In the tradition of his other films, Moore moves "Sicko" along through a cherry-picked collection of anecdotes that best support his thesis: evil insurance companies employing a band of well-paid people to deny you treatment are making you sick. Meanwhile, he asserts, our neighbors to the north and across the pond are flourishing in the loving care of a robust medical care system paid for solely by the government.
And he tantalizes viewers caught in a landslide of inflating drug costs and premiums with the constant reminder that in those places, every doctor's visit and hospitalization are free, and medications cost a mind-bogglingly tiny price.
But Moore's is no C-SPAN camera, capturing all the dry policy details and problematic issues that make health care reform such a tough nut to crack. In fact, notes MUSC President Ray Greenberg, it's not even "Anderson Cooper 360," the jazzed-up, Gen X-grabbing nightly news magazine.
This isn't to say that Moore's film is a reel of fiction. He does cast attention on pressing problems, especially those that affect the elderly and terminally ill. It's just that it seems "there's always more to the story than what he tells," says Dr. Patrick Cawley, executive medical director of the MUSC Medical Center.
As a physician who has cared for just about every type of hospital patient, he knows that most sick people have a complex story that can't be told in a 30-second, horror-filled snippet.
Restricting development is one possible aid to the problems, though it would not be popular. It also could affect the coast's economy.