Off Topic : Go See Michael Moore’s “SiCKO”

By | 2007/07/08

This evening I went with my wife and some friends for a nite on the town.  We spent a little time at the SLC Jazz Festival (still going tomorrow, and worth the trip!), we got some dinner and then stopped into the theatre to see Michael Moore’s “SiCKO”.  I just want to take a minute and tell you that you should go see this film!

I know, I know.  You’re probably thinking that you’ve seen a Michael Moore film in the past and, well, you didn’t have any plans to see another.  Or, maybe you love his films.  Whatever your feelings about Michael Moore you should see this film.  At the least it is a well told story, and at the best it outlines the government corruption and shambles of a health care system we have in the US.

I don’t know if the medical school Hippocratic oath has changed, but apparently it only applies if you have health care.  And even then only applies if they can’t find some way to get out of it!  The healthcare insurance industry is the biggest scam on the planet!

He outlines stories of insurance companies outright letting people die to save money, asking a man to choose which finger he would like reattached after an accident because he can’t afford to reattach both, and outrageous accounts of our heroes of 9/11 being left out to die.. all for lack of medical insurance.

…and then nearly identical accounts of medical problems in Canada, the UK and even Cuba where people were taken care of and actually treated like human beings.  Can any of our readers in those countries verify the healthcare system in those places?  Can you really walk into any hospital and get the medical care you need for no cost?

Again, particularly if you are in the US you should go see this film.  Get angry. Open your eyes.

Ohh, and to all the US health insurance companies, owners, employees and corrupt government officials that let this happen: There is a special place in hell for you. Enjoy.

33 thoughts on “Off Topic : Go See Michael Moore’s “SiCKO”

  1. Francis Irving

    “Can you really walk into any hospital and get the medical care you need for no cost?” – Yes. I live in the UK, and healthcare is almost free at the point of use, everyone pays for it through taxation.

    Exceptions are – you have to pay for dental care at the point of use, and you have to pay a small fee for prescription medicines (but they are subsidised – I think the fee is just to stop you taking too much).

    Some people do still pay for additional private health insurance, but it isn’t clear how much that helps. It can reduce the waiting time for some operations. But it can also get you stuck in a private hospital with inadequate staff on a Sunday, rather than a better staffed public hospital.

    I think, however, that the system in say France might be more culturally appropriate for the US – roughly, you pay at the point of use, and reclaim the money from the state. It has more choice than the British system.

  2. Aleksi

    “Can you really walk into any hospital and get the medical care you need for no cost?”

    Yes. I live in Finland and i get treatment for free (or one time 20€ bill which covers entire year)no matter what illness i have… cancer, broken leg, or even mental problems. All of them (illnesses,mental. etc.) are covered by public health care.

    This kind of health care gives really good “safety net” for country residents. If you get sick you must and will be fixed. Its your right as a human.

  3. pilluli

    Same in Spain, *everybody* can walk into a hospital and he/she will get a treatment, for whatever their illness is (a simple cold to a complicated tumor). Hospitals are also usually well equipped and personal is definitely very well trained. The common problem? some hospitals are crowded with patients and waiting lists for operations may be very long (usually months).

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  5. Brad

    Mr. Moore’s film has already been debunked (like many of his other films) in the media. The world if full of people who complain about National Healthcare in those countries that provide it. Long wait times, no coverage for “elective” procedures which we in the U.S. are used to being covered, etc.

    Additionally, the numbers of uncovered citizens in the U.S. is bunk. It doesn’t take into consideration those who choose to skip healthcare in order to afford their new sports car, a leather jacket or a big screen T.V. These people (I know many) make an informed choice to use their money otherwise and risk being uncovered. In a free society, this should be an option (albeit a stupid one).

    Search out the facts and decide for yourself but using a Michael Moore film as a source is as crazy (albeit opposite) as watching only Fox News to obtain your opinion.

  6. Christoph

    I did watch this movie last week and was a bit shocked. I guess as European (at least of the western countries) you can’t even imagine, that your insurance won’t pay in circumstances like the cut off of the finger.
    Here in Austria lots of people complain about the monthly amount which is taken away as part of the health security cost, but I am sure, after watching Sicko, lots of people will be glad, that our system is like it is.
    Its somehow strange if you read that some US States introduce a compulsory health insurance…. so what, now you have one, and they won’t pay!!???

  7. justme

    In Germany the situation is becoming pretty much the same as in the states. There is the official health care for most of the people plus a private insurance, which is available at lower cost but only for people with high income.

    So if you have a low or average income, you can see yourself running from doctor to doctor and nobody is willing to really help you, cause they don’t get enough money from the official health care.

    One can only go to a specialist with a disease like cancer, if one has a private insurance. All others have to accept to be treated by a lower qualified doctor and to see themselves slowly die (this happened to my father btw)…

  8. Claudio

    When I was in Cuba as a backpacker I had a bad case of an ear infection. I was treated twice at the local health center (each neighbourhood had it’s own) and an appointment made with an specialist as the pain didn’t go away as fast as the doctor thought it would. All the treatments were for free.

    Looking at Europe and many third world countries, I am sure the US is able to do more for its citizens. However, wars cost money and the US citizens are the ones that pay the price on many, many fronts.

  9. MmeTLB

    I know there are long wait times up here in Canada, but only because I see it on the news. I’ve lived here all my 67 years, and no-one I’ve ever known – friends family or the thousands of kids I taught over the years, has ever complained about a major problem with our health care system. It has served us well, except obviously in some cases, since they do turn up on the news… But I sense no widespread dissatisfaction with our healthcare system from the people and society around me.

  10. rick h kennerly

    Maybe we should run Michael Moore for President. I went to see Sicko yesterday. Even though it was 5pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon there were a couple of hundred people at Sicko–in Virginia Beach! a Navy town and the GOP’s Elephant Graveyard. People were actually applauding and hooting. Interesting mix, oldsters and younger people. Not a lot in between.

    I thought it was quite good and quite thought provoking. I’m trying to image why we couldn’t have organized universal health care in the US. Perhaps it’s time we start taking seriously the “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” part of the Constitution. Of course, you only have to walk into any county ER to see that we have a sort of unorganized universal health care going right now, for which we pay through the whazoo locally.

    Stats don’t lie. By virtually every measure (available through the CDC and WHO), there are many countries with much healthier people who live longer. It’s not like we’re not paying for health care; we just don’t seem to be getting much for what we do pay for. I see no reason cradle to grave health care could not be a birthright of every American.

    I think, particularly with an aging population, that Moore has hit on something. What could actually be more freeing than to have the burden of worry over health care and health insurance lifted from our shoulders?

    Moore is right on another of his points, too. Americans are sheeple, chained to systems that keep us enslaved. One of my favorite philosophers Jean Jacques Rousseau said, “man was born free, yet everywhere he is in chains”. The chains he was referring to were the chains of ideas and traditions and systems that keep man down.

    Finally, Moore is right about our government not being nearly as afraid of us as it should be, sheeple.

  11. mark

    Many people in Belgium are proud of what they see as one of the best health care systems in the world. Universal and high quality. No significant waiting lists either, unless for organ transplantations of course.

    The OECD says health care in Belgium costs about half as much per capita as in the US. Cost as a percentage of GDP is 10% in Belgium versus 15% in the US. Source:,

    So are all these hospitals state owned? No, in fact most of them aren’t. They are just heavily subsidised. They compete for quality.

    Same goes for medical cost refund mechanisms. Much of this is administered by non-profit “health funds”. Historically, they grew out of socialist, liberal and christian democrat mass movements. The state pays them to do an important part of the health care administration.

    The system is far from perfect, but it does seem to be working fairly well in most cases.

    The “choose which finger” story is absolutely unimaginable in Belgium. If the minister of public health even tried to pass legislation that made such a shame possible, this would be political suicide. A surgeon acting this irresponsible would face severe punishment by government, the hospital and the doctors guild. Media would kill his reputation. Patients would probably go to a different hospital.

  12. oomu

    Moore is not a politician

    he is a movie maker

    he doesn’t say how to change your countries but he shows there are problems

    and there are. health care is a lot better in France.

    not everything is perfect, but you should know.

    I pay minimal fees for health. I will be taken care in case of ugly things and I will be able to have help to pay expensive treatment.

    to summarize : on that point France is better than usa.

    no society should let people to skip health, that is not freedom. it’s just not caring about people, about your countries, about societies.

    unhealthy people are a loss for everyone. to bad for the big plasma tv or sports cars but NO it’s not helping people to say “they can skip health, there are free”.

    BO. it’s not freedom.
    there are many others things to be proud in USA, not your health care system.

  13. Weeber

    “…and even Cuba where people were taken care of and actually treated like human beings.”

    I don’t like the way you are referring to Cuba. Cuba is well known by its health care system and the quality of its professionals. Is one of the best examples of a health system in ‘third world’ countries. Any Cuban receive medical attention for free, like it should be.

    What the USA citizens think about Cuba is what your government want you to think but please make some research about this country. I know is not perfect, but at least is not as corrupt as the US government is.

  14. Shaun

    Nothing that hasn’t already been covered here already, but my (american) S.O. was stunned during a visit to state-owned family planning, to discover that what had cost her $45/month in the US (as a hardworking student), here costs her €3 (maybe $5?).

    Something that I don’t think Sicko ever mentioned, is that state-owned care has a knock-on effect up the supply chain. On the US market they can charge what they want, as market dictates. On a state-owned system, they have one giant customer .. so the customer pulls a lot more weight. I’ve nothing against capitalism, but there’s definitely areas where it’s not preferred. Millionaire doctors with dead “patients” is one of them.

  15. Jon

    I am British but currently living in Texas, I went to see the film and came out so shocked and disillusioned with the US. I have come to the conclusion that the people who support the current system – the CEOs and politicians that is – simply aren’t crooks but murderers.

    That may sound extreme but after watching the film and the stories, which I expect there a million more out there, you just get angry that the richest country on Earth doesn’t give a crap about those who were never given a chance.

    The health system in the UK isn’t the best, but we should always fight for it and prevent it from becoming a political football which I guess it already is.

    I recently had my grandfather go into hospital after becoming seriously ill, if we were in the US and he did not have medical insurance, my family would have had to choose between bankruptcy because we would have to pay the $10,000 a day medical bills while he is in hospital or letting him die. You call that the land of the free?

  16. David

    “I don’t know if the medical school Hippocratic oath has changed, but apparently it only applies if you have health care. And even then only applies if they can’t find some way to get out of it!”

    Somebody failed to mention that the industry that is trying to figure out ways to not apply the Hippocratic oath is not the health care industry (run by doctors etc.) but the health insurance industry (run by businessmen etc. many of whom may have no idea what the Hippocratic oath is). I’m not saying this is good, or even acceptable, but let’s not confuse the two. The health insurance industry increases the overall cost of health care and does everything they can to earn a profit because they are just a business, not a charitable organization.

  17. satellitepro

    Hi I’m from England, UK

    Yes, the health service really is ‘free’ (paid for by national insurance,sort of part of the tax system). Our controversies are about the length of waiting lists for some, mostly non-urgent, operations

  18. USA Gov't Worker

    As a person who works for the county government in California, I can say that my experiences with government healthcare quality have all been fantastic.

    I haven’t had any great illnesses (just a few injuries here and there), but since I am a government employee, I am on the government healthcare system.

    Here’s how it works:
    1. You go to your doc, and tell him/her your malady.
    2. They treat it.
    3. You go home.

    That’s it. No bill is ever sent to your home. No insurance is involved. You don’t have to think about copays, or being denied service.

    I’ve witnessed friends paying up the *#$(&#@ for similar injuries, and I’m blown away by how efficient and effective a system like this is.

    It’s amazing stuff, I must admit. Everybody in the US should be so lucky.

    Go watch the movie.

  19. Devin Horsman

    In Canada, there are no restrictions and no payments. There is no billing department.

    We help those that need help, when they need help. They will help us when the time comes.

  20. Steve Stalcup

    You should really see Transformers. It is the best movie I’ve seen since LOTR/Return of the King.


  21. Jayce^

    I’m no fan of the US medical system, But having used our existing state run, open-access health care (yes, we actually do have one), as well as using the public health care in another country, I’m even more against the idea.

    Of course, I was already against it because I don’t like the idea of the federal government running yet another nanny program.

    But having used state-run health care for 22 years of my life, vs private US health-care for 9 years, I’ll stick with the private for now. Yes I’d like a different program. But having a Federal program is the *last* thing I want!

  22. Dr. Brown

    As a doctor in America who now works for an insurance company, I must present the other side. You have to realize that there are many people who are ATTEMPTING TO FRAUD the insurance companies. I watched the movie, and as someone in the profession, it is clear that Moore found the extreme cases where the system failed us miserably, but there are similar cases (although different problems) in other countries with universal healthcare.

    As someone who has been in the hospital for most of my life treating patients, I have to say the insurance companies can be a pain sometimes, but there usually is a reason for it. Many people try to fraud them, and it forces investigations to be launched to prevent people from basically stealing from them. If you are careful, as you should be, and make sure you disclose all information, the insurance companies will pay 99% of the time.

    Also realize that the privatized system also allows for better doctors to perform more important and difficult procedures, as they make more. Privatized healthcare forces doctors to compete, which leads to better doctors, more choice for patients, and better healthcare quality.

    America has higher quality healthcare then most other countries from what I’ve seen, and for complicated and innovative procedures, NOWHERE beats America. I personally prefer quality over quantity of people. If a couple people have to suffer for most people to get better healthcare, then I think thats going to be part of life, and while its hard for the people who have to suffer, I think its better for the overall society.

  23. mark

    Mr Brown, a few questions and remarks…

    * Could it be that you just gave a strong argument why health care should be universalised in the US?
    In a system with universal health care, there is little or no incentive for an individual patient to commit fraud. Little or no money is coming into the hands of the patient.

    * What are the cases where universal health care fails on different extreme cases?

    * You say “f you are careful, as you should be, and make sure you disclose all information, the insurance companies will pay 99% of the time.”
    Can you expect that from a person seriously struggling with his health?

    * “Also realize that the privatized system also allows for better doctors to perform more important and difficult procedures, as they make more.”
    I do not see the relation between making more and being able to perform more important and difficult procedures. In universal health care, the execution of important and difficult procedures is also rewarded according to the level of importance and difficulty.

    * “Privatized healthcare forces doctors to compete, which leads to better doctors, more choice for patients, and better healthcare quality.”
    There is much more competition between doctors in a universal health care system that allows one to pick the doctor of his choice. More choice for _all_ patients, not just the richest ones who can pay every doctor they want, that is what forces doctors to deliver high quality services.

    “America has higher quality healthcare then most other countries from what I’ve seen”
    Correct. It also has lower quality then most other countries from what I’ve seen. Both higher and lower quality are available in the US. But to whom is the higher quality available? Stanford University hospital is only available to a tiny minority…

    “If a couple people have to suffer for most people to get better healthcare, then I think thats going to be part of life, and while its hard for the people who have to suffer, I think its better for the overall society.”
    Did you realise that you just just crossed a line by more or less literally gave us the definition of fascism?

  24. Warbo

    To Brad and those with similar opinions: Yes there may be long waiting lists for some things in countries like the UK (which, along with Sweden, has the most socialised health system. The rest are slightly closer to the health insurance model) but I am guessing that’s because more people are getting the operations, less people are dying young with organs healthy enough to transplant, etc. If you have bothered watching the film it describes at the beginning the guy who had to choose which finger because he had no insurance, etc. but then says that the film isn’t about those without insurance, it is about those with. For instance there was a woman who passed all of the ridiculous checks and got her long-term treatment payed for, but then had it retroactively taken away because she had failed to declare a previous medical condition (which, by the way, was a yeast infection!), and a woman who’s child needed emergency care which wasn’t available from the closest hospital because the insurance didn’t approve, so after arguing with and begging the staff to help her child they still refused and she had to go to another hospital further away which was approved by her insurance company (apparently the biggest one out of them) and her child died on the way. This is what the film is about, and whilst I do not blame it on the doctors with their hippocratic oath (since there are many cases of doctors treating people and charging other’s insurance) it IS to blame on the insurance companies. I mean, come on, if the point of a health insurance company is to help people who are sick then they should be jumping at the chance to insure diabetics, people with long term illnesses like cacer, etc. But due to the post-war “Socialising is evil because that is communist” attitude in the USA there is instead a system designed to make money which shuns those who need it most. Even the fact that health insurance is profitable shows that it is a waste of money, since people are paying for these profits and not for healthcare.

    In the UK the government is for some ridiculous reason trying to mess around with the NHS, which has caused massive protests from NHS workers, and they constantly go on about deficits within the NHS and things, which is ridiculous, since like the postal service the government seems to think that EVERYTHING needs to be making a profit, and doesn’t think for a moment that actually spending a bit more on stopping people dying and getting messages delivered will make the REST of the economy more profitable overall. I just want to see what Gordon Brown does about this, because at the moment New Labour seems nothing to do with Labour and even seems more Conservative than the Tories.

  25. Dr. Brown

    The thing is, the government manages the salary of the doctors and controls it in the Universal healthcare system. That means the doctors don’t earn nearly as much. I’m most familiar with the system in Canada, and doctors only make about 50k. If someone is a good doctor, they should be able to earn more money. If they can’t, they’ll go someplace where they can. Universal healthcare tends to push the good doctors out of the country as they can’t earn more money for being good, REMOVING competition.

    I know it might be a lot, but yes, when you are getting insurance, I expect people not to lie as their medical history is important to being treated, and lying only furthers the problems, and ends up screwing everyone over. You are stealing from everyone else when you commit fraud in addition to committing a crime.

    The healthcare system in Canada does nothing to encourage better doctors and competition between them. Every doctor performing procedures earns the same amount. A doctor who is better at performing a procedure is not able to charge more. Yes, people can request him, but that means there likely would be a long line and no priority system for this doctor.

    I realize that I gave the defintion of facism, but I believe it IS a part of life in a free society, and without some level of facism, you can’t have democracy or capitalism. This has always been true and has nothing to do with healthcare. A great example of this is computers. Computers allow YOU to have more fun and live a better lifestyle, while it takes away some opportunity from someone in this world who is starving. The people researching and building your computer, power, and everything else for it could be working to help stop anyone from going hungry, but personally, I’d prefer that they don’t, as if they did that, it’d be likely we’d end up with communism. Being a doctor makes you quickly realize that some people need to suffer and die for the better of EVERYONE else.

    I know that I would be forced to start investigating other places to live if universal healthcare came to the US, as I didn’t spend all my years in education to not have an opportunity to make a good amount of money working as a doctor, and I’m sure many other doctors who are better then me will believe the same thing. Thankfully, I think even if we implement universal healthcare, it will just be an expansion of free clinics, and everyone will need to get a secondary insurance anyways so they can see a decent doctor and not have extremely long lines. (And free clinics are available in most parts of america, so if you want free healthcare, it usually is available, although you have to wait)

  26. Pham Nuwen


    I don’t care where you live it isn’t free. In Canada we pay through the nose for it, it may be in the form of taxes, but we pay for it in spades.

    And what kind of service do we get, great service, if you don’t mind waiting weeks, months or years, or for that matter survive the wait.

    I broke my foot 6 months ago, it took them 5 weeks to do a bleeding bone scan. All they were ever able to give me was Advil for the pain, and six months later my foot still hurts, they are still unwilling to actually do anything, even though I have on good authority that a simple surgery likely would solve my pain, and let me walk normally again.

    Next month I’m flying to Mexico and paying for said surgery. It’ll cost a fraction of what it would in Canada and I don’t have to wait Years to have it.

    Moore is a twit in my opinion.

  27. Maxo

    I can attest that in my personal experience with the health care system that there are long waiting lines in America too. I had to wait over 2 hours to be seen by a doctor for him to make me wait even longer, give me a shot that ended up having nothing to do with my problems and then paying over $400 (I wasn’t insured at the time) for the worthless work.
    When I went in a was puking everywhere and could barely breath, yet that gave me absolutely no priority.
    I have also tried these free clinics. There are two in town. One is awesome, the other one is as worthless as doing nothing. In the poor one you wait for a very long time, you get seen by an LPN who doesn’t listen to a word you say, tells you to take over the counter medication that doesn’t help and then sends you on your way.
    My wife once got a doctor who actually prescribed her medication for the problem she was having. Once the meds where out and she needed more it was impossible to get another doctor who would prescribe the meds. All she could get was LPNs who would promise that someone would contact us even though nobody would.
    And according to Dr. Brown this is all so that people like him can live luxorious life styles. Most people I know that work in the medical profession (my mom is a nurse) is in it for the people, not the money, though I’m sure the money doesn’t hurt any.

  28. Ryan

    Hmm. To join the plague of people answering your question, in Canada, (to be more specific, Ontario, because I don’t know about the other provinces, it varies), You can basically walk into the hospital and get “free” health care. Of course, you pay for it threw taxes, etc. The downside: waiting lists are looong… couple months, usually classified by priority. If someone just came in from a car crash and bleeding like crazy, they get priority, and it bumps everybody down. OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan, aka, government health care) sadly doesn’t cover dentistry, but the NDP (New Democratic Party) is vying to change that on the idea of “If you have an infection in your foot, you can get it fixed for “free”, So why should you have to pay to get your infected tooth healed?”. Until the government fixes it, people will have to rely on personal dental insurance.

  29. Jason Brower

    If you look at countries that provide free healthcare you get a people that abuse it. For example, I was sick, infact, I felt I could die. So I had to WALK to the hospital, and wait 5 HOURS before getting in. They don’t let you make an appointment unless it is a private (paid) doctor. And the people that get to go ahead of everyone else? The drunks, the get picked up by the police and put in wheelchair, the nurses are required to help them sit on the toilet to pee. And best of all they don’t need ID to be helped, I do. If that is free medical care, I don’t want it. I want to go back to the states where they take care of you. I have never been denied help when I had no money. Even when I needed medicine for an illness, the hospital paided more than half right away, and let me pay back the bill on my own time. But hey, if Mike wants to show all the bad people in his country to make everyone hate his own country, he is free to do so.

  30. Ben

    To Dr Brown.

    You wrote “I’m most familiar with the system in Canada, and doctors only make about 50k.”

    What was the last time you actually came to Canada? 1968?

    I don’t where you get that 50K number, but my brother in law, who’s a last year resident makes close to 100K.

  31. Scott

    I have to ask..

    How many theaters in Salt Lake are showing it?

    Considering the very small liberal population in metro Salt Lake, I’d be surprised if it was playing at more than two. 🙂

  32. kevin

    “Can you really walk into any hospital and get the medical care you need for no cost?” – In Canada, almost true. There is a false impression amongst Canadians that we have a true public, one tier health care system. Not entirely true. It is a two tier system that does ask for a credit card when you show up at Emergency. Most of the entitlement people think is part of the health care system actually comes from employer benefits and health insurance. We don’t have enough GP’s and most now live at their local walk in clinic. Our system is actually pretty messed up. The biggest difference between the Canadian health care system and the US is that in Canada it’s heal first pay later. In the US, it’s most often pay first heal later.

  33. MichaellaS

    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

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