In his signature dry-and-ironic-wit style, Michael Moore presents his evaluation on the U.S. health care system and how it lags in comparison to those of other countries with nationalized health care, such as the U.K., Canada, and Cuba. Moore's main target, however, is not the U.S. government, but the private health insurance companies (such as Kaiser and Aetna) that appear (through testimonies of both patients and former insurance company employees) to be motivated more by earning profits than by taking care of the health of their enrollees through paying for medical care. Moore starts out the film by telling the story of several Americans whose health outcomes included poverty/homelessness, loss of a fingertip, and even preventable death due to decisions made by their health insurance company. Moore then travels abroad, where he talks to a U.K. physician employed by the government who is paid extra as an incentive if his patients adopt healthy lifestyles; a French man who was paid by his government to take a yearlong vacation so he could recover from brain surgery; and new mothers in France who are provided a free nanny to take care of their needs for a time following delivery. Moore then goes for the U.S. government's jugular by taking a boatload of Americans (including a few 911 rescue heros) -- many profiled earlier in the film -- to Cuba, where they are given free medical care. Moore's portraits of nationalized health care in these countries are overly idealized and simplified. But what makes this movie worth watching most is its damning, unflinching inside portrait of the side of the health care industry that cannot be ignored: the fact that these companies denied needed medical care to paying subscribers -- all in pursuit of the bottom line.
health, insurance, national health care, health care reform,
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