For nearly two decades, filmmaker Michael Moore has produced movies about a number of sociopolitical issues. From the outsourcing of American jobs to gun control laws to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Michael has led heated debates among Americans through his films. His newest film, Sicko, takes a closer look at the American healthcare industry. Dr. Oz talks with Michael about the discoveries he made while researching and filming the movie.
In Sicko, Michael investigates the problems with the U.S. healthcare industry, and shows how health insurance companies in America are driven by profits. To do a comparison, Michael went to several other countries to see how effective government-run healthcare can be. While no country has a perfect system, Michael says America can learn a lot from other countries and make an efficient, government-funded healthcare system a reality. "Let's cherry pick—there is one thing Canada does right, there is one good thing Britain does right, there is one good thing Taiwan does right," he says. "Put it together and make it the American system—the melting pot." he says.
Since making Sicko, Michael says he has started eating healthy and working out with a trainer, which has helped him to lose 30 pounds and regulate his cholesterol and blood sugar levels. "One thing I learned while making this film is that there is one way to beat the [healthcare] system, and that is to take care of yourself," he says. Michael says preventing illness is important because when uninsured people get sick, their options are limited. He says the uninsured often cannot get the medical treatment they need, and if they do receive treatment, they are expected to pay large medical bills out-of-pocket. "Medical bills right now in our country are the number one cause of bankruptcy and number one cause of homelessness—this is a huge problem," he says.
Before and during the filming of Sicko, Michael says he received more than 25,000 letters from uninsured people, many with life-threatening illnesses. Michael says the hardest part about making movie was seeing some of those people succumb to their illnesses. "People died that we were trying to film during the making of this movie because they couldn't get the help they needed," he says.
Michael says he understands that many people do not like the idea of socialized, universal healthcare systems, and he expects some people to oppose his film. While not everyone will agree with his point of view, Michael says he hopes people will see that the American healthcare system is flawed and needs to change. "This has to change, and we have to remove the profit motive from health insurance," he says. "There should be no private health insurance companies operating for profit."