The "Facts" Behind Michael Moore's "Sicko" Movie

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Michael Moore's new movie "Sicko" unleashes a substantive indictment of the American Healthcare industry. Is it accurate?

'SiCKO' Factual Backup

SiCKO: There are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance.

* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually reported that 54.5 million people were uninsured for at least part of the year. Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2006. Centers for Disease Control.

* The amount of uninsured is rising every year, as premiums continue to skyrocket and wages stagnate. From 2004 to 2005 the number of uninsured rose 1.3 million, and rose up nearly 6 million from 2001-2005. Leighton Ku, "Census Revises Estimates Of The Number Of Uninsured People," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 5, 2007 With 44.8 uninsured in 2005, in 2007 the number will be much higher. Professors Todd Gilmer and Richard Kronick, in "It's The Premiums, Stupid: Projections Of The Uninsured Through 2013," Health Affairs, 10.1377/hlthaff.w5.143, "project that the number of non-elderly uninsured Americans will grow from forty-five million in 2003 to fifty-six million by 2013." According to these authors, by now the number of non-elderly uninsured by this date clearly would be nearly 50 million.

SiCKO: 18,000 Americans will die this year simply because they're uninsured.

* According to the Institute of Medicine, "lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States. Although America leads the world in spending on health care, it is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage." Insuring America's Health: Principles and Recommendations, Institute of Medicine, January 2004.

SiCKO: Richard Nixon and John Ehrlichman are heard discussing the concept of a health maintenance organization in Oval Office Recordings.

* On February 17, 1971, Richard Nixon met with John Ehrlichman to discuss the Vice President's position on health maintenance organizations, as heard in the film. The Miller Center of Public Affairs has this audio recording (conversation number 450-23. "Richard Nixon - Oval Office Recordings,"

* The next day, Nixon called for a "new national health strategy" that had four points for expanding the proliferation of health maintenance organizations, or HMOs. "Special Message to the Congress Proposing a National Health Strategy," February 18th, 1971,

* The term "health maintenance organization" was coined by Nixon advisor Paul Ellwood. Patricia Bauman, "The Formulation and Evolution of the Health Maintenance Organization Policy, 1970-1973, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 10. 1976. After Congress passed Nixon's HMO Act in 1973, HMOs in America increased nine-fold in just ten years. N. R. Kleinfield, "The King of the HMO Mountain," New York Times, July 31, 1983.

SiCKO: The American Medical Association distributed a record featuring Ronald Reagan discussing the evils of socialized medicine.

* Ronald Reagan's recording was widely available in the 1960s, and was a part of the American Medical Association's "Operation Coffee Cup," a coordinated rebuttal to Democrats' push for Medicare. Max Skidmore, "Ronald Reagan and Operation Coffee Cup: A Hidden Episode in American Political History," Journal of American Culture, vol. 12. 1989.

SiCKO: $100 million spent to defeat Hillary's health care plan.

* "Even before debate began in Congress, a powerful coalition had been cobbled together to fight Clintoncare, as opponents labeled it - congressional Republicans, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Business Roundtable, the Christian Coalition, the conservative radio talk show network. Those groups spent between $100 million and $ 300 million to defeat it. And the battle was fought like a presidential campaign - with a TV advertising campaign, a network of field operatives and public relations experts to lobby members of Congress back in their districts." Rob Christensen, "Who killed health care reform? Answer: Everyone," News & Observer, June 19, 1996.

* "In 1993-94, the Health Insurance Association of America, a trade group, spent about $15 million on advertising to defeat Clinton's proposed overhaul of the nation's health care system." John MacDonald, "Proponents, Opponents Join Battle Over Drug Price Limits," Hartford Courant, June 21, 2000.

* "'We spent $1.4 million to fight President Clinton's plan,' [Mike Russell of the Christian Coalition] says." Harold Cox, "Business will spearhead Health Reform II ; Old enemies of Clinton's plan in lead," Washington Times, December 27, 1994.

* "A study by Citizen Action, a consumer group, reports that doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and other providers of medical services made campaign contributions of $ 79 million during the 1993-1994 election cycle. The insurance industry passed out $16 million. The American Medical Association, which objects to cost-control measures, contributed $ 3 million." Froma Harrop, "The big lie about health reform," Rocky Mountain News, August 20, 1995.

* "According to [Citizens for a Sound Economy] spokesman Brent Bahler, the group has not bought any airtime for commercials but has 'tentative plans' for a grassroots advocacy effort that would include an advertising component. Last year, Bahler said, the CSE spent more than $2 million on print, radio and television advertising to defeat Clinton's health care reform plan." James A. Barnes, "RNC Turns To TV Ads On Budget," National Journal, 5.16.95.

SiCKO: The United States is ranked #37 as a health system by the World Health Organization.

* "The U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance, the report finds." "World Health Organization Assesses The World's Health Systems," Press Release, WHO/44, June 21, 2000.

SiCKO: Health industry companies accused of wrongdoing in Sicko.

* Aetna: "Aetna Inc. … settled with the plaintiffs, which include the medical associations of California and Texas. Aetna agreed to pay the plaintiffs $120 million." Milt Freudenheim, "Class-Action Status Is Upheld for Doctors Suing Insurers," New York Times, September 2, 2004. See also, Susan Beck, "HMO Postmortem," American Lawyer, October 10, 2003. Settlement Agreement,

* Blue Cross/Blue Shield: "Sixty-seven Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies across the nation have paid the United States a total of $117 million to settle government claims that Medicare made primary payments for health care services that should have been paid by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield private insurance companies, the Department of Justice announced today." "Blue Cross/Blue Shield Companies Settle Medicare Claims, Pay United States $117 Million, Agree To Share Information," Department of Justice News Release, October 25, 1995.

* Cigna: "Cigna Corporation, [has] settled with the plaintiffs, which include the medical associations of California and Texas. … Cigna agreed to pay $85 million." Milt Freudenheim, "Class-Action Status Is Upheld for Doctors Suing Insurers," New York Times, September 2, 2004.

* "HCA Inc. (formerly known as Columbia/HCA and HCA - The Healthcare Company) has agreed to pay the United States $631 million in civil penalties and damages arising from false claims the government alleged it submitted to Medicare and other federal health programs, the Justice Department announced today. … Previously, on December 14, 2000, HCA subsidiaries pled guilty to substantial criminal conduct and paid more than $840 million in criminal fines, civil restitution and penalties. Combined with today's separate administrative settlement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), under which HCA will pay an additional $250 million to resolve overpayment claims arising from certain of its cost reporting practices, the government will have recovered $1.7 billion from HCA, by far the largest recovery ever reached by the government in a health care fraud investigation." "Largest Health Care Fraud Case In U.S. History Settled; HCA Investigation Nets Record Total Of $1.7 Billion," Department of Justice News Release, June 26, 2003.

SiCKO: Executive Compensation

* Michael B McAllister earned $3.33 million in compensation as CEO of Humana. "Forbes 2006 Executive Pay list," April 20, 2006.

* John W Rowe earned $22.2 million in compensation as CEO of Aetna. Rowe has since left Aetna. "Forbes 2004 Executive Pay list," April 21, 2005.

* Bill McGuire has stock options worth $1.6 billion at the end of 2005, as CEO of UnitedHealth Group. Robert Simison, "SEC Investigates UnitedHealth Over Stock-Options Practices," Bloomberg News, December 27, 2006; Michael Regan, "Business 2006: Who Won, Who Lost," Associated Press,December 26, 2006.

SiCKO: There are four times as many health care lobbyists as there are members of Congress.

* According to the Center for Responsive Politics (, in 2005 there were 2,084 health care lobbyists registered with the federal government. With 535 members of Congress, that's 3.895 lobbyists per member.

SiCKO: Hillary Clinton became the second largest recipient in the Senate of health care industry contributions.

* "As she runs for re-election to the Senate from New York this year and lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2008, Mrs. Clinton is receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers and insurers. Nationwide, she is the No. 2 recipient of donations from the industry, trailing only Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a member of the Republican leadership." Raymond Hernandez and Robert Pear, "Once an Enemy, Health Industry Warms to Clinton," New York Times, July 12, 2006.

SiCKO: Drug industry money to members of Congress, and the president, who led the effort to pass the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

* "The health industry gave $14 million total to the eleven elected officials largely credited with negotiating the bill. Pharmaceutical company PACs, employees, and their families gave more than $3 million in campaign contributions to (those) eleven elected officials." Buying A Law: Big Pharma's Big Money and the Bush Medicare Plan, Campaign Money Watch, January 2004.$_1-15-04.pdf

SiCKO: The Medicare Part D plan will hand over $800 billion of our tax dollars to the drug and health insurance industry.

* According to the Congressional Budget Office, for the ten-year period, 2006 through 2016, the projected spending is $848 billion. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2008 to 2017," Congressional Budget Office, January 2007.

SiCKO: The elderly could end up paying more for their prescription drugs than they did before under Part D - and a majority of senior citizens could still pay over $2000 a year.

* "For all patients, Medicare covers 75 percent of the first $2,250 worth of drugs. But after that, coverage drops to zero - and doesn't resume until the patient hits $5,100 in expenses. Then Medicare kicks in again, paying 95 percent of costs. But it's this gap - of almost $3,000 - that many sick and disabled seniors call unaffordable." Medicare's 'Donut Hole,' CBS News, July 26, 2006.

* "Nearly 7 million seniors and individuals with disabilities who purchased stand-alone prescription drug coverage are now at risk of falling into the 'doughnut hole.' According to a report released today by Senior Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee… nearly 88 percent of new drug plan enrollees, roughly 7 million individuals, are at risk of losing coverage for their medications while they continue to pay monthly premiums to their insurers. The report further details how few individuals have enrolled in plans without doughnut holes, presumably because of the prohibitive cost of such plans." "88% Of New Medicare Drug Program Enrollees At Risk Of Falling Into The 'Doughnut Hole,'" Joint News Release From Representative Charles B. Rangel, Ranking Democrat, Committee On Ways And Means, Representative Pete Stark, Ranking Democrat, Subcommittee On Health, Committee On Ways And Means, Representative Sander M. Levin, Ranking Democrat, Subcommittee On Social Security, Committee On Ways And Means, September 21, 2006.

* "Over the past year, Part D drug prices have increased several times faster than the rate of inflation. Families USA analyzed the prices for 15 of the drugs most frequently prescribed to seniors. We examined prices for each of the plans offered by the largest Part D insurers, which together cover about two-thirds of all Part D beneficiaries. We then compared the lowest available Part D price for each drug in April 2006 with the lowest available price for the same drug in April 2007. The lowest price for every one of the top 15 drugs prescribed to seniors increased, and the median increase was 9.2 percent." Medicare Part D Prices Are Climbing Quickly, FamiliesUSA, April 2007.

SiCKO: Fourteen Congressional aides went to work for the industry; Billy Tauzin left Congress to become CEO of PhRMA for a $2 million annual salary.

* See, e.g., The Medicare Drug War: An Army of Nearly 1,000 Lobbyists Pushes a Medicare Law that Puts Drug Company and HMO Profits Ahead of Patients and Taxpayers, Public Citizen Congress Watch, June 2004,

* "Retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., who stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the House committee that regulates the pharmaceutical industry, will become the new president and CEO of the drug industry's top lobbying group…Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, called Tauzin's hiring 'yet another example of how public service is leading to private riches.' Tauzin gets a pay package reportedly worth at least $2 million a year, making him one of the highest-paid lobbyists in Washington." "Tauzin switches sides from drug industry overseer to lobbyist," USA Today, December 15, 2004..

SiCKO: Canadians live three years longer than we do.

* The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report's human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5, and the life expectancy in Canada is 80.2. Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283.

SiCKO: Tommy Douglas, who pioneered Canada's health care system, was heralded as the nation's singular most important person.

* "In November 2004, Canadians voted Tommy Douglas the Greatest Canadian of all time following a nationwide contest. Over 1.2 million votes were cast in a frenzy of voting that took place over six weeks as each of 10 advocates made their case for the Top 10 nominees in special feature programs on CBC Television… . From his first foray into public office politics in 1934 to his post-retirement years in the 1970s, Canada's 'father of Medicare' stayed true to his socialist beliefs -- often at the cost of his own political fortune -- and earned himself the respect of millions of Canadians in the process." "The Greatest Canadian," CBC, 2004.

SiCKO: Canadian "wait times" not nearly as long as some try to allege.

* According to Statistics Canada, the official government statistical agency, "In 2005, the median waiting time was about 4 weeks for specialist visits, 4 weeks for non-emergency surgery, and 3 weeks for diagnostic tests. Nationally, median waiting times remained stable between 2003 and 2005 - but there were some differences at the provincial level for selected specialized services.… 70 to 80 percent of Canadians find their waiting times acceptable" "Access to health care services in Canada, Waiting times for specialized services (January to December 2005)," Statistics Canada,

* A recent study of emergency care in Ontario found that overall, "50% of patients triaged as CTAS I [most acute] were seen by a physician within 6 minutes and 86% were seen within 30 minutes of arriving at the [Emergency Department]. In contrast, the 50% of patients triaged as CTAS IV or V who were seen most quickly waited an hour or less, while 1 in 10 waited three hours or more. Understanding Emergency Department Wait Times: How Long Do People Spend in Emergency Departments in Ontario? Canadian Institute for Health Information, January 2007.

* "Gerard Anderson, a Johns Hopkins health policy professor who has spent his career examining the world's healthcare, said there are delays, but not as many as conservatives state. In Canada, the United Kingdom and France, 'three percent of hospital discharges had delays in treatment,' Anderson told The Miami Herald. 'That's a relatively small number, and they're all elective surgeries, such as hip and knee replacement.' John Dorschner, "'Sicko' film is set to spark debate; Reformers are gearing up for 'Sicko,' the first major movie to examine America's often maligned healthcare system," Miami Herald, June 29, 2007.

SiCKO: Drugs in England only cost $10.

* For much of 2006, the standard charge for a prescription was £6.65. "The cost of an NHS prescription in England is to rise by 15p to £6.65 from the start of April." "Prescription charge to rise 15p," BBC News, March 13 2006.

* From April 1 2007 to present, the charge is £6.85. "There are many unacceptable inequities and anomalies in the present system. Although around four out of five prescriptions are exempt (see below for list of exempt categories), the price of a prescription (£6.85 from 1 April 2007) often hits those who cannot afford such charges. There are many people with chronic conditions who are not exempt and those on low incomes find it very difficult to pay. This causes a disproportionate levy on a limited section of the population." British Medical Association, "Funding - Prescription Changes," March 2007.

SiCKO: After losing 42,000 civilians in eight months during a vicious bombing campaign during World War II, Britain pulled together and instituted a National Health Insurance program in 1948.

* "The Blitz was September 7, 1940 through May 11 1941. "42,000 civilians are estimated to have died during the campaign, with over 50,000 injured, and around 130,000 houses destroyed." See, "Remembering the Blitz,"; "Living With War; Air Raids," The Discovery Channel,
* "The NHS was set up in 1948 and is now the largest organisation in Europe. It is recognised as one of the best health services in the world by the World Health Organisation but there need to be improvements to cope with the demands of the 21st century." "About the NHS," NHA website,

SiCKO: In a study of older Americans and Brits, the Brits had less of almost every major disease. Even the poorest Brit can expect to live longer than the richest American.

* "The US population in late middle age is less healthy than the equivalent British population for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, lung disease, and cancer. Within each country, there exists a pronounced negative socioeconomic status (SES) gradient with self-reported disease so that health disparities are largest at the bottom of the education or income variants of the SES hierarchy. This conclusion is generally robust to control for a standard set of behavioral risk factors, including smoking, overweight, obesity, and alcohol drinking, which explain very little of these health differences… Level differences between countries are sufficiently large that individuals in the top of the education and income strata in the United States have comparable rates of diabetes and heart disease as those in the bottom of the income and education strata in England." (See also Table 1 - for example, prevalence of diabetes among high-income Americans is 8.2 per thousand, while it's 7.3 among low-income Brits.) Banks, Marmot et al., "Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and in England," Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006;295:2037-2045.

SiCKO: A baby born in El Salvador has a better chance of surviving than a baby born in Detroit.

* According to the United Nations Statistics Division, Population and Vital Statistics Report, the rate of infant deaths per thousand in El Salvador is 10.5. "Table 3, Live births, deaths, and infant deaths, latest available year, June 15, 2007."

* According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, the rate of infant deaths for Detroit is 15.9 per thousand. "Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates for Selected Cities of Residence, 2005 and 2001 - 2005 Average," Michigan Department of Community Health Web Site,

SiCKO: Around 65 percent of young Americans can't find Britain on a map.

* "About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn't even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean's location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent." "Survey Reveals Geographic Illiteracy," National Geographic Today, November 20, 2002.

SiCKO: Companies that no longer offer pensions to new employees.

* These can be found on a list prepared by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Pension Change Fact Sheets, In addition, the Pension Rights Center has also compiled a near-comprehensive list. Companies That Have Changed Their Defined Benefit Pension Plans,

SiCKO: Like Canadians and Brits, the French live longer than we do.

* The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report's human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5, the United Kingdom is 78.5, France is 79.6, and Canada is 80.2. Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283.

SiCKO: The productivity rate per hour in France is higher than in America.

* According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, France has a higher labor productivity (GDP per hour worked) than the United States. "OECD in Figures 2005, 2005/Supplement 1 at 84.

* "Britain has yet to catch up with its rivals on productivity. Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has long wished to close Britain's productivity gap with other countries. It is proving a long haul. In 2004, output per hour worked was 19% higher in France, 15% higher in America and 5% higher in Germany than it was in Britain." "Poor show; International comparisons," The Economist, January 21, 2006.

SiCKO: French policy on childcare and household assistance for new parents.

* According to the French-American Foundation comprehensive review of child care, "For non-working parents or parents who work part-time, haltes garderies (drop-in centers) provide part-time, occasional, and drop-in care. Haltes garderies are also subsidized (by municipality and the National Family Allowance Fund), with parents paying a portion of the costs based on a sliding scale (parents pay an average of $1 per hour). … For working parents [there are] licensed family day care providers (assistants maternelles), licensed babysitters at home (social security costs and salaries subsidized by the National Family Allowance Fund)." Peer, Shanny., "The French Early Education System," French-American Foundation, November 13, 2003.,

SiCKO: There is a company in France, SOS Medecins, which will perform doctor house calls at any time.

* SOS Medecins has an English website, viewable here:

SiCKO: The government initially refused to pay for the health care of 9/11 volunteers, because they were not on the government payroll. It remains difficult for the volunteers to access the $50 million fund that has been appropriated for their care.

* The Department of Defense and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Recovery From and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States Act provided a total of $175 million for workers compensation programs - $125 million to NYS Workers Compensation Review Board, and an additional $50 million to reimburse the NYS Uninsured Employers Fund, including for benefits paid to volunteers. However, there have been major delays in getting money to volunteers. See. e.g. "Statement of Robert E. Robertson, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues," "September 11, Federal Assistance for New York Workers' Compensation Costs," United States Government Accountability Office, (GAO-04-1068T) September 8, 2004.

* "With strong advocacy from New York's Congressional Delegation and labor leaders, a portion - about $52 million - of the $125 million in federal funding that had been allocated for administering workers compensation claims was re-allocated to provide some funding for medical treatment programs, but it will only meet a fraction of the need. Congress approved the legislation authorizing this funding in late December 2005." Devlin Barrett, "Congress Gives New Life to 9/11 Programs," Newsday, December 22, 2005.

* A $52 million fund for volunteers was eventually established, but experts agree it's inadequate. The New York Times reported on September 6, 2006 that "Dr. John Howard, who was named the federal 9/11 health coordinator in February, has already said that the $52 million the federal government has appropriated for treatment late last year is inadequate. He said in an interview yesterday that the new study will very likely mean that the gap between funds and the need for them is going to grow." Anthony DePalma, "Illness Persisting in 9/11 Workers, Big Study Finds," New York Times, September 6, 2006.

SiCKO: American officials claim that detainees at Guantanamo Bay receive excellent health care.

* "There is still acute care 24 hours a day, in which surgical procedures, everything, can be performed right there in the detainee camps, but as those wounds healed and as the detainees got further and further away from acute injuries, there has been increasing emphasis on preventative care. Indeed, the immunization rate there is higher than in the United States of America…. Things such as screening for cancer have taken place there. Colonoscopies--a procedure which, as we all know, is used commonly in this country to screen for colon cancer--are performed there on a routine basis. The health personnel-to-detainee ratio is 1 to 4--remarkably high. That is all health personnel who are there. And I guess, as I left this briefing and the opportunity to talk to the doctors and the nurses and the psychologists and the psychiatrists, I left with an impression that health care there is clearly better than they received at home and as good as many people receive in the United States of America." Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), remarks on Guantanamo Bay, U.S. Senate, September 12, 2006.

* "They go out, they do sick call on the blocks three times per week, care for them there, if they can… We have diabetes. We have high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Those detainees -- we've created a population health database so that we can track those detainees to make sure we're seeing them frequently, monitoring their labs and their overall health." Statement of Navy Commander Cary Ostergaard. "Hearing Of The House Armed Services Committee Subject: Detainee Operations At Guantanamo Bay," June 29, 2005.

* "Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers' expense. In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued." "Ten Facts About Guantanamo," Department of Defense, September 14, 2006.

SiCKO: Cuba is one of the most generous countries in providing doctors to the third world.

* "WHO statistics show that the incidence of AIDS in Cuba is the lowest in this hemisphere, and there are now more than 800 Cuban doctors in Haiti alone working to control the AIDS epidemic. President Castro has offered an almost unlimited number to be sent to Africa, to be paid by the Cuban government with only a small stipend from the host countries." "President Carter's Cuba Trip Report By Jimmy Carter," May 21, 2002.

* "The close friendship between Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has netted Venezuela a loan of 20,000 Cuban health workers -- including 14,000 doctors, according to the Venezuelan government -- who work in poor barrios and rural outposts for stipends seven times higher on average than their salaries at home. Castro has vowed to send Chavez as many as 10,000 additional medical workers by year's end." "As Cuba Loans Doctors Abroad, Some Patients Object at Home," Boston Globe, August 25, 2005.

* "President Evo Morales on Friday heeded the wishes of six visiting U.S. senators by acknowledging the positive effects of American aid in his country - but added that Cuban doctors had had a greater impact on Bolivia than their U.S. counterparts… [I]n a Friday interview with Bolivian radio network Fides, Morales said the assistance of Cuban leader Fidel Castro - who has sent Bolivia some 1,700 doctors and paramedics this year alone, setting up free hospitals and eye clinics throughout Bolivia -- outshines the United States' own medical aid." "Morales Says Cuban Doctors top U.S. Medical Aid," Boston Globe, December 29, 2006.

SiCKO: In the U.S., health care costs run nearly $7,000 per person. But in Cuba, they spend around $200 per person.

* United States health spending per capita is $6,697 per person according to Catlin, A, C. Cowan, S. Heffler, et al, "National Health Spending in 2005." Health Affairs 26:1 (2006). As with the number of uninsured, the number continues to increase and is projected to be $7,092 per capita in 2006, $7,498 per capita in 2007 and reaching $12,782 by 2016, according the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures, National Health Expenditures Projections 2006-2016,

* The World Health Organization puts Cuba's per capita health spending at approximately $229 American dollars. WHO, "Core Health Indicators, Country, Indicator and Year selection, 2007,"

SiCKO: In Cuba, access to health care is universal.

* "Cuban dissatisfaction with their personal lives does not mean they are negative about the revolutionary government's achievements in health care and education. A near unanimous 96 percent of respondents say that health care in Cuba is accessible to everyone. Gallup polls in other Latin American cities have found that on average only 42 percent believe health care is accessible." Gallup/ Consultoría Interdisciplinaria en Desarrollo, "Cubans Show Little Satisfaction with Opportunities and Individual Freedom Rare Independent Survey Finds Large Majorities Are Still Proud of Island's Health Care and Education," January 10, 2007.

SiCKO: Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate and a longer average lifespan than the United States.

* The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report's human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5, and is 77.6 in Cuba. Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283.

* According to the United Nations Statistics Division, Population and Vital Statistics Report, the rate of infant deaths per thousand in Cuba is 6.2 per thousand, and in the United States is 6.8. "Table 3, Live births, deaths, and infant deaths, latest available year, June 15, 2007."


small business owner
Posted by kathy Monyo on 2007-07-10 20:39:06
Everything that you are saying is right. My family of three pay $18,000. a year with Blue Cross Keystone HMO. With the copay and prescription charges we pay about $3500. more. So in the end we pay $21,000 for our medical expenses. We can not afford this. We also have college payments of $20,000 a year. Every year everything is going up but our income. The economy is in terrible shape. The sales at our store have been going down every year since 911. Soon we will not be able to live in the USA. I wish there would be a national strike in this country like the French citizens participate in. The citizens in this country need to join together and show their strength. Thank you so much for making SICKO. Kathy Moniot
You have the facts that are just giving to you
Posted by BRR-Scheer on 2007-09-11 08:45:56
yeah, get off the couch Michael Moore!
you hear what you want about cuba because it is all propaganda. meanwhile the cubans flea cuba just because it is such a great country!!! by all means!!!! yeah michael moore why dont you just move out of this USA country of yours and go to cuba, breath like a cuban, smell like a cuban and eat like a cuban without having to sell your soul to castro regime!!! without freedom of speach, without food on your table to feed your family not because of lock of money but because everything its rationed by the goverment to cuban's own people "el pueblo" please!!!! people like you are just the reason why USA it's heading to a selfdestructive country.
Posted by Melanie on 2007-09-27 13:54:33
BRR-Scheer needs to learn to spell.
Cigna Victim
Posted by Disgusted on 2007-10-04 00:03:24
Michael Moore is I am sure making a killing at the box office in ticket sales.

Why does he not locate and line up every Victim of these Disgusting healthcare Companies on the Steps of The Capital, and let each one tell their story, I am sure that would be more effective way, than telling a few stories only.

My observation is our Goverment is corrupt, and owned by the healthcare companies. Unless the American people unite, Michael Moore will not bring about a fix to this sorry corrupt healthcare System.

More and more people I talk to each day are so fed up with this sorry situation. Only a mass unification of the American People can fix this. I do believe in the future Americans will be looking to leave the USA, and relocate to a more Humane place.
I am scared, I felt sick!
Posted by IPayTaxes on 2007-10-05 18:48:43
Moore never stated that Cuba was a wonderful place to live and that Americans should envy those who live there, but made a point that such a poor country managed to have a decent health care system!

I live in a much richer country, and pay my taxes happily, knowing that if I need it, I will get treatment. For us Europeans, we can not understand, we simply can not, how Americans can put up with this! People who are sick, need to be treated. People that needs help, needs to get help. It is a simple as that!

We had an American friend visiting. He got sick, and I drove him to the emergency (since doctors office was closed). Had no travelers insurance or any such, so he had to pay the entire thing himself. The entire.. $40 ($20 for doctors visit, $20 for medicine)! Since it was not a matter of life or death, he had to wait for the doctor.. Wait an amazing.. 15 minutes!

Needless to say, our American friend was amazed...
Everything in SICKO is truth
Posted by Sasa on 2007-11-13 16:22:21
This movie is an eye opening for decades brain washed Americans. Your economy is flushed down the toilette with conservatives and their corrupted souls. Clintons tried to introduce some SOCIAL ALTERNATIVE LIVING for Americans but everything that is SOCIAL for you is unmoral and evil according how you are taught. Whole world is progressing in all aspects of modern society but USA is going opposite direction. After introducing GLOBALIZATION, USA dig its own grave and it is about to commit economical and political suicide. I am just afraid of the future when crises in the USA reach boiling point; would they use WAR against all to overpass wrong decisions in the past?
Harmful prescriptions
Posted by a non I on 2007-12-18 20:29:40
Go to EFFEXSOR where you will read 15, 800 people talk about how they cannot get off of this medication because they will die.
100% Disabled Retired Veteran
Posted by Joseph DiMeco on 2007-12-24 18:16:55
I find it shameful that the congress should need to take money out of greed from the medical care industry to craft laws to line the pockets of the CEO'S of this industry, and sacrifice the needs of the bonified medically needy population again, to generate fabulous profits for the companies of the medical care delivery system. Because of this greed, the delivery of medical care usually ends up being zero, and the medically needy are denied their crucial medical care. In essence, the phrase "lowering and savings in medical costs" is smoke and mirrors, because it turns out to be raising the costs of treatment but shrinking the availability of the medical procedures. Medical procedures are medievally unprovided because of a lack of knowledge of how the procedure works. We do not know how aspirin works, but we use it. That kind of medical reasoning should be sued. Another case in point is that the difference in ablation procedures for faulty veins or arteries is denied, because of the fear of bleeding. So, they elect to amputate the leg, but instead, now you have two issues: the bleeding and healing of the flap after the amputation. Which of the procedures is worse: in increased cost now and over the years to service the wheel chair and artificial limbs, or the temporary cost of the laser to provide a long term cure without maintanence or follow up needed beyond getting at least 30 mins 3x a week of exercise?
Health Care Administrator
Posted by Keep Up The Research - KRAB on 2008-03-21 09:50:47
I have been out of work for almost five years due to work related injur(ies) sustained at my work site. The State of Ohio taxpayers have suffered tremendously due to poor oversight and management practices. The saddest part of my situation is I am the "customer" and the administrative overhead is so out of control that there is no service delivery left to be provided. I am an insured (four insurances)- Department of Administrative Services for short term disability; Worker's Compensation for Benefits of being an injured worker; Public Employee's Retirement System for permanent disability; and several private insurances. At this time - not one system is providing services because each one believes that they are not accountable for benefit programs to be provided to the public even though that is what the monies have been allocated for. What's up with that? So in essence, I am an insured and am not covered. So I am uninsured even with coverage due to consistent delays and denials of service delivery.

Wish Michael Moore would consider to do a documentary of the State of Ohio Worker's Compensation System as I am not sure how many of our hand picked officials are now in prison due to their corrupt activites of greed and control of our monies as taxpayers.
Michael the Sicko.
Posted by Christopher on 2008-04-01 15:53:19
Since when is health care a right? I as much as many American families grew up with OUT health care. You went to the doctor or hospital you paid for it. Now you are scared into believe without health care you will never be able to cope. It is all a big lie. WHY DOES NOT MICHAEL MOOR TAKE HIS MILLIONS HE EARNED FROM HIS MOVIES AND START TREETING SOME OF THESE SICKOS???? IT’S A FEAR SCAM. Come to Australia where there is socialized medicine, ya it's free but don’t get to sick. You will have to wait up to a year to get fixed. Moore is a lire and a truth stretcher. How come they bring bus loads from Canada to the U.S to get fixed? Because there socialized medicine is bust. All socialized medicine is, is a way to control the masses to depend on Big Government. You do not need socialized medicine, or Government.
Free health care
Posted by From Serbia on 2008-04-20 07:06:03
For the first time after I saw the film I was really happy because I live in SERBIA and have free health care.
Even in third world countries...!
Posted by Xim on 2008-07-30 23:53:23
YEs, Here in Peru there's free universal healthcare, which works effectively (nothing luxurious, but functional), and the best universities in the country (I'm talking about universities as good as the best in US, students with excellent GRE results) charge 20 DOLLARS A YEAR, even less if students can't afford it(or don't want to). We, students, also get three nutritionally balanced meals a day, for 1.05 dollars (for free if you don't have money) and get 75% discount for any cultural event, BY LAW. and we're a bloody third world country!

Christopher, years ago lynching was also tolerated, but times change. You might have not grown up with healthcare, but that doesn't mean your children don't deserve it. And guess what??? HEALTH LIVELIHOOD AND EDUCATION ARE HUMAN RIGHTS, SILLY! (get the declaration of the human rights from any reliable website, it's everywhere)

You guys need to open your eyes, if you get screwed you're the ones to blame, since you allow it.
In response to Christopher "Michael the Sicko"
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-20 13:43:09
Michael has contributed some of his wealth to those in need. Maybe you should calm down before righting because you have several mispelled words in your text!
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Moore is fiction
Posted by No Marxism on 2009-05-14 23:41:56
I could not beleive people beleive this...Did you see how he took the nicest places in France (as if all French people live like that) and compared it to skid row (as if that is the norm in America)? This guy is pushing Marxism where the state owns your soul and your being. I like my own thoughts and don't Moore's type to control. In Canada, you get prosecuted for speaking out against the government in regards to issues like abortion or homosexual marriage. I like the freedoms in America!
America needs serious reform
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-07-12 02:33:12
Where the f*ck is all my tax money going? We have an FDA that approves dangerous drugs and denies beneficial ones. We have gov't financial regulatory agencies asleep at the switch. We have the illusion of safety and regulation, which is worse than being told the truth: that there is NO safety net.

If you are sued, you can loose everything and your future income too. Your retirement savings, your home, college savings for kids are all vulnerable. You will have nowhere to live. No health care.

Welcome to America.
How hard is it to get Canadian citizenship?
No Marxism is an idiot
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-09-25 13:52:27
You do not get "prosecuted" for speaking out against abortion and same sex marraige, you twat.
We have freedom of speech just like America, but at least we have the balls to accept Universal Health Care.
Universal Health care doesn't make communism, everyone working for the same rate of pay does, but knowing how fascist you Americans are, I'm not surprised as to why you would come to such a conclusion.
No Marxism get your facts straight
Posted by Anonymous2 on 2009-09-27 18:43:08
Please come live in Canada for a year.You cling to that "canadians have no freedom".I call bullshit, the statements you're making makes me physically sick. Do you're research, then get back to me.
Posted by Concerned American on 2009-12-09 12:23:55
Cuba cannot have better healthcare then the US and spend less then $300 a person--not going to happen. Maybe, if you don't pay for the tests or healthcare workers, don't give medicines and reuse urinary catheters. How many Americans when given a choice which nation to go to for healthcare would leave the US-hardly any, likely self pay which they would trade some security(loss of malpractice protection)for cheaper rates. Again, how do you ration food and household goods as in Cuba but then state your healthcare is superior? ??LIES?? There needs to be healthcare reform not healthcare revolution in the US. I do not want a system like other countries, universal healthcare is a moral issue and voids should be attended to by social charities and not provided by the governement, its not a RIGHT.
Concerned American is correct!
Posted by Know more about economics than all yall on 2010-04-12 21:32:43
Concerned American is correct....

If the United States' health care sucks so bad then why do so many people go there for medical treatment? I believe they go their because they can receive treatment from the greatest physicians in the World and receive the treatments they need. These treatments may be expensive, but the people who receive this health care must deem it worthy enough of such expense. Prices relay to the consumer the scarcity of a product, and when there is only so much of the best health care, there will be a high price for it. Just as if the world was running out of drinking water, there would be an extremely high price for it, even though we all need it to survive. It is no ones responsibility to provide health care, it is a decision made on a personal level. If you see a homeless man who cant afford surgery then pay for it, which is what many charities do and millions of people donate to charities freely. Why do government need to act in charities place? Those charities already exist, and those who want to help donate, those that dont want to help dont donate. You cant force an opinion on everyone.
Posted by Just Wondering on 2010-05-10 14:03:45
I completely agree that we have the best physicians in the world, but what does that have to do with not having a Universal Health Care system. The fact that we have the best physicians wouldn't change just because we have a different kind of health care system. What kind of trade off is that? We put the lives of certain people above that of another person just because they can't afford to have health insurance. Its absolute bullshit. It's not a f*cking charity, its a god damn life! Somewhere along the way we lost our way, and we have strayed so far from the repulses me.
blahh blahh blahh
Posted by ely on 2010-12-01 23:16:52
How could a poor developing country such as Cuba; where the annual health care spending is $230 a person compared to $6,096 in the United States; come close to having a better health care system than the richest country in the world? One of the reasons they have a better heath care is because theirs is free. There are no fees for going into a clinic. This means that they focus on preventative care, which is why they spend less per year. They help prevent disease rather than treating it by providing free clinic visits, this allows them to catch diseases or even prevent them by catching them way ahead of time. The average American does not go to the hospital, until they feel their illness is so severe that they have no other choice. This is due to lack of insurance coverage. We spend more on health care each year because by the time we go to the hospital, our health is so poor that we need more treatment.
Healthcare should be a right not a privilege. Health insurance companies should help pay for preventative care as well as treatment for diseases, I mean that is what we may a monthly premium for isn
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-02-02 12:22:20
Living In India
Posted by Mansi on 2012-08-10 05:12:19
I live in Delhi, India. We do have charitable hospitals for the poor but for the rest of us, we pay a fee when we visit a doctor. But we don't fear falling sick here cos the doctors fee / hospital expenses are not exorbitant. A visit to the doctor will cost an average of 300 Rs... about 6 USD... medicines are cheap. And if you have medical insurance, which is about 100USD a year, you even get reimbursed.

I feel bad that USA, which is so far ahead of us in so many ways, so much richer and with much lesser population can't afford to treat its sick.
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