Sick Around America

Sick Around America is a documentary about the sad state of the US health care system. Few Americans in the early years of the 21st century would argue that the country’s healthcare system is healthy; however, fewer still would be likely to agree about how to fix it. This “Frontline” special attempts to find some answers. Traveling around the country, going inside insurance companies and taking a hard look at one state’s failed efforts at healthcare reform, the program tackles one of the toughest issues of modern times. The show highlights the incredible cost of health care in this country. Spending on health care in the US is $7,000 per capita, so for a family of four the total is $28,000 a year. That is more than twice than in some other countries in which health conditions are better and life expectancy is higher. The US is the #1 spender on health, while its health care ranks 37th in the world. After viewing the film and reading reviews it’s easy to see why we are 37th in the world on health care. We have too much greed. I noticed the health insurance executive who talked about how doctors, hospitals and patients did not want to take less, left out the fact that insurance companies don’t want to take any less either. In fact they need to make more for their companies every year to justify their huge incomes and bonuses. It is incredible how greedy the health insurance industry is, skimming the premiums while denying coverage to the average citizen who happens to have an illness. But should we be punished by health insurance companies simply because they want to make as much as they can without paying for health services of those who need them? If we don’t start to control the amount doctors, hospitals, and medical equipment suppliers charge than we will always have this problem. I get so tired of hearing how capitalism and competition can solve all our health-care problems. It hasn’t so far. There might be one hospital in a small town. Where’s the competition? If you’re dying of a heart attack, you take whoever’s available. If you have more money, you can afford better insurance. If you’re poor, you sit in an emergency room for six to ten hours. There’s no competition. They charge whatever they want. As is stated in the film you can get health care until you get sick and need it then you are cancelled and this is our system. The documentary was interesting but does not question any of the people in the case studies about what if anything they do to maintain their own health. The guy with the heart problem is overweight and obviously in poor health. Ditto the professor whose view is completely negative of the American system. What about asking people to take care of themselves? We have to mandate government health care of some kind to cover everyone. Most people assume that if we had universal care that medicine would be free. What they fail to realize is the extremely high taxes these countries pay (higher gas, alcohol, tobacco, income taxes). Overall, we need to fix not throw out our health care system. Has anyone found a cure for greed? The title should have been, “This is a Sick World”. Heartbreaking look at health (un-)care in America today. The movie is interesting, informative and a definite wake-up call to all Americans! Pretty good but not as good as Sick Around the World by the same director. Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 60 minutes.



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