Moore spends about half his film detailing the wonders and the benefits of the government-funded universal health-care systems in Canada, France, Cuba and the United Kingdom. He shows calm, content people in waiting rooms and people getting care in hospitals hassle free. People laugh and smile as he asks about billing departments and cost of stay.
Not surprisingly, it's not that simple. In most other countries, there are quotas and planned waiting times. Everyone does have access to basic levels of care. That care plan is formulated by teams of government physicians and officials who determine what's to be included in the universal basic coverage and how a specific condition is treated. If you want treatment outside of that standard plan, then you have to pay for it yourself.
From Daily News: Moore's 'Sicko' gives all too pleasant view of Cuba's health care.
And those who decry America's health care as stratified should save some outrage for Cuba - where tourists like Moore and Communist party officials get all kinds of care that's out of reach for Cuba's 11 million average citizens. The fact that the vast majority of them often have to bring their own food, soap and sheets to the hospital somehow didn't make it into the final cut of "Sicko."
From The Chicago Tribune: What Michael Moore left on the cutting room floor.
In the film's trailer, a desk attendant at a British hospital smiles while explaining that in Britain's National Health Service, "everything is free." But for free hospital care, Britons pay an awfully high price.
Just ask the nearly 1 million British patients on waiting lists for treatment. Or the 200,000 Britons currently waiting merely to get on NHS waiting lists. Mr. Moore must have missed those folks. ...
Consider waiting lists. Across Britain, patients wait years for routine -- or even emergency -- treatments. And many die while waiting.
Indeed, the NHS cancels around 100,000 operations because of shortages each year. In a growing number of communities, it is increasingly difficult for people to simply get an appointment with an NHS general practitioner for a regular checkup.
Further, when it comes to keeping patients healthy, NHS hospitals are notoriously unfit. After admittance to state hospitals, more than 10 percent of patients contract infections and illnesses that they did not have prior to arrival. And according to the Malnutrition Advisory Group, up to 60 percent of NHS patients are undernourished during inpatient stays.
Consequently, many Britons have turned to outside practitioners for treatment, and the private health-care market has boomed. Today, more than 6.5 million people have private medical insurance, 6 million have cash plans, 8 million pay out-of-pocket for a range of complimentary therapies, and 250,000 self-fund each year for private surgery. Millions more opt for private dentistry, ophthalmics and long-term care.
To see more of John's caricatures, see his new blog John Cox Art.
UPDATE -- July 9: Speaking of context, a very interesting documentary is posted at No Pasaran: Uninsured in America. (via Tom Pechinski)
Posted by Forkum at July 8, 2007 08:44 PM