If you havent seen Sicko yet, this cold weekend is a great excuse to stay indoors and warm up to the the sad truth of the medical system in the most arrogant country in the world, the United States of America. This film clearly shows the disparity of care in what is often claimed to be the biggest “Superpower” .
As Canadians, we often take our medical system for granted, safe in the security that our “Care Cards” provide us with no- holds barred access to health care at any time – and we really are lucky to not have to deal with everything that goes along with the privately billed health care sytem in the States. Pre-approvals, no choice in physicians, and constant denials for those with insurance, and the choice between bankruptcy, debt, or a doctors visit for those without insurance. The movie opens with an American man sewing up a gaping wound in his leg at home, because he has no insurance and cant afford the visit to the clinic.
Although for the most part, I do agree we have very good health care access in BC, the movie highlighted the gaps we do have in our medical system, and where improvements could be made. While we have universal medical care, we are on a private insurance dental system, and many British Columbians do not have the luxury of employer supplied dental insurance. Although the government has a plan for children of low income homes to see a dentist, many dentists refuse these patients because the government only pays a small portion of the dentists fees. Many families do still face the choice of getting teeth repaired and cleaned, or eating – and in a country as successful and developed as Canada, thats an embaressing shame.
In France, preventative medicine is the norm, and doctors get a bonus for the number of patients they counsel successfuly to lose weight, stop smoking and reduce cholesteral, thereby saving the system money down the road on extensive treatment of preventable disease. In BC, go to any clinic, and you will see a whole list of these items that are NOT covered by BC medical, including smoking cessation programs, weight loss counselling, stress management….
It seems sensible to me that both the health care system, and patients win when an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
There is a whole political angle to the movie, that clearly shows the relationship between health care, big business and money grabbing, that is quick to turn the stomach of the compassionate viewer. If you weren’t a fan of the American government before, you’re going to really be shaking your head after this film, and I hope it makes you take a closer look at the hazards of allowing pay for service clinics into our Canadian System. While some people see no harm in those who can afford to pay for faster treatment and tests, it is frightenly close to a path down the American way, where some get care – and others die.
Go and rent this movie and see for yourself, if you arent left with more questions than answers afterwards.
I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.