Well, I should start this review by pinning my colours to the mast and saying, “I’m in favour of universal healthcare”. I never, ever want to live in a country where profit-seeking agencies determine my ability to access medical care.

Now, that is despite my ongoing failure to receive a diagnosis. 19 Months and counting. I’m starting to become resigned to being on medication for years. People in their 80s can get replacement joints, but a productive man in his 30s can’t get a nights sleep. Until my condition degrades enough to warrant attention, that is.

And that’s the problem with SiCKO. While Michael Moore does a good job of contrasting the American system with “socialised medicine” in Canada, Cuba, France and Great Britain, he does ignore that these systems have very important flaws in their delivery of medical services.

He paints the NHS as being a benign environment in which hospitals distribute money, not the other way around, but doesn’t talk about the extreme difficultly some have in getting treatment. Plenty of people like to bitch about the NHS…

That said, universal health care is world better than the American system. Moore has a tendency to gloss over the details of the things he’s documenting, and likes to place emphasis on “human stories”. Personally I see this as a form of exploitation of his subjects. But, even in doing so, Moore is still able to depict the extreme hypocrisy of the medical insurance industry. A system in which profit is vastly more important that patients.

Privatisation of medical care should be resisted in this country at all costs.

So, recognising that Moore’s intention is to exploit emotional investment Americans have in things like 11 September, the film achieves its aims. It demonstrates the hypocrisy of the US medical system, and its leaders, which also keeping the information pretty stupid. I’ve been inclined to describe Moore’s work as ‘mockumentary’, because it works off facts, not with facts, and SiCKO falls into this camp again.

But I guess when you’re dealing with a country that barely educates it’s people, routinely lies to and exploits them for economic gain, and uses financial incentives as its primary means to influence political decision-makers, you’ve got to dumb things down a little.

SiCKO portrays the US as a sick and ailing country, and I’m inclined to agree.

Advertisements