124 minutes 9.0/10 based on 181 votes

According to the documentary film Sicko, almost fifty million Americans are uninsured while the remainder, who are covered, are often victims of insurance company fraud and red tape. Interviews are conducted with people who thought they had adequate coverage but were denied care. Former employees of insurance companies describe cost-cutting initiatives that give bonuses to insurance company physicians and others to find reasons for the company to avoid meeting the cost of medically necessary treatments for policy holders, and thus increase company profitability.

Moore contrasts U.S. media reports on Canadian care with the experiences of Canadians in hospitals and clinics there. He interviews patients and doctors in the U.K. about cost, quality, and salaries. He examines why Nixon promoted HMOs in 1971, and why the Clintons’ reform effort failed in the 1990s.

He talks to U.S. ex-pats in Paris about French services, and he takes three 9/11 clean-up volunteers, who developed respiratory problems, to Cuba for care. He asks of Americans, “Who are we?”

Released May 19, 2007. Director: Michael Moore. Documentary Film.

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  • UK Luke

    No video available in UK. Can this be fixed?

  • Yo Ho

    I don’t usually like Michael Moore documentaries because they are so preachy. However, that said, I really liked the people he interviewed in this documentary. I am a European and it is not unusual for Europeans of my generation to mock America and resent its foreign policy. Politics to one side, one has to like and admire these Americans. They should treat themselves better. The world would be a better place. Also, I liked the soundtrack. I must emigrate to France — for the French cover versions of 1960s pop songs if nothing else. :-)

  • Lakota

    Well I don’t know know why Germany was not included! And like France & GB we have the same policy!

    • Sesecollc Sesecollc

      Probably already made the point! What’s a fact is that the US government treats it’s people like rubbish!

    • herefornow

      What’s your policy on mass immigration?

  • Americanmurse

    As a healthcare worker in America and an injury prone person in general with a long history of injuries requiring surgery, doctors visits, physical therapy, rehab, medical equipment (braces, canes, crutches, automated joint mobilizers, etc) I can attest to the major flaws in the healthcare system. The government does spend a large amount of money on healthcare (19 % of our GDP) however, the problem is that it only covers certain people (the disabled, single mothers, the elderly, etc. who all previously had difficulty getting insurance prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And while I think the ACA is a step in the right direction, it still is not an adequate solution.

    Affordable is a very speculative term. While my healthcare insurance is currently not the best plan available, it’s far from the worst, yet I still have a deductible of $1,000 that I must spend on healthcare services out of pocket prior to my insurance being willing to accept a claim. Once I cover my deductible, I then have co-payments that I must pay prior to seeing a doctor (around $35 for a normal doctor visit and $50 for a specialist) and then I have what they call a 20% co-insurance. Which means that after all that, my insurance only covers 80% of their contracted rate, leaving me responsible for the other 20%. Despite having insurance, I’m currently facing a $2,000 bill from a trip to the ER a few months ago for chest pain and a blood pressure of 210/135 (Which is obscenely high for those of you who don’t know. Normal is 120/80)

    And that’s not even including $330 the hospital is charging me for a blood test done while I was in the ER that my insurance company denied payment for saying it was unnecessary. For those of you who don’t know, a blood test is one of the most standard diagnostic tests for chest pain (especially with high blood pressure as it can indicate a heart attack). The results of the blood test give a level of certain cardiac enzymes of which an elevated level indicates that someone is having a heart attack.

    The problem is that insurance companies are privatized and have no obligation to approve or pay for anyone (until very recently though it’s not much of an improvement). As a result, people don’t seek preventative treatment and often don’t seek treatment for what could have been a curable illness until the disease has progressed beyond a reversible point. And I can’t really blame them. I avoid going to the doctor for things I should because I honestly just can’t afford to seek the treatment I need.

  • 3wqd

    hardsubs ruined the translations.

  • Candi

    This is a most enlightening piece on what health care insurance companies are doing to the people who buy into their insurance thinking they are covered. Every American is entitled to have the exact health insurance our senators, representatives, and our president. how dare they have the very best that we as their constituents pay for and we get cheated out of what we pay for to cover our families and deny the less fortunate insurance. It is time for all Americans to decide it is time to get rid of our present legislators and vote in those that want what we want and prove to us who they say they are. It is time to get rid of those who strangle our government for their convenience. It is for the people and by the people. Not for those we have voted into office to screw over the American people. Our Government have allowed these companies that they are invested in heavily. They use threats of not giving them some sort of incentives if they disapprove this of that. Now our government will charge us if we do not have insurance. What happens if we do not have a job?

    • Sesecollc Sesecollc

      Careful, they’ll call you a socialist! In America this is a dirty word to the greedy persons who are in charge of everything.
      It;s time for Americans to take a tip from the French and make the politicians afraid of the people, not the other way around!

    • Debora Cintron

      You are so correct…Americans have allowed many of the policy makers to destroy our country. It is time for all of us to fight back instead of fighting each other.

  • dario

    I can’t believe what I am watching!This cannot be true!!!!

    • Krista Estrella

      It IS true. Things will be slightly better for some with the ACA, but on the whole, the insurance industry will continue to soak us for all it can while denying care whenever possible.

      • John

        Things won’t be better with the ACA. It doesn’t matter if you are now covered with a pre-existing condition. Prices will just go up and you will get denied since you signed up sick.

    • Devon

      This is why I am so glad I live in Canada!

    • Sesecollc Sesecollc

      Well you live there. What can you get done without insurance?

  • kandis

    I was so touch on how other countries come together to take care of each other WE NEED UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA :-)

    • Devon

      Honestly, I live in Canada, and it sucks that I never understood how lucky we are when I was young! My tonsils were leaking into my body and making me sick constantly, I had them taken out….free. I don’t ever worry about clinics, hospital, or even if we decide to have a child! Everything is free! It’s such a burden off your chest to never have to worry about anything medical wise! I hope America goes the same way! I’ve only had to pay for an ambulance once, and that was $54

      • bilding

        Not quite free. Health care premium is a sliding scale line item on the provincial tax return ranging from zero to a maximum of $900 for taxable incomes over $200,000. For my wife and I, the combined premium is equivalent to $75 per month.

  • Coalition

    Honestly anything Micheal Moore is not a credible source of info, when he was evaluating the rifle/safety deposit bylaw he got the banker to hand him a rifle he bought before hand just trying to make a bias opinion on the bylaw, he tells half truths and only turns his camera on when he wants to catch something effectively taking out half the story…

    • Francois

      You choose to look the other way? For me the point is he makes people aware of things many people are a slave to. If all he brings awareness he’s already done something good.

    • Sesecollc Sesecollc

      You’re obviously a douche bag and at this point have wealth or insurance. Let’s see what happens to you when you get canned or lose your money! You’ll change your tune quickly.
      Health care should be a right and paid for by everyones taxes, just like your Police force, Fire Fighters and Military! Health is the most important thing.
      And if everyone had access to free health care, crime would reduce since everyone wouldn’t need so much money for basic care!

  • Alicia

    This documentary was a huge eye opener, and the ending was truly inspiring and moving!

  • Devon

    You know, it makes you really appreciate living in Canada. Both of my younger brothers needed to have their appendix’s removed immediately or they would have died, one we drove to the hospital and was immediately cared for within the hour, the other had the ambulance called for him. Our total bill for both of their ordeals was $52 for the ambulance ride…at that time we complained about “oh what a rip off” and paid it…but after returning from the US I had broken my arm, my family in the states asked me “are you financially sound to get it fixed? do you need money?”, and I was baffled and almost found it humorous that they would ask and said “’s free, why would it cost anything?”. It was then that I realized that I don’t mind paying taxes, especially when things childbirth, and every other medical needs are completely covered. The only thing we are not covered for completely is medication, even then, I worked a minimum wage job at 18, got benefits, went to the dentist and left having to pay just under $5.

  • mollygxx

    This makes me proud to be British!!

    • Proud to be British you say. Well I’m proud to be an American, just as well.

      The health care debacle may be a unique problem of the States. We are all in the same oppressed position as subjects of the establishment, however. It sprays poison on us all without our knowledge or consent.

      How about those Chemtrails?

      • Sesecollc Sesecollc

        The USA has managed to really screw up the whole world, not just it’s own turf!
        The greed and endless grind to make money is depressing. The meddling with food so it doesn’t breakdown or go bad is scary. The same people who mess with the food that makes you sick over a long period, own the pharmaceutical and medical facilities that make you pay for everything severely, when you get sick!
        Give up sugar and become a vegetarian. Just be sure to get your B12 via supplements. And then you’re well on your way to a sickness free life!

        • BrandiWuzHere

          Sesecollc, you have no clue to what you are talking about and you’re babbling about nonsense. Just keep your mouth shut…

          • MAT

            BrandiWuzHere…You don’t know what you’re talking about!! Do your research before you open your mouth…until then keep your mouth shut!!

    • BrandiWuzHere

      Sure. But how’s your NHS going lately with old people dying of thirst and people being neglected care in your hospitals due to budget cuts?

  • zach zachman

    I’m poor, only due to some horribly difficult health issues. Fortunately, I live in Minnesota where it’s easy for a low income person to get full coverage, medical and dental. I also lived in Kentucky for a while where it was impossible to get any type of health coverage, I nearly died as a result. It’s not bad in every state but darn near, the system is still broke :(

    • Yes to equality

      why should anybody has to be living in certain area to be treated fairly?Healthcare should be a right! A right that doesn’t depend on the state you re living in or your income, neither your race!!!! If basic education can be free , why not healthcare? A country that spends over $2 trillon a year in healthcare, still not everyone has the right to healthcare??? where this money goes anyway? Is there really anything more important than someone’s health?

      • john bobby

        In this perfect country, are you thinking of Canada? – because it is. And even within perfection all is not covered.

  • zach zachman

    Interesting, my Canadian friends are always complaining about having to wait a long time to get into see a specialist, it’s not quite as rosy as Moore portrays here. I think a lot depends on which state you live in, here in Minnesota, the poor get medical assistance and in most cases, that’s far superior to any private insurance you can buy. Those folks get everything paid for, no co-pays, dental, rides to appointment and the pharmacy are provided free of charge.

  • Caleb

    I think the health care system was broken a long time ago and I think we should make Michael Moore our president.

  • Sesecollc Sesecollc

    The USA is ruining the world.
    With it’s junk food and GM foods they are out to make sure everyone ends up sick in some way during their lives so thay are forced to use the medications and services from Big Pharma. Even now the US congress is giving Dr Oz a hard time for persuading people to eat good food and become healthy through correct food and eating habits. The mindless focus on wealth by the elite few in the US is similar to pre-revolution France.
    The USA needs a popular revolt of the people to get rid of all this greedy leaders who only look after themselves!

  • kathelleen

    it is 2014 and it still has not gotten better!! I am feeling it now! Maybe instead of monitoring doctors for doing their job, because they are according to the insurance company’s, maybe the insurance company’s need to monitor how many denials have caused death and chronic illness.

  • kathelleen

    Obama, how much did you get paid for these insurance company’s?

  • westpalm

    Shame on a country, which is the bulkward of freedom and yet cannot even provide their citizens with the most important thing in life; healthcare. What’s the point of having freedom of speech, press, religion blah, blah, blah if when you are dying you are denied coverage. Michael Moore is right.

  • Andrea

    This documentary is spot on about our health care in the u.s. We owe about 5000 dollars to our clinic/hospital from having 4 kids. It might even be more, but our bill is so confusing I am not really sure exactly how much we owe. We have insurance through work, and it is terrible. We have to pay 2000 out of pocket before our insurance kicks in. We actually considered filing bankruptcy because at one point our hospital sent our bill to a debt collector because we ccouldn’t pay the bill in full. We ate light for about 6 months until we payed the bill off. It sucks that we had to choose to pay or eat. Gotta love ramen soup and eggs. I hope those big corporate executives in that hospital system ate well with our money.

  • Brook Bennett

    I had to watch this for my sociology class and honestly this makes me afraid to go to the doctors and the hospital bc i dont want to be kicked out onto the streets like i am nothing. and It makes me hate the US bc anywhere elce everyone is doing better then we are its sick

  • jai

    I understand that you cant really put a price on someone’s body or health, b/c when I become a doctor to me its not going to be about the money at all, its all about helping people live longer and healthy and even saving lives through the help of God…
    but at the same time doctors need money, it Is their job they need to make a living, and I think the reason medical bills are so high b/c of the equipment they use and then especially today with technology growing greatly and the lights and things they have to keep running and on in the hospital itself….
    but I think they should find ways to bring the cost down…..
    where there is a Will, there is a Way.

  • It Only Gets Worse

    Corporate USA once again is the embarrassment factor here – how saddening to see that the yanks don’t give a sh** about sick people – absolutely amazed as to the profit-ridden ‘health policy’ of uncle sam – just look at the infant mortality rate (and just wonder how the comparison here between white and non-white Americans really is). USA is in reality a third world country when it comes to looking after themselves!

  • kwan

    OMG even Cuba has a better health care system then us?!! WTF!!!
    And England and Paris look fantastic to live with a family. Free college? Yes!!

  • greg glavinovich

    an intern in a hospital in Mexico will reattach the finger for free

  • Deedee

    Okay, I admit it. Apparently I’m a socialist. I like that our taxes go toward much of everyday health care here in Canada. I don’t think life saving, or health improving treatments should be a for profit thing. But many provinces still have monthly fees for your basic medical coverage. And no it does not cover Everything as one person said. But in the case of not being able to afford equipment such as say a toilet seat riser after hip surgery, we have agencies like the Red Cross where you can borrow certain items including crutches. And if you are low income, some provinces have an assistance plan for medications where you have a base amount you must pay of “plan eligible” expenses. They limit what they will reimburse for drug costs and the pharmacy fee. So if you limit is 800 and after that coverage kicks in, you may still have costs as not all drugs are eligible, your pharmacys markup on drugs and/or the fee may exceed what the provincial “eligible” amout is, so you pay the difference or switch to costco and get generic drugs. Generics don’t always have equal efficacy to a brand name drug. Yes, many waiting lists are horrendous. But all in all I guess I’m accustomed to what I’ve grown up to expect! I now feel very grateful to live in Canada.

  • Grandad with hindsight

    Australians beware! the excellent health system we have is under threat. The Liberal Coalition Govt have an ideological bent to tear it down and give us this ‘American’ health system which the Liberals think with misty eyes is just wonderful.
    This is an excellent documentary.
    Hillary Clinton in conversation with the then Australian Prime Minister said (of the Australian health system) “How do you do it!” and he told her.

  • K Moore

    Well done Michael Moore on this documentary, as ‘society’ has always told me not to like you, when it seems to be that you’re actually a pretty nice guy who enjoys the battle of standing up for ones rights and the rights of others. At least the world has another great example of what happens when we stop caring about others, and how it actually becomes economically detrimental and draining to a society that does stop caring about each other.

    This link was sent by a friend, after discussions on euthanasia or how those in power would like to say, ‘death with dignity’. Even IF after we take out the moral reasons and consequence put forward to us by Almighty God The Father, for doing such a misdeed [praise Jesus :)]; after seeing the attitude of insurance companies towards declining payment (not declining care), and rewarding those workers that act accordingly to the demands of the insurance companies. Would we as a society, really want to hand over the hammer and nails for our coffins, to the insurance companies and/or their leagues of rewarded doctors?

  • hi

    the foreign subtitles are annoying :/

  • Maxine Godfrey

    our healthcare system is as empathetic as a fox in a chicken coop. ditto the insurance and drug industries. Sicko is a terrific documentary. i’ve never liked a Michael Moore film since Roger & Me, but this one has totally changed my mind. i’m really feeling the BERN!

  • Diabeetus Rex

    This makes me feel like America is a second-world country.

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