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Sicko is probably one of the most disturbing films

  1. Jul 1, 2007 #1
    Just saw it, probably one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. The crap insurance companies get away with is simply RIDICULOUS. I am not a Moore fan or a liberal by any means, but this film was pretty well done. It was not full of a lot of political BS, most just facts and stories of people who have gone through hell trying to get medical care. At some parts I really did want to shed a tear.

    After seeing what medical care is like in Canada, Britain, France, and even freakin' CUBA, universal health care looks pretty attractive.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2007 #2


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    Every person who mentions this is immediately labeled by the hacks taking payoffs from the health-care industry as "liberals", "socialists" or even "communists". The Rebublicans are especially great at throwing around labels derisively, and the Democrats (who are also getting paid off) make supportive statements while doing nothing of substance to fix this broken system. Make no mistake, as long as lobbying is allowed, there is no way we can get universal health care coverage or affordable medical insurance, because Congress will not vote against their own financial interests.
  4. Jul 1, 2007 #3
    before anyone even mentions it, the US would SAVE the government money by creating a universal health system.

    oh NO, you don't mean SOCIALIZED medicine do you? don't you know communism failed?? :rolleyes::wink:
  5. Jul 1, 2007 #4
  6. Jul 1, 2007 #5


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    I haven't seen the movie, but I have seen enough nightmare stories on Yankee TV to be grateful every day that I live up here.
    (Incidentally, Michael Moore stashed a copy of the film up here because he's sure that the US government would confiscate it and destroy at least the Cuban segments.)
  7. Jul 1, 2007 #6
    Thailand and India are actually advertising for people to come to them for inexpensive medical care. The term Medical tourism is used.

    I saw a documentary on 20-20 about a guy who went to Thailand for heart surgery. The guy was self insured and saved about $150,000 by outsourcing his health care.

    Every person that entered his room had to be at least an RN. No LPN's, no nurses aids. So if you need that triple by-pass you can get it in Thailand for less than your co-pay in the USA. What a weird world this has become.

  8. Jul 1, 2007 #7
    US spenditure on healthcare as a percentage of total GDP



    The US economy is also MUCH bigger than the economies of the UK, Cuba, Canada, and France so the US expenditures on health care are simply ridiculous compared to places with universal health care and for what? Terrible terrible access to health care and treatment of patients?
  9. Jul 1, 2007 #8
    ...but health care in the UK is terrible. I believe it's quite good in France though.
  10. Jul 2, 2007 #9
    Heh, by the time the US get's Universal health care, I might be moving there because it was just privatized here in Canada.
  11. Jul 2, 2007 #10

    I have a feeling you have never been to the ER room in the US. The UK might not be the best in Europe for health care, but it is certainly better than in the US.

    When I went to the ER room after my car accident, the hospital tried to charge me $5000 USD for a 30 minute stay in which all they did was take a quick CT scan and gave me a pill of aspirin. $5000 to average American is simply ridiculous. For the 45 million Americans with no health insurance, $5000 would be close to 20% of someone's yearly income (after tax). That is why so many Americans are drowning in debt from health care costs. On top of that insurance companies like to play as many games as possible to deny coverage for medical expenses so that they can maximize their profits. Heaven forbid if you have a "pre-existing" condition in the US. Even with insurance in the US, if you have a pre-existing condition, insurance companies will use that as leverage against you so that they will not have to pay for any medical bills that someone that they "insure" might accrue.
    Many people are forced to pick between either eating or paying for their pills. Have Europeans ever had to recently make such a choice?
  12. Jul 2, 2007 #11


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    There are many games that the insurance companies play that the populace is unaware of. My cousin is a coding specialist in ophthalmonogy. She looks at the charges that the practice assesses against the patients' insurance companies and reviews the patients' records to see how conditions were diagnosed and how the treatments/procedures were deemed necessary, then she has to code the procedures in such a way as to comply with the rules of the particular insurance company. The charge for EVERY procedure that is coded in such a way that it does not fully comply with the rules of the insurance company (or the particular plan the patient is enrolled in) is denied, to try to force the cost back on the patient or the practice. The coding specialist then has to review the often arcane rules of the insurance company, recode and resubmit the charges. Such things are not always resolved easily and multiple rejections can occur. The longer the insurance company can hold off paying legitimate claims, the more money they make on their investments, financed by this "float" of delayed payments.
  13. Jul 2, 2007 #12
    I work for a major insurance company, and not everything is as dark as it is portrayed. many major american corportations are self insured meaning that we, the insurance co. are only handling THEIR money and don't prevent payments to save us anything. We of course try to make sure they dont go bankrupt in the process and that experimental treatments are not payed for... they make a big deal of that in the movie, but in fact if a procedure has no valid scientific/medical backing to show it is more than a placebo, an insurance co has a duty to its stock holders and the companies it represents. How does this change under national policy? does the gov't health insurance in other countries just pay for any test without concern for medical validity?
    I am not saying that the US system in general isn't terrible, it is...and socialized medicine seems only a matter of time to me...but somethings will continue to be damned no matter who is running the show.
  14. Jul 2, 2007 #13
    Exactly. That is the problem with health care in America. Insurance companies answer first to their stock holders then to the people that they "insure". Why do people have to basically go to war with their insurance companies to pay for medical procedures when the insurance companies should be insuring them? It makes no sense. I will admit, I didn't have to pay the $5000 that the hospital charged me for my visit to the ER. But that was only after I spent almost a month and a half going back and forth between all the insurance copmanies involved, going to city hall to get a report of the traffic accident as "proof", getting a copy of the report for my visit to the ER, calling lawyers, and calling 1000 different people at multiple insurance companies. RIDICULOUS! It was like basically like a 2nd job just to get my hospital bill payed for.
  15. Jul 2, 2007 #14

    when did that happen? as far as i know the canada health act just isn't being enforced.
  16. Jul 2, 2007 #15
    well that's mostly the problem, but there's a lot of rhetoric going around recently about it needing to be privatized in order to be efficient, usual bs really, and people are getting fed up with the liberals lousy managment of it. (at least in BC this is the case). In any case, the people can't really do anything about it because their too afraid of the conservatives/NDP getting in if they don't support the liberals. It's all party politic.
  17. Jul 2, 2007 #16


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    It does not matter if your insurance company is providing the coverage or if your company is providing administrative services for a self-insurer. From the viewpoint of a medical care provider, it makes no difference. Your company's value to the self-insurer resides in your ability to deny claims and defer compensation, just as it is in the self-interests of insurance companies to provide those services to themselves and their investors.

    Small medical offices that cannot afford full-time coding specialists sometimes avoid certain insurers and don't bother to get into their "preferred provider" pool because of that. I was the network administrator at my cousin's old ophthalmic practice and there was considerable pressure on the staff to get the physicians to dictate more comprehensive notes, improve coding accuracy, and ramp up the percentage of claims that were paid for the first time they were submitted. This is not a small part of the health-care problem in the US, and it is a major concern for doctors in private practice.
  18. Jul 2, 2007 #17
    Maybe you should start an insurance insurance company. "We'll insure your insurance claims so that if the insurance company backs down, we'll send our lawyers to court for you." Then you could back out on all your claims. hahaha.
  19. Jul 2, 2007 #18


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    Follow the money. There are huge amounts of money flowing into insurance companies in the forms of premiums, and lesser amounts flowing out in the form of payments. When a sizable portion of our GNP is running through such a conduit, it is easy to make fortunes by denying as many claims as possible and delaying the payment of as many claims as possible. Look at the dynamics (we'll use horribly inadequate tiny numbers to illustrate) - if you have a million dollars a week coming in and are promptly paying $900,000 a week in claims, you are making $100,000 a week to pay your employees, pay for overhead, and provide some type of profit to benefit your stockholders. Perhaps $10,000/week is available for investment, yielding more income. Now, let's assume that you manage to deny/defer $100,000 worth of claims every week, for an average delay of 4 weeks until you give in and pay them (assuming you pay them at all). Now you don't have $10,000/week to bolster investments - you have an accumulating $10,000 per week PLUS a constant revolving float of $400,000. Now multiply this theoretical (minuscule) tiny little insurance company by any appropriate scaling factor and you can see how the denial/deferral of otherwise real authentic payable claims can create a huge rolling slush fund from which the insurance companies or their clients can derive additional income. This is not a secret in hospitals and medical practices. Unfortunately, the public is very poorly informed about this tactic, nor its financial load on the health-care system.
  20. Feb 16, 2009 #19
    Re: Sicko

    Just watched the film again.

    I am so glad I don't live in the USA. Drug companies and Insurance companies own your asses.

    Now that the Republicans are a minority I wonder if anything will improve.
  21. Feb 16, 2009 #20


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    Re: Sicko

    I'm not holding my breath. Democrats can be bought off by lobbyists just as easily as Republicans. "Vote my way on this bill, and your wife gets a really cushy job and doesn't even have to show up at the office."
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