Sicko Becoming More Than Just a Movie

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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Michael Moore’s Sicko is becoming more than just a movie about the healthcare crisis in America – it’s becoming an obsession. Pre-screenings of the movie, which opens in theaters today (June 29, 2007), have been hosted by several groups around the nation including the Maricopa (AZ) County Democratic Party, a group of nurses in Phoenix, Arizona and the California Nurses Association. These groups want to make sure that people are paying attention.

What’s it all about?

While there are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance, Sicko focuses on the 250 million Americans that DO have health insurance, but aren’t covered to the extent they might think they are due to insurance company tactics of denying valid claims and requests for treatment. The film shows what really happens in the insurance industry – such as medical directors being encouraged to deny claims and treatment for care to save the company money. Some are offered incentives, such as large bonuses and all expenses paid trips, to do so.

One part of the film shows a former top medical director of Humana testifying in front of Congress about such behavior – in this case, hers. She testified voluntarily because she simply thought that these practices were wrong. Moore artfully takes it a step further in the film by pointing out the huge salaries and bonuses that insurance industry executives receive while many of their policyholders simply go without care.

Does Cuba provide better healthcare than the US?

Moore seems to think so. To make his point, he took several ailing September 11th rescue workers who couldn’t get adequate healthcare in the United States to Cuba where care was available – at a fraction of the cost of US rates. His highly publicized trip has sparked a great deal of controversy. Moore was certainly attempting to bring attention to the fact that US citizens could get care in Cuba and not here, and he succeeded – so much so that his trip is being investigated by the government because of the long standing US ban on travel to Cuba .

Paris Hilton vs. healthcare

Healthcare in America seems to have become accepted for what it is. After Hillary Clinton attempted to overhaul the system back in the early 1990’s without success, many are simply saying, ‘We’re stuck with what we’ve got.’ Sicko seems to be Moore’s way of shaking things up a bit and getting the issue out in the open. However, unlike his previous films, Moore has a sense of humor about Sicko. In a recent television interview with Jon Stewart, Moore explained that he was originally scheduled to appear on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday, June 27th; however, he got bumped because of King’s exclusive interview with Paris Hilton following her release from prison. With a smile on his face, he turned to Stewart and said, “you know we’re in trouble when Paris Hilton’s release from prison trumps a discussion of healthcare in America.”

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