Nonpartisan Heartbreak

In the heartbreaking docutainment, Sicko, filmmaker and all-around provocateur Michael Moore is rather understated and restrained, given all we know about him. Perhaps he feels no strong need to be shrill and in-your-face because the topic of universal health care is, well, universal and hits people on such a personal level.

Indeed, he presents to us an unrelenting and ultimately overwhelming tapestry of everyday Americans with personal health-care horror stories. His main focus isn't even people with no health care, but it's people who have health care and still suffer. Cases in point? How about the man whose insurance plan wouldn't cover reattaching the tops of two of his fingers after a sawing accident? He had to choose between reattaching his middle finger for $60,000 or his ring finger for $12,000 because he couldn't afford both. How about the woman who was in such a bad car accident that she was knocked unconscious and had to be rushed to a hospital in an ambulance? Her HMO socked her with astronomical bills because they claimed that her ambulance ride was not pre-approved. Apparently, she was supposed to pre-approve it while she was out cold.

The most shattering moment in the film, however, is when Moore presents his final thesis, which comes in the form of one simple question about the Unites States: "Who are we?" It's a question that will linger in your mind and heart for a long time.

—Reporting From Glendale, California


  1. i've got cancer.


    the point is this... i'm lucky, i have TWO insurance policies.. even with this coverage, my meds costs are huge, i still have large uncovered costs and dealing with the insurance companies?

    here's an example of quin and the insurance companies while i waited to go into remission...

    hospital: you have to sign off agreeing to pay for this blood draw because you've gone over your allotted number already this year.

    me: umm, i have cancer.

    hos: yes, well, you still have to sign off, because you've gone over the allotted number.

    me: yes, i know, but, i have to have a blood draw every week until i bottom out so i can go into treatment.

    hos: well, you are over the allotted number, so, if you don't agree to pay for these, we won't allow them, and without them, we won't allow you to have the treatments and, well (her voice trailed off)

    i signed.

    my treatments are $5k each.. i've at least two more rounds. i'll have to pay a portion. my meds can run up to $500 a month, AFTER the insurance portion. my operation was $12K just for the surgeon.

    how do people do it without insurance?

    oh, yeah...

    ....they die.

  2. Yup. Death can be such an inconvenience. Unfortunately, the health care industry doesn't always think it's enough of an inconvenience.

  3. that's because they own stock in funeral homes.