So last night, thanks to Tambi, I got to watch Michael Moore’s “Sicko”, which is just starting to make some waves. Sicko is to the American Health industry what Fahrenheit 911 was to the Bush administration. Come to think of it, Bush and his cronies still manage to make an appearance in Sicko; in fact, Moore opens the film with Dubya.
Moore takes the audience on a tour of America’s HMOs and how they’re all out to screw the American people. I think Moore describes the film best when he says: “If people ask, we tell them SiCKO is a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth.” His argument for universal health care takes him to visit the likes of Canada, the UK and France where he discovers that in the latter the government will not only pay for your health care but also do your laundry.
Moore takes in a handful of average American and their horror stories with HMOs; even the heroes of 9/11, firefighters, who were abandoned once they started developing serious respiratory problems. So Moore makes the bold decision to take all his new friends to Guantanamo Bay where rumor has it that the prisoners there get better health care from the American army than Americans living in the US. But turned away he resolves to see if he can get them treatment in Cuba, which of course happens to be home to America’s arch-nemesis, Castro, and also one of the best health care systems in the entire world.
When in Canada, Moore interviews one man who tells him that the country, in the context of history, only recently took the course of universal health care and its creator, Tommy Douglas, was voted the greatest Canadian of all time. Yes, even greater than Wayne Gretzky and Celine Dion. I actually remember the CBC produced competition on the greatest Canadian and while studying for my political science degrees I of course remember Douglas and his place in the country’s history.
On a more personal level, I grew up under universal health care so my mindset has always been tuned to that feature of being a Canadian; but it was more like a feature of being a human being, a member of a society. In the back of my mind I knew things were always bad in the US but you really never know just how bad until you experience it or at the very least see the comparison in a film like SiCKO.
The documentary as usual, is filled with fun facts and interesting clips as well as Moore’s usual sarcasm that keep an audience entertained. It has the ability to take a subject matter as boring as health care and make it as fascinating as a Dateline report on pedophiles.
Moore is of course incredibly bias and doesn’t do much about trying to prove otherwise. The HMOs and pharmaceutical industry are evil and so are their major supporters in congress and in the White house, mostly republicans. One could argue for example that because the medical industry in the US isn’t socialized, the upside is an industry that has produced some of the most cutting edge medicines that the rest of the world feeds on. Moreover, the film also lacks Moore’s trademark of jumping out from behind the bushes and shoving a microphone in someone’s face.
All in all, a great film and I highly recommend you check it out.