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"Sicko" movie

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Has anyone else seen this movie? I just watched it yesterday. For those of you who don't know what it is, it a documentary on America's health care system. I have nothing against America but after watching it, I have to say that the American government has its priorities really mixed up. I find it extremely strange that terrorists that are being held at a U.S. Naval Base on Guantanamo Bay receive much better health care than American citizens and they also get it for free. And half the time when you think you have health insurance you are really just giving your money away to your government. A guy that Michael Moore interviewed had an accident with a saw and cut off half of two of his fingers. Even though he was insured, he still had to pay for the reattaching of his finger. He had to choose if he wanted his middle finger reattached for $60,000 or his ring finger for $12,000. Or in another interview, he talked to a woman who had cervical cancer when she was 22 years old and even though she had "full" coverage through Humana Insurance, they refused to pay for her Chemotherapy because they said "You're too young to have cervical cancer." And with your medicine the government is just stealing your money. A rescue worker that helped out with 9/11 now has a severe and permanent respiratory illness and she needs a new inhaler once a month. The inhaler costs her $120 in America. She went to Cuba and got the same inhaler there for 3.20 pesos or about 5 cents. If a small, poor country like Cuba can give free health care and very cheap drugs, why can't a rich superpower like America do the same?
post #2 of 29
We have been amazed at the US health system since we've been here. In Australia we have Medicare which is a Government funded health care system which every Australian has. This gives you access to the public health system which is pretty good. There's many doctors who "bulk bill", so it's free to see them. It's harder to find doctors who bulk bill, but I'm happy to see a regular doctor and say the $40 or whatever it is, and leave the bulk billing doctors to those who need them.

Medicare also covers public hospital costs, so you'll probably have a wait to see a doctor there, or if you need surgery, it can take a while to get in, but if you can't afford to go private, it's a pretty good system.

Then for private health insurance, it's open to anyone - it's not tied to an employer like in the US. If you don't have it, you can still get by on the public health system without being too out of pocket, but you don't necessarily get the doctor you want, or the speed of the private system.

When I had to have a knee arthroscopy, I had a choice of going public, and waiting 6 months or so and getting whatever specialist was assigned to me, but not paying much, if anything (I can't remember what my costs would have been), or I could go private, see the specialist I wanted who was the best around, and get it booked in for as soon as he could see me (which was about a 3 week wait because he was on holidays). So I went private, and I think spent around $800-1000 out of pocket, but he did an awesome job, and by the time it would have taken to go through the public system I had recovered completely and was back doing triathlons again.

The Australian health care system may not be the best in the world, but it's so much better than the US system where your health insurance is tied to your job.

For those who don't know the US health care system, your employer usually gives you options for the health care providers they support, and you choose which one you want. My husband's employer offers fantastic health insurance, and we pay about $100/month I think for the 2 of us and get fantastic coverage, and don't pay much out of pocket at all. But if you work for somewhere like Wal-Mart, they offer almost nothing, and I think charge a fortune for it. They rely on welfare to support their employers health care. So not only do you have a low paying job, but you can't afford decent health care for when your kids get sick! So the rich get well taken care of, and the poor are left so suffer. The system is disgusting. I really hope Michael Moore's film opens a few eyes. I know it doesn't quite work like this, but imagine if the money they found to pay for the war in Iraq, they spent on improving the US health care system? Both the US and Iraq would probably be better off!!!
post #3 of 29
My brother called me last night as he was walking out of the theater and shouted, "WHY HAVEN'T YOU SEEN THIS MOVIE YET?" He was absolutely livid at what he'd learned from it.

My best friend in the world works in the national call center for the American Cancer Society, and the things he hears every day are beyond belief. People are dying every hour, every minute in this country, solely because we value profit margin over human life.

Our government, our drug companies, and our healthcare system have all been in collusion for decades to ensure that medicine is not the humane and compassionate practice of the healing art, but a massive government-protected money-making machine.

Why are insurance companies allowed to write unintelligible policies so shot through with loopholes as to provide the "insured" with no real security at all? Why are they allowed to delay and delay and delay approval for so long that many patients simply die, saving their insurance companies the cost of the expensive treatments that could have kept them alive?

And why on earth does this country allow the denial of lifesaving treatment simply because the would-be patient doesn't have money to pay? Are the poor and the uninsured somehow lesser beings whose lives are simply not as precious as those of the well-off? What kind of people are we, to stand there with the expensive life-saving drug in our pocket and say to the patient, "Nope, sorry, it's $1200 a dose. Go ahead and die."

The culprit is capitalism. Say what you will about the wonders of the free market system -- it's just as subject to abuse as any other system, and we've been abusing it for so long that we've forgotten we ever cared about anything besides the almighty god of Profit.

I dearly love America as it was originally designed to be. But I don't even recognize the country I'm living in right now.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
...imagine if the money they found to pay for the war in Iraq, they spent on improving the US health care system? Both the US and Iraq would probably be better off!!!
AMEN, SISTER!
post #5 of 29
It's because we have an imbecile for a President. I am one of the millions who do not have medical insurance, my last job had no benefits. Then I got cancer and have been paying off hospital, Dr. and pharmacy bills myself ever since. Yes this Country should be ashamed of itself, I am hoping that with a new President, things will change. I am glad Michael Moore made this movie tho I have not seen it yet but knew what it is about, to show just how screwed up this Country is.
post #6 of 29
Oh and I have to add... I have to take medication for my heart every day, and I get a monthly supply. But I can only get one month at a time!! So I have to go back to the pharmacy every month to pick up my new prescription. I asked my cardiologist if we could write me a 3 month supply with repeats so I would only need to go every 3 months instead.

He did that, but my health insurance doesn't cover more than one month at a time!!!! So I could pay $10 for my month's prescription, or pay an extra $180 for each extra month's supply! Apparently they don't believe in allowing people more than one month's supply of medication, even if it's something you need to take for the rest of your life... So stupid.
post #7 of 29
I haven't seen the movie yet but I'm going to.

I'm about to give up my job with benefits (that I hate) for a job with no benefits (that hopefully I will enjoy), but I am lucky that I will be able to get on my husband's health benefits. If we weren't married I don't know if I'd be able to do this because private health benefits are so ridiculously expensive.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
Oh and I have to add... I have to take medication for my heart every day, and I get a monthly supply. But I can only get one month at a time!! So I have to go back to the pharmacy every month to pick up my new prescription. I asked my cardiologist if we could write me a 3 month supply with repeats so I would only need to go every 3 months instead.

He did that, but my health insurance doesn't cover more than one month at a time!!!! So I could pay $10 for my month's prescription, or pay an extra $180 for each extra month's supply! Apparently they don't believe in allowing people more than one month's supply of medication, even if it's something you need to take for the rest of your life... So stupid.
I hate to say this, but since I work in the industry I can tell you that part of the reason you're not allowed to get too much in advance is that let's say you get January through March's medicine and lose your coverage in February...the plan just paid for a month more than they "needed" to. It's all about the $$$.

There isn't anyone, outside of insurance co execs, a few highly paid Drs and the Bush administration who wouldn't say the US system is a terrible mess.

I would love to give up my crappy job with benefits, but I just can't afford to
post #9 of 29
This all sounds very scary.
Makes me glad I`m in the uk and that we have the NHS
post #10 of 29
God that sounds way scary. Ireland is pretty bad; our health system has been in a shambles for years. If you're public you have at least 1 year's waiting list for non-emergency surgery. If you're private you're fine and are covered for most things depending on your plan. The public system is appalling though. At least we have one I suppose!

I used to work in the public system and it was a joke; 6 month waiting lists for physiotherapy. I'm sorry to say I'm much happier in the private sector where bureaucracy isn't an issue.

Looking forward to seeing this movie.
post #11 of 29
Well, all i can say is we just got our health insurance bill in the mail TODAY and it has gone up $50 more per monthANDi HAVEN'T BEEN TO THE DOCTOR IN 3 YEARS!!!
post #12 of 29
Catnip, I'm surprised to hear that Ireland's plan is not working well. Maybe our good experience there in 2001 had to do with the hospital itself, rather than the government system:

While we were visiting at the Rock of Cashel, my mom slipped on a rainslick step and fell down hard, spraining her ankle very badly. By the time we got to our hotel, she was in terrible pain, so we asked where to go, and were directed to a Catholic hospital just down the way.

It was a Sunday, so the radiologist for the hospital wasn't in -- but they called him at home and he was there in ten minutes! They did X-rays to make sure it wasn't broken, applied a pressure wrap, prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatories, and lent us a wheelchair for the duration of our visit in Cashel.

When we asked what we owed, they told us, "Oh, you don't owe anything! Travelers are always taken care of at no charge."

We all just about wept, it was such an unexpected kindness.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Catnip, I'm surprised to hear that Ireland's plan is not working well. Maybe our good experience there in 2001 had to do with the hospital itself, rather than the government system:

While we were visiting at the Rock of Cashel, my mom slipped on a rainslick step and fell down hard, spraining her ankle very badly. By the time we got to our hotel, she was in terrible pain, so we asked where to go, and were directed to a Catholic hospital just down the way.

It was a Sunday, so the radiologist for the hospital wasn't in -- but they called him at home and he was there in ten minutes! They did X-rays to make sure it wasn't broken, applied a pressure wrap, prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatories, and lent us a wheelchair for the duration of our visit in Cashel.

When we asked what we owed, they told us, "Oh, you don't owe anything! Travelers are always taken care of at no charge."

We all just about wept, it was such an unexpected kindness.
Delighted to hear you were so well looked after. It sounds a lot more prompt than any experience I've come across! However the same does not apply for those living here in the public system. A&E waiting times are horrendous (but getting better). I suppose my experience has been in the big nameless hospitals in Dublin; they tend to be more accommodating at a local level.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerOnTheProwl View Post
I find it extremely strange that terrorists that are being held at a U.S. Naval Base on Guantanamo Bay receive much better health care than American citizens and they also get it for free.
I'd like to give a slightly different perspective to this.
The terrorists you refer to would be the ones in Iraq right? Iraq is its own country with its own government and then the US stuck its nose in and US troops are being killed everyday but.... Are they really being killed by terrorists? people trying to get the US troops out of their country and to defend their country from invasion, I would say the US troops are being killed by freedom fighters, however Bush can't tell the US citizens that they are attacking freedom fighters because the people would stop and say "hey the citizens of Iraq are fighting for their freedom, they mean no harm to our country" then the government would lose its votes.

The US seems to likes war, thats why Bush is still in for another term, and why US citizens keep voting in pro war presidents. I spent time in the NZ army, and I've met foreigners who have served in their own country's military and we all say the same thing, Americans like war. Of all the ex military people I have met, and myself included, when you are in the military, the last thing we ever want to do is go to war.

I think there would be a better chance of world peace if the US didn't always try and fix other countries problems, if they just stayed at home and fixed their own country, we would probably have a better chance of seeing world peace

Now to the health care part, I'm unfamiliar with the Japanese health system but in NZ, its pretty sick too. But the bonus is you can see a Dr really cheap and if your on the benefit (welfare) you get Dr visits even cheaper and prescriptions are mostly $3 (approx 1.5USD) but the Dr visits are only 15mins, and if you have more than one problem going on, generally you might get one problem diagnosed and be on to getting a 2nd diagnosed when your time runs out and your given a kick up the backside and sent out the door.
You don't need insurance either as health care is always available but it really does pay to have insurance.
post #15 of 29
I have a feeling this might be moved to IMO

I want to see this movie...

But I am glad to be Canadian as we are taken care of nicely as far as health care goes...I think anyway I have never had a problem.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DIEGO View Post
I'd like to give a slightly different perspective to this.
The terrorists you refer to would be the ones in Iraq right? Iraq is its own country with its own government and then the US stuck its nose in and US troops are being killed everyday but.... Are they really being killed by terrorists?
No these are terrorists that the US apprehended shortly after 9/11 and apparently there is proof that they were tied to the 9/11 attack.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerOnTheProwl View Post
No these are terrorists that the US apprehended shortly after 9/11 and apparently there is proof that they were tied to the 9/11 attack.
Yes 9/11 was a terrorist act, but the Iraqis fighting in their own country is not terrorism.
Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't 9/11 caused by Afghanistan?

ETA. I will stay out of this one from now, I'm not really into politics. I just wanted to add that 1st post because its a topic that comes up quite often.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DIEGO View Post
The US seems to likes war, thats why Bush is still in for another term, and why US citizens keep voting in pro war presidents. I spent time in the NZ army, and I've met foreigners who have served in their own country's military and we all say the same thing, Americans like war. Of all the ex military people I have met, and myself included, when you are in the military, the last thing we ever want to do is go to war.
PLEASE don't group all US citizens together!!!
post #19 of 29
No, 9/11 was not executed by Afghanistan -- it was apparently the work of Osama bin Laden, who is a semi-estranged member of the Saudi royal family. And most of the hijackers were Saudis, as well.

But the Bush family has been financially entwined with the Saudi royal family for decades, so the Saudi connection was not pursued. Instead, we got a grudge match in Iraq.

Afghanistan's involvement was as one of the places bin Laden was known to be hiding. Now Pakistan has essentially declared a "terrorist safe zone" in its northern provinces, and it is generally believed that's where bin Laden is now, assuming he's alive.

Now for the most important part of this: American PEOPLE do not love war! American CORPORATIONS love war, because they profit from it, and corporate money can be used to buy government support FOR war.

Also, we did not elect this president. There's proof of that, for his first term; by the second, electronic voting machines were so widespread that it's impossible to obtain proof. At present, the polls show that a solid two-thirds majority of the American people oppose this president's actions... and luckily, nobody's figured out a way to rig the polls yet.
post #20 of 29
Here's a question hopefully someone familiar with the US health care system can answer...

I'm on my husband's health insurance, and have a heart condition. If my husband changed jobs and had to change health insurance companies, would seeing specialists still be covered or would it be considered a pre-existing health condition and therefore wouldn't be covered?

In Australia, because health insurance has nothing to do with your job - you just choose who you like and stick with them for as long as you like, you rarely ever change health insurance companies. What happens in the US if you have to change because your new emplpyer offers different health insurance??
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post

I'm on my husband's health insurance, and have a heart condition. If my husband changed jobs and had to change health insurance companies, would seeing specialists still be covered or would it be considered a pre-existing health condition and therefore wouldn't be covered?
You will have to look at all of the health insurance companies (and the plans they offer) that are offered by your husband's new job. You may or may not be able to keep the same health insurance company and plan that you have now. When looking at the options, make sure that your specialists would be covered. You may have to talk to each individual health insurance company to find out the details. I know, it is a real PITA. Good luck to you!
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82 View Post
You will have to look at all of the health insurance companies (and the plans they offer) that are offered by your husband's new job. You may or may not be able to keep the same health insurance company and plan that you have now. When looking at the options, make sure that your specialists would be covered. You may have to talk to each individual health insurance company to find out the details. I know, it is a real PITA. Good luck to you!
He's not changing jobs, I was just curious if someone has a health condition whether they are stuck in their job in fear that they'll lose their benefits...
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
He's not changing jobs, I was just curious if someone has a health condition whether they are stuck in their job in fear that they'll lose their benefits...
Oh I see. It's possible that could happen, but I don't think it is likely. Most things are covered by multiple health insurance companies/plans.

ETA: I meant you might be stuck in a job, but I don't think you'd be stuck in a particular job.
post #24 of 29
"I was just curious if someone has a health condition whether they are stuck in their job in fear that they'll lose their benefits..."

It's common, even if you are healthy
Depends a lot on the state and the health condition you refer to also.
And, you might be fine, but your child has asthma for example.

Some states, pre-existing clauses are illegal. Others, pre-exist denials exist for the first 12mns you are on the plan, and so on.
post #25 of 29
I saw the movie today. As furious as I already was about healthcare, as much passion as I put into my post about it earlier in this thread, this movie made me even angrier!

Everything I said is true, but far MORE true than I even realized. Everyone in America needs to see SICKO -- because it's vital that we all understand just how completely unregulated the healthcare and insurance industries are, just how thoroughly those industries are literally killing us, and just how disgustingly craven and corrupt our government is.

One thing that I don't think was mentioned in the movie, though, is the fact that Congress gets top-quality free healthcare for themselves and their families -- for life. If we took that away, by heaven, there would be healthcare reform in a heartbeat!

GO SEE SICKO! Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, you will be shocked... and educated.
post #26 of 29
I am planning on seeing Moore's movie, but haven't seen it yet. As a Canadian, I feel blessed with our health care system as I have had to pay almost nothing for care when needed. We still have to rely on company/work benefits for dental and prescription drug plans, but in regards to seeing the doctor or for surgical needs the cost is free (though we have more taxes than our US neighbours as a result).

There are a lot of pros and cons to our Canadian health care system, but all and all I feel more confident knowing that when I am sick I can receive care knowing that it won't bankrupt me AND that I don't need my job to assure me of this fact.

I'm not going to get into this further (as it is late), except to mention that I have heard that the Kennedys were quite interested in studying how our Canadian health care plan worked, and I believe at least one of the brothers visited Canada to learn more. I don't think this ever saw fruition, due to the assasinations, etc. Too bad.

In regards to Cuba, I travelled there a few years ago and was struck by how many of the civilians were well educated and healthy, despite being poor. Unfortunatly for Cuba, they don't have much power in the trade business anymore, and struggle to survive in our modern global economy due to their political differences with the US. But, I will commend them on thier quality of intellectual and physical lifestyle, despite thier lack of material wealth and freedom.

It's all food for thought, so to speak. I'm glad Moore is making his documentaries (as one-sided and biased as they are) as they open doors to realization and investigation on the part of us citizens in North America.

Moore definetly is a manipulator, but I don't fault him on this as pretty much everything in our media-society is at the moment, and at least he brings forth a different side that reaches a large audience and hence makes us question the way things are and the way things could be.

As a Canadian, I won't deny feeling lucky about things like our health-care system. Honestly however, I see us as being not far off from our US neighbours in the fact that we are going down the same path of blind commercial existence which inevitably defeats our value for human life.

I won't go further with this as it is definetly getting into the catagory of IMO!
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDubbie View Post
"I was just curious if someone has a health condition whether they are stuck in their job in fear that they'll lose their benefits..."

It's common, even if you are healthy
Depends a lot on the state and the health condition you refer to also.
And, you might be fine, but your child has asthma for example.

Some states, pre-existing clauses are illegal. Others, pre-exist denials exist for the first 12mns you are on the plan, and so on.
Most employer-based plans are prohibited from imposing preexisting condition clauses (this was very common in the past). In most cases, if you can show proof that you've had continuous coverage --and your last insurer is legally bound to provide a letter to this effect-- they can't impose any pre existing condition clauses or waiting periods for specific treatment.

This doesn't mean you can't have an overall waiting period, of say a month, before your coverage with the new employer starts.

This is all made even more murky by the patchwork of state and federal laws that circumvent each other and whether or not the employer is fully insured (meaning they pay a company to take on the risk and pay out any claims) or self insured (where the ins co. is a third party administrator, but the risk and $$ paid out is from the company itself). Many large companies are self insured and not subject to state mandates (they are covered by a federal law).
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyBella View Post
Most employer-based plans are prohibited from imposing preexisting condition clauses (this was very common in the past). In most cases, if you can show proof that you've had continuous coverage --and your last insurer is legally bound to provide a letter to this effect-- they can't impose any pre existing condition clauses or waiting periods for specific treatment.

This doesn't mean you can't have an overall waiting period, of say a month, before your coverage with the new employer starts.

This is all made even more murky by the patchwork of state and federal laws that circumvent each other and whether or not the employer is fully insured (meaning they pay a company to take on the risk and pay out any claims) or self insured (where the ins co. is a third party administrator, but the risk and $$ paid out is from the company itself). Many large companies are self insured and not subject to state mandates (they are covered by a federal law).
Oh that is good to hear! I have experience in four states only. And no kidding on the patchwork of state and federal laws that you gotta work into contracting agreements - ugh - headache!

I used to council people NOT to go with a TPA - since they are not governed by law at all and I saw major devestation to families as a result (myself included after my husband fell ill). Now though, I have a TPA, but I work thru a hospital so it is great.

Essentially, no one I know IRL will choose a plan during open enrollment until they call me first
post #29 of 29
One of the saddest stories in SICKO is about a woman whose insurance plan was fully under the control of the executives at the hospital where she worked, and they STILL allowed her husband to die rather than approve his treatment. They were right there, she was their employee, she was able to beg them directly, the man was not a faceless policy number... and it made no difference at all.

How do people like that go home, after sentencing someone to death in the name of corporate profit, and actually sleep at night?
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