The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Should You See The Movie “Sicko?”

Delsicko The Lord knows I NEVER thought I would be putting anything on my web site about Michael Moore, but I just spent an evening last week going to see the movie SICKO so I could give you my opinion.

I sat and took many notes in the dark and need to find time to write my review. But it definitely made me think about our health care system and it’s many weaknesses–and for that fact I give it a "thumbs up" rating. 

Some would say the movie is one-sided, and while it is, the stories that are told are the stories I hear from you–the chronically ill–every day. We ARE that one side… many of whom have health insurance but are going broke just paying co-pays and deductibles.

I thought I would share with you Mary Foarde’s opinion since she works in the health care industry.



Mary Foarde: Judging ‘Sicko’ from inside the industry

Chronic illness is the system’s biggest drag. Moore likes single-payer. That might help, but it’s politically distant.

Published: July 29, 2007

I saw Michael Moore’s film "Sicko" recently. I’m not a big Moore fan, but I felt compelled to examine firsthand his much-anticipated attack on the industry I have worked in for 25 years.

It’s hard to dispute the relevance and timeliness of the film. According to experts, the majority of Americans are hugely dissatisfied with the state of American health care, and it will certainly be an issue in the 2008 elections. Moore is to be commended for significantly raising the public’s awareness of some of the more disturbing aspects of the current system.

Although much of the film’s content is sensational, simplistic and one-sided, Moore does make valid points about what is broken in our health care system. Through poignant examples, he illustrates what many people believe in their hearts: Nobody should have to worry about being able to get appropriate care when they get sick. As a corollary, he demonstrates the unfairness (and economic foolishness) of trying to lower health-care costs by denying individuals needed care.

Moore’s film champions the single-payer systems in Canada, England, France and Cuba as being in every way superior to our own. While there are many who would dispute that assertion, there is an interesting commonality among these systems — their emphasis on the prevention of illness in the first place.

In the United States, 20 percent of the people consume 80 percent of the health-care resources. Most of these individuals have chronic illness — and often multiple illnesses. We should be spending more of our time and resources preventing chronic illness from occurring and managing chronic illness well when it occurs. It is, quite simply, more effective to keep people well than to fix them when they are sick.

The problem is that our current payment system does not typically reward efforts to keep people well. Hospitals and physicians are paid based on "units of service" they provide to sick people, not by their success in preventing the need for those units of service. Health plans are not fully motivated to make long-term investments in the wellness of individuals, since they may change plans from year to year.

Clearly, a single-payer system would create a focal point for efforts to spend more of our resources on wellness. Yet such a system faces huge political opposition in America, and it’s not clear we can afford to wait for the sea change it would require. Moore’s film falls short in failing to offer any ideas for solutions short of a full-fledged shift to single- payer, universal coverage.

Minnesota recognizes the urgency of the issue; Gov. Tim Pawlenty has appointed a Health Care Transformation Task Force. It is aimed, he says, at "bold action to redesign the system." The announcement of the task force listed several laudable goals — including "actions that will improve the health status of Minnesotans and reduce the rate of preventable chronic illness." We hope the Task Force will develop creative ways to reward both health plans and health-care providers for these important efforts.

Mary Foarde is executive vice president for law and public policy at Allina Hospitals & Clinics.

1 Comment»

  Mn Health Plans wrote @

Mn Health Plans

CST January 24, 2005- The Minnesota Medical Association

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