Moore’s documentary film, Sicko, is an examination and exposure of the US healthcare system which is hugely profit-oriented and nearly dysfunctional CITATION Ben15 \l 1033 (Benson).
The scenes featuring Michael Diane, Laurel and Maria, and their medical insurance companies, are stories of grim horror. After denial of deserved diagnostic treatments by their insurance companies, Diane died from tumor which was identified as non-life threatening by her insurance company Horizon BlueCross. Laurel’s cancer is now spread throughout her body because she was refused chemotherapy by the insurance company, BCS, which claimed to compensate her completely. Maria’s health insurance company, BlueShield in California told her that she didn’t have a tumor but she got severely ill during her vacations in Japan. Maria finally got the MRI from Japan which she was refused by her own healthcare insurance.
These scenes center the viewer’s attention on the shortcomings in the healthcare system of North America, sharing stories of the unfortunate people who battled with their respective insurance companies without much success in their struggles.
The scene featuring Julie Pierce and her husband Tracy, the couple asks for a meeting with their healthcare plan’s board of trustees who refused a bone-marrow transplant when he was diagnosed with the most common type of kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma. The transplant was refused by Julie’s employer, St. Joseph Medical Center, where she was a dedicated employee in the intensive unit, on the grounds of being ‘experimental.' The couple appealed thrice and all three of these times, they were rejected. After her husband's unfortunate death, Julie testified before the congress claiming that she paid out of her paycheck for the insurance for 12 years but when they needed it, the insurance company simply refused. Julie's son, Tracy Junior has a 50% chance of having the gene and knowing that his father was denied the necessary treatment perturbs him about not having a chance just like his father.
As a consequence of doing a handstand while videotaping himself on Abbey Road in London, Eric Turnbow ended up in the hospital and made a place in Moore's documentary, Sicko. He only had to pay for his medication and pain management in London which led to Moore going all the way to the British hospital and survey about their pricing system.
Without insurance, the proper diagnosis and timely treatment of a dislocated shoulder can cost up to $400-$1000. The lower range would not include the doctor’s fee and the cost of anesthesia. Adding to this, a typical doctor fee could range from $250 to $950 for the procedure, according to Carolina Orthopedic Surgery Associates CITATION Lac15 \l 1033 (Lacy). This scene tells the viewers about the ratio of spending in the health sector both in the US and the UK. The verdict is that services in the UK healthcare cost half as much as they do in the US. The reason is that the public health system in the UK is entirely paid for by the broad taxation base, whereas, in the US, citizens have to largely rely on private insurance as health insurance is primarily dependent on an individual's income.
Bernie Sanders' speech draws attention toward dismal facts regarding healthcare in America. Even though the spending is largest in the US, the outcomes are strikingly bleak. In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, the US spent $8,616, $9,036, $9,507 and $9,892 respectively which makes up a major chunk of the GDP. In stark contrast, France spent $4,431, $4,464, $4,530 and $4,600 in the four years which amounts to half of America's health expenditure. Statistics show the least spending in the UK, disbursing $3,845, $3,989, $4,125 and $4,192 in these four years. All these numbers are the per capita health expenditure in the three countries. Studies conducted also show the inequalities and marked disparities in the allocation of funds and the outcomes in the US CITATION Kim13 \l 1033 (Kim).
In spite of allocating a significant budget to the healthcare, US stands last in the healthcare ranking when compared with other industrialized nations based on equity and efficiency, quality of the services, and access to care. The other countries have achieved universal health care by adopting the single-payer system where only the government pays for the needs of every citizen.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Benson, T. W., & Snee, B. J. (Eds.). "Michael Moore and the rhetoric of documentary." SIU Press (2015).
Kim, Tae Kuen, and Shannon R. Lane. "Government health expenditure and public health outcomes: A comparative study among 17 countries and implications for US health care reform." ." American International Journal of Contemporary Research (2013): 8-13.
Lacy, K., Cooke, C., Cooke, P., Schupbach, J., & Vaidya, R. "Low-cost alternative external rotation shoulder brace and review of treatment in acute shoulder dislocations." Western Journal of Emergency Medicine (2015): 114.
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