"Sicko" is controversial director Michael Moore's latest documentary which takes a look a the shady healthcare system here in the United States provided by Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs...which by the way...doesn't the infusion of the word "maintenance" already let you know what to expect?). He contrasts it to the different healthcare systems around the world like the free universal healthcare in Canada, England and France with some striking discrepancies.
Moore's stories of the American healthcare system are a bit slanted. It seems like we are not getting the fully story. For instance, the lady who was in the car accident and ambulance not covered because it was pre-approved. You KNOW I know about that one. Claims is what I did for 10+ years. That ambulance ride would have been covered under her auto insurance. Period. The health insurance would not have even been a factor because the insurance on the auto should have been primary.
Then there is the lady that was director for Humana and quit due to questionable practices. Their company mandated that they had to maintain a 10% denial quota. Reminds me of my days at a certain insurance provider that shares my initials where everyone had to maintain a certain closed file ratio. Reps were encouraged to close files no matter what it took to get them off the books. It often meant cutting corners and short-changing a claim's value. That's how insurance claims works.
I particularly liked the interview with Tony Benn, former member of Parliament. He touched on something I have always thought. He was describing how free healthcare in England came to be and said it originated from a basic premise:
"If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people."
Our government always says we can't afford free healthcare like Canada. It would allegedly mean raising taxes to do it. But we can afford to invade Iraq. Put this into perspective...to date, the running total the U.S. has spent on the Iraq war is $510 BILLION. That's roughly $341.4 million per day. Somehow, they found the money to fund that mistake. No reason why that couldn't have avoided and that money spent on free medical care for everyone.
Interesting that Moore does a piece on Hillary Clinton's efforts for universal healthcare plan when she was First Lady. As he points out, she was bought off during that first year to quiet that noise and it was never mentioned again during the rest of Clinton's 7-year reign. In fact, she was paid so well that even now as she runs for President, she STILL isn't talking about the possibility of a free healthcare plan.
One of the countries Moore went to demonstrate the discrepancies in our US healthcare system was Cuba. As much as he tried to show the humane side of Cuba regarding the healthcare treatment, there was still something bothering me. If it is supposedly that great there, how come so many Cuban refugees are trying to get out of there to come here? That's nice that their healthcare system is so much better than ours, but that whole dictatorship thing isn't quite that appealing.
To call me a Michael Moore "fan" would be taking it a bit far. I do admire much of his work. "Bowling for Columbine" could almost be considered a classic. However, as informative as "Fahrenheit 9/11" was, he did take quite a few liberties with that one. Still, there was no question that was "Sicko" was on my list to see and I am glad I ultimately got around to it.
My rating: B+