Film Reviews

SICKO

By • Jun 22nd, 2007 •

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The Weinstein Co. / Lionsgate / Dog Eat Dog Films
Running time 124 minutes / MPAA rating: PG-13

If you get sick, move to Canada, France, or Cuba.

If Michael Moore’s SICKO is seen by enough Americans it can actually make a positive impact for change. But only if people start protesting and rioting in large numbers for a change in policy.

I’m terrified now that I might get sick. I’ll have to move to Europe or hope that the Brazilian healer John of God can work a miracle for me.

Why is Moore so impressed with the national health care of countries like Canada, France and England? Why does he go to Cuba? Could it be that instead of building a war industry and invading countries, they are spending tax money on their citizen’s health care? All three countries have free health care for any medical crisis.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service says the U.S. is now spending close to $10 billion dollars a month on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan – an increase of nearly $8 billion dollars from one year ago.

$10 billion dollars each month could subsidize a lot of prescriptions.

SICKO, as you all know, is Moore’s documentary on the health care system in the U.S. Moore has a clear message: there are billions of dollars in profits at stake that the industry wants to keep for itself. They do not want to pay any medical bills and thereby provide so many technical loopholes that it is impossible to outsmart them.

The private health care industry wants you to have an insurance policy in place but they are not willing to pay for your health care once you get sick. The industry policy is to deny claims. They get away with outrageous practices by doling out enormous contributions to politicians and employing an army of lobbyists with ready cash.

Moore introduces a group of average Americans who have had to face dire medical emergencies and whose claims were denied by their insurance carriers. It is sickening. Kaiser Permanente is at the top of Moore’s Evil Triumvirate.

A friend of mine’s teenage son was diagnosed last year with leukemia. To date, and his treatment is ongoing, his medical bills have exceeded $700,000. Even with a good health insurance plan, my friends have huge, supplemental medical bills. (In London, Moore cannot find a billing department. There is no place to pay for a hospital stay and they give you cab fare when you leave the hospital.)

When Moore hears about how terrorists are being cared for at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he decides to take a group of volunteer Ground Zero rescue workers and sick people to Cuba. While they are not allowed on the base, they go to a Cuban hospital where they are welcomed and treated. One woman starts crying when she is told she can have her bottle of medicine for five cents. In the U.S. the same bottle costs her $120 a month.

Moore blames President Nixon for starting the whole HMO debacle now plaguing average Americans. Hillary Clinton was tasked to bring universal health care to every American but the health industry spent more than $100 million to defeat her plan. Hillary learned her lesson and has now embraced the “for profit only” scheme of the health industry.

Apparently, sick people do not vote. Why not have voter registration forms at hospitals and pharmacies?

SICKO is important and well done. Moore takes a backseat and allows his subjects to express themselves and show us how a medical crisis has changed their lives.

While we are led to believe we are the most powerful, rich and caring country in the world, we are only allowing the well-heeled to have appropriate medical care. When Americans do not have to cross the Canadian and Mexican borders to fill their prescriptions and the health care industry plays fair, then we can turn our attention to Darfur and spreading “democracy” in the Middle East.


Credits:
Screenwriter-director: Michael Moore
Executive producers: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Kathleen Glynn
Producers: Meghan O’Hara, Anne Moore
Editor: Christian Sweitlik, Dan Swietlik, Geoffrey Richman

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