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In Michael Moore's documentary SICKo, he explains that the health insurance companies in the United States have a serious conflict of interest. One one hand they have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for their shareholders. On the other hand, they are expected to do this by providing health care to sick people. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you really can't serve two masters. They only way to maximize your profits is by refusing to provide the care that people need.

Moore argues, convincingly in my opinion, that we have to replace the current for-profit system with a not-for-profit single-payer system like those found in all of the other industrialized countries. Currently, there's legislation before Congress, HR 676 (www.healthcare-now.org) that would expand our current Medicare system to cover everyone, with no deductibles and no copays. The coauthor of this legislation is running in the Democratic primaries, and is the only candidate supporting a single-payer system for universal healthcare. I got a copy of SICKo, which just came out on DVD, and I'm going to invite all of my neighbors in to see the movie, and talk with them about what's at stake in the upcoming elections.

One of the most disturbing parts of SICKo was the list of disorders that would make you ineligible for buying health insurance. One of them was autonomic nervous system diseases. That means us. For me, it means that either I or my husband has to continue to work full-time at a job that offers benefits. If he gets laid off, and I get too sick to work, we could be royally screwed. Half of the 1.4 million personal bankruptcies in the US each year are due to medical expenses, and three quarters of those people had insurance when they first got sick or injured.

Edited by Sunfish
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I watched it a month ago and I found it very interesting, especially the part about the first respondend of 9-11 who are completely ignored and who were treated if I remember well free in Cuba.

It also mentions that in England all medications are the same price and the healthcare is free to everybody. They don't even ask if you are a citizen.

Some directors of HMO got their promotions by rejecting (letting die) patients because they refused the treatment. They said that they did not need the treatment or gave other stupid reasons.

A film worth looking!

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I agree. Something HAS to be done about the health care system. We spend more than anywhere else, and we're not any better off.

I'm not sure whose plan is the best, but I don't think we can rely on corporations to fix the mess we're in now.


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While I agree there are MANY MANY problems with health and sky high COSTS and SKY HIGH medication costs, Moore does take many liberties in this movie...I have not seen it yet but saw many clips.

He exaggerates how WONDERFUL CANADA and the UK's health insurance is...my room mate's mom got sick on vacation in London and was in a ward with 15 people..Men and women for a day before getting her own room. Course being from out of country her stay costs thousands as her 'travel insurance' fought the claim. But I would be mortified to be ROOMED with both sexes. She had a good attitude and saw it as an anthropology experiment!?

Also many countries with FREE health care have super sky high taxes that you do not hear about. That said, there are SERIOUS PROBLEMS in this country and I saw the doctor who ADMITTED to denying coverage and she allowed many to die 20 years ago. too bad it took so long for her conscience to catch up.

I am very well familiar with the problems PERSONALLY in this country and in CANADA...I doubt I will see the movie just because I CHOOSE not to be more depressed and do not want to feel MORE HOPELESS. But I have seen many clips and read about the SICKO.

Health crisis does need fixing but more government isn't the answer. Government RUN MEDICARE pays NOTHING for eye glasses, NOTHING for DENTAL and NOTHING for hearing aIds. MEDICARE considers those three to be 'luxureis" I guess. :( People working for Congree and SENATE get EXCELLENT benefits until the day they die and have NO CLUE how the common man struggles if we are 'caught in the cracks' of which I am d*** FAMILIAR.

My fave story about moore is the fake funeral he staged for a young guy needing a kidney transplant I think it was. HMO said NO. So Michale put a casket in front of HMO headquarters and laid the young man inside and THAT got the Powers that Be attention and thus OK'd the transplant. I am not sure that is in the movie (did that some years back) SICKO but more things like that need to be done to shame the insurance companies into being LESS PROFIT driven...rather than exaggerate how WONDERFUL the CANADIAN system is...many of them have come to the USA for care in the last 10 years I have been reading about this illnes. But those folks can speak for themselves.


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Sophia, some hospitals here in the states do have mixed sexes within rooms. My dad's roommate after his heart bypass was a woman (he was at a prestigious hosp in NY, and his surgeon was Dr. Oz--yes the one from TV).


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I'll try not to be too political as I don't want to create an argument - this post is for information only.

I live in the UK, have a full time job and pay my taxes and National Insurance contributions. National insurance is the fund that pays social benefits if you are unemployed (Job seeker's benefit), Disabled (Disability Living Allowance) or unable to work due to ill health (Incapacity benefit). National insurance is separate to the health care funding system.

The main healthcare system in the UK in the NHS (National Health Service), it was introduced in the aftermath of the 2nd world war by a politician. The premise was a healthcare service for all UK citizens "free at the point of care". Prior to this many people went without healthcare due to the costs of seeing a doctor.

The NHS is free to all UK citizens and has reciprocal agreements with many other countries. Other people would have to pay for treatment, usually by claiming on holiday insurance.

Everyone should be registered with a local general practitioner (GP) - choice limited by your address. You can see your GP, usually on the day or the next day with no charge. Any medicines prescribed in the community are charged at a standard fee (about $15) no matter what the actualcost of the medication. Lots of people are entitled to free prescriptions, usually because of low income. In Wales prescriptions are free of charge to everyone and Scotland will probably do the same in the net year or two. People who do have to pay but have large amounts of prescription items can buy a pre-pay certificate for about $200 which covers all prescriptions for 12 months.

If you need to see a hospital specialist or go for treatment (eg physiotherapy) you have to be referred by your GP. YOu usually get sent to one of the local hospitals but some choice is being developed into the system. All hospital treatment (eg admissions, operations, drugs like chemotherapy and follow up appointments) are free of charge. If you need to see someone more specialised then that referal would come from your hospital consultant (eg I was referred by my cardiologist to Prof Mathias in London).

This all sounds wonderful? There are some down sides to the NHS. The main one being waiting times, you can wait several months to see a hospital specialist, and then wait again for treatment / admission. The government has introduced targets to try to cut waiting times, especially for elective procedures like hip replacements where previously you had to wait for years to get one on the NHS.

Also appointment times are much shorter then in the USA - GP appointments are 10 minutes, initial hopsital appointments are 30 minutes but follow ups are usually only 10 minutes.

Ususally in a clinic there wil be the consultant, a registrar and often 2 junior doctors - only some people will get to see the consultant themselves, but the other doctors often make management plans with the consultant after seeing you.

The UK also has private healthcare. Usually provided by the same consultants who work for the NHS - they will do 1 or 2 sessions a week in a private clinic. Anyone can have private medical care, you can either pay directly yourself for the cost of the treatment or take out private health insurance to cover future costs.

I hope this all makes sense and you now understand a little of the UK health care system, it's not perfect by a long way but it is fair.


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Mixed sexes - the policy in the UK is to have single sex bays within mixed sex wards. This means that you will be in a room with usually 6 people all of the same sex but that there will be other bays with the opposite sex near by. The exception to that rule is on acute admisions wards (often called MAU) where the bays are mixed as no-one can say that they will only take female patient's as the mens room is full - they have to treat everyone so mixed sex is often necessary. When you get moved to a proper ward you would either be in a single sex bay or a side room.

Specialist units like Coronary care, High dependancy and Intensive care are almost always mixed sex as they are usually one large room to make nursing easier.

Unfortunately a lot of the hospitals were built quite a while back and most wards don't have many side-rooms (single rooms). The side rooms are usually prioritised for people with infections that could be spread or people with terminal illness to give more privacy and allow for visitors outside of usual visiting times.


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I saw this movie in the theater. I didn't post about it because I thought it might stir up things a bit. I think the movie is very worthwhile seeing. The point of the film is that the US healthcare system is grossly inadequate in many ways. I think most of us would be hard pressed to disagree with this. In making his point, Moore does take some liberties and in some cases exaggerates, as he does in some of his other films, but it does not mean that he doesn't raise some valid points.

I'm currently on a leave of absence from my job - I actually quit my job and was thankfully offered a leave of absence - so I did extensive research about buying health insurance before this all happened. My company is paying for my health insurance for several months (god bless) and after that I will get COBRA for 18 months, so I am not so worried because I expect to be back at work before my insurance expires. But the ability to purchase health insurance depends upon the state you live in. In my state (NY) it is illegal for insurers to discriminate based upon pre-existing conditions - but this means many of the top insurance companies don't offer insurance at all for individual purchase in NY. And buying insurance is about 4 times the price as in other states. In TX, where my parents live, if you are rejected by a private insurer you are eligible to buy insurance through the state and it is reasonably priced. The laws are very complicated.

From what I have read people in places such as Canada and France are generally happy with the socialized medical system until they develop medical problems. Then there is a wait to see specialists, etc. as we have heard frequently from Ernie and others. Often some of these people come to the US for treatment and many doctors from other countries also try to come here to practice because the money is better. And I am glad that we have excellent specialized medical care in our country. However, on average the people in countries with socialized medicine are more healthy and have fewer diseases than in the US. So if I were a politician making a decision in the best interest of ALL people, it would be a no brainer.

I think that the solution in the US is really not all that difficult. They could offer a free base level of health insurance/health clinics for people who are uninsured or who cannot afford it and regulate pharmaceutical industry better. And then people who wanted could supplement with private health insurance or pay to see specialists as needed. The government could also regulate profits for pharmaceutical companies. I was in Italy for several weeks this fall and I didn't see a single commercial for any kind of medicine on TV. The mentality in the rest of the world is just different. Part of the problem is that profit from the current system lobby strongly to keep it in place, so any big change is going to be super difficult.

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I don't think there is anyplace in this world where healthcare is optimal. I do know when I worked on the cardiac floor, we had many many people from Canada coming for care, (I live a couple hours from the border) because they needed open heart surgery and their appointment for it was 6 months away. Of course, these were the wealthy Canadians.

When I see that Michael Moore's best friends are Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, I find it amazing that people think he's out for anything but Michael Moore. And the money people line his pockets with. I live in a land where I'm not going to lose my head if I don't like the government and I'd like to see it stay that way. I have never seen any of his movies, but I did see a speech he made at a university on C-Span. He rambled for 10 minutes not saying anything, then told them to cut the feed. If people wanted to hear him, they could d*** well pay him for it. Those were his words. I'd like to read anything about his humanitarian efforts, and thought Sicko was basically an autobiography on film. Someone please tell me why, in Cuba, they had aspirin, but no containers to put it in? If it's so great, why did they have to bring in doctors from Europe to save Fidel after his botched abdominal surgery. Do you really believe the poor in Cuba get better care??? I mean really. Why was Farenheit 911 removed from consideration as best documentary from the Academy awards? Because it was proven that the majority of his "claims" were only partially true or complete fabrication. It could only be classified as "entertainment" for profit. He is in the entertainment business, out to make a buck and boy does he. As proof, Farenheit 911 made more in profits than Haliburton during the first year of the war.

We need a major reconstruction of our health care system, I totally agree. But the day I think a self righteous, narcissitic, sicko, who uses other people's misery for his gain, is the answer, (I could be talking about a few politicians here too I guess) is an eternity after my death....In ER's, it's always a mixed bag who your roomate will be. But I must say, when I am sick enough to be in a hospital, I prefer my own private room, let alone with a guy who pees everywhere but in the toilet....Michael Moore's films should be viewed like any other, for profit film, and taken with a large grain of salt.

In paradise, we'd all be in agreement, and no one would suffer, but we are based in reality. Our health care "crisis" has existed since before I was a nurse, and that was a long time ago. it didn't happen in the last year or month or decade. And it's not just insurance companies that mess with us.....morgan

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This is a complicated issue. Unfortunately there is not a simple solution. I think some states have better programs and policies than others.

I was denied private health insurance due to POTS in 2003. Fortunately I could stay on my employer's policy--unfortunately at a very high rate (100% of the premium) b/c I was only part-time. I understand that in Maryland, the state by law, would have to offer me insurance if it were denied by a private company. At the time I didn't realize that, and it would have been cheaper (although not as good coverage).

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I know some places actually just email your labs and stuff, I would really like that. The one problem with electronic charting is, some doctors just push a button and the exact same info goes in every single visit. That's kind of scary when you think about it, and it's hard enough getting their attention, let alone when they have their back to you, and are typing furiously to get it all in the computer in that 15 minute visit. (the physical part is a one button push, the "talking" is the furious typing) I worked for a group that wanted it because they could charge for comprehensive visits when it allowed them to only have to spend 5 minutes with the patient. I didn't stay there long....

My primary doesn't have a system, so I still get eye contact and that's pretty nice, even when his eyes are blank... :( morgan

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When my son was very, very ill- unable to eat due to dysautonomia (we didn't know that then!) He had to wait 3-4 months to see a pediatric motility specialist at Johns Hopkins- a very rare specialty. Then after his consultation, he had to wait another 3-4 months for his testing (tilt table, antoduodenal manometry, etc.) We got results a month later. He missed almost a whole year of school (7th grade) trying to get a DX and treatment plan. We are very grateful that we found help, but it is shameful that he suffered for sooooo long, unable to eat, fainting every day. Long wait times to see a specialist are very common here. Things are certainly NOT rosy for us here in the US even with good health insurance. And, God bless anyone without. Regarding the length of appointments in the U.S.- with the exception of Dr. Peter Rowe, I've never had one longer than 10/15 minutes.

I know that Sicko was biased and flawed, but I found it very moving. I, personally, don't want to live in a country where ANYONE is without health care. You've heard the quote about how we, as a society, should be judged by how we care for the most vulnerable among us. I couldn't agree more. I want everyone to have access to good, timely, affordable healthcare.


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If Canada and Britain have a less than perfect health care system, it's probably because they only spend about half as much per person as we do in the United States, and yet they manage to have a life expectancy a few years longer than that of Americans! If you are British or Canadian and you think that your health care system could stand some improvement, contact your MP and tell him or her not to be so stingy, don't just complain to me about it.

If wealthy Canadians had to wait their turn with everyone else for nonemergency care, instead of sneaking over the border to get care at a fee-for-service hospital in the US, waiting times in Canada would magically get solved.

I don't think that Michael Moore is infallible. For example, I haven't always agreed with the political candidates he has endorsed. But I have yet to see him make a single error of fact in his movies or television programs. No one has been able to collect a judgement against him for libel, as far as I know. You may not like his opinions, but he is careful about the facts he presents. And the only reason he has been able to tell the truth is that his works have always made money for the people who invested in them. It is bizarre that people in America criticize him for that!

As for fear of speaking out about politics, I got my political education in a Latin American country during a political crisis. There is a serious problem with political murder in some Caribbean countries. Colombia currently leads the list, but its president isn't vilified in the US press, probably because the US is providing military aid to the people doing the killing. Although there have been some political murders in Venezuela, many of the deaths have been among Chavez supporters. Chavez was elected and re-elected by a large majority of the population, mainly because he has provided healthcare and education to the desperately poor nonwhite majority. It's called democracy. For many years, Cuba led the world in the number of doctors that they sent abroad to do charity work for the poor. So if Moore has some respect for Cuba and for Chavez, that's why. Moore was raised by nuns, and he thinks that people should actually try to behave the way Jesus told people to.

But my question is, to my fellow Americans, what are you going to do about this? I'm doing what I can, but I can't do it by myself. You are the leaders we are waiting for.

Edited by Sunfish
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What I will not do is flame here.

What I will do is be proud to be an American, flaws and warts and all, have my own opinions, regardless of whether they are popular with the majority or not, and respect other people's rights to their opinions. That is really what makes this country the great place it is. Love it, hate it, and if you hate it enough, just go live somewhere where else that you feel is better. There is no utopia any where on earth, that I am aware of.

You either believe people or you don't, and that is everyone's right. What I can do is believe what I believe and not judge you for believing something different. This will be an endless, fruitless and uncomfortable cycle I choose not to engage in and I choose to try not to make others uncomfortable with it. Or my beliefs. morgan

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Thank you for this post, as I had seen the movie in the theater and felt comfortable discussing it with everyone and singing its praises everywhere, except a place like here, because it so saddens me when people make comments on subjects without actually SEEING the film.

My wish is that people would put their political beliefs aside, as I most certainly did and was never a fan of Michael Moore, until he made this movie with purely altruistic intent, and simply WATCH the film before discussing it. I believe this should be required viewing for college students, if not everyone, as it's a true eye opener.

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In this (and all) discussion, please be reminded of the following exerpt from the Forum Rules:

Respect For Others

A tone of kindness is appreciated in all discussions. You agree, through the use of DINET's services, that you will not post condescending, defamatory, obscene, offensive, violent, racist, profane or illegal material on this forum. DINET encourages you to use good judgment, but please do not be judgmental in posts.

You agree to refrain from flame wars, debates and the discussion of "hot topics," which are likely to provoke debates. Common hot topics include, but are not limited to, politics, abortion and religion.

While I would like to allow for further discussion on some of the health care issues raised in the movie, individuals' experiences of health care delivery in different countries, etc., it needs to be done in a mature, non-judgmental, non-political manner. If this cannot be done the post will have to be closed in order to maintain the atmosphere valued by so many on the forum.

Thank you,

Melissa, Forum Moderator

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Totally understand your post and appreciate it.

THe deal is for ME, my thoughts/feelings on Moore have nuttin' to do with politics!! :lol:

For instance, one can google Michael Moore Lawsuits and get LOTS of things to come up.

I had an acquaintance in his movie THE BIG ONE..and while they appreciated Moore's courtesy of picking the studio gang up in a limo for the premiere, Moore does have many intentions behind his films.

So, that said, yes it's true there are nightmarish stories of health care in this country...but what is the answer? We can scream, namecall all we want but it matters NOT when your mother (a friend of mine's mom) has a stroke and the only hospital in town will NOT let her see a neurologist for nearly 24 hrs? One son had to go to the hospital at 1opm and start threatening lawsuits to all who would listen. Bingo, neurologist in 2 hrs appeared.

Or my brother's son in law went in very ill to the hospital last Friday...Only on Sunday morning did they do surgery, Appendix on the brink of rupturing..but they said his blood count wasn't "high enough" to get their attention. And, I kid you not, NOBODY WANTED TO COME IN ON THE WEEKEND! Like you can only get sick during the week??

Many here have had similar things happen to them. The facts are, IN GENERAL hospitals do not care about the individual unless you are a big name or have lots of money (usually those two things go together!)

Then again, the folks IN CHARGE of making CHANGES in our system have a PERFECT and FREE health care systems while working and until the day they die (folks in D.C. on all sides of the fence)

I choose not to see this movie (but have seen 30 minutes of clips, because it scares me. I know what CAN happen and IS documented in the film as having in THIS COUNTRY to be true. Also, I have other personal sadness going on so I CHOOSE not to feed it with this VERY SAD movie (self protection at this time!!) Thus the movie in that aspect, is bipartisan. Everybody gets sick. I remember the wealthy Jenny Craig going a few years and she is VERY RICH before getting dx with a very rare jaw conditon....George Clooney was told he was being dramatic about his case of the 'sniffles and constant 'ice cream headache' when in face, he had spinal fluids leaking out of his body after an accident.

Now what folks want to react to or get mad about, well, that's what you call 'creative license' with the story. If you have EVER known of a person who had a BIOGRAPHY made into a movie, they add "lots of stuff" that never happened to make the show more interesting. That's sad but it's true.

As far as Canada, I have heard the problem is a long wait for doctors, PERIOD. If the wealthy Canadians stayed in Canada, it would not fix their problem. In some cases, folks might die sooner or not get diagnosed in a proper amount of time.

Sicko IS an important movie about the problems in this country. Yes, Moore took liberties with MANY storylines for whatever reason and that may or may not bug me, depending on my mood. ;) I found his sick humor in some of the points and in others, sloppy editing leads viewers to THINK one way when it didn't happen that way (Have heard Moore discuss this on talk shows many times)

But sometimes you have to create a big stink to get a magnifying glass on a problem and yes, create a little controversy. Not always a popular thing to do.

While this movie got lots of talk for awhile, I am afraid it will go on the back burner as health care always does. Just like we forget other victims in other "organized and publicized tragedies". Everybody shines a spotlight on the problem when it happens and only rarely to follow ups. Folks would rather talk about getting their HD Tv's or new Blackberries, or new Computers, or fancy cars...and live in a bubble that health problems will NEVER HAPPEN TO THEM. *sigh*

Hopefully, Moore can do a follow up to this movie in a few years to see if it CHANGED things which would be wonderful...but sadly, I am not holding my breath. Until we take away the big $$$ from the head of HMO's and head of Drug companies, things will stay the same.

My room mate struggles to sell health insurance to individuals and is heartbroken over all the PRE-EXISTING conditions for one spouse, while another is battling cancer and wiping out their life savlings. Until it happens to YOU, nobody cares. He also is just astounded (though my doc told me the same thing years ago but I forget specifics) of how much one local HMO CEO made...AND that did not include the bonuses and stock options, etc. (My room mate continues to look for work elsewhere) (IIRC it was about $750,000 for ONE year!!!)

So THERE Michael Moore is correct. We MUST stop making health care a PROFIT DRIVEN business. Of course they need to make enough money to pay for things, but it's way out of balance the GENEROUS rewards to TPTB...what some folks call good old fashioned CAPITALISM.

So as far as I can see, it's not a POLITICAL MOVIE or a POLITICAL PROBLEM, but a human problem. :huh:

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Mack's Mom/Julie,

Do you remember who it was who said that quote about how we should be judged as a society by how we care for those most vulnerable??? I have been searching and searching for that quote and the person who said it for a VERY long time now!!!! Please enlighten me! Was it FDR or one of the presidents? I forget. And it's driving me nuts!!!!!



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check this site out


The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life - a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are.

Princess Diana

We have a responsibility as a state to protect our most vulnerable citizens: our children, seniors, people with disabilities. That is our moral obligation. But there is an economic justification too - we all pay when the basic needs of our citizens are unmet.

John Lynch

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.

Pearl S. Buck

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