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Sicko (2007) - Plot Summary Poster

(2007)

Plot

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Summaries

  • Documentary look at health care in the United States as provided by profit-oriented health maintenance organizations (HMOs) compared to free, universal care in Canada, the U.K., and France. Moore contrasts U.S. media reports on Canadian care with the experiences of Canadians in hospitals and clinics there. He interviews patients and doctors in the U.K. about cost, quality, and salaries. He examines why Nixon promoted HMOs in 1971, and why the Clintons' reform effort failed in the 1990s. He talks to U.S. ex-pats in Paris about French services, and he takes three 9/11 clean-up volunteers, who developed respiratory problems, to Cuba for care. He asks of Americans, "Who are we?"

  • In this documentary, the director/writer Michael Moore exposes the dysfunctional North American health care system, oriented to huge profits and not for their mission of saving lives. Further, he shows the corruption in the political system, with members of government and congress "bought" by the corporations and the situation of the average American citizens, including those that volunteered to work in the rescue mission of the September 11th. Then he travels to Canada, Great Britain and France to compare their systems showing their hospital, doctors, staffs and patients. Last but not the least, he shows that the prisoners in Guantanamo have better medical treatment than the common people in USA, and he ends getting free treatment to the Americans that participate along the documentary in Cuba.

  • A former insurance employee confides to film-maker Michael Moore that he had been instructed to process claims not for the benefit of ailing claimants - but instead find ways of dismissing them. Moore then compares health-care with other countries like Canada, Britain, France, and even Cuba. Further he goes on to expose corrupt U.S. senators who have been bought by powerful vested interests, while prisoners, including alleged terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, have total access to free medical aid, while in sharp contrast premium-paying clients and those on social security have little or no access at all.

  • A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories including shotgun deaths.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Writer/producer Michael Moore interviews Americans who have been denied treatment by our health care insurance companies -- companies who sacrifice essential health services in order to maximize profits. The consequences for the individual subscribers range from bankruptcy to the unnecessary deaths of loved ones.

    Moore then looks at universal free health care systems in Canada, France, Britain, and Cuba, debunking all the fears (lower quality of care, poorer compensation for doctors, big-government bureaucracy) that have been used to dissuade Americans from establishing such a system here. The roots of those health care systems are explored, and our failure to establish free health here care is traced to a) President Richard Nixon's deceptive support of the then-emerging HMOs pursuing huge profits and b) subsequent pressures for Congress to sacrifice sound health care in favor of corporate profit.

    A group of Americans who became ill from volunteering at 911 Ground Zero, but were refused health coverage for their illnesses, are ferried by Moore to Cuba, where they receive the top-rate, free care one would hope they'd get here at home.

    In his interviews, historical reportage, and typical sarcastic wit, Moore soundly condemns American health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, as well as the politicians who have been paid millions to do their bidding. He makes the case that there is something wrong with Americans that we cannot learn from the successes of other countries in providing better quality-of-health than we enjoy in the USA.

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