Explain the plot of Sicko to me

Open spoiler alert

Moore’s latest film had the strangest ending. In perhaps his most useful publicity stunt yet, he was taking some sick folks to Gitmo. He got on a megaphone and requested care for the sick heros of 9/11. And the film ended there. No closing credits, no closing score, no nothing. Just house lights up. And a confused audience whispered an awed “Huh? That’s it?” My suspicions of the movie ending were confirmed. A cleaning crew came in.

As I tried to exit, I realized that the cleaning crew’s uniforms closely resembled those of the BFD and BPD. Funny, a movie about the lack of health care in this country was interrupted by emergency personel making a house call.

I decided to take advantage of this break by taking care of a couple of health problems of my own, namely an excess of urea and a Goobers deficiency.

When I got back to the theatre, the movie had started up again. Moore and friends were entering Havana General Hospital.

What did I miss? Surely, an American does not simply walk from Gitmo to Havana. How did they get there? Did Castro invite them in?

I haven’t seen the movie but I have to commend your style here. :slight_smile:

Yeah, well, priorities is priorities.

You didn’t miss too much. Sirens sounded at Gitmo, so Moore and his party took off.

Next, Moore gives us an overview of Cuba’s health care system much like he did with England, Canada and France. We see an interview with Che Guevara’s daughter (a doctor, and presumably Cuban official) describing how well the health care system works. Moore talks about how widely admired Cuba’s health care system is, and how the Cubans send medical teams to help out other nations.

I believe we also get some ironically-intended Cold War footage of US politicians talking about the evils of the Cuban regime, and how Castro is going to eat our babies and whatnot.

Moore’s boatload of peeps visits Cuba. At some point (can’t remember whether it was before or after the hospital visit) they go to a pharmacy, where they learn that an inhaler that costs over $100 in the US costs only pennies in Cuba.

Then they go to the hospital to see about getting care for Moore’s party.

Thanks for that. Did he explain how they actually got into Cuba? It was my impression that it’s just not an easy tourist destination to go to.

Same question, I guess, for Wim Wenders and Ry Cooder.

Is there anyone alive who honestly doesn’t see “setup” written all over that? I challenge any Doper to haul a group of sick people through the same scenario and see whether Che Guevara’s daughter comes running out to greet them. For that matter, just get a random group of native Cubans to do it. Is there any reason we should not believe that their best medical care is reserved for their most important people just like their housing is?

The whole Cuba section is only possible with the direct cooperation of the Cuban government. From getting into Cuba, only possible through official routes, to moving and filming in the island, again only possible with official approval. Even the visit to Hospital Almeijeiras is very staged, this hospital does not treat Cuban patients off the street. It does however accept foreign patients, but they must pay for care. There is another thread on this where I talk about how sick this movie made me.

A lot was left unsaid. Nothing was said about how they got into Cuba, nor about Guevara’s political position.

To me, the Cuba segment of the film was the least effective because of the setup aspect mentioned by Liberal. Of course Castro is going to give Moore’s bunch the best care his country can offer because he wants to make the US look bad.

Much more effective were the segments in Canada, England, and France. (Have you seen the film, Liberal?)

If I were a conservative trying to pick apart the film, I would note that in the Cuban hospital one of the 9/11 workers got a free MRI scan. But where was that MRI machine invented? (And patented, not insignificantly?) Moore glosses over the fact that some of the nations with socialized care piggy-back the US system by utilizing drugs and treatments developed in the US (by persons with a profit motive).

If the US were to switch to a single-payer system, we would have to think about how to maintain incentives for developing new and better treatments and drugs.

No, I haven’t. But I did read the post to which I responded. :slight_smile:

I wasn’t being snarky, just asking.

The segments in England, France and Canada did a very effective job of dispelling some of the horror stories/myths we in the US are fed about socialized medicine.

The segment set in Cuba just felt like cheap propaganda. I find propaganda annoying whether it is coming from the left or the right.

A team comprised of British and American researchers at British and American universities developed NMR, but it was a team at Aberdeen University in Britain that produced the first clinically useful images.

You’re ignoring the fact that a great deal of medical research (including drug development) comes out of the UK, Canada, France and Germany. The reason that the single-payer systems can get cheaper drugs is the ability to negotiate pricing with the drug companies because of the volume of purchase that single-payer systems have. The drug companies still get a fair price for their products, they just aren’t able to make quite as much profit as they do in the US, but they’re still exceedingly profitable.

Oddly, one of the movie’s most glowing reviews came from FoxNews. And when Moore was on the Daily Show, he said that the person most emotionally affected by the film at Cannes was a Republican who came up to him afterward, tearfully praising the film.

He did get a nice slam of Hillary in the movie.

I’m not intentionally ignoring anything. And feel free to dispel my ignorance. :slight_smile:

I do wonder, though, if some of the work done in the UK, Canada and France isn’t driven by the potential for making a huge profit in the US market. If the US goes to single-payer, will that remove a profit incentive?

Here’s a quick history of the MRI. The contributions of British researchers are noted, but here’s what else the article says:

Which supports the point I made in my earlier post. The MRI was developed with a profit motive in mind.

Do you have any figures for this? (Profits by the drug companies in these markets?) Just want to make sure the profits in the US market aren’t indirectly subsidizing the low costs in other markets.

Believe me, I would like to find a way for the US to switch to single-payer. I just think that in doing so we have to be thoughtful, and careful not to destroy incentives.

ETA: Sorry for taking this into GD territory. Forgot what forum I was in for a moment.

At one point, the screen went blank and a disclaimer anounced something to the effect that “Department of Homeland Regulations prevent us from explaining how we got into Cuba”

Don’t be too hard on yourself. :smiley:

I don’t know why people open threads in Cafe Society on Moore films anyway. They’re not even meant to entertain, and they are always extremely controversial.

Well, to take it back into Cafe Society territory, I think the Cuba sequence undercuts the effectiveness of the film because it calls Moore’s credibility into question. The film would have been more persuasive if Moore had stuck to Canada, the UK and France.

On the other hand, I understand Moore’s reasons for including the Cuba bit. It was entertaining, and it created controversy, and that generates publicity (like this thread for example), and that puts more butts in the seats.

Did he do that twice? Because I saw the one where he denied us directions to the island, but missed the bit about how they got from Gitmo to Havana.

No. No explanation of how we got from Gitmo to Havana.

Yeah, and that pisses me off. I think that Moore is a brilliant film maker who could make brilliant films, if only he didn’t hobble himself with his own shrillness so often.

I’m glad that at least his boatmates got medical attention. If they hadn’t, the exploitation factor would have been really over the top.

And what was the outcome of of his $12,000 donation to the wife of that website guy? How did the guy respond? What’s the URL?