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Sicko (Special Edition) (2007)

A movie directed by Michael Moore

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Great commentary on the American political scene, but could have used more statistics

  • Dec 16, 2008
  • by
I will begin this review by stating that I am a proud American citizen, an immigrant from a Third World country who grew up in America. I have also traveled around the world, and have experienced the health care systems in other countries. I also have friends and family living in other countries, both developed and under-developed countries. From my own experiences in America and in other countries, and those related to me by my friends and family, I've come to believe that the US healthcare system is extremely inefficient, corrupt, and unfriendly to customers. If one were to consider slavery as 19th century America's national shame, then healthcare is probably the shame of our time. Many individuals have tried to describe the failings of America's health care system in editorials, books, and news reports. But this 2-hr long documentary captures the essence of these failures; both cause and effect, and the agents. Sicko correctly reveals the fundamental cause: greed, and the system whereby greed is allowed to take people's lives: a deregulated, privately run health care system. Taken together, this leads to a health care safety net with very big holes. Importantly, Moore focuses only on those who do have insurance, and shows the loopholes that allow health care providers to deny care. So instead of coming of as a paean to the poor and uninsured, this movie actually looks at those that have been insured; the working professionals both blue and white collar. And as a good liberal, Moore contrasts the American system with those in Canada, Cuba, France and England.

The failings of this movie are also numerous. First of, Moore fails to elucidate the specific laws that have created our current health care system. He only looks at one specific bill passed during the Nixon administration that sanctioned HMO's as the pre-eminent form of health care provider in the US. The movie should have spent some time presenting the origins of worker-provided care, the origins of France's present health care system under Vichy rule, and differences in the health care education in different countries. The US is unique in that one needs an undergraduate degree before entering medical school. This by itself dramatically increases the time and cost incurred by doctors in training, which in turn raises their salaries.

The 2nd major failing of this documentary is the very incomplete comparison of the US health care system to those in other countries. Specifically, there were no comparisons with health care systems in Asia, such as those of Singapore, China and India. The latter two produce many of America's best doctors and medical researchers. The former, Singapore, has probably the world's best health care system in terms of cost/benefit ratio, access by all citizens to latest technical advances, and a strong orientation on customer satisfaction.

A third major failing, and the biggest surprise of this movie, was the complete absence of mention of patient privacy. I suspect Moore examined Iceland's system and came away with more questions than answers as to the need of patient privacy. And probably the biggest failing of this movie is the absence of aggregate statistics. Yes, Mr. Moore provides prices that specific individuals have had to pay for specific medical services and goods. But Mr. Moore does not include important statistics like the trend in HMO deductibles and premiums over time, trends in Medicare and Medicaid spending (overall and per capita) over time, comparisons of per capita medical costs across different countries, etc, etc... Nobody can argue with numbers, but lots of people can argue with anecdotal evidence, which is what this documentary almost exclusively presents.

But overall, I still like and recommend this movie. I believe the facts presented in the movie are correct, and I agree with Mr. Moore's opinion.

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More Sicko (Special Edition) (2007) reviews
review by . July 04, 2010
Pros: Honest and forthright look at the American Health Care System.     Cons: Not fully fleshed out; a few factual errors.     The Bottom Line: Sicko bears watching with an un-jaundiced eye; that is if you value your health!     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. We The People think very highly of ourselves.  And why not; from a very early age Americans are told that they are number one; that …
review by . September 04, 2009
When Michael Moore's Sicko was announced, I remember all the news reports.  Once again I was pelted with, "Michael Moore hates America!" and all that stuff.  One of my friends came up to me and said, "Did you hear?  Now Michael Moore is attacking Doctors!  Don't you go see that movie Sean!  If you do you'll go to hell."  Yes, because God is more concerned about what documentaries I'm watching more than he is with anything else I'll ever …
review by . April 14, 2009
documentary ( plural documentaries ) A film, TV program, book etc that presents a social , political , scientific or historical subject in a factual or informative manner. entertainment something amusing or entertaining a show put on for the enjoyment or amusement of others ( obsolete ) maintenance or support I quote these two nouns before I begin my review because I think to properly review "Sicko," one must acknowledge what Michael Moore films are, and what they are not. I think we've …
review by . February 15, 2009
Personally, I value the documentary work Michael Moore has done over his career thus far. He takes interesting and hard looks at social topics that are often muddled via that media, talking heads and politicos.    Sicko addresses a topic that I personally follow the news about extensively and watch folks I kinow struggle with all the time: the US health care system.    While I think this piece of work is helpful to open the general American's eyes to the irony …
review by . August 19, 2008
When thinking about it most people outside the U.S. would be shocked and appalled at the blatant uncaring nature of the American Health Service. I can't honestly imagine being denied Health Care because of money troubles. I suppose that I should consider myself lucky that I live in the UK, a country that puts a persons health before a profit.     Many people claim Moore to be a propagandist who's just utilising this subject matter in order to make a quick dollar. That may be …
review by . August 16, 2008
Whoa. I work in health care and I am very aware of some of the screwed-up issues out there. I see physicians' hands tied by insurance companies, I see physicians' costs for liability insurance climbing and payment for health care declining. Even with that insider knowledge, Sicko curled my toes. I'm sure there are two sides of the story. But I don't see the other side in my day job and Sicko opens the flood gates on horror stories. I cried and I grew enraged at the stories that were shared in this …
review by . January 13, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Moore presents a very serious issue facing all Americans whether or not they have health insurance in a very entertaining light. If what he presents is true, then the American public has been lied to especially concerning "socialized" medicine in other countries.    During the documentary Moore went to four countries including Cuba and he expounds that medicine in these places is far superior to what is available or not available to the American public here in the US. The documentary …
review by . November 07, 2007
Sure, like all of Michael Moore's films this movie is more editorial than documentry. It's trying to make a very specific point (the American health care system is seriously broken), and pulls out all the stops to do so. It does so with all the usual wit and humor of Michael Moore, which to my mind is a good thing.    The movie focuses on various middle-class people who generally thought they had decent medical coverage. They usually thought this right up to the point where they …
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Hi everyone, so here is the rundown of me. I like reading and writing, nonfiction for both. I love movies, especially original ones. I like nonfiction music, eating out, and basketball. I love to travel, … more
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SiCKOis more like a controlled howl of protest than a documentary. Toning down the rhetoric of past efforts--no CEOs, congressmen, or celebrities were accosted in the making of this film--Michael Moore's latest provocation is just as heartfelt, if not more heartbreaking. As he clarifies from the outset, his subject isn't the 45 million Americans without insurance, but those whose coverage has failed to meet their needs. He starts by speaking with patients who've been denied life-saving procedures, like chemotherapy, for the most spurious of reasons. Then he travels to Canada, England, and France to see if socialized medicine is as inefficient as U.S. politicians like to claim--especially those who receive funding from pharmaceutical companies. Moore finds quality care available to all, regardless as to income. He concludes with a stunt that made headlines when he assembles a group of 9/11 rescue workers suffering from a variety of afflictions. When Moore is informed that detainees at Guantánamo Bay--technically American soil--qualify for universal coverage, he and his companions travel to Cuba to get in on that action. It's a typically grandstanding move on Moore's part. And it proves remarkably effective when these altruistic individuals, who've either been denied treatment or forced to pay outrageous costs for their medication, experience a dramatically different system. Nine years in the making,SiCKOmakes a persuasive case that it's time ...
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Director: Michael Moore
Screen Writer: Michael Moore
DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
Runtime: 123 minutes
Studio: Weinstein Company
First to Review

"Sadly accurate"
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