maybe it’s time we took a cold, hard look at where we’re going

last week, i caught a long-anticipated show – sicko.


judging the movie by its title initially, i had imagined that this will be a movie akin to those like scary movie 1, 2 or 3 which were lame and featured slapstick, copy-cat humourless jokes. however, upon reading the film’s description from the net, i realised that this was more of a reality-type of movie.

although it will be too much of a stretch to call sickoa documentary, this film paints the hard reality of how the health-care system operates in the united states. using an often sarcastic but humorous way, michael moore explored and portrayed how the less-than-privileged (i.e. those with no health insurance) were suffering in the states.

you might ask “why didn’t these people get health insurance then? wouldn’t it make things easier for everyone?”

yeah, like they didn’t think of that huh. things ain’t so simple. to buy a health insurance, you’ll need to go through approval processes which are determined by the health insurance companies themselves.

as for those who are privileged enough to have health insurance, there are still barriers such as the scope of their insurance, under what circumstances did you fall sick etc etc. fail any one item – your insurance is rendered invalid – and that means no compensation.

the most horrifying thing is that these health insurance companies actually hire people to employ scare tactics to “persuade” the patients not to claim their insurance (from what i interpreted from the movie). doesn’t this sound like mob-like?

the movie also revealed the following scenes:

  • some major health insurance companies have their fingers and toes dipped in politics to lobby for health bills to be passed so that they could make more money off their drugs or treatments.
  • patients and people in dire need of medical treatment being brutally thrown out of hospitals because they’ve no money for medical bills. one of the scenes included an old lady patient being discarded from a hospital onto a cab and later, onto a public road from the cab some distance away. disorientated and lost, the old lady just wandered around along the busy road until a volunteer from a shelter found her.

moore also compared the health-care systems in the states against those of canada and other europe countries where they practised universal health-care (i.e. free health-care for everyone – paid with the people’s taxes).

apparently, in the past, there were some voices in the states which advocated the implementation of universal health-care. these voices were, however, quickly silenced by the all-powerful health insurance companies who claimed that it was a socialist movement which is inefficient and ineffective while we all know that it’s just because this system will be detrimental to their bottomlines and profits.

in an attempt to validate this claim, moore also interviewed health-care stakeholders in these countries. through analysing his findings, the universal health-care system does seem to be more satisfactory compared to a free-market system.

oh no, i’ve given away too much on the movie.

anyway, i must admit that i don’t know how much of these information from the movie is true and realistic. however, even if only 25% was true, the thought is pretty chilling…

…even much more so when i could, in my head, imagine singapore going the same way in future.

sometimes, in our haste to progress into a first-world country like the states, we sometimes forget that not everyone is able to keep up and accelerate at a comparable speed. in this case, we risk leaving them behind which will result in a heavily segmented society. is this what we really want?

moreover, it’s a generally-known fact that a large portion of our younger generation looks towards the west (especially the states) as the ideal state/environment/society. wouldn’t such attitudes propel us toward that direction even faster?

looking at our present health-care system, i’m worried – very very worried.

does it not resemble the situation that is being portrayed in the movie?

i don’t want to become old…and have to worry about whether i’ll have enough money for my medical bills when i fall sick or whether i’ll be kicked out of the hospital anytime.

that’s just too sad. what quality of life are we looking at?

i’ll strongly recommend this movie to everyone…. maybe it’ll help us gain some perspective. personally, i really feel that this movie is like us looking into a crystal ball – like a preview of how our future system will be like.

i ish saded.

movie rating: 4.5/5 – a must-watch!


9 thoughts on “maybe it’s time we took a cold, hard look at where we’re going

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 26 Sep 2007 « The Singapore Daily

  2. Singapore is nowhere close to being like the US in terms of the healthcare system.

    There is no concept of health insurance in Singapore but citizens get heavily subsidized healthcare in hospitals, and access to cheap medical care in polyclinics. This is not the case in the US. Without health insurance in the states, expect to pay about US$100 to see a doctor, which does not even cover the cost of medicine. With health insurance, you’re then at the mercy of the beauracrats in the insurance companies.

  3. Hi Missy,

    You might consider popping by the local bookstore and reading Tim Harford’s “Undercover Economist” – go straight to the section covering healthcare. it presents a view of the US system versus Singapore’s system and would give you his perspective of the issue (which i quite enjoyed reading).


  4. I tot the show is a bit bias. While the evils of US HMO are real, the benefits of other healthcare systems are overstated. At least I know the NHS is not as ideal as painted. Just Google NHS you will probably find out there are problems.

  5. I am french and i have seen these movie. I can tell you that the picture made of france is far from the reality is even if I enjoy the national health protection we have.

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