Tuesday, July 24, 2007 11:17 PM
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:51 AMTo:
Hospital Care in Canada
Hello Mr. Moore,
Great job as always with Sicko! It was very interesting to see the way your
health care system operates. I have many friends that live in the US, and it
makes me sad knowing they may end up in a situation like the ones shown in
your movie. I had always presumed that if you had health insurance in the
US, you were covered. I didn’t know about all the red tape that comes with
I would like to share a story about the health care system in Canada. Please
know that this is not a criticism on your system, but a clarification on our
system. While my story isn’t as drastic as some of the others on the site,
it does point out the incredible care that I received.
I was rushed to the hospital last year when I had severe stomach pains. My
wife took me into the emergency room, and within 10 minutes I was in a bed
After a preliminary exam, the doctor was under the impression that I had
appendicitis. I was brought upstairs, and underwent an ultrasound. When the
doctor looked at the results, he concluded it was indeed appendicitis.
However, just to be absolutely sure, I was sent for a CT scan. I was brought
back down to the emergency room, and within 1 hour I was back upstairs
getting prepped for surgery.
I spent the night in the hospital, and had a wonderful nurse that came and
checked on me every few hours to make sure I was ok, and if I needed
anything. The next afternoon when she brought my lunch (I skipped
breakfast), I informed her that I was a vegetarian and she apologized and
took my lunch away and brought a new one that I could eat.
The doctor checked on me, asked if I thought I needed to stay an extra day,
then gave me a prescription, a note for time off work to recover, and made
sure I was ok when I got into my wife’s car on the way home. He even called
me at home a week later to see how I was progressing.
Within 24 hours, I was admitted to the hospital, had 3 exams, surgery, and
was released. If this is what is considered waiting time, I’m more than
willing to accept it.
While I was watching your movie in the theatre, it made me think back to my
experience, and I realized that I was able to rest and recover at home
without the fear of upcoming medical bills. This is something that I had
never thought of before. Medical care has always been 'free.'
I would hate to be afraid to get medical treatment or take the prescribed
medication because I can not afford it. I would also be horrified to know
that anyone else is being put in that situation. I am more than willing to
'pay' a little more in taxes for that piece of mind for myself, my family,
and my fellow citizens.
Keep fighting the good fight!
Saturday, July 21, 2007 12:21 PM
Saturday, July 14, 2007 1:35 AMTo:
Canadian HealthCare Story
Hello Mr. Moore
I'd like to present this story to discredit any skeptics out there about the movie.
Me and my family moved to Canada on March of 1999 from South Africa, becoming landed immigrants and eventually ending up in Kelowna, B.C.
At the time of the accident, my older brother was 22 years old and unemployed.
It was around noon 2 months ago, me, my brother, and my dad were setting a hardwood floor in our living room and adjoining kitchen when my dad needed my brother to do a small cut so that the board would fit.
My brother, Rudolf, who had used construction equipment before, was using a circular saw to cut along the piece of board when the blade caught on a knot in the wood.
The piece of wood shot through the saw and completely took off his right hand thumb and crushed the joint in the pinkie finger.
My dad dropped everything he was doing, got him in his friend's truck (who was visiting) and rushed him to the hospital.
The nurse on duty saw my brother's thumb and admitted him immediately. Luckily, the best plastic surgeon in the Okanagan had just gone on call.
Within 5-10 minutes, they had him on an operating table getting him sedation.
After, what seemed like ages of operation, they (the doctors) announced that they were able to save both his thumb and pinkie and that he was resting comfortably in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of the Kelowna General Hospital.
A week or two later he was released with a massive cast on his hand and a schedule for treatment. Right now he is starting his therapy with a specially designed brace to exercise his thumb.
All this was done for free, including the following treatments and therapy and without the waiting times that we're accredited with.
Thank you for the great movie,
Thursday, July 19, 2007 11:57 PM
Monday, July 16, 2007 2:59 PMTo:
Alberta Health Care
Dear Mr. Moore,
First of all kudos to you for your honesty and hard work in bringing the truth to light in all of your work. I agree 100% that there is a reason for the anti-French propaganda from the US government.
Here is my story.
In 1998 I was in a serious motor vehicle accident. I was rushed to the nearest hospital, then to the next largest, and then lifted via Stars Air Ambulance to the Calgary Foothills in Alberta Canada. I remained in intensive care for 6 weeks. Turns out I had fractured my spine in two places, as well as my thumb, rendering me paralyzed from essentially arms down. While I stayed in ICU I had developed pressure sores on my body, despite all efforts to prevent them, as a result they ordered me an $80,000 bed to assist in healing and prevention of the sores. I had several physiotherapist visits per day, several doctor visits per day, portable x-ray machines, countless drugs, and other services.
Following my 6 weeks in ICU, I spent a couple months in a unit dedicated to those who were ill, but did not require the same extreme medical care. There I had a semi-private room, although that being said it was only adjoined by the glass door and bathroom. I had a TV, and a rather huge wall to decorate. I had a daily schedule visiting physios and occupational therapists. I was getting well enough to start physio while waiting for the bones in my neck to heal.
Finally I went to rehab and spent most of my time getting used to the way my body would now work, and finding out what I could and could not do.
In total I spent 6 months in the hospital. I paid nothing for that hospital stay. In fact, currently my own family doctor does not even get paid for some of his services to me. One of the results of paralysis is bladder health. I am now more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Doctors in the clinic, where I receive services do not get paid for telephone prescriptions. Because I often get UTI1s, I know when I need drugs, so I take in a sample to the lab, and a few days later my doctor will phone a prescription in to the pharmacy for me. I don't even need to see a doctor!
As well, due to my paralysis, I require the assistance for others in bathing, dressing, and other daily activities. The health region I am in gives me $2,700/month to hire staff to assist me! So the government pays me to find my own help. The government pays for health care supplies, drugs, and because I initially could not work I received a monthly financial assistance check.
I require a lot of health care, and will continue to do so as I age, as I was 15 when I was injured and am only 24 years old now. It costs me nothing out of my pocket. I am sure glad I live in Canada! I love Canada the way you love the United States. Good luck in your efforts of reform. Everyone deserves free universal health care, not just the wealthy.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Wednesday, July 18, 2007 10:46 PM
Sunday, July 15, 2007 9:37 PMTo:
A message from a Canadian Brother
How are you, I sent you an E-mail a little while back regarding your film Fahrenheit 9/11... it was a pro bush letter. Oops. Who knew I'd be eating my words a few years later? But I am not writing you to talk about the past I just wanted to you know while there are a lot of things that sometimes seem slightly glorified in your films about Canada one thing that isn't is our health care.
My sister has leukemia she's been fighting it now for about three months and I am happy to say that she in remission. For anyone who has ever had any complaints with the line ups in our hospitals and health care treatments just send them to talk to me. When she first started feeling sick she went to the doctors office. They did a couple of tests. Within 48 hours they had rushed her down to VGH (Vancouver General Hospital) to run more Tests. She spent about 2 weeks in the hospital before being allowed to come home (she could have stayed longer but the doctors said it was ok for her to be treated as an outpatient and she missed home). Since then she's received chemo treatments and other medicine and had to go back to the hospital for another two week stay. But bottom line is that she hasn't had to to pay for any of this and an interesting fact my father found out is that we would be spending 1000 dollars a day on her if this was the states... (we did have to pay for some of her medicine but it was nowhere near that cost) The point was she got effective treatment Fast! So the stats about long lines? B.S. Bottom line: if someone's sick we'll help them.
I wish you all the best of luck on your latest film and hope one day the USA can pour some of that money from Iraq into their own problems. Medicare isn't why the country is in debt. The war is.
P.S. Way to stick it to Blitzer haha
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 8:47 AMTo:
Born Canadian now living in the US
You have hit this topic dead on! Great work!! Being a born Canadian, now
living in the US, I am disgusted at the fact of how unethical the medical
institution really is here in the US. Growing up in Canada, it was a dream
of mine to come to America, now that I am here and watching your
documentary, it worries me that my son, who is 4, will have to pay through
the nose to get the appropriate treatment. He suffers from Asthma.
When my family and I get sick and need to see a doctor, I drive 7 hours back
to Canada just to seek medical treatment -- just to avoid the cost's of
co-pays and medication.
It sickens me to see that innocent Americans are dying each year.
Something that I noted...if an American does not pay his/her bill it goes
into collections. Don't these collections agencies make huge profits too by
affecting credits of Citizens in the US? Very shameful!
Congrats on the great success of your movie.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:27 AMTo:
kudos and a story
I am an American living in the Toronto area. I have a child born here.
When she was incubating in her mothers womb, her doctor noticed I had
some discomfort sitting. It was a cyst in my lower back that I had for
years. While I worked as a contract employee for Disney in Florida,
countless HMO's did nothing for it. This doctor in in Canada picked up
the phone, said a few words then asked me if I could be available at 8
the next morning to have it out. Just like that.
I have had a stent put in my artery for a heart condition, diagnosed
within a week and placed in me in just 6 weeks---and that was because I
had business out of the country and was gone for a month.
Health care should never be an industry. It's a basic right of all
people on this earth.
If there was any good purpose for taxation, heath care is it.
Thanks for fighting the good fight.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:16 AMTo:
Canadian Healthcare from the prospective of someone with an illness
I've been following the hoopla on American TV about the so called "evils" of Socialized Medicine especially here in Canada. What is so evil about the government taking care of all its citizens (not just those with 7 digit incomes)? That's what government is supposed to be for. CNN makes it seem that Canadian Healthcare makes us wait for unreasonable wait times for major health problems and this is just not so. They will make you wait for minor procedures and cosmetic problems (as should be). But if you are in dire straights and in severe pain you will be seen to as promptly as possible.
Back in 1993 I was living in Calgary, Alberta when I woke up one morning unable to move very well and in severe debilitating pain. I thought it was appendicitis so I called my doctor who had me in his office promptly. He too thought it might be appendicitis but wasn't sure so he called the hospital and had me admitted within 15 minutes. At the hospital they did a series of tests and soon realized my appendix was fine and had me in intensive care within the hour. There I stayed for two weeks while they did a series of test from MRI to Cat Scans as well as others to discover that I suffered from Chron's disease (inflammation of the bowel). They were able to get it under control with medications (during the first 6 months I was taking about 60 pills a day). They also hooked me up with a specialist who helped me a lot over the next few years dealing with my condition.
I moved back to my home town (Windsor, Ontario) 8 years later, after my condition got to the point where I needed to be near family (Chron's unfortunately spread from one small section of my small bowel to infect most of both) and was soon seeing a new specialist no problem. My new specialist (a very competent and professional man) recently sent me in for two tests (an Upper G.I. and Colonoscopy) and both were completed within one week of his request no fuss at all. On top of this I have other occasions were I had to be hospitalized for conditions ranging from Hydrocephalus (which I was born with), an operation to correct a lazy eye (a result of the previous) as well three broken arms. The cost of all this to me and my family has been a big fat zero!!!
Why your government chooses to vilify those like yourself and Mrs. Clinton who had the nerve to stand up and show Americans that the real evil was the Medicine for profit system that believes the bottom line is far more important then the people suffering medically. Mr. Bush is always on the tube ranting about other countries despot's crimes against humanity (sometimes rightly) but never dare talks about his governments crimes against its own citizens. To me me he is nothing but bloody two faced. All Bush seems to care about is making sure his rich buddies get richer quicker and to hell with the consequences -- after all they won't effect him only the working man and the poor and he cares nothing about them. Keep on showing your country the truth and hopefully they will toss the Republicans out on their asses.
P.S. One question that has nothing to do with this topic. How did you keep from decking Dick Clark (in Bowling for Columbine) when he ignored your valid question about that child's death and his company's business practice that played no small part. He showed a cold hearted attitude that made me want to deck him.
Monday, July 16, 2007 8:35 PM
Saturday, July 14, 2007 12:33 PMTo:
My name is Tyler, I’m 25 years old and live in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. I just finished watching the Larry King Live interview with you and Dr. Gupta. I wanted to comment on Universal Health Care, and share my story with you and everyone, so you can see the true miracle of it. I haven’t made it to the theatre to catch “Sicko” yet but I definitely want to.
Universal Health Care is something I hold near and dear to my heart. Actually, let me rephrase that... It’s something I hold near and dear to my Fathers heart. My father has always been a hard working honest man. He earned a living as a custodian for the Ottawa School Board for 23 years.
June 1999 my Father and I were moving furniture around in the living room when I looked over and saw him rubbing his left arm. I asked if he was Ok. He told me he didn’t know. I said let's take a break for a bit. Dad sat down on the couch for a while and I went to grab some water for us. When I returned, Dad was clenching his chest and told me something was wrong. I picked him up and scrambled him into the family minivan and rushed him to the hospital. When we arrived I told the receptionist, “I think my Dads having a heart attack.“ They rushed out to the van and swooped him into the hospital. They ran some tests and when all was said and done they told me Dad had suffered a stroke.
Unfortunately this was only the beginning of my father’s health problems. In the summer of 2001 Dad suffered another stroke. This time it was a really bad one and had him in the hospital for nearly 6 months. When he was released he was unable to work and we began to notice that he had suffered some memory loss. Summer 2002 a blood clot that was in my fathers system traveled up to his heart and caused a heart attack. He was hospitalized for 3 months. Then to top it off In Winter of 2003 he was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Cancer). He underwent several treatments including radiation. The radiation had a positive affect on his cancer but a negative affect on his Kidneys. They both failed on him weeks into his treatment. He went onto dialysis.
Each day my father spent in Hospital cost close to $1000.00. So we’ve been able to calculate that all together it cost nearly $250,000.00 for all my fathers medical expenses.
The amazing part about the $250,000.00 is... my father, my family, myself... didn’t have to pay a dime.
My family and I are so grateful to live in a country like Canada that has free healthcare. If we lived in the USA we would be broke, homeless and worst of all, my father would probably not be with us today.
One day everything is fine, the next day you’re sick. It happens that quickly. Universal Health Care saved my life and my fathers.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Monday, July 16, 2007 4:24 AMTo:
Another Canadian Health Care Truth
I just wanted to thank you for doing this for all the American people that Canada cares so much about. The fact that money comes before human life is appalling, but then why am I surprised? These are the same people who allowed 9/11 and Katrina to go down the way they did.
I'm so thankful I am Canadian!
I went into labour 2 months early with my son and we were both in the hospital. Me for one week, him for 3 weeks (we were really lucky!). My blood pressure went through the roof after the birth, as well as my asthma, which resulted in me having to have a "combivent" treatment every 4 hours for 6 days. They were so worried that I wasn't getting any better that they rushed me in to see the lung specialist in the hospital after 3 days, which is normally a 3 month wait. I couldn't have asked for better care.
My son was on tubes and machines for the whole 3 weeks, and everything, including the formula they used for him, was provided. With all the worry that I was doing, praying that he would survive, the least of my worries was having to pay for our care. (The hospital even makes if affordable to pay for parking all day everyday by supplying passes for a minimal fee!)
I kept thinking about how if I was American, my baby could've died and I would've been a lot worse off with the asthma. There's no way I or my family could've afforded it.
How terribly frightening that money comes before human life. Especially, in America.
Sunday, July 15, 2007 7:32 AMTo:
Dear Mr. Moore:
I'm a grandfather, 69 years old. I am a retired teacher and took my undergraduate degree at Western Washington U. Living in the states for 5 years does give me some insight into your country.
My wife and I saw Sicko, and very much enjoyed it. I did volunteer work in Matanzas, Cuba for several winters, and I've seen some hospital conditions that were rather less pleasant than those in Havana, but the point you made was made well.
I also watched your debate on Larry King with Dr. (Chupta?), and thought he was really reaching to defend his position. I admired how you did not back off.
I've heard all the bad stories about health care in Canada, particularly during the time Ms. Clinton was heading the concept of a universal health care system, and the ads I saw then were so inaccurate it was upsetting.
I've lived in Canada for 64 of those 69 years. I've had a daughter, and now have 3 grandkids. Growing up I had the usual tonsils, infections, bumps and bruises..........and a few more serious, like a ruptured Achilles tendon, and a separated shoulder playing rugby. Now I have the aches and pains of getting more mileage on my personal odometer...but never was I refused medical care, and I always was hospitalized immediately. My personal physician I can see within a couple of days if it isn't all that important, and that day if it is important. My daughter was hospitalized for 2 months because she was having twins, and there was a concern about a premature birth. No charge. The most I've ever had to pay was $25 for the rental of crutches, which I needed after my Achilles was sewn back together. I ruptured it on a Sunday, and it was repaired the next day by an orthopedic surgeon. My daughter has never had to pay anything for the care of her kids.
As the saying goes, I'm preaching to the choir. A couple I know in Iowa pay $600 a month in health insurance, she's a retired teacher. I think that's unbelievable.
I wish you every success, 47 million Americans need you.
Sunday, July 15, 2007 10:47 AMTo:
What Wait Times in Canada???
Hi Michael, I just read a couple of the testimonials from a few of my fellow proud Canadians on your Sicko site, and thought I'd add another voice in support of the Canadian Health Care system as it works in Ontario.
In January of this year I had my left hip replaced by a specialist in a Toronto hospital. I was originally scheduled to have it done in September 2006 but I asked to wait so that the recovery wouldn't spoil my fall gardening, and I rescheduled it for January when all I missed was shoveling snow. No problem.
I mentioned to my hip surgeon that I had torn my rotator cuff and had just received the results of the MRI (for which I had to wait all of 2 weeks). The hip surgeon mentioned me to a shoulder specialist in the same hospital who actually dropped in to see me the day after the hip replacement for a chat, and I gave him the MRI results on a cd. As soon as I was off crutches because of the hip replacement, I was scheduled for shoulder reconstruction surgery on April 3. Done and done.
Between the two major surgeries, I spent a total of 9 days in hospital (7 in a private room which cost me $20.00 per night - total $140 because I chose it over a semi-private room; and 2 days in a semi-private room because I chose not to pay the $20 per night for such a short stay). I've seen the two different specialists about 6 times since the surgeries, been on lots of medications that cost me $0.00 and am back enjoying my garden just as planned.
Total cost to me $200.00 -- $140.00 by choice for a private room for 7 days, and about $60.00 to rent a raised toilet seat for 3 months!!!
What wait times?
Keep up the good work. Loved your open letter to CNN. Be sure to take them on next.
Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:52 PM
Sunday, July 15, 2007 11:50 PMTo:
Canadian living in the US, the health care truth
I just watched (with tears rolling down my face) your film, "Sicko." I am
a Canadian citizen living in Los Angeles. I am without healthcare. I am
only 25, yet fear that something will happen to me that won't allow me to
fly back to Canada to receive the treatment for it. It's quite sad. I have a
job here, do quite well, have 2 university degrees...and yet can't go to the
doctor when I feel ill. I also work in the fashion industry...an industry
that doesn't offer a lot of careers In my home town of Edmonton, Alberta,
Canada. This is the US...and yet I cannot have both, a career I love and
healthcare. I can go back to Canada, rethink my entire career and work in a
profession I have zero passion for, but yet know that If I break a leg or
need stitches...I won't have to file for bankruptcy. Why are educated adults
living in an industrialized nation having to make such decisions????
I would also like to testify that the picture the US media paints of Canada’s
universal healthcare system is completely false. It already saddens me
Daily, the level of stupidity and lack of global awareness people have here
in the states. Why learn about other cultures when we are indoctrinated to
believe this is the god damn best country in the world? Who needs a
passport? Who needs to educate themselves on the wondrous joys of other
countries when the government leads us to believe, god damn it, this is the
best f*%*$% place to be. You can drive a Lexus and not have a high school
diploma, just make sure you use condoms though, because that newborn will
set you back a year salary and forget about spending time with that
expensive little treat because you have to go back to work, now!
After watching your movie, I am thinking I need to give up the snow free
winters and get my ass back to Canada. My parents are living it up during
their retirement. They are extremely well off people, do they complain about
the health care...do they get all flustered thinking, damn I could just pay
my way into not having to wait for operation X or check up Y? NO! Canadian
health care is amazing. My dad had a massive heart attack 2 years ago,
fire trucks, ambulance, doctors were there within 5 minutes, he was checked
into the hospital, they blasted out the clog, and he was home within the
week and all that came out of their pocket was the money spent on coffee and
snacks from the vending machines in the hospital. The hospital had no idea
of my parents financial standing in life and yet his treatment was just the
same as the regular Joe Schmoo who works as a janitor.
It wasn't until I moved to the states that I realized how messed up this
country is. It is all backwards. The complacency of citizens to just believe
every last thing that is fed to them...via CNN, US weekly, down to every
last government official...it's sick and it will be the absolute demise of
this nation. People in power have their bank accounts’ best interest at hand,
have the well being of their party at a higher priority...they don't give a
shit about what's best for the average person...
Americans should get their passport, spend less money on their local church
or political candidate, get out there, visit other countries , check your
ego at the door and realize America IS NOT the best country in the world and
if the 300 million of you got up and made as much noise as Michael
Moore...there might be some freaking change for the better here AND stop
being so ignorant about paying more taxes...immediate rewards aren't as
important as looking at the big picture...in the long run, pay more taxes, get
more back...it isn't socialism...because the government SHOULD provide those
things, what they shouldn't provide is the ability to BRAINWASH you into
being your own worst enemy.
Saturday, July 14, 2007 12:26 PMTo:
CNN's False Claims
Dear Mr. Moore,
I first of all want to congratulate you on having the courage to stand
up for something you believe in, even though I know you realized that
you are going to face backlash from people who have the agenda of
trying to discredit you.
I want to share with you the story of my wife. About a week ago (July
6, 2007) my wife and I went to the hospital because she was
complaining about a severe pain on her right side under her ribs. We
went to emergency at a hospital and the doctor figured that it was a
gallstone attack causing her the sudden and acute pain. Her liver
enzyme level was at almost 1000, when the normal level should be
around 50. Needless to say there was concern. The emergency doctor
told us it seems like a gallbladder issue. However, the pain subsided
and we ended up going home. On Monday, July 9th she called her family
doctor and got in to see them THAT DAY. They got her an ultrasound on
Wednesday July 11, used to diagnose the fact of if her gallbladder has
gallstones or not, and found that her gallbladder was FULL of stones,
sort of like when you get a full prescription bottle. All of these
stones represent another potential attack that she described as
feeling like she was having a heart attack.
On Thursday, July 12, she has a consultation with a surgeon,
facilitated by her family doctor, to follow up on the ultrasound
results. He told her and she needed to get her gallbladder out. On
Friday July 13, she got into the hospital and had her gallbladder
removed during an emergency surgery. All of this happened within a
week from initial pain to surgery. As I type you this e-mail, she is
sitting in a hospital bed, being taken care of by a PUBLICLY FUNDED
HEALTH-CARE SYSTEM. What's the bill going to be when we walk out of
the hospital? NOTHING, but you knew this already. I can rest assured
knowing that my wife is being taken care of, not having to sit here
and worry about how much this is going to cost or if I'll have to
re-mortgage our house in order to pay for this hospital visit.
Despite Dr. Sanjay Gupta's claim that "In Canada, you can be waiting a
long time," this has never been my experience. Medical care is given
by priority in Canada. The people who need it first, get it first. If
I come in with a broken finger, I will not be as high a priority as
someone who has been in a car accident and is clinging on to life. If
this is what Dr. Gupta is talking about in terms of waiting a long
time, than to me this makes logical sense. When there is a finite
supply of doctors, those who need care more urgently should get the
care first. Bottom line, when urgent care is needed in emergency
situations, I know we will get the care we need. What does this care
cost me in Alberta? $44 / month for Alberta Health Care. In a national
that spends ungodly amount of money on military expenditures, I have
to question where the priority of that government is.
I want to speak to American's who believe that publicly funded
health-care isn't necessary. Too many people have this attitude that
"It'll never happen to me. I might smoke, but I'll never get cancer. I
can eat fast food and neglect my body, but I won't have a heart
attack." This ignorant attitude unfortunately permeates mankind.
However, when it DOES (and it will) happen to people, they are going
to wish that they has publicly funded health-care. Statistics can be
manipulated, no doubt, but when they correlate as strongly as yours do
from various sources, it hard to make an argument against them even
though certain people with a certain political agenda will attempt to
do so regarding inadequacies of the American health-care system.
I just wanted to say thanks for taking the stand that you do. While I
am not an American, I can appreciate what you are trying to do for the
good of all Americans, not just a privileged few. If nothing else,
your film has created dialogue exposing the problems with privately
funded health-care systems and the greed associated with them.
Sherwood Park, Alberta., Canada.
Saturday, July 14, 2007 6:16 PM
Saturday, July 14, 2007 12:32 PMTo:
Another Canadian Health Care Truth
I just would like to tell you the story of my parents' retirement. It started in 1979, they motorhomed throughout North America, ever Province, Territory and State. On one of their trips in 1993, while staying in Whitehorse Yukon, my Mother had a serious stroke. The small hospital in Whitehorse didn't have all the resources to handle all my mothers needs, she was transported by commercial airline to Vancouver, the closest major city to My parents' small town north of there. The cost completely covered, all seats for my mother and a nurse, only cost one seat for my father. My mother passed in 2003, but during that 10 years all her health needs were taken care of -- Hospital stays, regular family doctor visits, drugs, physical therapy, home care, wheel chairs -- right up to the day she passed away in a hospice was all covered. I'm sure there was much more, but my father would be too proud to accept. By sharp contrast the mother of good friends, who live in the US, retired in the early 1980's. Shortly after retiring she was diagnosed with cancer. She received treatment, but near the end of her life, about 5 years after retirement, she couldn't afford groceries or rent. She was lucky to have family that could take care of these most basic needs. This would not have happened in Canada. 10 years of caring for my Mother wasn't a financial hardship for my father.
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Sat, 14 Jul 2007 09:56:05 -0700To:
Canada's Health care system
Yes, I did see your eye opening film "Sicko." I have an eye opening story about Canada's health care system. An American couple brought their seriously ill daughter to Canada to seek free medical treatment because they had exhausted all of their medical insurance, they sold their home and all of their assets and had nothing left to financial give to the United States for profit hospitals. Consequently, the United States for profit hospitals turned them away. Compassionate Canada did not turn them away. The American couple and their daughter entered the Emergency Ward of one of Canada's hospitals and the said hospital immediately admitted their daughter.
The American couple's daughter remained in the hospital, free of charge, for one year because no hospital in the United States would accept her as a patient. While Canada's government was negotiating with various governments in the United States, the girl racked up a one million dollar hospital bill, which her parents did not have to pay for. The Canadian hospital refused to release the girl until the girl was accepted as a patient in a United States hospital because if the hospital would have released the girl she would have died. Finally, after one year of negotiating the United States Government assured Canada's government that the girl would be admitted to a United States hospital and would receive hospital care free of charge.
If anyone from anywhere in the world enters an Emergency Ward at a Canadian Hospital and declares they are in pain they will not be turned away because Canada's government has a policy to admit anyone, who is in pain, into a hospital regardless of whether they are Canadian or not and regardless of their financial status.
Ms. Linda Meyer, A.A..B.A.P.B.D.
Friday, July 13, 2007 8:46 PMTo:
Timely care in Canadian health care system
I had been bothered by a weird, "curtain-like" shadow in one eye. After reading an article suggesting I might have a detached retina, I phoned my ophthalmologist. He has a waiting list that is several months long. After explaining my symptoms to his assistant, I received an appointment for the same day. He confirmed that it was, indeed, a detached retina. A detached retina is a medical emergency that can lead to blindness in the eye in which it occurs. He had me booked for surgery the next day. As a result, I was able to save the vision in that eye. There are times when you have to wait--try going to an emergency room during flu season. On the other hand, if it's an emergency, it generally gets looked after in a very timely fashion.
Good luck to your attempts to reform American health care.
Friday, July 13, 2007 9:38 PMTo:
wait times in Canada
Just went to see a doctor this afternoon. Our doctors office has an
after hours clinic that runs from 5:30pm. We were there by 5:30pm and
met the doctor by 5:40pm. By 6:15pm the doctor was done attending to
both me and my son.
Saturday, July 14, 2007 12:33 PMTo:
A Canadian View of US Health Care
Dear Mr. Moore,
I received your email this morning regarding the CNN piece on your movie and started to research the story in general. Let me just say from the couple hours I've just spent, I find it terrifying what US citizens have to go through. From a Canadian point of view (actually I'm from England originally but let's not split hairs), it boggles the mind. In Canada when you are sick or injured, you don't have to stop and think "can I afford to get better?" Isn't that the way it should be? I can't imagine having to make a monitory decisions when I have a health crisis. We feel that there is enough stress during a health issue without having to speak to a banker and getting a second mortgage as well. Call us all crazy Canucks but that's the way we think.
In watching the CNN and Larry King interviews from last week, I was confused at the motivation that Dr. Gupta and CNN had in attacking your movie (sorry I haven't seen it yet but I promise I will). I found it odd that they would pick up on some facts that can be interpreted based on the source but in the long run still told the story. Health care in the US is severely broken and there isn't anything being done about it. Isn't that the real story here? You brought it up several times when asking Wolf and Dr. Gupta the simple question. Why is the media not asking the right questions?
One of the points that kept coming up in comparison with Canada was the long wait times. As we wait we don't think about bankrupting ourselves and our families. My mum was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia 8 years ago. As I'm sure you are aware the drug costs of this disease are extremely high (80k a year X 8 years 640k). When she was first diagnosed, we didn't have to worry about how we were going to pay for this. We actually got to focus on the illness and what could be done to treat it. It was enough to think about at the time, I'm sure you will agree. I can't imagine having to have a family meeting with my two brothers regarding money. What would we talk about? Do we mortgage our houses or say bye to mum now? How much is mum worth anyway? We get the bills for her drugs with a nice fat 0 at the bottom under Amount Due. To tell the whole truth, she does have to pay a $2 dispensing fee. Boy is that a nice feeling. Since that time I've been reviewing the US health care in comparison to ours because of her illness. There were many cases of people in the US with the same form of Leukemia that had to make that very decision. How can that be in the self professed greatest country in the world?
I find myself now wondering what the US thinks of us. Yes I know that most of the US doesn't really think about Canada. Maybe they will start to a little more now. I'd be running for the boarder if I was a sick US citizen. Sure the taxes are a little higher and yes the winters a little colder but at least we get to live them knowing that if/when we need health care that it's there and it's free.
P.S. I hope your movie and the ripple it has obviously caused will make a difference. My only fear is there is just too much money to be made on sick people. It's a recession free industry. Sad, but true.
Saturday, July 14, 2007 2:25 AMTo:
Roller Blading to Home through Surgery in Less Than 2 Days
I just saw your movie in Toronto (another Canadian), and wow... I haven't seen this many people cry in a theatre, ever. Very strong piece, just like the one before. I'm waiting for a next one.
I also saw a CNN clip bad-mouthing the Canadian health care system, specifically the wait times...
2 months ago I went rollerblading, had an accident and fractured both bones in my leg - around 6:30 PM (Saturday). I was admitted to emergency and examined immediately. After determining that time is not critical for my case (I wasn't in pain), I was put on hold so a specialist can see me - around 7:30-8:00 PM. In the mean while X-Rays and blood tests were done. Specialist (surgeon) saw me by 8 PM and scheduled a surgery for 1 PM the following day (Sunday). I spent 2 nights at the hospital (and had 3 meals there) free of charge (I guess I paid by paying taxes, but it sure felt free). By Monday at 8:00 AM I was released to go home.
Anyway, in less than 40 hours time I was diagnosed, examined 4 times, and had a 1.5 hours long surgical procedure done. So the turnaround time is not bad at all, and the initial wait time of 15 minutes wasn't too bad either. The only thing I paid for were the crutches, and that is because I wanted the "supped-up" model. They'd let me borrow the wooden ones free of charge.
After seeing your movie, I am very happy this didn't happen during my 1 week LA visit around Christmas time as I didn't think insurance is necessary for a 7 day visit. Next time I go, I'm buying the most expensive plan that's offered.
National Farmers Union-Ontario CommentaryDate:
Friday, July 13, 2007 9:47 PMTo:
Canadian additional health care insurance
As some one who is a passionate defender of public health care in Canada I greatly admire what you are doing, if for no other reason than it may scare the bejeezus out of all the pro-privatization talking heads here that are funded by American for-profit businesses. They want our money for profits and Canadians are having to fight to ensure our money, all of it, goes to health care.
I have heard many of the talking heads in the States repeat the line that all kinds of Canadians are forced to buy extra health coverage. It’s true many of our employers do have such benefit plans and others join group insurance plans. But here is what it covers, eyes glasses, prescriptions, a private room in hospital, some alternative services like chiropractic care, or message therapy, dental care. They do not cover basic medical services, and the cost is very low. One political party in Ontario, Canada’s largest province is even proposing to bring basic dental care into the public system and on the national level there has been discussion of universal drug coverage. Without being too blunt- implying that Canadians are buying insurance the same way Americans do, which is really the dodge these guys are trying to pull off, on top of our progressive tax system is utter BS.
Keep up the good work. As you know we Canadians love you Americans- it is your government we can’t stand. So we all wish you the best in the campaign for sanity in looking after each other in times of need.
Friday, July 13, 2007 7:57 PMTo:
Enjoyed the movie. I felt it quick compelling and completely truthful. You Americans, really have major problems. I was watching I think, for the first time, that station called CNN, sorry don't like watching much American TV, there's really something wrong with it. One channel your watching people watching the pitfalls of a family and you Americans thrive on that. Next channel there's someone beating the crap out of someone else in some wrestling match, then there's COPS and other really weird stuff ya'll call entertainment. Yes, I'm in Canada, not much a fan of US TV, it's all a little messed up and then you wonder what's wrong with your kids. Where's homer? Sorry, had to say that, anyway, Senator Huckleberry was on denying making rude remarks about your weight and talking down about Canadian medical system. I wonder if he knows where Canada is as most US Senators believe we are South of Mexico. I've been battling Cancer for the last 18 years and not once did I ever have to stand in line for medical attention. I've had access to all the medical equipment that's necessary for my form of cancer and have to say that poor Senator is really out of touch with Reality.
The only complaints in this country about our medical system are people of a Conservative affiliation. Stands to reason. They are the only moaners. They don't like taxes, which pay generously for our medical system here and in other Countries around the World, as you found out, and when they need medical attention they wonder why they can't get it if they switched to the US system which most of them want. So for the majority of us Canadians, we turn a deaf ear to these idiots, send them to a corner and let them moan all they want. I wouldn't switch our system for an American system. It just wouldn't work here at all and YES, when Canadians travel to the USA for any reason and for any length of time, even for 1 hour, we ALWAYS, ALWAYS, buy Insurance. None of us from this Country want to be caught in any American hospital for anything. Keep up the great job, Mike. Maybe, someday, people like that Senator (Huckleberry or whatever it is) or any other Senator or for that matter, and possibly a President with no Geography background (you seem to have had many of those), may finally know, Canada is NOT south of Mexico and we're an easy going and great people as everyone else in the World knows (other than Americans, weird how that happens).
It seems most of the politicians that complain about other countries’ medical systems are the same ones that are being paid millions of dollars from the health care system that prevents Americans from becoming healthy again. Wow, you people are just so messed up down there. Must be because you’re all Capitalists living in a Capitalist country being told you live in a Democracy when you don't.
Anyways, Mr. Moore, take care.
Friday, July 13, 2007 8:23 PMTo:
A few stories about access to health coverage in Canada
I grew up in Canada and have (thankfully just) a few stories about access to health coverage in Canada under our universal health plan.
These stories start with and center mostly around my mother. My mother is one of the strongest people I know and despite a couple of significant run-ins with the Canadian hospital system, is still kicking up fuss and doing all those things mother's do.
When I was four years old, my mother was in a very serious head-on collision. My sister and I were staying with our grandparent's for a few weeks during the summer and Mom was driving up to see us. She was on the highway about half way between home and our grandparents place when she saw a speeding car coming over a cresting hill along the highway and approaching her in the wrong lane. With little time to react Mom swerved towards the shoulder of the highway to avoid the on-coming car. As she hit the gravel along the shoulder (the details are a bit sketchy here, as mom does not remember a lot of what happened after this point (nor is it particularly easy to write about). She remembers seeing a telephone poll directly in front of her. Mom remembers swerving to avoid the poll. She believes that as she swerved, she spun in the loose gravel. This threw her back across the highway, across the central meridian strip and directly into the path of an on coming cube van. The last image mom remembers was the grill of the cube van filling up her entire field on vision. The last thought she remembers was that she would never see me or my sister again.
Three things saved my Mom that day (I suppose four things if you are religious). The first was that she was wearing her seat belt. The second was that the vehicle she drove (yes it was a wood paneled station wagon) was the first model of its make that had introduced a feature wherein the engine would drop below the vehicle and the steering column would collapse upon a significant head on impact. The third was the paramedics and surgery staff.
Mom's injuries from the accident were awful. She had broken nearly every bone in her face when her head hit the steering wheel. She had soft tissue damage in her neck and in her knees which still bother her today. I remember seeing her shortly after her accident. Dad had driven up to meet her, and had he not been with her when I saw her, I would not have known who she was.
After her initial recovery from the accident, Mom was forced to pursue compensation through the vehicle insurance company to recover the cost of our station-wagon (which was destroyed in the accident) and to cover her lost wages through disability. The insurance company (a government company no-less. In Canada only government companies may underwrite insurance. Its believed they are more fair. Ever tried to get money from the government?) tried to accuse mom (quite literally) of being guilty of everything from driver fatigue and not wearing her seatbelt (this was despite the 15cm wide black bruise that ran the length of her body from her collarbone to the opposite hip) to drug and alcohol use (despite no evidence of any of this in the medical report). Thankfully, although she had to fight for compensation from the government insurer for the car and for wages, she did not have to worry about her medical treatment. Because Canada has free health care, the most important aspect of mom's recovery was safely covered.
A second (shorter) story about Mom happened when I was 12. Mom was diagnosed with cancer of the cervix (I told you she was tough!). Mom went through radiation therapy and eventually underwent a hysterectomy (here uterus was removed -- I told her she had her womb renovated). Mom was in hospital for several weeks and had to travel back to the cancer institute (yes in Canada we have entire institutes devoted to cancer treatment) a number of times during the next five years to ensure the cancer was removed. Thankfully it was and my mother enjoys good health (for a now nearly 60 year old!).
These two major encounters with the Canadian health system would clearly have required very expensive treatments. The total cost of the bill we received from the Canadian government for this health care was $0.00 (that's in Canadian dollars I should add). You would know the figures better than I would, but I suspect that similar treatments for the uninsured in the United States would be crippling. How the wealthiest country in the world can allow its poorest citizens to face bankruptcy in the face of just wanting to get well is beyond me. Many may point that the US has far more people to cover than Canada does, however, you also have far more people paying taxes. I can think of no better way to spend those taxes that ensuring the health and well-being of your people. I wonder how far the nearly $1,000,000,000,000 (that one's in US dollars) spent on this needless war would have covered in health care for Americans. How many Americans grieving the deaths of lost loved ones (not including the thousands of families who have lost loved ones fighting in Iraq) would still have their loved one, as I still have my mother, had their government spent that money more wisely?
Perhaps that is a question better asked by people in you country than by those in mine. I think we in Canada already know the answer.
Friday, July 13, 2007 11:32 AM
Friday, July 13, 2007 8:56 PMTo:
Canadians applaud SiCKO
Dear Michael Moore,
Thank you so much for making the movie SiCKO.
I am a Canadian with endometriosis, a chronic and debilitating disease. I have been firmly convinced for a long time that if I lived in the U.S. I would be dead now, because I have heard the stories of American women afflicted by endometriosis. Frequent complaints:
- they can't get coverage because endometriosis is considered to be a "pre-existing condition" ("It started at puberty and wasn't properly diagnosed for 10 years...");
- they have trouble getting adequate pain control medication because U.S. doctors are extremely reluctant to prescribe Tylenol 3 and other effective drugs ("Are you a drug addict? You seem to be exhibiting drug-seeking behavior..");
- they must pay for needed surgery and other treatments out of their own pockets ("I took out a second mortgage..")
Recently I was rushed to the local ER because of unbearable lie-writhing-on-the-floor-in-a-fetal-position-contemplating-suicide pain. In the ER I received a injection of painkiller and felt immediate relief. Treatment in the ER was free and the prescription for Tylenol 3 cost me only five dollars.
Yes, the Canadian health care system has its flaws. Yes, there are wait times for specialists, tests, and procedures. Yes, drugs, dental care, and some treatments like physiotherapy are not covered but most Canadian employers provide decent benefits. And yes, I do pay taxes - for social services I am grateful to use whenever I need them.
At the screening of SiCKO west of Toronto, Ontario, everyone in the theatre applauded.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 3:51 PM
Thursday, July 12, 2007 11:00 AMTo:
Great Canadian Healthcare Story
Share this one with the skeptics.
In a small city just north of Toronto - Midland, Ontario.
It was back to school morning my 10 year old daughter was excited and racing around the house (which was being renovated) and she got a big 4” long sliver in the bottom of her foot.
It was 8:30 in the morning – I got her to our emergency department at about 8:45 – we did not wait one minute but went straight into the ER and were immediately seen by nurse who consulted and then brought a doctor over (less than 5 minutes from when we came through the front door).
He froze her foot and got the sliver out and bandaged her up quite nicely – they let her stay until her foot was comfortable to walk on.
I had her in his class before 10am and she had a great first day of school despite how it began.
This is really a small example of how well the system works but it does work.
I have attached a radio clip that my daughter did for the hospital just recently as part of the good new stories they are sharing with the community.
Don’t give up the good fight.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 11:37 AMTo:
Doctor Wait times
Hello Mr. Moore,
I’m writing to you from Vancouver, BC, Canada. I want to let you know that I support your movie and your work as it exposes a lot of faults in the for-profit system in North America.
I also would like you to know that wait times to see a doctor in Canada aren’t nearly as bad as some media heads would like you to believe. We had to take our son to the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver recently on two occasions. On both occasions we spoke to surgeons within 45 mins. of coming into the hospital. And to top it all off, it didn’t cost us a penny. That’s what I call access to healthcare.
I strongly believe that insurance companies in the US are out there to screw the hard working American people in their quest for making money. People are dying while fighting their corrupt insurance companies who are automatically set to reject all claims. That’s not right. Maybe if the government would prioritize their commitments first, the US would regain its title of being the Promised Land. To me that means ending the war in Iraq and refocusing on taking care of its people at home. It’s been long enough without any gains, but mounting losses.
I’m not saying that the Canadian way of dealing with healthcare is that much superior, but at least its accessible and available to everyone on equal basis. The insurance companies don’t decide who should get treated and who shouldn’t. That just wouldn’t be the Canadian way. That’s the way Tommy Douglas is still such a monumental figure in Canada, so many years after his death.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 1:09 AMTo:
From an emerg nurse in BC Canada
I just watched you on CNN with Larry King and Gupta. Having not seen Sicko yet I can't comment on the movie and its contents.
Our emergency cardiac care is great. We live about 35 minutes away by lights and sirens to the closest Cath Lab. We send many patients in to the cath lab in record time. Many patients receive care from our door to the cath lab door within 1-1 1/2 hours. It is not unheard of for us to send in 3 pts on our 12 hour shift and receive them back post angios and stent. I am not sure where Gupta got his 6 days for emergent to 60 days for elective????? Possibly from disgruntled Dr.s or Pharmaceutical companies( bringing to light the studies that are Pharmaceutical driven.They would like you to believe that those with angios do no better than those who receive Thrombolitics during their STEMI...time and more studies will tell!)
Our Health care is simple......each province has its own govt. plan. If you make under a certain amt of $ per year (BC is $20,000) You fill out a form and state your income and your health care is the same as anyone elses but its FREE. You don't get a different coloured card or anything...no one knows your riding FREE. You get the same care for the same problem.
If your a young person who doesn't seem to understand the importance of health care insurance and you get hurt.......we worry about the insurance later....much later!!!! They get you to fill in the forms and submit it to the govt. If you've resided in the province for 3 months or more they will retroactive the insurance plan for you so your covered. It literally happens everyday. Street people who are ill are not denied health care.
No mother or child is ever turned away....we never dwell on insurance talk....it just doesn't happen and just doesn't occur.
Our Maternity Leave is one year paid. Unreal isn't it!!!???? That is for every working woman. We can stay home and nurture and bond with our babes without the fear of early 1st year day care....I believe you have 6 weeks in California....If you go off early that limits your after birth time at home.
I could go on and on. I don't profess we have the best...we certainly have our problems which get more each week month and year.
We still count our lucky stars that we don't have the health care of Americans. It comes up frequently in our conversations...its our greatest fear!
I have a daughter who went to Long Beach Cali to do her studies. She is finished her education and is waiting for her paperwork to start work. She has seen Sicko and enjoyed it very much. She said it was "almost" enough to make her come back home. Could you try a little harder to scare her so she does come home.....we miss her!!!
Thank you for getting people thinking and talking.....it should concern each and every person who has a PULSE!!!!!!
Much Happiness and Health to you and your family
(Mo) Maureen, RN
Abbotsford B.C. Canada
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