insurance companies must accept everyone and may not profit on basic care. People must buy insurance and the government will pay for the poor. Doctors and hospitals must accept one standard of costs for medical care. The people in each of these countries are overwhelmingly satisfied with their healthcare where no one goes bankrupt because of treatment.

He finds similarity in each of their systems to ours: Our Veterans' Administration is akin to the British healthcare system, the Taiwanese system is equivalent to what we offer our seniors, the German system is equivalent to what the insured American working family receives, but for those Americans who have no insurance, we are just like any other poor country in the world. Reid laments, that in the countries that provide ready access, healthcare is considered a public duty, not a business for profit.

Mr. Reid starts this story by telling us that the U.S., the number one superpower, is 37th in the world in the quality of healthcare it provides. He ends this with a warning: "The longer we leave it [our current healthcare system], the sicker it becomes, and the more expensive it becomes."

This is an entertaining and informative story. Frontline proves once again that it is television at its best. This narrative is definitely a pill you can swallow, and worth the purchase.

At the very least, it is nothing to sneeze at.