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Can you imagine going to the doctor and leaving with out owing him any money? Can you envision a time when you had no healthcare insurance, yet didn’t have to worry about something major happening to you and how you would pay for it? Free healthcare for everyone is not a statement Americans have ever heard. In the movie Sicko Michael Moore takes a look at what is wrong with our healthcare system. He also takes a look at how some other countries that have been said to have some of the best healthcare in the world have approached healthcare in their country. Michael Moore has almost a sarcastic approach to his film making. He is a good at painting these pictures of healthcare not only ours here in the United States but also what other countries have.
The film really makes people ask questions about our system of healthcare. I know after watching this movie I asked; why have we in America not gone to some sort of healthcare plan takes care of everyone? In the movie Sicko Michael Moore attempts to show us that universal healthcare is flawless and is successful because he doesn’t include all information. I would like to show you some of the information that he left out. however, even with this information I still think that some sort of universal healthcare system would be beneficial to the United States.
Michael Moore looks at health care in Canada, England, and France. This movie does have its down falls. Moore relies on subjective evidence to prove that emergency waiting rooms in other countries are particularly efficient, and that both doctors and patients alike are satisfied with socialized medicine and it is a superior healthcare system. He mentions taxes yet doesn’t really give us numbers, and all he does is talk to a seeming well off French family. He goes to a Canadian hospital where people are waiting thirty to forty-five minutes; however, he never touched how long they wait for certain medical procedures such as surgery or cancer treatments. He touches on them in his movie in a news broadcast; however he doesn’t really give facts. He does a really good job at making it seem like the media and the government use scare tactics to shun universal healthcare (Kelly Montgomery).
In the movie Sicko Michael Moore makes it very clear that the United States is the only modern nation without some version of universal access to healthcare services. All other industrialized countries have addressed the issue and the financial challenges of universal access through an extensive variety of methods. He paints the picture of greedy insurance companies denying experimental care to patients. HMO’s not accepting new patients due to pre-existing conditions. He doesn’t ever touch the fact that universal healthcare is running in other countries at a fraction of the costs seen today in the United States. According to Albert Dipiero, MD, MPH, he states that “On a per capita basis, the next biggest spender after the United States is Switzerland, which spends only 68 percent as much. Canada and the United Kingdom spend 57 percent and 44 percent as much per capita as the United States.”
Regardless of these differences, there is no evidence to suggest that our level of spending helps us achieve better over all quality health status of the Canadians and Europeans (Albert Dipiero). This is most defiantly seen in the movie when the very young girl is taken to the hospital and they refuse to treat her because she is at the wrong hospital. Another part of the movie that really supports this as well is with the 9-11 workers. Here are some heroes of our nation and they are not even able to get the care they need. Surly the least of us and the best of us should be taken care of.
I did find some interesting evidence in an article by David Gratzer who wrote a book called Code Blue. The book is about how Canadian health care and the growing problems it is having. He tells an account of dirty hospitals and year of waiting and pain patients go though before they can get the care they need as well as doctor shortages long waiting lists, and substandard treatment. He argues that while “Americans life 75.3 years on average few than Canadians (77.3) or the French (76.6). Healthcare influences life expectancy.”(David Gratzer) Michael Moore does talk about life expectancy being lower in the United States; however he does not mention that the “homicide rates is the United States are much higher than in other countries, eight times higher that France for instance”(David Gratzer). In turn if you actually take out factors such as accidents and other unintentional injuries from life expectancy statistics Americans do live longer then people in other western countries.
There are a few other benefits I found out of this article. Other areas that American healthcare system do extremely well over other countries is five year cancer survival rates and leukemia is another good example “the American survival rate (for leukemia) is almost 50 percent; the European rate is just 35 percent. The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2 percent here, yet 61.7 percent in France and down to 44.3 percent in England” (David Gratzer). What is not known to us at this point is if we can keep these statistics with a universal healthcare plan or some plan that covers all Americans.
The movie does portray many systems of healthcare and each system has elements that may appeal to Americans; however, some elements may be culturally an abomination, whether it is the limitations on private insurers in Canada, or the government established physician fee schedules in France. Neither one of these are discussed by Michael Moore. The point is that each country has found a model of universal coverage that meets the country’s cultural and political standards. Its amazing that the United States has never in our history tried to take care of everyone and find something that is culturally and economically acceptable to our national values (Albert Dipiero). Moore does not really make this argument or suggest something that would be fit in our country. In Canada they have complete universal healthcare Michael Moore takes a look at how this country handles healthcare(Albert Dipiero).
Canada provides lifelong health insurance to all its residents through a publicly funded health insurance plan administered separately by each province (Provincial Health Plan). There is no link between health insurance and employment. The Canadian system is the orthodox single payer system. Everyone in the province is, dare I say, covered by one insurance plan and each Provincial Health Plan serves as the one payer of healthcare services in each province. Private insurance is not permitted for services covered by the Provincial Health Plan. This may serve as a problem and be the reason why Canadians come to the United States for some healthcare(Albert Dipiero).
When Michael Moore heads off to Canada in his movie he paints a picture of Canadian healthcare. In this picture the happy Canadians are sitting in the waiting room waiting for care. None of them seem to have an emergency of any kind and they are all okay with waiting thirty to forty-five minutes to see a doctor. They don’t have to pay and they can sit there seemingly worry free. However, Michael Moore never once mentions how long they must wait for surgeries. “Long wait times for access to certain surgeries and diagnostic procedures has been a growing problem of the Canadian health care system” (Fidelman). Even though they are struggling they have recommended medically acceptable time frames for treatment in the areas of cardiac procedures, cancer treatment, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration (Fidelman). As I have confirmed people do have to wait for treatment; however, no one is ever turned away because of lack of payment or money.
United Kingdom National Health Service in Great Britain takes a different approach to universal healthcare. In Britain, healthcare is provided through the National Health Service (NHS). As seen in the movie Michael Moore finds that NHS pays for everything. The British system is founded on the concept of society fulfilling a responsibility for maintaining the health of its people. In the movie you see that after the War England decided to take care of their people and implemented NHS. This country cares about everyone; however, they do pay for it though national tax financing. There is no connection between employment and health insurance within the NHS; therefore, access to healthcare is universal and lifelong. However, unlike Canada, Britain does sanction concurrent private health insurance plans (Albert Dipiero). Moore does a poor job on really comparing and showing differences between the different types of healthcare plans in these other countries.
The NHS is usually portrayed as a controlled socialized system. It cannot be driven by consumer demand beyond the budget. However, the rates of heart disease and cancer mortality are slightly worse then the US or Canada. The UK has fewer scanners and MRI machines than Canada, plus fewer physicians per 1,000 people. This could also cause higher wait times and contribute to the heath disease and caner mortality rates being higher. However, the over all life expectancy rates are higher and the infant mortality rate is lower then in the United States(Albert Dipiero).
The French healthcare system was rated number one in the world by the World Health Organization in 2000. In the movie it seems like Michael Moore really favors the French way of healthcare and taking care of its people. The French system is based on a philosophy of unity, universal access to healthcare, and laissez-faire also known as market based pluralism. Everyone is covered by national health insurance (NHI), which is mandatory no one may choose to decline. In the movie a guy that has never paid taxes in France is seen getting treatment for cancer and then given time to relax and soak up the sun. People in France are automatically enrolled in an insurance fund based on working status. In France universal coverage was achieved by slowly adding people until all residents were finally covered in 2000. Patients pay for outpatient care directly and are then reimbursed by the NHI. This fact was not mentioned in the movie. There is co-insurance available but no deductibles and patients suffering from chronic illnesses are automatically bi pass paying any out of pocket payments. “In addition to NHI, 90% of the population obtains supplemental insurance to cover other benefits and perks” (Albert Dipiero).
The fee is based on a national fee schedule set by the NHI. The fees are tightly restrained and are the main method of cost control. Moore as you may recall does not go talk to a doctor in France because as a result, average physician income is one third the level of U.S. physicians. However, certain physicians mainly specialists are given the right to bill the patient extra for certain services. This is a bonus because in places like Canada this is not allowed. Patients can see any physician they choose without referral. There is much to learn from the French system. Unlike Canada and the British systems there are not long waits for elective surgery or to see a specialist. The French system is set up to hold their countries value of individual liberty, social equality, and equal chances for everyone. Well what you might not know is that the French hold these values and have healthcare for everyone (Joseph Shapiro).
This is the part that I am sure Michael Moore would love to no one to find out. Even though he says in the movie that French must be drowning in taxes he fails to give numbers. The cost of the French system is high. They spend about 3,300 per person in healthcare a year (Joseph Shapiro). They do pay twenty-one percent of their yearly income towards the national health care system. Employers pay a little more than half of that cost, and it does cost employers more to hire employees. There for employers are unable to hire a number of more people. The facts are this when it comes to taxes in France a single person with no kids will pay 50.1% taxes. Half of what they make goes to the government, and a couple that is married with two kids will pay 41.7%. Let me tell you the actual numbers a family that makes 50,000 gross pay a year will pay 20,850 which will leave them 29,150 in take home (Debora Vrana). Now I am thinking that is a lot of money for the government to be taking. How is a family of four going to survive on that? I guess you have to look at the benefits and the many free services they receive. Their stress level is reduced because they know healthcare is taken care of and when they fall in a time of need the government takes very good care of them. Would it be worth it to have less money but more services provide by the government? Like in the movie Sicko I don’t think we will get our government to do our laundry any time soon. Every new mother needs help that is a stressful and happy time in a women’s life I support having the leisurely of enjoying it and having enough paid time off.
In the movie Sicko Michael Moore points out that 18000 people will die in American due to not having health care insurance. With this statement he is saying that human beings need access to healthcare to live. We need healthcare and it is essential to our well being and longer life expectancy. To support this statement from the movie I found this quote “I firmly believe that health is a human right and that access to healthcare is a human necessity.” (Jason Nickerson) after reading this quote it really seamed to changed my whole point of view when it comes to health care. You really don’t think about how vital healthcare is until you have think about what you would do with out it. It really could cost a person their life.
In conclusion even after looking over some of the facts and figures of how much money other countries pay in taxes. I get in debates with my step father about how much control the government should really have. At this point I would rather have the government in control of healthcare than the for profit health insurance companies. Have you ever heard the saying you get what you pay for. In this country we get what we pay for, very little. We do have some of the lowest over all tax burdens. Personally I would like to pay a little more and get a little more, assuming that we would get more. If I had access to healthcare that would never be taken away from me and any other helpful social services I do not think I would really miss that money every year.
I think that Michael Moore is very extreme in this movie. I feel right into his comical manipulative style of moving making. Although I knew I wanted to some of my own research before I completely made up my mind. I hear out other points of view and have talked with some educated people in terms of politics. I am very proud of our country right now. I knew that something needed to happen with our healthcare system and even if we don’t go to universal healthcare we do need to make some changes. I hope that his movie could enlighten everyone the way it did me. I would hope that it would draw everyone to do their own research and form an opinion. After all we are responsible not only for ourselves here today but we need to look after the future generations. What we are doing today is going to affect them tomorrow.
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