Health Care System in Sicko

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Michael Moore’s film Sicko delves into the controversial issue of health care. It tackles the issue of the ailing health care system in America and it is considered the most inefficient amongst the advanced nations. He contrasts it with the health care systems of France, Canada, and the United Kingdom to show the shortcomings. Moore makes it clear that the US the only country that with no universal access to health care services.  He portrays the image of voracious insurance firm who deny care to the patients.  There are about 46 million American without insurance, and those who are covered by insurance are at the mercy of profit minting insurance firms.   Moore highlights that the spending per capita in the US is much higher than in other countries however there is o evidence that it aids in achieving quality health care system. This is evident in the film when a girl goes to the hospital and is not treated because of being in the wrong hospital. Addition with 9-11 workers, they are unable to get medical care yet they would be naturally considered as the heroes of the country. 

            When it comes to life expectancy, Moore states that it is lower in the US. He, however, fails to state that Homicide rates in the US are higher than in other nations; 8 times that of France for example (Tisdell & Sprow, 2009). Therefore eliminating aspects like accidents or injuries from life expectancy, the US citizens live longer than individuals from advanced nations. There are areas that the American health care system actually outperforms other countries. For instance, cancer survival rates and leukemia, for leukemia survival rates is about 50% UK rate is 35%, survival rates for prostate cancer are 81.2 % in the US whereas in France it is 61.7% and 44.3% in England (Gratzer, 1999). Such statistics if combined with a good universal plan that covers all citizens, the American healthcare system would be leading.

Moore depicts numerous healthcare systems and each has components that appeal to Americans. However, Moore fails to discuss shortcomings of the systems for instance limits on private insurers in Canada and government recognized physician fee schedules in France (Moore & O'Hara, 2008). The United States has failed in finding something acceptable to everyone and covers everyone. 

            A look at Canada offers lifetime health insurance to everyone via a publicly funded health insurance plan. health and employment are not related in any way. Everybody in the province is covered by an insurance plan and every provincial health plan is for one payer of health care services (Gratzer, 1999). That could be why Canadians come to America for medical services. Moore painted a picture of excellent Canadian healthcare. He, however, fails to state how long these Canadians have to wait or even for surgeries.  Although they must wait for medical care, nobody is denied treatment.

            United Kingdom healthcare is offered by the National Health Service. Moore states that NHS pays for everything. This nation cares for everyone. employment and health insurance are noy related.  Britain sanctions synchronized private health insurance plans as opposed to Canada.  NHS is depicted as a restricted socialized system; nonetheless, heart disease and cancer mortality rates are higher than Canada or the United States. The UK has less equipment and this might contribute to higher mortality rates. Nonetheless, generally the life expectancy is higher and infant death is low compared to US.

Looking at the France, its healthcare system was rated at number one globally by world health organization in 2000. Moore also in this film tends to favor it so much.  The system is on the basis of unity, universal access to healthcare National health insurance (NHI) covers everybody and it is mandatory. Even people who have not paid taxes can have access to health care in France. There are no waiting times in the French system and everyone has equal chances.  The cost of this health care system, however, is quite high. In fact, France pays 21 percent of the yearly income towards nationwide healthcare system. Employers pay a lot of tax and hence it affects the employment rates.  In as much as the system is excellent, citizens end up paying so much tax. Michael Moore notes that 18000 individuals shall die in the US for lack of healthcare insurance (Moore & O'Hara, 2008). He is implying that Americans need proper access to health care that is essential to human health.

 This film although biased manages to portray issues affecting US healthcare system and it commands the attention of the audience. Even though he focused so much on the negative side, there is some truth in it. The healthcare system might be expensive however it has some positive side. For instance cancer and heart disease management in the US is superior to in other advanced countries. Looking at the comparison with these other countries, the government need to come in and play a huge role and not let the US healthcare system lie in the hands of private insurance firms.  It is clear that in Canada, UK and French, the government is a major player and hence US government should emulate the same.  


Gratzer, D. (1999). Code Blue: reviving Canada's health care system. ECW Press.

Moore, M., & O'Hara, E. (2008). Sicko. Zürich: Ascot Elite Home Entertainment

Tisdell, E. J., & Sprow, K. (2009). Critical Public Pedagogy and Michael Moore’s Film Sicko: Creating a National Dialogue for Changing Health Care. honoring our past embracing our future, 372.

September 25, 2023

Health Life

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