Thursday, August 2, 2007



Health insurance coverage of the non-elderly U.S. A. population according to the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute:
60 % through their employer-sponsored plan
15% from Medicare
5% from private insurance companies (including HMO’s)
20% are uninsured (approximately 45 million people)

Those who lose or don't have access to coverage through their jobs often find that buying insurance on their own is expensive, and many have trouble finding anyone willing to sell them a policy at all. They will be denied coverage if they have certain pre-existing conditions (cancer, diabetes, AIDS, multiple sclerosis or being pregnant). Also it is very difficult to get coverage if the individual is overweight, has high blood pressure or asthma. In fact some private health insurance companies will even go so far as to deny coverage to anyone with acne or hay fever.

As people lose coverage at work and find they are denied coverage or cannot afford to buy a policy on their own, they then have to resort to public health programs such as Medicaid which is jointly funded by the states and federal government. Among the groups of people served by Medicaid are eligible low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income.

There is also a health care program called Medicare which is administered by the United States government covering people who are either age 65 and over (the elderly group) or who meet other special criteria.

As with the other films by Michael Moore the subject is one we’ve all heard about before but he adds his own twist to it. In this instance, the focus is on the health care system in the United States. True to form, Moore paints the worst picture possible for the U.S.A. and then the rosiest one he can find elsewhere. By making this sort of comparison between America (the only developed nation without universal health care) and countries like Canada and England he gets his point across in a most entertaining manner. Unlike his earlier movies, this one has a softer tone about it without the ranting and anger although at almost two hours it is a tad too long.

We’ve come to expect Moore playing a little loose with the facts but sometimes it borders on intellectual dishonesty. Case in point: his comment that Cubans live longer than Americans has the implication this is the result of their socialised health care system. In a small measure this could be true but Cuba is a country with a high emigration rate so the birth is recorded but the death does not because the person is no longer living there. This skews the longevity rate and anyone who has looked into these statistics (as Moore must have before making this observation) would understand this and not include it as a “favourable fact” the way he does.

for brief strong language.

The end credits include a note that if you want to marry a Canadian to get good health insurance go to

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