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Case in Point: United HealthCare & Michael Moore's "Sicko"


Filmmaker Michael Moore is at it again, this time armed with a documentary about a topic we all love to hate - the US healthcare system. Sicko, his film, is being aired in Cannes for the film festival, and draws attention to the 47 million uninsured Americans. Moore compares the US system to that of Canada, Britain and France in the film. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks the US system 37th in the world while France is ranked the best healthcare system.

As if fate wanted to drive home the director's point, the State of Nebraska Department of Insurance announced a $650,000 settlement with United HealthCare. The insurer, which covers 250 million Nebraska residents, broke Nebraska laws 800 times. Failures cited were: decision delays, bad decisions, and bad information given to consumers. Poor UHC - the nation's second largest health insurer was involved in the October 2006 shake-down down due to stock option backdating. Like many other companies, they got caught issuing the stock on one day, but pricing them as if they had been issued at an earlier date. Joe Paduda writes the informative blog, Managed Care Matters and he can't get too mad at UHC for trying to streamline their lab practices, consolidating with one preferred partner, LabCorp. Besides cost-savings, the rationale is that enhanced data mining and analytics could improve UHC's disease management strategies. I used to work in insurance myself. Until we come up with a better system, nationwide, you have to believe they aren't all bad. Smart, caring people work there. Yes, they want to make money, but they want to help, too.

Moore's film, which opens in the US June 29, focuses on the shabby healthcare treatment of the heroes of 9/11. Mt. Sinai Medical Center released a study last year connecting inhaled dust at ground zero with the numerous health problems suffered by thousands of workers. Studies indicate that 70% of Ground Zero workers have respiratory problems and many lack health insurance. The report states that 40 % either never had health insurance or lost their insurance after they became too sick to work.

Sicko: The Movie

Thank you slagheap for use of your WTC 9/11 photo.
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