Following on the heels of his Palm d'Or winning Fahrenheit 9/11 and his Oscar winning film Bowling for Columbine, acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore's new documentary sets out to investigate the American healthcare system. ... more »Sticking to his tried-and-true one-man approach, Moore sheds light on the complicated medical affairs of individuals and local communities.« less
Nancy N. (Maymah) from METUCHEN, NJ Reviewed on 4/2/2008...
I just watched this DVD and am ready to move to Canada! I so manage my life that I pay zero taxes to this sick government we cannot get rid of here in the USA. The more I think about it, the better Cuba sounds as a place to retire. Here in the USA prisoners get better health care than the law abiding. In Guantanamo, the bastards who have done all they could to kill us all get better care than the American citizenry. Bravo and kudos to Michael Moore for telling it like it is. But nothing changes as long as the government is neither by the people or for the people but rather UP THE PEOPLE! I'm a 64 year old woman who has been without health insurance for the past 25 years. With my next birthday I will qualify for Medicare which will NOT cover the cost of my health care. I will need supplementary health insurance and both will have to come out of my Social Security income. That's how much my government gives a hoot about me. Doesn't matter who I vote for -- the Electoral College, the super and not so super delegates will vote for whomsoever they choose and to hell with the votes. Now I'm ready to move to France where there is less arrogance and less hatred for the American people than is shown by our own government. What a nation we live in! What have we become? How low will we go before we, the peons, rise up -- march on Washington -- and off with their heads! Which candidate can save us? Clinton? McCain? Obama? We are sooooo doomed! Michael Moore for President!
11 of 14 member(s) found this review helpful.
!Edwin C. Pauzer | New York City | 12/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No matter what people may think of Michael Moore, they will be hard-pressed to counter his film "Sicko" with one of a contrarian view. I suppose "Sickohype" or Sickohypo" or "Let'em all Die" just doesn't have the same resonance as "Fahrenhype" did to challenge his previous film.
Perhaps as landmark as Jacob Riis's "How the Other Half Lives," "Sicko" brings the devastating cost and state of health care in this country to light beginning with people who have lived the American dream and expected to live their retirement independently and in comfort. Early on, Moore shows a working couple forced to sell their home to meet medical obligations not covered, and now depend on the charity of their children. Moore carefully singles out several cases of the twenty-five thousand emails he received that reveal the appalling state of health care in a country that nurtures that dream. (None of the stories or emails are about couples in separate bathtubs looking out over a vineyard).
First are the insurance companies that are out to make a profit. (Nothing's wrong with that). However, the profit is at the expense of the medical coverage and preventative care they can deny. If they cannot deny it outright or claim such care is experimental, they will pour through a patient's medical history to see if any condition occurred that was not mentioned or remembered in the application process. This will give the company the means to deny all claims retroactively. Incidentally, doctors receive bonuses for the most claims they can deny!
The next spotlight is on the pharmaceutical companies which are so expensive that many people must continue working well beyond their retirement years, years they should be enjoying, years when there is the greatest need for medication. In particular, Moore singles out the very new and complicated prescription plan, which is more expensive for seniors than ever before, but benefits the pharmaceuticals. (Thank you, Mr. Bush).
Besides our illustrious president benefitting from the contributions of pharmaceuticals, Moore identifies a host of other republicans who have had their hands in drug company pockets--including the lady who was going to provide universal health care in the first place--Hillary Clinton whose plan the drug companies spent $100,000,000 to defeat. Fourteen staffers who worked on the Seniors' Prescription bill, moved on to lucrative lobby positions with the same companies, and Billy Tauzin was hired as CEO for Pharma at $2,000,000 a year. In any other milieu, that is called bribery, corruption, and conflict of interest. In Congress, it's called the cost of doing business.
But what gives Americans a strong sense of pride is our belief that our medical system and healthcare, while flawed, is the finest in the world. Moore is quick to write "denied" all over that fantasy. We see in Canada, Great Britain, and France, how people receive first rate health care, from first rate physicians without having to sell their homes, decide which finger they can afford to save, and have a higher life expectancy than Americans. (Doctors in Britain are actually paid more for getting people into better health habits and regimens).
Misnamed socialized medicine by its detractors, socialized insurance works in these countries efficiently without people crowding in waiting rooms, being taxed to death (as the health companies would have us believe), or dying because they cannot afford the medication, or because the insurance company denied their claim. Moore implies that paying higher taxes makes more sense than losing your homes or retirement to catastrophic illness in what is now the leading cause of bankruptcy in the country.
Moore's direction is flawless. His graphics and humor are engaging; dry and deprecating. This is a film that may make you well-up with tears that a society could take such good care of its companies and business, and dump its destitute on the street. Moore succeeds in making you feel empathy for those who are poorly treated or not at all. He is able to make you think: "Can that happen to me?" or "If it can work there, why can't it work here?"
The special edition also offers more in-depth discussion of health care that could not be put in the original film. This includes conversations with people on the street, HR 636 brought before the house, Norway which has the highest standard of health care in the world. (Yes, it is free). Sadly it also shows some of the people from the film whose family members died for lack of treatment, or because they were turned away.
The final irony of the film is one of the more poignant. The man who runs the most virulent anti-Michael Moore website announced that he would have to shut down because he couldn't afford the hospital care his wife so desperately needed.
Guess what Moore did.
God bless us everyone."
IN THE SIXTIES EMERGED THE CONCEPT OF HOLISTIC MEDICINE, THE
C. Scanlon | among us humans | 05/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The most telling part of this excellent and important documentary, essential viewing in this electoral season (especially where he shows how Hillary got bought off after fighting briefly and with compromises for the universal health care enjoyed by most civilized Western nations, including here France, Norway, Cuba and Canada), arises when we learn how we went from a nation of concerned health care providers addressing the whole person and community to privatized corporations concerned only for the bottom line and thus aggressively denying any care at all in order to earn more profits, placing money before Americans. It once took a whole village to raise a child and heal the sick and to care for our elderly in peace and compassion; now our health management, insurance and pharmaceutical corporations in order to increase their records profits deny health care to anyone who is ill. The most telling and undeniable part of this important and pro-life documentary lies in the Nixon tapes, in which Erlichman in 1971 sells the concept of privatized health management of Kaiser Permanente to a Nixon growling at any whiff of our government providing health services to all. Erlichman forcefully assures the frowning one that this is strictly for profit, and so Nixon the Usurper, our own Richard the Third, gleefully agrees (wondering where he gets his cut of the pie) and the next night on national television sells this snake oil as good for Americans. Now we have the worst health care system in the once civilized world, which mercilessly denies health care to those who are sick in order to rake in greater profits at the cost of their lives and suffering, ignoring and abusing not only the once honored whole person, but also encouraging and waiting for their death by negligence. Thanks a lot, Dick. And now from Dick into Bush.
One of the major marks of the ministry of Jesus was his healing. We now have a nation which refuses to heal, having the resources to do so. As Michael asks, what have we become? Michael, a Catholic, in this documentary frequently resorts to Catholic clergy and religious for this explicit subtext, including a parish priest in south Texas lamenting the loss of a parishioner to conscientious industry negligence; a beautiful Eucharistic celebration is presented. Michael also interviews a nun in Havana who strongly and consistently assures us who view that there is no religious persecution in Cuba. And one of the extra features, on this disk documenting the US health care industry's exclusive eagerness for profit by denying health care, asks Whom Would Jesus Deny (WWJD)?
Despite the statement by Michael Douglass character Gecko in the epitome of capitalist films Wall Street (20th Anniversary Edition), in this case greed is not good. Greed never is. It does not clarify. It is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It kills us, and when it does not yet kill us, it brings us the most profound suffering possible, and it does not care. It is greed.
To see children addressing their own parents who have lost everything to health care expenses, despite having insurance, and who must needs sleep in their children's basement, to see those children disrespect their own parents as failures and as burdens, and giving them no more than a corner in the basement computer room (without moving out the computer, which comes first), to see those children demand to know how long this stay is going to last, of their own parents who gave them life and home and education and food and warmth, to see those children so corrupted by the brave new US mentality as to despise their own parents for their infirmity and poverty, to see their own children do not care, do not feel, this is to weep. Then to see that grandmother weeping in Havana because for once her health care and her emotional needs are being addressed, for free, is to weep once more. To see Canadians and British and French laughing as if an embarrassing joke, a concept which makes no sense, at our health care industry's demands and abuses and our government's eager complicity in this avaricious extortion of the American people, is to remember that, yes, we must care for one another, and the only pre-condition for going to the hospital is to be sick, and that the sign of a decent society is one which cares truly and wholly for its infirm, its elderly and its poor. This is a normal society, and we have come so far from it that we can no longer recall normal.
We make war for record profits for the war industry, including Blackwater and Halliburton. We deny health care for record profits for the illness industry. We see a 9/11 rescue worker weeping to discover in Cuba that the same inhaler she buys in America for $120 costs in Cuba $5, as she weeps to be heard for the first time and releases all of her pent up emotion not only from her rescue experiences at ground zero, but at the persistent denial of care needed because of the effects of the selfless rescue, because of losing her home and everything and moving her children into hopeless situations because of the high health costs above and beyond insurance.
Cuba sent medical teams to New Orleans to save lives before the brutal Bush military regime even woke up, as our poor and elderly and infirm drowned and died.
The Bush military regime turned the life-bringing medical teams away at the point of heavy artillery. Watch Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke - A Requiem In Four Acts (Documentary).
What's wrong with this picture? Just ask Michael.
Cuba exports doctors while we export war and deny health care to our own people. What is wrong with this picture? Go ask Michael. Ask your Congressional representative. What health care have we brought to Iraq?
We wish to laugh with the woman whose ambulance fee was denied because it was not pre-approved, as she asks how she could ask for approval while unconscious, but we realize this is too true and too common. It is very common. We weep with the mother whose baby daughter was let die of a fever because she was not in a hospital owned by Kaiser Permanente but a competitor, the closest one to the mother's home. The illness industry's only response was to throw that agonized mother out of their hospital for disturbing the peace. I guess that I would, too, as my baby daughter dies, denied care. We see injured and lost people dumped on skid row because their insurance money has run out, while still in pain and suffering, with IV's still attached.
Nixon. In the pursuit of impure profit turned our once great and committed health care industry into a bloody avaricious carnivorous monster as brutal as any prison doctor in an old chain gang movie demanding cash for relief from pain and suffering and lethal illnesses easily cured. Bobby would never have permitted this, and this is why they killed him now forty years ago. Bobby would have made America, not Cuba, the greatest exporter of doctors to the Third World. Bobby would have cared for all Americans, and eased all suffering without thought of cost, as do the civilized nations of the Western world. But, then, Bobby was a Catholic too, and heard the command of Jesus to heal the sick and to do unto others what we want them to do for ourselves, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love our enemy.
See this movie again today. See this movie before you vote. See this movie and all of the excellent extras attached on this Special Edition disk.
Corporate capitalist illogic, recently condemned again by the good Pope Benedict, echoing the words of his predecessors, laughed at in disbelief by the citizens of our civilized Western nations, as applied to human rights and needs: limit supply to increase costs; deny care to cut costs and increase profits. Only in America."
Time for the US to change their social course and for us not
Dario Ventra | Utrecht, Netherlands | 08/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So, first and foremost, I watched this movie with an odd mixture of apprehension and amusement. Apprehension because the country I now live in, the Netherlands, has been embarking on an unexpected, experimental privatization of the national health care system under management by a cadre of big insurance companies, just as the US. A social enterprise I sincerily despise.. The amusement, on the other hand, comes from noticing how poor the standards of life and the expectations of basic social secutiry are in the United States, compared to what we enjoy in Europe, as well as Canada. You can hardly believe such a powerful and rich nation to be unable to organize basic security and assistance for its citizens without going through the accountancy departments! As if all in life were to be attached a monetary value: health, the feeling of belonging and contributing to a community that can support you if need be... The dignity of being a person no matter what your financial status and credit are. I guess these are the sick spots of American society, every way you wanna turn it... But I digress already! (I'll digress much more later!)
Undoubtedly, you can judge this to be an interesting and catching movie only if one is interested in the social issues that it exposes. Because otherwise rest assured it can provide you with a pretty grim couple of hours... In spite of the odd quips or humorous sections here and there. It's a typical Michael Moore documentary: no clean footage, low-budget set-up and very slowly coming to the main point. If you have a short attention span or prefer the glitter of National Geographic-like kind of info, be prepared for something less entertaining... On the other hand, entertainment was not the point here! The ideas and contents are fundamental to reflect on what western societies are heading for in terms of life-quality and people's mentality. The example of the American economic behemoth that can't take care of (or rather, doesn't give a damn about) its lower-classes or merely unlucky citizens, is probably the most negative you can rely on, but at least it's telling! That's why the five stars, and I'd give six if I could have six...
A warning: I do not believe Michael Moore is totally objective in his representation of facts and choice of examples, because it's well known that he has a hugely overflowing political agenda! I wish this movie were accompanied by another one, in which some raw statistics could reveal how Americans rate their health care, and how many times bad things happen in the name of the money-first ideology. On the other hand, Moore's agenda sure is a whole lot better than the one of the Republicans and their associated economic lobbies and consortia (not to mention the blind-minded religious conservatives that merrily trail along!). Given a choice between what possible bias I have to pick, I dive head-down for Moore... The somewhat unsettling side of this documentary is that for all the effort in rigging up a tirade against the health management in the States, not a iota of possible alternatives and suggestions is presented! Unless you seriously want to consider fake marriage with Canadians or mass emigration to France or England? There's a lack of constructive appeal to this, say.. But then it's also fair to note that on Michael Moore's website there is actually a section with a drafted proposal on how to reorganize medical life of America. Whether it's good or not, that's open for debate... (We won't believe Moore is can perform miracles, but at least there's an attempt at suggesting some new course, which was missing in the movie!)
On a personal note, the thumbs up for Moore is followed by a definite thumbs down for the Dutch government, who chose to go for private-insurance funding of health care. Although the spirit and laws holding Dutch society together are a far cry from the callousness of the American world, and I don't think anyone will ever get kicked out of hospitals here... Yet, simple truth is, the insurers are not going to be there for your health, but for your money! They rake in as much as possible, fork out as least as possible: it's their job! A few cases of people I know here already show how much they try to dodge assistance for you as soon as they legally can..
Two reasons why insurance-policy for personal health care is flawed: 1) The money you pay for your policy on a yearly basis doesn't even come close to cover the real expenditures of the medical establishment on a national scale even in such a small country. Not even close.. So it's actually still the government that finances the overwhelming most of technical bills and professionals' salaries there! Which it already did before... So what's new for the taxpayers? Just an added tax which goes to feed the wallets of powerful insurance companies, certainly not to fund emergency care departments or operating rooms. And this is a fact! (As well as an interesting political slip that should be worth some investigation a la Moore on this side of the big pond...) 2) Health care is a basic part of any system of social welfare associated with a logistically functioning and morally balanced society, if we look at the western democratic model. It's not something you can evaluate looking at the expenses, not in our wealthy countries. If even Cuba (as in Moore's example) is able to provide free medical assistance to its citizens, it should certainly be within the boundaries of European economies too! The biggest cost of privatized health care is not that monthly bill deducted from your salary, it's the moral and psychological burden one feels for it... You suddenly find your worth as a person accounted for by your monetary solvency, and not by simply being a member of a community. And this is a high price to pay for the single citizen as well as for society as a whole: it's one more significant step towards that dire feeling of being out there on your own bum, instead of being a member of a reliable group to which you contribute, and that, in case, will watch out on that bum of yours in return... Big mistake!"
Moore opens a can of worms with his worthwhile film on healt
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 11/03/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
47 million people are without health insurance. The United States is ranked just above many third world nations in terms of its overall health care. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is three years less than in Canada. Moore rattles off some interesting statistics about the business of health care. He focuses, however, on individuals who have health care with conditions that are denied routine treatment because they suddenly become "experimental" or retroactively deny benefits that have been approved because a health insurnace company has found a loop hole. Moore's film has its own editorial point of view or slant (how could it not?) whether or not you agree with him will largely depend upon your experience with health care in this country and the impact the film makes on you.
I particularly found touching the vingette on the woman who's husband was denied a bone marrow transplant because it was "experimental". The man's brother was a match and it looked good that he would have a chance. He died after his last chance at treatment was denied.
There is also a story about a woman who had a daughter denied treatment because she was taken to an ER that didn't take their health insurance. While that is unusual, it documents the corporate issues that can contribute to the death of a child.
While socialized medicine may not be the key here (there are plenty of complaints about waiting lists for treatment, limits on doctors, etc.), we need to have a way to untie coverage from employment and allow patients to receive reliable, good coverage from haalth insurance companies. More importantly, though, we need to have ethical reviews of practices to may sure this fiasco doesn't occur again for patients presented in the film.
More of an editorial than a documentary, Michael Moore's "Sicko" although far from perfect, provides an education on the problems within the health care system in the United States. Politics always play a part in any discussion of health care and this one is no different. There are those who disagree with Moore that our health care system is broken and just as many that suggest we could take a lesson from other nations about how the to effectively treat others with universal health care.
The film comes with a number of special features including "Sicko Goes to Washington" where Moore went to nation's capitol to see if the Rep. John Conyers sponsored bill HR 676 to reform the health care system could be passed. We hear some horrible stories and see some of the actions that CNA (California Nurse's Association) and others are taking to try and change things.
"This Country Beats France" focuses on Norway where health care is the #1 country for literacy, education and healthcare as well as per capita income. We rank #66.
"Uniquely American" focuses on the community fundraiser to help the sick.
"What If You Worked for GE in France?" looks at benefits working for an American company where employees get five weeks paid vacation, RTT days in France, works 35 hours a week and gets other benefits WE as Americans don't enjoy. Clearly I need to move to France.
We also get the Hollywood premiere of the movie and a music video. Moore also had a premiere in Skid Row in L.A. at the same time as the Hollywood premiere with all the celebrities.
"Sister Mary Fidel" and "Who Would Jesus Deny?", "More with Mike & Tony Benn" and an interview gallery round out the special features for this set.
Every documentary has its point-of-view and editorial slant. Michael Moore's film "Sicko" is no different in that regard. However, Moore's take on health care in the United States is on target more often than not and the inaccuracies are pretty minor overall. Sure, there is no idealized perfect health care system. There are better ones than we currently have in the United States."
The honest truth
John Whiting | London | 06/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One may like or dislike Michael Moore, but the message of this film is as undeniable as the multiplication table. I am now 76 years old and lived the first half of my life in the U.S., the second half in England. I am very lucky in that, now that I need regular medical attention, I am here rather than there. At my age it's 100 percent free, including all medication--and it's very good indeed. I'm on a small pension, but I would not accept a fortune to return to my native country; if I did, it would soon be in the hands of the medical profession and I would not even be able to afford to return to where I would be cared for again. If this is "communism", I'll sing the Internationale."