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Sicko: a Summary and Review of Moore's Legendary Film

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Sicko. directed by, Michael Moore: edited by Dan Sweitlik, Christopher Seward and Geoffrey Richman; Produced by Mr. Moore and Meghan O’Hara; released by Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company. At the Lincoln Square, 1998 Broadway, Running time 123 minutes. Sicko references the World Health Organization which lists the U.S. health in general as ranked 37 out of 191, with certain health measures, such as infant mortality and life expectancy, equal to countries with much less economic wealth. Against the backdrop of the history of the American health care debate, opponents of universal health care are set in the context of 1950s-style anti-communist propaganda. A 1950s record distributed by the American Medical Association, narrated by corporate spokesmodel Ronald Reagan, warns that universal health care could lead to lost freedoms and socialism. The origins of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 are presented using a taped conversation between John Ehrlichman and President Richard Nixon on February 17, 1971; Ehrlichman is heard telling Nixon that ‘…the less care they give them, the more money they make,’ a plan that Nixon remarked ‘Fine’ and ‘Not bad.’ This led to the expansion of the modern health maintenance organization-based health care system.

Hillary Clinton, a champion of the Clinton health care plan, is shown as a crusader for change, appointed to reform the health care system in the United States by her husband, newly elected President Bill Clinton. In the United Kingdom, a country whose National Health Service is a comprehensive publicly funded health care system, Moore interviews patients and inquiries about in-hospital expenses incurred by patients, only to be told that there are no out-of-pocket payments. Unable to receive and afford medical care in the United States, the 9/11 rescue workers, as well as all of Moore’s friends in the film needing medical attention, set sail from Miami to Cuba on three speedboats in order to obtain free medical care provided for the enemy combatants detained at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detainment camp. Not wanting the U.S. health care system to trump Kenefick’s ability to express his opinion, Moore sends Kenefick the money himself.

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This critical summary by Tikkun, discusses that we have always been fans of Michael Moore and his political agendas, We felt that some of his films were unlikely to have a big impact because of the way they seemed to be cynical and put-downish of ordinary Americans, and disrespectful towards those with whose politics they disagreed. A recent conversation with two doctors who work at Kaiser and have not seen the movie convinces us that the film opens the conversation “our healthcare is broken and needs reformation or completely new approach” but does not finish it. This is precisely why n o health care program, even one backed by Michael Moore in hi powerful film, will generate enough support to withstand the political assault of the medical profiteers until it is accompanied by a new understanding of human needs that includes ethical and spiritual needs. the reason I chose this article, is because it talks about how the Americans views cannot be changed now if they were never changed then, by then reviewing the Films overall image and applying It to specific scenes I will relate the role that we have played in letting health insurance companies have successfully managed to play a role in determine who lives or doesn’t, and also I will be able to address main aspects presented in the film. This article will help rebut an argument that by letting the government control our health, our country is going take a communist approach.

Before American film Maker Michael Moor’s Sicko opened at cinemas, most people still unquestioningly regard America’s health system as the best in the world and routinely write off all other nations’ health systems as “socialized medicine,” a derogatory label in these latitudes. To be sure, Michael Moore’s juxtaposition of the government dominated health systems in Canada, Europe and Cuba with America’s more private, market driven health system would hardly pass the requirement of balance and robust evidence demanded by any peer reviewed scholarly journal when his camera is on the US health system the lens is relentlessly focused on the system’s warts and never on its unblemished parts much the same impression is conveyed on the other health systems, including Cuba’s. One low income America, whose wife has been treated for cancer at a non-profit academic health Centre, had incurred a hospital bill of some $20,000. Surely it can fairly be asked, as Moore does, why these harsh edges are necessary in a system that spends twice as much per capita on health care as does neighboring Canada and many times more than comparable European countries. It can be asked what Canada’s or Europe’s health systems could offer their citizens if, like the united states they choose to allocate 16% of their gross domestic product to health care, rather than the 9% to 10% these countries actually spend. It remains to be seen what impact Moore’s Sicko ultimately will have on the forthcoming debate over health reforms in the United states and on the plight of underprivileged people in America on obtaining health care. Recognize funds allocated in American and the ones actually used.

Sicko, Moore’s latest piece of cinematic muckraking, is both a left-liberal provocation on the order of Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, and Fahrenheit 9//11 and-somewhat surprisingly-a film that has won scattered kudos from a few isolated conservatives as well as a rave review from the Fox News Channel’s film critic. Flying in the face of inveterate American individualism, Moore’s emphasis on health care’s systemic crisis fuels Sicko’s populism since it is very easy for most Americans to construct Big Health as a tangible villain. Hard-working middle-class Americans who have often been suspicious of Moore-the so-called ‘Reagan Democrats’-may now resist the right-wing whine that Moore ‘Hates America,’ since Sicko speaks to one primary source of their everyday anguish. While it’s arguable that the mixture of pathos and humor Moore wrenches from a number of mini-case studies of the woefully underinsured becomes occasionally cloying and manipulative, the smarminess which often suffuses the treatment of ‘Ordinary people’ in Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine is exchanged for genuine empathy. Moore self-consciously employs his celebrity to amusingly illustrate how the insurance behemoths quaver at the very mention of his name. Pulling the viewer’s heartstrings in the service of a good cause is fine, but if Moore, despite his huge self-regard and occasional grandstanding, is essentially a documentary essayist, what is Sicko’s underlying thesis? Simply put, the documentary attempts to explain why Americans, perfectly content with government-run post offices and public libraries, have been brainwashed to believe that nationalized health care is akin to a communist conspiracy. Moore once admitted in print that he had a palpable ‘Crush’ on Mrs. Clinton and the jaundiced account of her sorry record with regard to saner health-care initiatives results in one of Sicko’s more courageous sequences. In truth, Moore is much too kind in portraying Clinton as an initially altruistic crusader for health reform who only capitulated to the health-care lobby once her reformist schemes became the victim of Republican intransigence. Moore comes to realize that, despite Hillary’s extremely superficial stab at taking on the health-care moguls, she eventually emerged as a tool of the very interests she once supposedly defied. Sicko’s second, more meandering half, while not without its rewards, is often frustratingly diffuse and, towards the film’s conclusion, Moore reverts to his fondness for facile pranks that are often more glib than funny. 

An interview with former British Labor MP Tony Benn is by far the most effective interlude in Moore’s ‘Aw shucks’ version of a road movie. Ironically enough, Benn’s lucidity proves that, despite Moore’s avowed contempt for traditional, allegedly ‘Unentertaining’ documentaries, a single talking head can often prove brilliantly effective. Benn, the Labor stalwart, sets a definite standard for eloquence that Moore fails to meet in most of his folksy encounters with ordinary Britons, Frenchmen, and Canadians. Of course, Moore, employing a phony slack-jawed innocence, is being coyly and quite deliberately inarticulate. Employing his carefully cultivated persona, the schlub by ordinary guy with the baseball cap and tortoise shell glasses, Moore interviews a number of obliging doctors, patients, and homemakers. Although there is little doubt that France’s health care system is one of Europe’s, and probably the world’s, best, Moore’s cutesy interview with a middle-class housewife, who takes the wonders of French medical care for granted and claims that ‘Ze fish’ is among her biggest expenses, does little to advance the argument. Moore’s characteristic praise for Canada has, needless to say, provided fodder for conservatives who love to issue apologias for America’s ailing system by claiming that harried Canadians must wait months for certain diagnostic tests and elective surgery. These conservative qualms are hollow indeed given that the vast majority of Canadians would never exchange their single-payer system for an American-style private enterprise scheme in a million years-a point wittily made in an exchange with Moore’s Canadian in-laws who express trepidation about even crossing the border for an afternoon and losing access to their generous benefits. One can in fact be considerably to the left of Michael Moore and still decry the persistence of social inequality in Castro’s Cuba. With Moore, alas, it is always necessary to swallow some of his films’ reflexive gimmickry and admire his generally good political instincts and intentions.

Michael Moore has teased and bullied his way to some brilliant highs in his career as a political entertainer, but he scrapes bottom in his new documentary, ‘Sicko.’ The movie is an attack on the American health-care system, and it starts out strongly, with Moore interviewing families who have been betrayed or neglected by H.M.O.s and insurance companies. So, Moore loads the Ground Zero volunteers, plus some other people who have serious health problems, into three boats in the Miami harbor. Few people in Moore’s audience are likely to be displeased that they receive help from a Communist system. What is the point of Moore’s fiction of a desperate, wandering quest for medicine on the streets, as if he hadn’t known in advance that Cuba has free health care? Why not tell us what really happened on the trip-for instance, what part Cuban officials played in receiving the American patients? After the early tales of the system’s failure, ‘Sicko’ becomes feeble, even inane. In each country, Moore interviews doctors who speak proudly of how well their country’s system works. Moore winds up treating the audience the same way that, he says, powerful people treat the weak in America-as dopes easily satisfied with fairy tales and bland reassurances. A shift to the left, or, at least, to the center, has overtaken Michael Moore, yielding an irony more striking than any he turns up: the changes in political consciousness that Moore himself has helped produce have rendered his latest film almost superfluous.

Doctors, nurses, and health workers across the United States are demonstrating in support of Sicko, Michael Moore’s film attacking the US healthcare system. Health care is a hot issue in the coming presidential campaign. The demonstrating health workers, calling themselves ‘Scrubs for Sicko’ and wearing white coats or scrubs, handed out leaflets at the screenings of Moore’s film. There, on a warm sunny afternoon on Broadway, nurses, doctors, medical students, and activists distributed information outside the cinema, posed for television cameras with their poster, ‘Health care is a human right,’ gave radio interviews, and chanted ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, insurance companies have got to go’ and ‘Pills cost pennies, greed costs lives.’ They represented several groups: Physicians for a National Health Program, the New York State Nurses Association, the New York City Central Labor Council, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, the Student National Medical Association, and the American Medical Students Association. Two described how, although they had health insurance, their loved ones had been denied treatment and died. The third witness testified how a Los Angeles hospital dumped seriously ill patients at a shelter for homeless people because they did not have health insurance; one died. The House committee on the judiciary is chaired by the Michigan Democrat John Conyers Jr, who has introduced a bill that would establish a single payer health insurance system programme for all Americans instead of the profit-making health insurance companies that now dominate the market.

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