Yes, it seems like everybody who sees this movie has to do a post on it. OK, here goes:
This is by far Michael Moore’s best movie. It still has Moore’s trademark combination of humor and anger, but it’s much more of an emotional roller coaster. It almost rivals Crash or Hearts and Minds for pushing those emotional buttons.
We’re all aware that 45 million Americans (or whatever the number is) are without health insurance. As disgraceful as that is, the nightmares documented in Sicko are suffered by working Americans who HAVE health insurance. Crippling injuries, deaths and grief-stricken families are the result of one slippery move after another by HMOs.
There's a 100-page list of diseases that aren't covered, period. If that isn't enough, there's that trusty old standby, the “pre-existing condition,” and there's a huge number of treatments that aren't covered because they're “experimental.” Don’t worry; one way or another, your HMO will find a way not to cover you.
Even though the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are cranking up their smear campaigns against this movie, Sicko probably won't alienate as many conservatives as Moore’s other movies have. After all, Biblehumpers, rednecks and Iraqi-war supporters are just as likely as anyone else to get sick and go into bankruptcy because of medical expenses. You remember the expression that “a conservative is a liberal who just got mugged.” Well, what happens to a conservative who just got fucked over by his HMO?
Some of the most moving parts of the film are the interviews with HMO employees. A woman broke down crying when she was telling Moore about interviewing a couple who was applying for HMO coverage. The couple was ecstatic that they were finally going to have health insurance. The interviewer wasn’t allowed to tell them, but she knew — by some of the answers on their application form — that they would be denied, but they wouldn’t find out until they received a boilerplate denial letter in two weeks.
There was an interview with a former HMO employee whose job was to find a way — any way at all, whatever it took — to get money back from patients (or get them dropped by the HMO) after they had already had their treatment approved. His most common method was to do an excruciating background check on a patient until he found a minor ailment — no matter how insignificant — in the patient’s distant past. It could be a stubbed toe, a cold, a mild rash or any other condition which cured itself without treatment; anything. Then, if it turns out the patient hasn’t mentioned this “pre-existing condition” on the application form — Gotcha! They instantly lose their health coverage for failing to disclose their pre-existing condition.
At the end of the interview, this same HMO ex-employee said “people don’t fall through the cracks. We put the crack there and then we push them towards it.”
Think what you want about “socialized medicine,” or the Big Business-generated hysteria about “you don’t even get to choose your own doctor!” “You have to wait six months just to get into the doctor’s office!” But in countries that have universal health care — that’s every industrialized country in the world except us — the people love it and wouldn’t give it up for anything. Moore traveled all over Canada, France and England, interviewing local citizens and American expatriates. Not one of them echoed the rightwing spewbuckets back in the States. Everyone he talked to, regardless of income level or political views, was very happy with their health coverage and the quality of the care.
And now, for the sake of equality and fairness, here is an opposing view of Sicko.