[DVD review]Moore tells ills of U.S. health care

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[DVD review]Moore tells ills of U.S. health care

“Sicko” is not about the 50 million Americans who are without health insurance. It’s also not about the 18,000 who die each year simply because they don’t have health insurance. Instead, it’s about the 23 million who have insurance but still suffer.

Michael Moore has done it again. In 2004, he released the controversial “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which looks into the actions of President George W. Bush and his administration in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, propelling the country into war in Iraq.

Now Moore has made a film that reveals some of the sick secrets behind American health insurance companies and how far they’ll go to maximize profits.

Truckloads of e-mails, phone calls, personal threats and criticism don’t impede Moore’s movie-making process. He simply says, “I knew they couldn’t handle the truth.”

In Sicko, Moore discloses the cases of many U.S. citizens who have dealt with outrageous and unbelievable treatment from their health insurance companies. While the featured people in the movie may be extreme cases, the fact that these events even took place is unacceptable.

Here’s a rundown of some of the shocking stories the film presents: A worker whose fingers got cut off in an accident was given a choice by a doctor (who followed the patient’s strict company health care protocol) to either attach the middle finger at price A or attach the ring finger at a lower price B.

A mother carrying her sick baby was turned down at her neighborhood’s nearest hospitable because her insurance company couldn’t cover the costs at that particular hospital. The baby died shortly afterwards.

Moore then expresses his bitterness by introducing the very different health care systems in Canada and Europe.

These countries offer free and universal health care without discrimination. And hospitals don’t ask the patients whether they’ve got the money to pay for their treatment before taking them in.

As Moore said in one of his special features, “There’s no way a two-hour movie can depict the lives of over 23 million people who have had a nightmare experience with their health insurance companies.”

He also presents a thorough background of the U.S. health care system, from the time of Richard Nixon up to the present.

Some viewers may think that this Moore documentary is, once again, too one-sided and polemical.

Regardless, what is shown in this film is real and sick.

Sicko may have been produced and edited by Moore himself, but it speaks for those 23 million U.S. citizens.


Documentary / English

120 min.

By Su-jeong Choi Contributing Writer [sc523@cornell.edu]
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