I started off watching the movie not really knowing what to expect. But I knew I was not going to be let down by this Oscar (for Bowling for Columbine) and Cannes (for Fahrenheit 9/11) award winning writer/director.
Again, at the recent Cannes Film Festival, Michael Moore's premier of "Sicko" was an overwhelming success. It received a 15-minute standing ovation when the curtain went down, and according to the American Society of Registered Nurses, “had made even the most hardened journalists weep.”
This film depicts the story of the American health system in crisis.
Albeit being an avid fan of American medical series- Grey’s Anatomy, House MD, ER, Scrubs, I had no inkling of the catastrophic reality of the American healthcare. In quintessential Moore fashion, the viewers are introduced to regular folks with and without health insurance who voice their stories of frustration, pain and loss. There is much in the film to cause sleepless nights. We didn’t realize that doctors were forced to turn away patients without health insurance and millions of Americans who dutifully pay their insurance premiums often get strangled by bureaucratic red tape. A mother tearfully recalls losing her 18-month-old daughter, who was refused treatment for a 104-degree fever because the ambulance brought them to a hospital which wasn’t part of her insurance company’s system!
One scene shows a clip of Congressional testimony given in 1996. Dr. Linda Peeno, a former medical reviewer a health insurance company, said her job was to save money for the company. "I denied a man a necessary operation", she testified, referring to a decision she made in 1987. Her story forced us to reexamine our values and principles. What kind of doctors do we want to become and what kind of system do we want to work for? How does it feel to be doctors with access to the best treatment and technology in the world, yet cornered by politics to refuse it to people who can’t pay? Sicko helped us imagine...
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