Michael Moore’s Film, Sicko, Movie Review Example
Words: 1116Movie Review
Michael Moore’s film, Sicko, is a documentary about the health care industry. It is a documentary because it discusses health care, including its good and bad qualities. The movie is a documentary because it discusses facts already known about the healthcare industry. Healthcare in the United States is expensive—paid for by those people who can afford it. In socialized countries such as Canada and England healthcare is paid for by taxing everybody, whether or not they actually use the healthcare system.
Sicko documents why healthcare in the United States has grown into a big, multifaceted business. The movie explains that the federal government plays a major role in this. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a heavily-lobbied organization that tells American consumers that the only safe places to purchase drugs are from American drug manufacturers. Drug and healthcare interests are the largest lobbying groups of any organization in the United States. Most doctors support this belief, but in areas of poverty and/or fixed incomes, Sicko acknowledges that patients are told that usually the drugs available from foreign markets have been manufactured right here in the United States. Expensive drugs in the U.S. marketplace are often considerably less expensive in Canada or overseas.
Sicko also documents that American citizens don’t often pay outright for their drugs and medical care. Instead, they pay for insurance care. The single-most determinant in choosing a healthcare plan is cost. The greater the cost of health coverage, the more complete it usually is. Bargain plans give bargain protection. Sicko notes that the cost differential between premium and bargain plans is often negligible and needs to be evaluated in terms of patient-need instead of just “one plan fits all.”
Moore’s Sicko talks about the various health plans, most specifically the cost of drugs. He relates that the apothecary shop where drugs were individually produced as late as the end of the 19th century is no longer in existence. Instead, drugs are produced on an assembly line. Whether producing drugs or other products, assembly-line production costs are greatly reduced. Sometimes drugs costing less than a dime to produce, drugs are marketed for as much as a dollar per tablet. According to the movie, production and manufacturing costs are 10%, meaning that 90% of each drug goes into profit.
There are numerous drugs available; many of them treat identical illnesses. Sometimes they are available only by prescription; other times they are readily available through over-the-counter sales. The success or failure of a particular brand is often determined by marketers who offer steep incentives to physicians who choose their brand over somebody else. The ever-increasing costs associated with health care and drugs are as much a responsibility of various physicians as it is drug manufacturers and service providers.
The political bodies which govern the United States, regardless of political persuasion, are also responsible for ever-increasing care. In additional to private carriers, trillions of dollars annually are poured into government benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid. When fiscally responsible politicians limit these benefits, they quickly become unpopular with the voters. Both individual voters and special interest groups working in tandem suggest that our government is trying to legally euthanize its citizens, even though the average citizen should be able to recognize how far-fetched that line of thinking is.
Sicko also addresses, although not as strongly, the health care provided to illegal aliens in the United States and also the care provided for the many hundreds of prisoners we have incarcerated. The movie covers these areas indiscreetly. The movie digresses from its documentary format, asking us, “Why do we bother?” Although the movie takes little initiative to answer the question, from a healthcare viewpoint, a country is only as strong as its weakest citizen. Thus, a strong country requires health care for all of its citizens, whether or not they can individually afford that care. In situations where somebody else needs to pick up the tab, that will remain the job of our more affluent citizens and of our government.
Canada, England, and a few other countries located around the world have a healthcare system centered on socialized medicine. Socialism, e.g. socialized medicine, is a method by which the government owns the healthcare industry (along with other industries deemed beneficial to the strength of those governments). But somebody has to pay for the healthcare industry. In socialized medicine, the costs of this healthcare are charged back equally to each citizen. While in the United States healthcare varies according to costs, in these foreign countries, health care is charge equally to each citizen whether or not that care is needed.
Socialism as a political entity also implies that, in addition to taxing citizens for “equal health costs” physicians and other health care professionals will also be limited in income. This is an extremely important point, especially in the areas of physicians’ incomes and the amounts of money available for both health care research and the costs of operating hospitals. In the United States the costs associated with hospital care varies from institution to institution; there are neighborhood health care facilities and there are major research hospitals. The medical professionals who staff these hospitals come from varying backgrounds. There are neighborhood physicians who treat common maladies and there are graduates of major institutions who spend their entire careers, not so much involved with patient care, but with the identification and treatments of major diseases, sometimes affecting not only patients in the United States, but in the worldwide marketplace of patient care. It is safe to assume that in civilized socialistic countries healthcare professionals may be paid greater sums of money than in other professions. However, it is also safe to assume that these healthcare professionals are simply not allowed to determine their own fees. The inability to determine one’s own fees may limit medical progress and healthcare in these countries. There is probably no reasonable answer to the question, “Why should a socialized healthcare professional put into his or her practice the same diligence that a healthcare professional will exert in a country where salaries are not determined by a third party—in this case the government?
Sicko has been examined as a documentary, a film based on fact. The movie has also been examined as a form of entertainment. In fact, Sicko contains facts but it is more so a persuasive film, one that helps its viewers determine in their own minds how much they agree or disagree with it. There is no single answer to that kind of expression is presented in Sicko. But in my opinion it is informational as is the style of any documentary. It allows the viewer to determine for himself what he accepts as reality and what he disregards as fiction.
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