To prepare for the film, Michael posted a message on his website asking people to send him their healthcare stories. The response was overwhelming. "I got over 25,000 letters from people. People who were dying. And I just thought … people are going to die while we're making this film," he says. "Twelve thousand babies this year are going to die because they didn't have health insurance, whereas if they were in Germany or France or another country, they'd live. … And the only reason that they're dying is because they're an American? I just think there's something wrong with that."
So Michael decided to visit three countries with socialized medicine—Canada, Britain and France. The government—not insurance companies—assumes all healthcare costs for its citizens.
And, while some people think that having socialized medicine is un-American, Michael says we already have similar government-funded institutions in this country, such as fire departments, police departments and public schools. "We don't expect the fire department to turn a profit. It would be an appalling thought," Michael says. "And the reason we don't is because it's a life and death issue. Well, healthcare is a life and death issue. And that's why turning a profit…that has to be removed from the system."
To fix the system, Michael says our country needs to start thinking like other Western countries. "They think about the we. Not the me," he says. "They think, 'We're all in the same boat, and we sink or swim together.' And if too many people fall out of the boat, something happens to the boat."