In this film, the controversial documentary maker Michael Moore is targeting American healthcare. Has Moore succeeded in creating something special again? Let’s answer the question right away with a resounding “yes”. “Sicko” is less oppressive than his previous documentaries. This episode of his hopefully still far from dried up list of subjects also delivers high-quality material and ensures great hilarity. At the same time, there is food for thought.
Even now Moore does not shy away from demagoguery, but it is necessary to be able to put down the serious subject in itself. Moore’s goal is to emphasize the deplorable state (also from an ethical point of view) in which healthcare in the USA is located. Moore contrasts this with the so-called “public” systems that work in other countries. In the USA, public systems are often referred to as “socialist” in nature, something the average American has been instilled to abhor. Not much good can come of that. At the same time, he shows that there are also “socialist” institutions in the USA, such as libraries, the police and the fire brigade. In doing so, he does, of course, sometimes show off in his well-known way and shows Moore examples of a man in the USA who had to choose which finger to put on again when cutting his fingers off. After all, he was not properly insured and then you simply will not be helped with such injuries. He could only afford to touch one finger, while the other was “too bad.” Other confronting examples apply to insurance doctors. Before a Congressional Hearing Committee is told about systems in which they receive a bonus if they manage to reject many applications for medical treatment.
Interesting is his visit to the in England famous Tony Benn, once a Lord, of which title he once voluntarily relinquished. Tony Benn is an icon of the left and, with the help of an old booklet, explains in detail how the National Health system in the UK works. The old master teaches extensively and Moore listens – played – almost breathlessly – and asks – again endearingly naively played – the most innocent questions about how all this can be done. His visit to Hammersmith Hospital and the questions to the medical staff are another fine example of his skills.
The biggest stunt in the movie is the story with a crew of rescue workers. They volunteered on September 11 at the time of the Twin Towers disaster. After that they were more or less abandoned by the government. Their problem is that they volunteered to help in the smoking mess for days, but the government now does not recognize their status or the insurance company does not want to pay for the expensive drugs for them. Truly shocking are the images in which he takes a boat with a number of them to Guantanamo Bay, where the suspected Al Qaida terrorists imprisoned there receive the most extensive medical care free of charge. The argument is, of course, that the rescue workers should enjoy the same rights to care as the alleged “terrorists”. Obviously they are not allowed on that military base. Moore decides to go ashore with the party.
In Cuba, Havana, they can enjoy medical care, as it applies to all citizens there. Moore mercilessly undermines the American health care system here. The same employees undergo all kinds of extensive examinations in Havana for free. They can also buy some medicines there for 5 cents, the same medicines cost 120 dollars in the USA! On the one hand, he will be accused by the home front of allowing himself to be used by the Cuban authorities for propaganda purposes. On the other hand, healthcare in Cuba is free and these people do not receive preferential treatment.
At various times, as may be expected, Moore lashes out mercilessly at all kinds of politicians in the USA who have deliberately put together this American system, whether or not under the influence of large financial contributions for their election campaigns. .
Despite the subject, the tone of the entire film remains light. It is certainly not a message full of wrath, but rather a well-played surprise and disconcertion that Moore constantly displays. We accept that he sometimes very idealizes European health care systems. We know from experience that it is not always ideal in Europe, but fortunately we are spared the frightening examples of the situation in the USA.
A film that can be enjoyed a lot again. For the great crowd van Moore adepts a “must”. Also for the others “Sicko” is a pleasure to watch.