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SiCKO (2009)

While Moore’s ‘SiCKO’ follows the trailblazing path of previous hit films, the Oscar-winning BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and all-time box-office documentary champ FAHRENHEIT 9/11, it is also something very different for Michael Moore. ‘SiCKO’ is a straight-from-the-heart portrait of the crazy and sometimes cruel U.S. health care system, told from the vantage of everyday people faced with extraordinary and bizarre challenges in their quest for basic health coverage.

In the tradition of Mark Twain or Will Rogers, ‘SiCKO’ uses humor to tell these compelling stories, leading the audience to conclude that an alternative system is the only possible answer.

There are nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually
reported that 54.5 million people were uninsured for at least part of
the year. Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from
the National Health Interview Survey, 2006. Centers for Disease
Control.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/insur200706.pdf
The amount of uninsured is rising every year, as premiums
continue to skyrocket and wages stagnate. From 2004 to 2005 the number
of uninsured rose 1.3 million, and rose up nearly 6 million from
2001-2005. Leighton Ku, “Census Revises Estimates Of The Number Of
Uninsured People,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 5,
2007 http://www.cbpp.org/4-5-07health.htm.
With 44.8 uninsured in 2005, in 2007 the number will be much higher.
Professors Todd Gilmer and Richard Kronick, in “It’s The Premiums,
Stupid: Projections Of The Uninsured Through 2013,” Health Affairs, 10.1377/hlthaff.w5.143, “project that
the number of non-elderly uninsured Americans will grow from forty-five
million in 2003 to fifty-six million by 2013.” According to these
authors, by now the number of non-elderly uninsured by this date
clearly would be nearly 50 million.

There are four times as many health care lobbyists as there are members of Congress.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org), in 2005 there were 2,084 health care lobbyists registered with the federal government. With 535 members of Congress, that’s 3.895 lobbyists per member.

Hillary Clinton became the second largest recipient in the Senate of health care industry contributions.
“As she runs for re-election to the Senate from New York this year and lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2008, Mrs. Clinton is receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers and insurers. Nationwide, she is the No. 2 recipient of donations from the industry, trailing only Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a member of the Republican leadership.” Raymond Hernandez and Robert Pear, “Once an Enemy, Health Industry Warms to Clinton,” New York Times, July 12, 2006.

Drug industry money to members of Congress, and the president, who led the effort to pass the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
“The health industry gave $14 million total to the eleven elected officials largely credited with negotiating the bill. Pharmaceutical company PACs, employees, and their families gave more than $3 million in campaign contributions to (those) eleven elected officials.” Buying A Law: Big Pharma’s Big Money and the Bush Medicare Plan, Campaign Money Watch, January 2004.

http://www.ourfuture.org/docUploads/donnelly$_1-15-04.pdf

The Medicare Part D plan will hand over $800 billion of our tax dollars to the drug and health insurance industry.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, for the ten-year period, 2006 through 2016, the projected spending is $848 billion. “The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2008 to 2017,” Congressional Budget Office, January 2007.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/77xx/doc7731/01-24-BudgetOutlook.pdf

The elderly could end up paying more for their prescription drugs than they did before under Part D – and a majority of senior citizens could still pay over $2000 a year.
“For all patients, Medicare covers 75 percent of the first $2,250 worth of drugs. But after that, coverage drops to zero – and doesn’t resume until the patient hits $5,100 in expenses. Then Medicare kicks in again, paying 95 percent of costs. But it’s this gap – of almost $3,000 – that many sick and disabled seniors call unaffordable.” Medicare’s ‘Donut Hole,’ CBS News, July 26, 2006.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/26/eveningnews/main1839288.shtml
“Nearly 7 million seniors and individuals with disabilities who purchased stand-alone prescription drug coverage are now at risk of falling into the ‘doughnut hole.’ According to a report released today by Senior Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee… nearly 88 percent of new drug plan enrollees, roughly 7 million individuals, are at risk of losing coverage for their medications while they continue to pay monthly premiums to their insurers. The report further details how few individuals have enrolled in plans without doughnut holes, presumably because of the prohibitive cost of such plans.” “88% Of New Medicare Drug Program Enrollees At Risk Of Falling Into The ‘Doughnut Hole,'” Joint News Release From Representative Charles B. Rangel, Ranking Democrat, Committee On Ways And Means, Representative Pete Stark, Ranking Democrat, Subcommittee On Health, Committee On Ways And Means, Representative Sander M. Levin, Ranking Democrat, Subcommittee On Social Security, Committee On Ways And Means, September 21, 2006.
http://www.house.gov/list/press/wm31_democrats/060921_88_of_new_medicare_drug_program_enrollees_at_risk_of_falling_into_the_doughnut_hole.html
“Over the past year, Part D drug prices have increased several times faster than the rate of inflation. Families USA analyzed the prices for 15 of the drugs most frequently prescribed to seniors. We examined prices for each of the plans offered by the largest Part D insurers, which together cover about two-thirds of all Part D beneficiaries. We then compared the lowest available Part D price for each drug in April 2006 with the lowest available price for the same drug in April 2007. The lowest price for every one of the top 15 drugs prescribed to seniors increased, and the median increase was 9.2 percent.” Medicare Part D Prices Are Climbing Quickly, FamiliesUSA, April 2007.
http://www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/medicare-part-d-drug-prices.PDF

Fourteen Congressional aides went to work for the industry; Billy Tauzin left Congress to become CEO of PhRMA for a $2 million annual salary.
See, e.g., The Medicare Drug War: An Army of Nearly 1,000 Lobbyists Pushes a Medicare Law that Puts Drug Company and HMO Profits Ahead of Patients and Taxpayers, Public Citizen Congress Watch, June 2004,

http://www.citizen.org/documents/Medicare_Drug_War%20_Report_2004.pdf
“Retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., who stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the House committee that regulates the pharmaceutical industry, will become the new president and CEO of the drug industry’s top lobbying group…Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, called Tauzin’s hiring ‘yet another example of how public service is leading to private riches.’ Tauzin gets a pay package reportedly worth at least $2 million a year, making him one of the highest-paid lobbyists in Washington.” “Tauzin switches sides from drug industry overseer to lobbyist,” USA Today, December 15, 2004..
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/drugs/2004-12-15-drugs-usat_x.htm

Canadians live three years longer than we do.
The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report’s human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5, and the life expectancy in Canada is 80.2. Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283.

http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/pdfs/report/HDR06-complete.pdf

Tommy Douglas, who pioneered Canada’s health care system, was heralded as the nation’s singular most important person.
“In November 2004, Canadians voted Tommy Douglas the Greatest Canadian of all time following a nationwide contest. Over 1.2 million votes were cast in a frenzy of voting that took place over six weeks as each of 10 advocates made their case for the Top 10 nominees in special feature programs on CBC Television… . From his first foray into public office politics in 1934 to his post-retirement years in the 1970s, Canada’s ‘father of Medicare’ stayed true to his socialist beliefs — often at the cost of his own political fortune — and earned himself the respect of millions of Canadians in the process.” “The Greatest Canadian,” CBC, 2004.

http://www.cbc.ca/greatest

Canadian “wait times” not nearly as long as some try to allege.
According to Statistics Canada, the official government statistical agency, “In 2005, the median waiting time was about 4 weeks for specialist visits, 4 weeks for non-emergency surgery, and 3 weeks for diagnostic tests. Nationally, median waiting times remained stable between 2003 and 2005 – but there were some differences at the provincial level for selected specialized services.… 70 to 80 percent of Canadians find their waiting times acceptable” “Access to health care services in Canada, Waiting times for specialized services (January to December 2005),” Statistics Canada

http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/82-575-XIE/82-575-XIE2006002.htm
A recent study of emergency care in Ontario found that overall, “50% of patients triaged as CTAS I [most acute] were seen by a physician within 6 minutes and 86% were seen within 30 minutes of arriving at the [Emergency Department]. In contrast, the 50% of patients triaged as CTAS IV or V who were seen most quickly waited an hour or less, while 1 in 10 waited three hours or more. Understanding Emergency Department Wait Times: How Long Do People Spend in Emergency Departments in Ontario? Canadian Institute for Health Information, January 2007.

http://www.cihi.ca/cihiweb/dispPage.jsp?cw_page=reports_wait_times_bulletins_e
“Gerard Anderson, a Johns Hopkins health policy professor who has spent his career examining the world’s healthcare, said there are delays, but not as many as conservatives state. In Canada, the United Kingdom and France, ‘three percent of hospital discharges had delays in treatment,’ Anderson told The Miami Herald. ‘That’s a relatively small number, and they’re all elective surgeries, such as hip and knee replacement.’ John Dorschner, “‘Sicko’ film is set to spark debate; Reformers are gearing up for ‘Sicko,’ the first major movie to examine America’s often maligned healthcare system,” Miami Herald, June 29, 2007.

Drugs in England only cost $10.
For much of 2006, the standard charge for a prescription was £6.65. “The cost of an NHS prescription in England is to rise by 15p to £6.65 from the start of April.” “Prescription charge to rise 15p,” BBC News, March 13 2006.
From April 1 2007 to present, the charge is £6.85. “There are many unacceptable inequities and anomalies in the present system. Although around four out of five prescriptions are exempt (see below for list of exempt categories), the price of a prescription (£6.85 from 1 April 2007) often hits those who cannot afford such charges. There are many people with chronic conditions who are not exempt and those on low incomes find it very difficult to pay. This causes a disproportionate levy on a limited section of the population.” British Medical Association, “Funding – Prescription Changes,” March 2007.

http://www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/FundingPrescriptionCharges

After losing 42,000 civilians in eight months during a vicious bombing campaign during World War II, Britain pulled together and instituted a National Health Insurance program in 1948.
“The Blitz was September 7, 1940 through May 11 1941. “42,000 civilians are estimated to have died during the campaign, with over 50,000 injured, and around 130,000 houses destroyed.” See, “Remembering the Blitz”,
http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/archive/exhibits/blitz/intro.html
“The NHS was set up in 1948 and is now the largest organisation in Europe. It is recognised as one of the best health services in the world by the World Health Organisation but there need to be improvements to cope with the demands of the 21st century.” “About the NHS,” NHA website,

http://www.nhs.uk/Aboutnhs/howthenhsworks/Pages/HowtheNHSworks.aspx
“Living With War; Air Raids”, The Discovery Channel

http://www.discoverychannel.co.uk/ww2_home/ww2_living_with_war/index.shtml

In a study of older Americans and Brits, the Brits had less of almost every major disease. Even the poorest Brit can expect to live longer than the richest American.
“The US population in late middle age is less healthy than the equivalent British population for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, lung disease, and cancer. Within each country, there exists a pronounced negative socioeconomic status (SES) gradient with self-reported disease so that health disparities are largest at the bottom of the education or income variants of the SES hierarchy. This conclusion is generally robust to control for a standard set of behavioral risk factors, including smoking, overweight, obesity, and alcohol drinking, which explain very little of these health differences… Level differences between countries are sufficiently large that individuals in the top of the education and income strata in the United States have comparable rates of diabetes and heart disease as those in the bottom of the income and education strata in England.” (See also Table 1 – for example, prevalence of diabetes among high-income Americans is 8.2 per thousand, while it’s 7.3 among low-income Brits.) Banks, Marmot et al., “Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and in England,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006;295:2037-2045.

A baby born in El Salvador has a better chance of surviving than a baby born in Detroit.
According to the United Nations Statistics Division, Population and Vital Statistics Report, the rate of infant deaths per thousand in El Salvador is 10.5. “Table 3, Live births, deaths, and infant deaths, latest available year, June 15, 2007.”

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/vitstats/serATab3.pdf
According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, the rate of infant deaths for Detroit is 15.9 per thousand. “Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates for Selected Cities of Residence, 2005 and 2001 – 2005 Average,” Michigan Department of Community Health Web Site,
http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/InDxMain/Tab4.asp

Around 65 percent of young Americans can’t find Britain on a map.
“About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn’t even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean’s location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent.” “Survey Reveals Geographic Illiteracy,” National Geographic Today, November 20, 2002.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/11/1126_021120_TVGeoRoperSurvey.html

Companies that no longer offer pensions to new employees.
These can be found on a list prepared by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Pension Change Fact Sheets, http://www.bc.edu/centers/crr/PFFS.shtml In addition, the Pension Rights Center has also compiled a near-comprehensive list. Companies That Have Changed Their Defined Benefit Pension Plans,

http://www.pensionrights.org/pubs/facts/company_list.html

Like Canadians and Brits, the French live longer than we do.
The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report’s human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5, the United Kingdom is 78.5, France is 79.6, and Canada is 80.2. Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283.

http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/pdfs/report/HDR06-complete.pdf

The productivity rate per hour in France is higher than in America.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, France has a higher labor productivity (GDP per hour worked) than the United States. “OECD in Figures 2005, 2005/Supplement 1 at 84.

http://213.253.134.29/oecd/pdfs/browseit/0105061E.PDF
“Britain has yet to catch up with its rivals on productivity. Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has long wished to close Britain’s productivity gap with other countries. It is proving a long haul. In 2004, output per hour worked was 19% higher in France, 15% higher in America and 5% higher in Germany than it was in Britain.” “Poor show; International comparisons,” The Economist, January 21, 2006.

French policy on childcare and household assistance for new parents.
According to the French-American Foundation comprehensive review of child care, “For non-working parents or parents who work part-time, haltes garderies (drop-in centers) provide part-time, occasional, and drop-in care. Haltes garderies are also subsidized (by municipality and the National Family Allowance Fund), with parents paying a portion of the costs based on a sliding scale (parents pay an average of $1 per hour). … For working parents [there are] licensed family day care providers (assistants maternelles), licensed babysitters at home (social security costs and salaries subsidized by the National Family Allowance Fund).” Peer, Shanny., “The French Early Education System,” French-American Foundation, November 13, 2003.,

http://www.eoionline.org/ELC/Presentations/Peer4.pdf

There is a company in France, SOS Medecins, which will perform doctor house calls at any time.
SOS Medecins has an English website, viewable here:

http://www.sosmedecins-france.fr/en/smf_en_present.htm.

The government initially refused to pay for the health care of 9/11 volunteers, because they were not on the government payroll. It remains difficult for the volunteers to access the $50 million fund that has been appropriated for their care.
The Department of Defense and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Recovery From and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States Act provided a total of $175 million for workers compensation programs – $125 million to NYS Workers Compensation Review Board, and an additional $50 million to reimburse the NYS Uninsured Employers Fund, including for benefits paid to volunteers. However, there have been major delays in getting money to volunteers. See. e.g. “Statement of Robert E. Robertson, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues,” “September 11, Federal Assistance for New York Workers’ Compensation Costs,” United States Government Accountability Office, (GAO-04-1068T) September 8, 2004.
“With strong advocacy from New York’s Congressional Delegation and labor leaders, a portion – about $52 million – of the $125 million in federal funding that had been allocated for administering workers compensation claims was re-allocated to provide some funding for medical treatment programs, but it will only meet a fraction of the need. Congress approved the legislation authorizing this funding in late December 2005.” Devlin Barrett, “Congress Gives New Life to 9/11 Programs,” Newsday, December 22, 2005.
A $52 million fund for volunteers was eventually established, but experts agree it’s inadequate. The New York Times reported on September 6, 2006 that “Dr. John Howard, who was named the federal 9/11 health coordinator in February, has already said that the $52 million the federal government has appropriated for treatment late last year is inadequate. He said in an interview yesterday that the new study will very likely mean that the gap between funds and the need for them is going to grow.” Anthony DePalma, “Illness Persisting in 9/11 Workers, Big Study Finds,” New York Times, September 6, 2006.

American officials claim that detainees at Guantanamo Bay receive excellent health care.
“There is still acute care 24 hours a day, in which surgical procedures, everything, can be performed right there in the detainee camps, but as those wounds healed and as the detainees got further and further away from acute injuries, there has been increasing emphasis on preventative care. Indeed, the immunization rate there is higher than in the United States of America…. Things such as screening for cancer have taken place there. Colonoscopies–a procedure which, as we all know, is used commonly in this country to screen for colon cancer–are performed there on a routine basis. The health personnel-to-detainee ratio is 1 to 4–remarkably high. That is all health personnel who are there. And I guess, as I left this briefing and the opportunity to talk to the doctors and the nurses and the psychologists and the psychiatrists, I left with an impression that health care there is clearly better than they received at home and as good as many people receive in the United States of America.” Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), remarks on Guantanamo Bay, U.S. Senate, September 12, 2006.
“They go out, they do sick call on the blocks three times per week, care for them there, if they can… We have diabetes. We have high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Those detainees — we’ve created a population health database so that we can track those detainees to make sure we’re seeing them frequently, monitoring their labs and their overall health.” Statement of Navy Commander Cary Ostergaard. “Hearing Of The House Armed Services Committee Subject: Detainee Operations At Guantanamo Bay,” June 29, 2005.
“Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued.” “Ten Facts About Guantanamo,” Department of Defense, September 14, 2006.

http://www.defenselink.mil/home/dodupdate/For-the-record/documents/GuantanamoBay_Top10_ATTACHMENT2.doc

Cuba is one of the most generous countries in providing doctors to the third world.
“WHO statistics show that the incidence of AIDS in Cuba is the lowest in this hemisphere, and there are now more than 800 Cuban doctors in Haiti alone working to control the AIDS epidemic. President Castro has offered an almost unlimited number to be sent to Africa, to be paid by the Cuban government with only a small stipend from the host countries.” “President Carter’s Cuba Trip Report By Jimmy Carter,” May 21, 2002.

http://www.cartercenter.org/news/documents/doc528.html
“The close friendship between Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has netted Venezuela a loan of 20,000 Cuban health workers — including 14,000 doctors, according to the Venezuelan government — who work in poor barrios and rural outposts for stipends seven times higher on average than their salaries at home. Castro has vowed to send Chavez as many as 10,000 additional medical workers by year’s end.” “As Cuba Loans Doctors Abroad, Some Patients Object at Home,” Boston Globe, August 25, 2005.
“President Evo Morales on Friday heeded the wishes of six visiting U.S. senators by acknowledging the positive effects of American aid in his country – but added that Cuban doctors had had a greater impact on Bolivia than their U.S. counterparts… [I]n a Friday interview with Bolivian radio network Fides, Morales said the assistance of Cuban leader Fidel Castro – who has sent Bolivia some 1,700 doctors and paramedics this year alone, setting up free hospitals and eye clinics throughout Bolivia — outshines the United States’ own medical aid.” “Morales Says Cuban Doctors top U.S. Medical Aid,” Boston Globe, December 29, 2006.

In the U.S., health care costs run nearly $7,000 per person. But in Cuba, they spend around $251 per person.
United States health spending per capita is $6,697 per person according to Catlin, A, C. Cowan, S. Heffler, et al, “National Health Spending in 2005.” Health Affairs 26:1 (2006). As with the number of uninsured, the number continues to increase and is projected to be $7,092 per capita in 2006, $7,498 per capita in 2007 and reaching $12,782 by 2016, according the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures, National Health Expenditures Projections 2006-2016,

http://www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/proj2006.pdf
The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report says Cuba spends $251 per capita on health care. (Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006.

http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/indicators/52.html)

In Cuba, access to health care is universal.
“Cuban dissatisfaction with their personal lives does not mean they are negative about the revolutionary government’s achievements in health care and education. A near unanimous 96 percent of respondents say that health care in Cuba is accessible to everyone. Gallup polls in other Latin American cities have found that on average only 42 percent believe health care is accessible.” Gallup/ Consultoría Interdisciplinaria en Desarrollo, “Cubans Show Little Satisfaction with Opportunities and Individual Freedom Rare Independent Survey Finds Large Majorities Are Still Proud of Island’s Health Care and Education,” January 10, 2007.

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brlatinamericara/300.php?nid=&id=&pnt=300&lb=brla

Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate and a longer average lifespan than the United States.
The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report’s human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5, and is 77.6 in Cuba. Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283.
http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/pdfs/report/HDR06-complete.pdf
According to the United Nations Statistics Division, Population and Vital Statistics Report, the rate of infant deaths per thousand in Cuba is 6.2 per thousand, and in the United States is 6.8. “Table 3, Live births, deaths, and infant deaths, latest available year, June 15, 2007.”

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/vitstats/serATab3.pdf

18,000 Americans will die this year simply because they’re uninsured.
According to the Institute of Medicine, “lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States. Although America leads the world in spending on health care, it is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage.” Insuring America’s Health: Principles and Recommendations, Institute of Medicine, January 2004.
http://www.iom.edu/?id=19175

Richard Nixon and John Ehrlichman are heard discussing the concept of a health maintenance organization in Oval Office Recordings.
On February 17, 1971, Richard Nixon met with John Ehrlichman to discuss the Vice President’s position on health maintenance organizations, as heard in the film. The Miller Center of Public Affairs has this audio recording (conversation number 450-23. “Richard Nixon – Oval Office Recordings,”
http://millercenter.virginia.edu/scripps/digitalarchive/presidentialrecordings/nixon/oval?PHPSESSID=b813e56b3017d097cd176720bc10fc74
The next day, Nixon called for a “new national health strategy” that had four points for expanding the proliferation of health maintenance organizations, or HMOs. “Special Message to the Congress Proposing a National Health Strategy,” February 18th, 1971,

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=3311
The term “health maintenance organization” was coined by Nixon advisor Paul Ellwood. Patricia Bauman, “The Formulation and Evolution of the Health Maintenance Organization Policy, 1970-1973, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 10. 1976. After Congress passed Nixon’s HMO Act in 1973, HMOs in America increased nine-fold in just ten years. N. R. Kleinfield, “The King of the HMO Mountain,” New York Times, July 31, 1983.

The American Medical Association distributed a record featuring Ronald Reagan discussing the evils of socialized medicine.
Ronald Reagan’s recording was widely available in the 1960s, and was a part of the American Medical Association’s “Operation Coffee Cup,” a coordinated rebuttal to Democrats’ push for Medicare. Max Skidmore, “Ronald Reagan and Operation Coffee Cup: A Hidden Episode in American Political History,” Journal of American Culture, vol. 12. 1989.

$100 million spent to defeat Hillary’s health care plan.
“Even before debate began in Congress, a powerful coalition had been cobbled together to fight Clintoncare, as opponents labeled it – congressional Republicans, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Business Roundtable, the Christian Coalition, the conservative radio talk show network. Those groups spent between $100 million and $ 300 million to defeat it. And the battle was fought like a presidential campaign – with a TV advertising campaign, a network of field operatives and public relations experts to lobby members of Congress back in their districts.” Rob Christensen, “Who killed health care reform? Answer: Everyone,” News & Observer, June 19, 1996.
“In 1993-94, the Health Insurance Association of America, a trade group, spent about $15 million on advertising to defeat Clinton’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health care system.” John MacDonald, “Proponents, Opponents Join Battle Over Drug Price Limits,” Hartford Courant, June 21, 2000.
“‘We spent $1.4 million to fight President Clinton’s plan,’ [Mike Russell of the Christian Coalition] says.” Harold Cox, “Business will spearhead Health Reform II ; Old enemies of Clinton’s plan in lead,” Washington Times, December 27, 1994.
“A study by Citizen Action, a consumer group, reports that doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and other providers of medical services made campaign contributions of $ 79 million during the 1993-1994 election cycle. The insurance industry passed out $16 million. The American Medical Association, which objects to cost-control measures, contributed $ 3 million.” Froma Harrop, “The big lie about health reform,” Rocky Mountain News, August 20, 1995.
“According to [Citizens for a Sound Economy] spokesman Brent Bahler, the group has not bought any airtime for commercials but has ‘tentative plans’ for a grassroots advocacy effort that would include an advertising component. Last year, Bahler said, the CSE spent more than $2 million on print, radio and television advertising to defeat Clinton’s health care reform plan.” James A. Barnes, “RNC Turns To TV Ads On Budget,” National Journal, 5.16.95.

The United States is ranked #37 as a health system by the World Health Organization.
* “The U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance, the report finds.” “World Health Organization Assesses The World’s Health Systems,” Press Release, WHO/44, June 21, 2000.

http://www.who.int/inf-pr-2000/en/pr2000-44.html

Health industry companies accused of wrongdoing in Sicko.
Aetna: “Aetna Inc. … settled with the plaintiffs, which include the medical associations of California and Texas. Aetna agreed to pay the plaintiffs $120 million.” Milt Freudenheim, “Class-Action Status Is Upheld for Doctors Suing Insurers,” New York Times, September 2, 2004. See also, Susan Beck, “HMO Postmortem,” American Lawyer, October 10, 2003. Settlement Agreement,

http://www.aetna.com/provider/agreement_with_physicians.html
Blue Cross/Blue Shield: “Sixty-seven Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies across the nation have paid the United States a total of $117 million to settle government claims that Medicare made primary payments for health care services that should have been paid by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield private insurance companies, the Department of Justice announced today.” “Blue Cross/Blue Shield Companies Settle Medicare Claims, Pay United States $117 Million, Agree To Share Information,” Department of Justice News Release, October 25, 1995.
http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/Pre_96/October95/551.txt.html
Cigna: “Cigna Corporation, [has] settled with the plaintiffs, which include the medical associations of California and Texas. … Cigna agreed to pay $85 million.” Milt Freudenheim, “Class-Action Status Is Upheld for Doctors Suing Insurers,” New York Times, September 2, 2004.
“HCA Inc. (formerly known as Columbia/HCA and HCA – The Healthcare Company) has agreed to pay the United States $631 million in civil penalties and damages arising from false claims the government alleged it submitted to Medicare and other federal health programs, the Justice Department announced today. … Previously, on December 14, 2000, HCA subsidiaries pled guilty to substantial criminal conduct and paid more than $840 million in criminal fines, civil restitution and penalties. Combined with today’s separate administrative settlement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), under which HCA will pay an additional $250 million to resolve overpayment claims arising from certain of its cost reporting practices, the government will have recovered $1.7 billion from HCA, by far the largest recovery ever reached by the government in a health care fraud investigation.” “Largest Health Care Fraud Case In U.S. History Settled; HCA Investigation Nets Record Total Of $1.7 Billion,” Department of Justice News Release, June 26, 2003.
http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2003/June/03_civ_386.htm

Executive Compensation
Michael B McAllister earned $3.33 million in compensation as CEO of Humana. “Forbes 2006 Executive Pay list,” April 20, 2006.

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/12/AG0Q.html
John W Rowe earned $22.2 million in compensation as CEO of Aetna. Rowe has since left Aetna. “Forbes 2004 Executive Pay list,” April 21, 2005.

http://www.forbes.com/static/execpay2005/LIRS5NI.html?passListId=12&passYear=2005&passListType=Person&uniqueId=S5NI&datatype=Person
Bill McGuire has stock options worth $1.6 billion at the end of 2005, as CEO of UnitedHealth Group. Robert Simison, “SEC Investigates UnitedHealth Over Stock-Options Practices,” Bloomberg News, December 27, 2006; Michael Regan, “Business 2006: Who Won, Who Lost,” Associated Press,December 26, 2006.

CNN vs. THE TRUTH (Roundup); CNN admits two errors
‘SiCKO’ Truth Squad recaps weeklong CNN-Moore war.

CNN Report Highlights Mainstream Media Cancer

CNN vs. THE TRUTH (Round II); Sanjay Gupta stands corrected
In response to Sanjay Gupta’s appearance with Michael Moore on the July 10th broadcast of Larry King Live.

A line-by-line breakdown of Sanjay Gupta’s false claims and inaccurate statements

CNN vs. THE TRUTH; The Situation Room stands corrected
In response to Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s biased reporting on ‘SiCKO’ during the July 8th, 2007 broadcast of… The Situation Room.

A line-by-line breakdown of CNN’s “fact check” piece

AP vs. THE TRUTH; The Associated Press stands corrected
In response to “‘Sicko’ Gives Opponents Little Say,” by Kevin Freking and Linda A. Johnson, Associated Press, June 30, 2007.

A line-by-line breakdown of the AP’s “fact check” article

USA Today Corrects Their False Statement Regarding ‘SiCKO’
USA Today tried to criticize some facts in Sicko, but admits that they made a mistake. We thank USA Today for printing a correction on at least one point. The film is correct: “A June 22 story on Michael Moore’s movie Sicko questioned the accuracy of the claim that health care in the United States costs $7,000 a person a year. Ken Sunshine, a Moore spokesman, said the source of the estimate is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which placed the cost at $6,697 per capita in 2005.”

USA Today, Page 2A, June 29th, 2007

FRANK CARDILE
Newsday did a nice article on Frank.

AMANDA BARCUS
Amanda’s insurance company suggested in writing that she might try another less desirable plan. However, Amanda reports that when she called, they were discouraging, indicating again that if she lost weight she could reapply. She tried with another company and was able to get insurance, but those premiums eventually became unaffordable. She now has a “bare bones” policy with another company.

LAURA BURNHAM
We are happy to say that after fighting with her insurance company for several months, Laura’s insurer finally stopped billing her for her ambulance ride.

TARSHA HARRIS
We are happy to report that Blue Cross of California has settled Tarsha’s case. As reported in the Dallas Morning News, “A spokesman for the insurance company … said Ms. Harris’ case has been settled, adding that he thinks she is satisfied with the outcome, although he declined to give details. ‘Many of the Americans featured in Sicko were not as lucky as Tarsha,’ said her attorney, Lourdes DeArmas, of the Quisenberry Law Firm in Los Angeles. ‘They didn’t receive the care they needed before the insurance company pulled the financial rug out from under them.'” — Jason Roberson, “Sicko Touches Sore Spot,” Dallas Morning News, June 30, 2007

DAWNELLE KEYS
Dawnelle’s case went to the Supreme Court of California, where the court confirmed the facts of her case as portrayed in ‘SiCKO.’ She won her case, but her damages were capped at a fraction of what the jury felt was fair due to a California law that limits compensation in medical malpractice cases.

Dawnelle testified in Congress on June 20, 2007 about Mychelle’s case.

LINDA PEENO
Linda sent us a statement that helps describe her ordeal and an update on her life today.

TRACY PIERCE
Julie testified before Congress on June 20, 2007 about Tracy’s case. In response to Sicko, some industry spokespeople have questioned whether a bone marrow transplant for her late husband Tracy would have been an effective treatment. According to Tracy’s doctors at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Kansas Hospital, it clearly would have been. They argued strongly for the transplant, citing (and including in letters to Tracy’s insurer) “strong evidence” supporting the efficacy of this treatment, which could “give him a chance to achieve complete remission.” In fact, they called this treatment “his only chance of survival.”
Letter to the Editor, Miami Herald, July 3rd, 2007

“‘SiCKO’ Was Right”
Response to St. Joseph’s Medical Center Statement Regarding Portrayal in Sicko of Events Concerning Tracy Pierce

July, 3rd, 2007

CAROL ANN REYES
In May 2007, Kaiser Permanente
agreed to settle
with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office in their lawsuit over Carol Ann’s case. Kaiser said they would stop patient dumping, and pay additional fines. However, the problem of patient dumping involving other hospitals continues. In late June 2007, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office filed complaints against more hospitals and transportation services “including one highly publicized case in which a paraplegic man wearing a colostomy bag was found crawling in a gutter near a skid row park in February.” Cara Mia DiMassa, Richard Winton, ”
Legal actions target patient dumping on L.A.’s skid row; City attorney’s office files civil complaints against two L.A. County hospitals and a transportation services company,” Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2007. Union Rescue Mission Director Andy Bales
testified in Congress on June 20, 2007 about this problem.

LARRY AND DONNA SMITH
We are happy to report that Larry and Donna have just managed to move out of their daughter’s storage room and into an apartment. But as Donna reports to us, “financially, we scrape the bottom right now paying our rent, our utilities, our gas, our food, our insurance and our prescriptions. There is no room for error. Will we make it long term? We do not know. But we do not know how we could have made it any longer as we were.”

ERIC TURNBOW
The Olympian wrote a nice piece about Eric.

MARIA WATANABE
A jury found that Blue Shield of California breached its contract with Maria. She was not completely satisfied with the verdict, however — which her attorneys say was due to an error by the presiding judge — and Maria is appealing.

The Doc’s In, but It’ll Be a While
Despite spending lots more per capita on health care, the U.S. is often as bad or worse than other industrialized nations in wait times — By Catherine Arnst, BusinessWeek, June 22, 2007

http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/news/article.php?id=9930

Health Claim Probe Grows
Consultant to Examine Hundreds More That Assurant Denied — By Diane Levick, Hartford Courant, July 4, 2007

http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/news/article.php?id=9993

A Conservative Convert to Socialized Medicine
“What’s the old joke? A conservative is a liberal who has just been mugged? Well, I am a conservative who has just been ‘mugged’ by the socialized French health system, and, to my astonishment, I’m a believer.” — By David Burgess, International Herald Tribune, March 9, 2001

Phantoms In The Snow
Surprisingly few Canadians travel to the United States for health care, despite the persistence of the myth — By Steven J. Katz et al, Health Affairs, June 2002

Canadians’ Use of Health Care Services in the United States [PDF]

And if you don’t like to read,
check out Linda Peeno’s story as portrayed by Laura Dern in the 2002 movie, “Damaged Care.”