A Movie ReelSicko: 8.5 out of 10.

I actually watched "Sicko" last June when it appeared on Google Video. I didn't review it then, because I just don't like watching movies on my laptop. I find it impossible not to multi-task and I miss the larger screen and bigger sound. I watched "Sicko" again last night with my wife and it's better than I remembered it.

I understand Michael Moore has his detractors, but he puts together compelling and entertaining docs. I've enjoyed everything he's released, but "Sicko" might be his best work to date. Of course, as a product of socialized medicine, I felt drawn to the content like a moth to a CFL light bulb.

Our system ain't perfect, but when one of us gets sick, it's awfully comforting to know that medical expense stress won't interfere with the healing process.

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The whole difference between the American and Canadian health care systems is the main reason I'm not prepared to work full time in the 'states.

April 28, 2008 @ 12:26 PM

Mike (Buffalo Boy)

And really, isnt it in the governments best interest to cover our healthcare? overall in the states the burden is put on employers and when they add all those benefits together they refer to it as "Burden" which makes me as an employee feel, well burdensome.
Does the Canadian Government feel that its citizens are burdensome because they cover your healthcare?
I bet that per capita there are more people working in Canada and overall it is a healthier country.
The US and its political leaders need to take that into consideration when drafting a new healthcare system, that when everyone has healthcare, they are a healthier population and a working population and we all know that a working population is paying taxes.

April 28, 2008 @ 12:37 PM


If the Americans are looking to establish a national health care plan, they would be best to not copy the Cdn system. Our system is broken down, way way too expensive and most importantly inefficient.

We have people waiting 6 months to a year for a friggin MRI to determine if they need cancer surgery. I know guys waiting for over a year for simple knee surgery. The examples go on and on.

The US should copy some of the European countries for a plan.

April 28, 2008 @ 3:23 PM

Toronto Mike

"We have people waiting 6 months to a year for a friggin MRI to determine if they need cancer surgery."

Is that true? I've heard similar claims, but in my personal experience I rarely have to wait for anything.

Back in 2003 I partially tore my ACL and only waited a week or so for an MRI. A couple of weeks ago I was told to get a bone scan and only waited a day or two.

Are Canadians really waiting for important procedures like this? Pardon my ignorance, but I don't actually know anyone who has experienced such frustrations.

April 28, 2008 @ 3:27 PM


Mike: They are many documented cases of people waiting months for critical MRIs and surgeries. There have been many cases of mothers are being transported to the US to give birth because there aren’t the available beds (in western provinces).

Its only going to get worse here what with so many undocumented immigrants and the decreasing amount of qualified doctors – many who are going south to the US.

April 28, 2008 @ 3:45 PM


I lack experience with waiting a long time for MRIs or the like. My son needed a CAT Scan and got one within a week.

However, I did need a ENT specialist and I had to wait 4 months. It was noting urgent but still it was a long time.

I think the Canadian system does need some work but I would put it up against anything else out there.

April 28, 2008 @ 3:45 PM

James Edgar

I'm a type 1 diabetic and deal with our haelth care system far more than most. The MRI thing aside (never known anyone who needed one) I have never met anyone who waited for anything important. I to hear that MRI'S are hard to come by and I also hear people are flocking over the border for care. Yet I never actually meet those people for some reason.

April 28, 2008 @ 3:46 PM


I just had an MRI done, I only waited 2 months for it. I recently suffered a bit of a cancer scare. My GP and my hospital scrambled to make sure I had nothing to worry about. It took 2 weeks to confirm that I didn't have cancer. My son was born happy and healthy and I didn't pay a penny. I recently had knee reconstructive surgery and all I had to pay for was a $50 ambulance bill. Our system isn't perfect, but which system is? It has worked for me and my family just fine. I'll take our system over the American one any day.

Here are my thoughts on Sicko:

April 28, 2008 @ 4:33 PM

Toronto Mike

Is it possible that things are better on this front in the GTA than in other parts of the country?

April 28, 2008 @ 4:34 PM


I remember watching Michael Moore on Oprah during the late summer while I was undergoing treatment for my own situation with Cancer. He was challenging US Health Insurance while promoting his documentary. I have yet to see Sicko but I found his slant on this issue very compelling. I was told I had Sinus Cancer on May 7th, 2007 by my local ENT. On May 12th I was being seen by a team of specialists at Mount Sinai and PMH in Toronto. Within a week I had an MRI completed. MRIs for "simple knee surgeries" will always be delayed over high priority health issues.
I also believe that the many cases of mothers being transported to the US to give birth because there aren’t the available beds (in western provinces) may be indictive of a higher ratio of high risk pregnancies/babies in that area.
We also need to take into consideration where the longest wait times are. I doubt they are in Ontario, Quebec or British Colombia where we have more medical facilities available.
I still to this day wonder how I would have been able to afford my radiation and chemotherapy treatments along with two surgeries had I been living in ths USA.

April 28, 2008 @ 5:17 PM


My brother didn't have to wait at all to start chemo / radiation. They did all the scans, tests, etc, within a couple of weeks, and had him starting a week after that.

Today, he's perfectly healthy with regards to the cancer (we often forget he ever had it), and the fact that our family didn't have to worry about money, and knew he was going to get the best care possible helped us a lot.

I can imagine being in the states and thinking, "even with my health plan, can we afford this cancer treatment?"

April 29, 2008 @ 10:45 AM


It seems curious that those people with stories that support the notion that our healthcare system is OK (not perfect, but OK), are personal stories or stories of family members while those stories that cast the system in a negative light seem to be someone they heard of or a friend of a friend or a "documented case". I'm just know what I'm saying?

April 29, 2008 @ 11:16 AM


As an American citizen, and permanent resident of Canada (been here 3 years), I must say, there are just as many flaws here as there are in the US.

Unfortunately, I've had to deal A LOT with the system here, as my son was born 3 and a half months premature. Ironically enough, I was on vacation in North Carolina when he was born. Thank God for that. His gestational age was such that the Canadian system declares him "unviable" and they would not have resucitated. Why? Probably because it costs an arm and a leg to provide healthcare for micropreemies. Our final bill in the States was 1.3 million dollars, and that was for only 2 months of care. He was stable enough to be transported back for his last month and a half. The difference in his care was unbelievable. Yeah yeah - "You get what you pay for. You should be happy that his care is free here..." Blah blah blah.

It's not like many of you think. When Lincoln (my son) was about to be born, the head of the Neonatology department came down to visit my room. He wanted to let me know personally that if insurance was unable to cover the bills, we'd never be asked to pay a penny. They understand the circumstances of a woman giving birth WELL before she's ready, and it's a financial burden that they don't want to put on them. I'm sure this was due to the fact that I was in a specific non-profit hospital, but still...There are plenty out there just like it.

Turns out, our travel insurance we have through my husband's job here covered the bill, along with the medical flight back to Toronto. Yeah - so sweet of them...But this was the same insurance company that tried to have me flown back to Canada 20 minutes before Lincoln was born via emergency C section, while I lay in a bed that was position basically upside down to keep him in, I was on oxygen, and lots of meds to keep contractions down. Oh, and they asked to speak to me on the phone directly to let me know that if I didn't comply and fly home, they wouldn't cover a cent. (It took lots of arguments and phone calls to turn that decision around)...

I ramble.

Long story longer, since we've been back, I've waited so long for specialist appointments for Lincoln. He refused to eat after he came home. The test to determine why had a waiting period of 6 months, so instead of finding the cause to try to fix it, he ended up with a feeding tube - still has it. He's also STILL waiting to see someone in GI at Sick Kids, and he's had this feeding tube since November. This doesn't include the countless waiting lists that we WERE on. Even though we're in now, if Lincoln needs to see one of his specialists, it could take 2 or 3 months for an appointment - But this doesn't help because if a situation arises, he needs to be seen immediately.

So, I almost ALWAYS end up at our overbooked, overtired pediatrician where I wait for a couple of hours in a dirty room with a small unventilated room of a billion snotty nosed kids. Inevitably, Lincoln is sick 3 days later and needs breathing treatments or hospitalization because he needs oxygen, all because I had to take him to the dirty Peds that only made an extra call to the specialist that I wanted to see in the first place.

I love living in this country. I do. There are so many wonderful things about it, including the good intentions of socialized medicine, but can't everyone agree that the system lacks perfection? Can't even agree that it lacks offering those who need more than just basic care, the attention they should really be getting?

I agree that people who die because can't afford to see a Dr. in the States is disgusting. But have you ever looked at the number of people who can afford insurance and just refuse to purhcase it? And realistically, for basic coverage in the States, you're looking at approximately the same amount of money that is removed from a Canadian's paycheck for government taxes to provide the same service.

I could go on...

April 30, 2008 @ 9:49 AM

Toronto Mike

What's most surprising to me is that "his gestational
age was such that the Canadian system declares him "unviable" and they would not have resuscitated".

Who told you that?

April 30, 2008 @ 10:00 AM


He's followed by Women's College Neonatal followup team. They told me. My due date showed Lincoln to be 23 weeks and a few days when we arrived at the hospital. The team said that Women's College (where I would have gone had I been here) would have provided "comfort care" for Lincoln and I - where they place the newborn in the arms of the mother and let them last as long as possible.

In the States, it differs from hospital to hospital. Many don't resucitate 23 weekers, although evidence is showing that many 23 weekers survive and do very well. However, if before 7 days, the baby develops a serious brain bleed (or bleeds), it's encouraged to pull the plug.

April 30, 2008 @ 10:21 AM

Toronto Mike

My son almost showed up at 29 weeks, and the Women's College neonatal squad was ready to rock, but 29 is a great deal different than 23.

James ended up being only 5 weeks early. I hope Lincoln is made more of a priority... maybe if his name was Macdonald, Laurier or Trudeau, things would be different. :-)

April 30, 2008 @ 10:26 AM


HA! Doubtful. If that were the case, he's get LESS attention...Seriously. Who pays attention to Canadian politics? The patriotism in this country sickens me. Where is it all? Oh Lordy - this is another thread, entirely. :)

April 30, 2008 @ 10:31 AM


Oh - and we have something in common, Toronto Mike. Look at us. So glad James was only 5 weeks early. 29, although I would've died for, is still scary and very small. Glad things are alright for the Toronto Mike family...

April 30, 2008 @ 10:36 AM

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