At the same time, there are reasons to question many of these claims. It has long been argued that the Canadian system is not as good as believed, for instance, though the film suggests otherwise. The truth about the Canadian and British systems in particular is unclear because of contrasting claims, and a more through investigation of the economics involved is required to be sure that what is said in the film is correct. This is true of the French system as well, though that system is not as well-known in the United States and does not feature in as many discussions of the issue. Moore meets with a group of Americans living in France, and while they seem to be clear about why they like the French system, an while it might seem that Moore just met them and asked them questions, what is not as clear is if that is the case or of they were selected for their views. Moore finds almost no one who says anything other than that the U.S. system is out of whack and that some of these other systems are better. This documentary does not present an ongoing conversation about health care but a one-sided complaint about that system. Without hearing from the other side, the viewer is left with only one vision of the truth and no way to be sure that truth has not been shaped unfairly.
This is also an issue with the trip to Cuba.
Moore travels by boat with a group of 9-11 caregivers who are ailing and in need of medical attention, attention the system has denied them.
Choosing that particular group clearly weights the argument in favor of giving them all the medical help they need. Moore uses a bullhorn to ask that they be given the same medical care being given to detainees at Guantanamo, and using that group as a model also weights the argument in favor of the people in need. That argument is acceptable, though, and can also be seen in the fact that members of congress have a health plan that is everything the public wants and is denied by laws passed by that same Congress. This fact alone shows a major hypocrisy in the system, and the fact that prisoners are treated better than citizens is not to say that prisoners should be given less medical care but that citizens should be given more. Moore's action is very much a stunt, but it does highlight a deeper truth about how some are given preferential treatment that cannot mask the fact that most are denied much of the service they need.
There is reason to be less accepting of the next step taken by Moore as he takes these same people to Cuba to visit a hospital and to be treated in the way they would like to be treated in the United States. Clearly, they were treated better and were not denied any service. What is less certain is how normal that is for other patients. These visiting Americans were treated well, but was that because such treatment is the norm or because the Cubans wanted to present the best face to the outside world and so gave Moore the contrast he wanted? There is no way to be certain about this from the film. It appears that these patients are being given the normal treatment, as if they had just come in off the street, but it is just as apparent that everyone knows who they are so that their treatment might not be as normal as it appears. This is the kind of problem created when using such a stunt as a centerpiece in a documentary, because how patients are treated normally cannot be discerned from how the stunt develops. The film is suggestive on this score, but it is not definitive. Again, further research would be needed to prove that what is seen in the film is representative of the real situation.
Moore, Michael. Sicko. Lionsgate,…[continue]
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