Sicko; a documentary about how health care insurance works for profits, but not for health..

On Friday 26 May 2017 the combined NHS campaign groups in the area, North Kirklees NHS Support Group, Dewsbury KONP and Save Our Accident and Emergency fb, following a successful fund-raiser on St Patrick’s Day, showed the documentary Sicko, about the US insurance industry…prompted by comments from the public in the town, that maybe an insurance system would be a good idea for health services in England. The New Picture House in Church Street Dewsbury, was the perfect venue. The organisers express their thanks to all involved at the New Picture House.

Following the film, audience member Patricia Foley said “The shocking thing about ‘Sicko’, is that it’s about people in the US WITH health insurance. People who, if they became ill with ‘expensive’ conditions such as cancer or heart problems, found their insurance companies would refuse to help, simply on cost grounds. More shocking still though, is the fact that these same US companies are being given the green light by this government to do the same thing here, in the name of the NHS.”

Audience member Adrian Cruden said “We all too often take our NHS for granted, assuming it will always be there. The film showed just how awful the alternatives would be. Millions of Americans even now, have no insurance but even those with it face appalling limitations on what is paid for. 

Patient after patient WITH insurance was denied vital care on spurious grounds they hadn’t pre-arranged the emergency ambulance taking them to hospital in a coma; or they took their fitting 7 year old child to the wrong company’s provider’s hospital (she was untreated and died). In one town, private hospitals were dumping elderly confused patients with insufficient insurance cover, in bare feet and hospital gown in the street near a charity shelter at a rate of one a week.

A society is defined by how it treats its sick and vulnerable and elderly. By the evidence of the film, it is difficult to describe the USA as a society at all; its surrender to the profiteering elite and its wicked willingness to countenance infants dying for the sake of shareholder dividends put it beyond the pale. God help us that this is the future Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt and Philip Hammond hope to lead us towards.”


Audience member David Smith said “The film was a reminder how disastrous a private free market insurance health system is! Upsetting and funny in parts. The film illustrated how health care was (in 2007) better in the UK, Canada, France and even Cuba than in the US!
Brief speeches before and during the intervals explained changes since 2006. The 2012 Health and Social Act effectively abolished the legal framework of the NHS.

I wish I had seen this film earlier.
Audience member Jenifer Devlin said “It is now very clear that the Government wishes to abolish the NHS and drive us down the road of private healthcare insurance. The consequence will be that we will lose universal access to healthcare for all: private insurance companies will pick and choose who they insure, they will quibble over claims and they will do all they can to avoid paying out. More and more money that should be spent on healthcare will go into the whole bureaucracy of claims, administration and private profit. We know this from the American healthcare model, where profits come before people, families are plunged into debt and destitution through illness and many people have no insurance at all. I’m 68 and apparently in good health, but I need another replacement hip and knee and like everyone else of my age I have a history of other ailments, any one of which would be enough to deny me private healthcare. And who knows what other conditions might be lurking, yet to be diagnosed? So who, when the Government abolishes the NHS and brings in private healthcare insurance, will be willing to insure me? Kaiser Permanente, United Health or any of the other US healthcare giants are going to reject me out of hand, as they will the majority of other people of my age. A National Insurance and tax funded system was designed to spread the risk over the whole population; private healthcare insurance is  designed to exclude people who might dent the profits of the insurance companies.”

Audience member John Francis said, “ The introduction was interesting. It seems health was on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in 2012. Simon Stevens was working for United Health then and his West Yorkshire STP looks set to put in place steps from a report for the World Economic Forum following the banking crash. The World Economic Forum is made up of transnational business, governments, and media. So it looks like transnational business and the Government which replaced the National Health Service with the Social Care Act 2012, are shaping the English health service to their own ends, with media support and with the doctors, nurses and health of the ordinary person as a side issue. So who’s taken control there? Not you or me that’s for sure.”

The film was organised before the announcement of the election.

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