Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. (Okay yall klannish, I know you thought I was talking about your regressive mindset.)

    Analysis: 'Sicko' numbers mostly accurate; more context needed

    By A. Chris Gajilan

    (CNN) -- Michael Moore's "Sicko," which opened nationwide Friday, is filled with horror stories of people who are deprived of medical service because they can't afford it or haven't been able to navigate the murky waters of managed care in the United States.

    It compares American health care with the universal coverage systems in Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Cuba.

    Moore covers a lot of ground. Our team investigated some of the claims put forth in his film. We found that his numbers were mostly right, but his arguments could use a little more context. As we dug deep to uncover the numbers, we found surprisingly few inaccuracies in the film. In fact, most pundits or health-care experts we spoke to spent more time on errors of omission rather than disputing the actual claims in the film.

    Whether it's dollars spent, group coverage or Medicaid income cutoffs, health care goes hand in hand with numbers. Moore opens his film by giving these statistics, "Fifty million uninsured Americans ... 18,000 people die because they are uninsured."

    For the most part, that's true. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 43.6 million, or about 15 percent of Americans, were uninsured in 2006. For the past five years, the overall count has fluctuated between 41 million and 44 million people. According to the Institute of Medicine, 18,000 people do die each year mainly because they are less likely to receive screening and preventive care for chronic diseases.

    Moore says that the U.S. spends more of its gross domestic product on health care than any other country.

    Again, that's true. The United States spends more than 15 percent of its GDP on health care -- no other nation even comes close to that number. France spends about 11 percent, and Canadians spend 10 percent.

    Like Moore, we also found that more money does not equal better care. Both the French and Canadian systems rank in the Top 10 of the world's best health-care systems, according to the World Health Organization. The United States comes in at No. 37. The rankings are based on general health of the population, access, patient satisfaction and how the care's paid for.

    So, if Americans are paying so much and they're not getting as good or as much care, where is all the money going? "Overhead for most private health insurance plans range between 10 percent to 30 percent," says Deloitte health-care analyst Paul Keckley. Overhead includes profit and administrative costs.

    "Compare that to Medicare, which only has an overhead rate of 1 percent. Medicare is an extremely efficient health-care delivery system," says Mark Meaney, a health-care ethicist for the National Institute for Patient Rights.

    Moore spends about half his film detailing the wonders and the benefits of the government-funded universal health-care systems in Canada, France, Cuba and the United Kingdom. He shows calm, content people in waiting rooms and people getting care in hospitals hassle free. People laugh and smile as he asks about billing departments and cost of stay.

    Not surprisingly, it's not that simple. In most other countries, there are quotas and planned waiting times. Everyone does have access to basic levels of care. That care plan is formulated by teams of government physicians and officials who determine what's to be included in the universal basic coverage and how a specific condition is treated. If you want treatment outside of that standard plan, then you have to pay for it yourself.

    "In most developed health systems in the world, 15 percent to 20 percent of the population buys medical services outside of the system of care run by the government. They do it through supplemental insurance, or they buy services out of pocket," Keckley says.

    The people who pay more tend to be in the upper income or have special, more complicated conditions.

    Moore focuses on the private insurance companies and makes no mention of the U.S. government-funded health-care systems such as Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Veterans Affairs health-care systems. About 50 percent of all health-care dollars spent in the United States flows through these government systems.

    "Sicko" also ignores a handful of good things about the American system. Believe it or not, the United States does rank highest in the patient satisfaction category. Americans do have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when it comes to nonemergency elective surgery such as hip replacements, cataract removal or knee repair.

    That's no surprise given the number of U.S. specialists. In U.S. medical schools, students training to become primary-care physicians have dwindled to 10 percent. The overwhelming majority choose far more profitable specialties in the medical field. In other countries, more than one out of three aspiring doctors chooses primary care in part because there's less of an income gap with specialists. In those nations, becoming a specialist means making 30 percent more than a primary-care physician. In the United States, the gap is around 300 percent, according to Keckley.

    As Americans continue to spend $2 trillion a year on health care, everyone agrees on one point: Things need to change, and it will take more than a movie to figure out how to get there.
  2. Maverick74


    I'm actually very surprised that more people are not talking about this film, especially on this forum. I saw "Sicko" Friday night and have to give it a mixed review. While this film was not nearly as slanted as "Fahrenheit 911", it still took a lot of childish cheap shots at the right. Not so much on the healthcare front, but on little side messages that attacked capitalism, the war in Iraq, and a few other issues. I believe if Michael Moore could refrain from that and make a truly objective film, his films would have a far greater impact as more people would be willing to sit through them.

    Having said that, I thought the film was made well and despite the left wing slant, he did provide a serious look at the horrible state of our healthcare system. One of the problems I have with the film is that it left out a lot of very important reasons why our health care system is broken. There was no mention of the fact that in Europe and Canada, a woman cannot sue her gynecologist for 100 million dollars because the scar left behind on her C-Section is too noticeable. These frivolous lawsuits have a very negative impact on healthcare costs.

    There was no mention of how unhealthy our country is. How 60% of americans are overweight and 30% are obese. This raises the cost of health insurance for everyone, not just the unhealthy ones.

    Moore spent a great deal of time discussing pre-existing conditions and how HMO's use that to deny surgery. What he did not talk about is how patients do indeed lie on these forms and do not disclose previous health issues in order to get a lower cost policy and then actually do require surgery for that condition and the insurance company pays for the surgery. Medical fraud in this country is not only a big deal with the HMO's and Doctors, but also the patients. Both sides are trying to screw the other.

    Michael never really went into the immigration problem either. The effect of 15 million illegals and the burden that places on our healthcare system.

    I also thought he was disingenuous when talking about Canada and France and how wonderful their systems were. There definitely are positives to their systems, but he did not mention one negative. Whereas with our system, he spent more then enough time on the negatives and never mentioned one positive aspect of our system. It's his right to do that as a filmmaker, but it does not provide an objective viewpoint to the problem. I know some of you will say, who cares, it's his film. But if it's true that he is really just trying to put this issue out there and get people talking about it, then this really is not an artistic endeavor, but an informational one and he left out a lot of information.

    Having mentioned all the negatives here, I will give him credit for bring up a lot of valid issues that cannot be refuted about our healthcare system. The inherent conflicts between the HMO and the patients. The conflicts between the Doctor and the patient. The overall corruption. Also, profiling the negative impacts that the HMO's can have on people lives.

    There is no doubt our system can be improved. The question is how to go about improving it. I really don't see anyway for a universal single payer system to work in this country. We have 300 million people in this country. We are one of the most unhealthy countries in the world. Between our addictions to prescription drugs, our obesity problem, illegals, our work culture, and our general refusal to take responsibility for our lives and our desire to always exploit anything that is free, I don't see it happening.

    I do believe we can dramatically lower the cost of health care. I do believe we can effectively provide free health care for all children under 18. I do believe we can offer incentives for people to live healthier lives. And I do believe we can eliminate unnecessary lawsuits and reduce health care fraud substantially. I also believe we can allow more competition by allowing patients to purchase policies in a different states which they cannot do now.

    Having said all that, I would recommend people to see the movie. Moore might only be providing one side to the issue, the problem is, in order to fix this problem or improve it, you are going to need to see his side too and acknowledge it.
  3. I cant beleive you said that-"childish cheap shots at the right"? Er, your not suggesting, the right , or big pharma controls healthcare?

    "The overall corruption" Hmm.

    One side of the issue........

    Cripes. Basically anyone, "could" become ill or have an accident, right?
    How dare that lardass moore make a film about how badly people are being screwed over.
  4. Don't know if you caught Moore on Larry King, but he did make a very valid point.

    He was not suggesting that our health care be exactly like Canada, or France, etc.

    However, what does Canada do well, that we do poorly, what does France do well that we do poorly, and what can we learn or borrow from their systems to improve ours makes sense. Is there some way that we can take the few things that they do right, and incorporate it into what we do wrong.

    It starts with an admission that our health care system is indeed broken, that as a society we have to ask ourselves why are we okay with having nearly 50 million people without health insurance?

    Does this really boil down to the right wingers sense that people don't deserve health care, or that it should not be free, or that if people suffer because they can't afford health care it is their own damn fault and we should not give a spit if they do suffer...because we are covered?

    We all did watch Katrina, and how much has actually changed? What happens in the next disaster?

    Really Mav, Americans for all their good qualities and generosity come off as terrible self absorbed when they consciously and willingly allow their own people to suffer needlessly, where there is sufficient personal wealth (and corporate wealth) to see that people don't have to suffer physically. I'm not talking about welfare Cadillacs, but about health care.

    We have socialized medicine in this country for Veterans...why not others? Because it is not a right to health care, when we live in a country of such extreme levels of wealth?

    It is only going to get worse as the boomers age, and as the illegals multiply.

    One of the biggest lies has to do with the drug companies, who are completely for profit entitles. Their claim is that only for profit companies will find the best drugs. This suggests that research scientists are in it for the money....and that may be true for a narrow percentage, but not on the whole. Most of the great advancements in science did not come at the hands of for profit motivated types, but by people who loved trying to solve the problems they were facing.

    We don't hold the army as an entity to generate a profit in their work, we don't hold the police department as a profit center, nor the fire department...but we hold the medical field including the drug business as entities that have to be profitable?

    Sicko is a film that is going to be flawed, and one that the right wingers won't like, period. I can't imagine a film by Moore that the right would embrace.

    Socialized medicine is coming to America, that is for sure. The demographics are changing, and the growth of the number of aging boomers and immigrants will demand it. It would be a good idea to get a handle on this now, before we end up functioning like a third world country...and looking like one too.

    Oh, and people do lie in this country, and cheat on their taxes, and steal crap from where they work.

    Many who can afford to not to lie cheat and steal do so anyway, out of greed. Others out of necessity.

    How about a system where someone doesn't have to lie...a system where they get proper health care irrespective of what they can afford?

  5. maxpi


    The childish cheap shots from the left are the reason I shut off Air America after only about a half hour. I probably am not going to sit through Sicko either. Nobody with a brain is listening to the left nowadays, unless they have to in a classroom. Maybe they would if they could sound intelligent but they sound really, really, stupid.

    Who really handed us this healthcare quagmire?? I don't even use healthcare actually. I need a tooth extraction currently but outside of that they can have it. I broke a bone in my right arm a couple of years back and I just tweaked it back in place and stayed off of it for a few weeks, it's a little crooked right now but basically it's fine. I spend a lot on supplements since I found that the food doesn't cut it. I think self doctoring is a martial arts thing or American Indian thing with me, I don't know, all I know is that filling out all the forms and shit you have to do to see a doctor and being polite to all the mexican bitches that work in the doctor's offices and give such great service to the mexicans and treat us whiteys like shit is such a turnoff I just don't do it. If I need an antibiotic for pneumonia, maybe.... I think I'll start looking for a doctor that has white gals working the office, that is more important nowadays than your insurance carrier regarding convenience.

    I did have good insurance for a long time, great insurance in fact. The doctors and dentists rolled out the red carpet believe me. It makes a huge difference in how they treat you personally, and medically. I found a Russian trained dentist in an impoverished area that really knew how to work the insurance system. That guy did a tremendous lot for me, he kept working the system and putting crowns on my crooked teeth until I don't have any crooked teeth.

    Anyhow, who really gave us this healthcare system that kills us and takes every last dime we have in the process?? [but outside of that they are fantastic] The AMA adamantly refuses to discipline bad doctors. 95% of the lawsuits are against a small minority of insanely bad doctors. Some insurance companies are really good and have no complaints from consumers but most are sleaze-krap moronic places that won't respond until you get an attorney. The wonderful "we're here to help you, no really" Senate [was it a democratic senate or republican? It had to be under Clinton but the Leigislature was Republicans] stepped in and mandated that hospitals have to treat anybody that comes to an emergency room but provided no funds for same with the result that California has lost 85 hospitals so far with no sign of the trend reversing.

    I guess one thing a consumer can do is research their doctors, avoid the insanely bad ones that continue on forever since the only penalty for them is higher insurance costs. That is probably easy enough. If you are white look for the white employee ratio to be 100%. If you go to an emergency room avoid King Drew too.

    I know a guy that knows somebody at King Drew in Los Angeles. He says the county guys that oversee it are corrupt and they and the people that run it are stealing massive amounts of money. That would explain how things could get so bad that a woman could vomit blood and die on the floor of the ER waiting room I suppose. Morale is usually not that great when the administration is corrupt.
  6. Out of curiosity, if an insurance company denies paying for a procedure or if you don't have insurance, are you able to just get the procedure done before you pay a dime, and then when the hospital bill comes, just refuse to pay it? What can the hospital do to you if you refuse to ever pay?
  7. Sue you into bankruptcy if they are inclined to do so...fuck up your credit, whatever is the American way...

  8. maxpi


    They can go to collections. Whether they can really collect, I don't know. My personal experience with credit card collections is that they can't do diddly really if it's under $30-40k. Above that it's worth it to sue. Once something goes to collections and they are not going to sue the worst thing to do is to pay them. It puts another mark on your record and delays credit rebuilding and eventually some sleazy people will come back collecting the bill you already paid threatening your credit. Best to just have a separate phone with an answering machine and no ringer for the collections people at that point.
  9. Sounds like another klannish who knows all the deadbeat tricks...

  10. :eek: :eek:

    Dude, you're a fuckin' animal !!!!!!!!!!

    Note to self : Don't ever fuck with Maxpi. :D :D
    #10     Jul 1, 2007