SickoMikey 5 comments
This is the film that might just make some Michael Moore critics come over to his side, at least on the subject of health care. An anti-greed poster boy with his heart in the right place, Moore's latest documentary Sicko is his first film since the Palme d'Or winning Fahrenheit 911.
In Moore's latest documentary, the United States health care system is placed squarely in his sights, focusing on the shocking treatment of health care 'beneficiaries' and the corporate red-tape responsible.
The story is told in true Michael Moore style, getting the audience to laugh, sympathise, cry and think all at the same time. Perhaps no other documentary film maker does it better.
There are plenty of HMO horror stories, citing particular examples of people who thought they were fully covered after years of paying insurance premiums. In many instances they were denied insurance coverage because they suffered from conditions which were not considered life threatening enough, such as kidney or brain cancer.
A Michael Moore trademarked stunt is also played out. In this version he takes some ground zero rescue workers for a boat ride to Guantanamo Bay to request medical assistance - by yelling at the security guard towers from off shore through a megaphone. The detainees receive free medical care. We all know nothing will become of this stunt, but this is Moore's way of driving the point home.
What Moore tries to get across, is why does his country put the well being of its sick citizens in the hands of for-profit organisations whose primary agenda is to make money by denying insurance claims? How is it the richest country on Earth can't afford universal health care when poor countries like Cuba can? The USA already has a socialised emergency system in place where a fireman or police officer will respond without putting a hand out for payment, so why can't the medical system be the same?
These are valid questions and Moore responds with examples of stark contrast. In one, an American man who sliced off two of his finger tips during a wood saw accident was told he would have to pay US$12,000 to save one, and US$60,000 to save the other. Crossing over to Canada, a hockey player who had all the fingers on one hand sliced off received the benefits of a socialised medical system, and paid nothing.
In one of the most powerful examples of where the system fails, a mother called an ambulance who rushed her 18 month old daughter to a hospital. She was turned away because the hospital was not approved by her HMO and would not cover the tests and treatment. She was told to drive her daughter to another hospital by car. The mother pleaded with the staff to help her daughter who was getting worse. She was escorted from the hospital because they thought she was a threat. During all this, the toddler became weaker and went into a seizure, and died. What sort of a system allows for this to happen? Who would deny a child medical attention, especially in an emergency?
Although the issues raised are with the current health care system in the United States of America, it's still worth watching even if you don't reside there.
Moore's finest and most powerful work to date.