Review of "Sicko" by Michael Moore
rating **** 1/2
I have to admit that I had some preconceived notions before I watched this film. I like the documentaries that Michael Moore has done in the past, but they all have been very one sided and very opinionated. I was expecting the same with this one. I was wrong. He does a very good job of telling both sides of the story (mostly).
I have to preface this review by stating up front that while I agree with a lot of what Michael Moore has to say about the poor quality of health insurance in the U.S., my wife and I have experienced first hand some of the positive aspects of having good health insurance. Our baby, Allison, was born with complications that forced her to remain hospitalized after birth. Allison did not survive her six and a half weeks of life in the hospital. But in that same time period her medical costs exceeded $250,000. My wife and I paid a little over $3,000 of that amount in out of pocket expenses. None of the expensive medical treatments that the doctors requested were denied. We didn’t have to fight anyone. Had we not had a health insurer who delivered as promised, we would still be paying on this bill.
Now back to the review. I had read or heard from various sources how the film touts the health care system in Canada. I must have heard this before the film was completed, because I also heard a lot about how health care might be free in Canada, but you’ll die before you get that care because of the long lines. Well, the film shows these same naysayers. Michael Moore then goes to Canada and visits hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices. No one there seems to be complaining about long lines.
He visits Brittan and France, both of which offer free health care to everyone. France is unbelievable in what they offer their citizens. I do recall, however, there being a lot of upheaval in France among the youth, who are finding it more difficult to find jobs. The people have become so accustomed to five or more weeks of paid vacation and other amenities like free day care, that employers can’t afford to add new employees. There was nothing about that upheaval in the film. Nor was there anything about possible abuses of free health care. I would have liked to have seen how these countries deal with hypochondriacs and drug addicts and the people who take advantage of the system.
Like other films by Michael Moore, this film has a political motive. But in this case it is one we should all get behind. Universal health care is possible and he shows how other countries are doing it. The stories of individuals who were denied health care due to the greed of the insurance companies and their overpaid CEOs is enough to make anyone demand change.
I’d much rather have my health insurance premiums go into a national fund than into the pockets of insurance company doctors and executives who go out of their way to deny payment. This is a film that could actually have an impact on people getting behind a cause. I hope it does just that. I plan to vote for the bill for universal health care the first opportunity I get, and so should you.