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“Sicko” Documentary Critical Essay


Federal government has the most expensive health care system. However, it still struggles to offer the best health coverage. In fact, countries like France and Canada offer better health care benefits than the United States. Issues of great concern include high cost of premium, among others. Health care reforms began in 1965 when Lyndon Johnson introduced the Medicare bill.

Thereafter, numerous health care legislations, such as the COBRA act of 1985, SCHIP act of 1997 and the PPACA act of 2010, were enacted. The latest legislation came after a series of debates between presidential hopefuls in 2007.

These debates were fuelled by Sicko, a documentary movie filmed by Michael Moore. Moore is well known for his outspokenness on issues affecting America. This paper will explore three policy issues and discuss efforts made by the Congress to address them (Moore, 2011, p. 1).


Sicko is a documentary movie created by Moore in 2007. The movie scrutinizes health care system in the U.S. It focuses mainly on pharmaceutical industry as well as health insurance. Basically, it compares universal health care system in other countries to that of United States. According to Moore, about fifty million Americans are uninsured. This leaves over two fifty million others who are insured albeit with several complications.

It accuses politicians of compromising basic health care needs for personal gains. Among the issues it raises include frauds in insurance companies along with the red tape. The documentary conducts interview with former employees of insurance companies, aggrieved public and citizens of targeted countries with presumed better health care systems, among others.

Through this, interesting issues come up with regards to insurance companies. They are alleged to have employed cost cutting initiatives, which deny innocent victims the right to proper treatment and compensation.

This is compared to other countries like France, where more healthcare support is provided for less than that of United States. Moreover, they provide universal care, which the movie proposes as a solution to American Healthcare problems (Policy Almanac, 2011, p. 1).

Policy Issues in Sicko

Health care reforms have been a major debating issue in United States. This reached its peak during the warm up to 2008 elections in which major components of health care reforms were debated. Interestingly, most of these issues were aforementioned in the movie. They included Managed care, National Health Care, Medicare/Medicaid and Abortion a swell as Euthanasia.

Other policy issues discussed in Sicko included health care insurance coverage and health care spending. United States spends in excess of 1.1 trillion dollars annually in health care. This is higher than that of other countries like United Kingdom, France and Canada who offer universal health care.

Surprisingly, these nations provide better healthcare to their citizens than United States. In fact, life expectancy of France and Canada are higher than that of United States. Moreover, heath care provided in these countries is much affordable to the common man than in United States. Another policy issue is insurance coverage, which according to statistics, leaves out about 50 million people uninsured.

In addition, majority of those insured are sometimes duped of their money in cut-down measures introduced by insurance companies to increase profitability. Another policy issue has been with Medicare/Medicaid. In fact, funding of private insurers has raised concern as well as overpayment of other insurance companies as entailed in Medicare part A, B and D.

These concerns, among others mentioned in the movie, have generated huge debates for reforms. Current reforms contained in PPACA act of 2010 as well as its amendments have worked to address some of the issues (Nursing Online Education Database, 2007, p. 1).

Reforms on policy issues

The congress made several legislations aimed at improving health care system in the United States. To achieve this, they emphasized on key policy issues mentioned above. Among these, there are plans included to subsidize insurance in order to make it affordable to all. In addition, the act included provisions which are aimed at increasing Medicaid eligibility.

This would enable over 133% of people in FPL (Federal Poverty Level) to access its coverage. Moreover, it is expected to make health insurance affordable to over 400% of FPL by subsidy. It also offers incentives to businesses to help them give health care benefits, among others. The law is also in the process of prohibiting insurers from denying people insurance coverage.

This set of laws is expected to guarantee issue as well as improve individual mandate. Furthermore, the act requires improved efficacy from insurers. This can be achieved by spending at least 80% of premiums on improvement care or medical care. In the process, the federal government is expected to reduce deficit in order to improve on healthcare programs (Tyler, 2011, p. 1).


Calls for Health care reforms have been rife in the recent past. However, events that followed release of Moore’s documentary film Sicko have never been witnessed before. Sicko brought about major policy issues that have derailed health care and pharmaceutical industry for decades.

Among these included limited insurance coverage, high premiums and cost-cutting measures by insurance industries that are aimed at increasing profit at the expense of tax payers, among others. The move was timely as it came during run up to the 2008 presidential elections.

This ensured its coverage in debate as well as reforms. Eventually, PPACA act of 2010 was enacted and amended to change critical policy issues named above. When these reforms take full effect, they are expected to provide the much needed improvement in health care albeit much still needs to be done (Moore, 2011, p. 1).

Reference List

Moore, M. (2011). . michaelmoore.org. Web.

Nursing Online Education Database. (2007). Comparison: Presidential Candidates on Major Healthcare Issues. NOEDb.org. Web.

Policy Almanac. (2011). Almanac of Policy Issues: Health. policyalmanac.org. Web.

Tyler, J. (2011). . cinemablend.com. Web.

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