Sicko is a social marketing juggernaut

Having spent over 25 years in the public health field , I thought I had seen everything, heard all the horror stories etc, but Michael Moore’s new documentary Sicko was a real eye opener and has come to make me realize that we don’t have it so bad here in Canada at least when it comes to health.
From a communications perspective Moore’s documentary is a slice of genius that can make you cry and laugh at the same time. He is certainly a master communicator, although he does play fast and loose with some of the facts ( e.g health care field in Canada) . But his overall message is one that every one in the health area needs to hear. As someone who worked with health promotion professionals in Cuba in the 1990’s , I was pleased to see the piece on the Cuban health system. I was always amazed that a small country like Cuba has almost as many medical doctors as does Canada and has a superb system for a 3rd world country.

Frankly I cannot imagine an American watching this movie and not being outraged. The USA is a great country and has so much going for it, why do they have such a poor health system. They may have the greatest health care professionals and facilities but there system is clearly broken. Attached is a blog that I recently read about the movie Sicko. Would be interested to hear other opinions .

By Tom Watkins / Observer and Eccentric

Michael Moore’s new film, “Sicko,” is a communal experience that begins the moment you stand in line to get tickets and continues through the laughter and moans you hear during the film to the tears and outrage you see expressed as you exit the theater. This is more than a movie, it’s an experience to share with others.

Michael Moore has done it again. He has sparked a hot conversation that has the potential to start a raging fire under our national politicians to actually do something about something that everyone admits is a problem. He has placed our system of health care under a microscope for all to see – and the sight is not pretty. Sicko shows that the only ones getting healthy under our system of care are the members of the health care industrial complex: giant drug companies, mega-hospitals and health insurers that victimize people to maximize profits.

The film is not about the 45 million Americans that do not have any health insurance, it is about the over 260 million citizens who do and still receive inadequate care. It poses powerful questions about a health care system that rations care and debates who has to the right to life-saving procedures that may deprive the system of maximum profits.

Some will argue the film is an unfair assessment of our health care system and it is Michael Moore at his demagoguery best. Others will say the film and the truth it shares will make you angry and sick.

Tapping the anger

As I stood in line to see Sicko I could over hear people talking about their painful experience dealing with the “best health care system in the world.” The anger, seems to cut across all racial, age, social-class and political perspectives. As the movie ended it seemed as though a spontaneous political protest might break out. The frustration from hardworking Americans fed up with a sick health care system is palpable.

Sicko seems to make the word “why” form on your lips. Why in such a great country, the richest country in the world, do we have the health care problems we do? Why are countless Americans, who “work hard and play by the rules,” who are God fearing, patriotic, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue-bleeding taxpayers, being neglected by the country they helped build? Why indeed?

Equal opportunity outrage

Unlike his previous films, “Roger and Me,” “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” that tended to polarize an already polarized American public by inflaming the politically conservative right and making the political left rejoice as he took on General Motors, the NRA and bashed Bush, Sicko hits a raw, national, bipartisan nerve and could, and should, stir up strong grassroots reform efforts. Sicko has the potential to galvanize people from both “red” and “blue” states to form a “madder than hell coalition” that is not going to take it any-MOORE!

Yet, Sicko also shows us in scene after scene that it will be hard to fix our health care system in ways that will benefit average Americans because our politicians are in the pockets of pharmaceutical, insurance and healthcare companies. Moore concludes that change will only happen when we, the people, rise up and demand it – in ways that politicians will be unable to avoid. Perhaps Sicko will be the catalyst to motivate us to finally address the health care crisis that polls show is the No. 1 domestic issue facing our nation.

Here are a few things you can do today:

  • Demand to know what health insurers are spending for lobbing activities at the state and national level.
  • Know what contributions your elected leaders are accepting from health insurers, health care providers and pharmaceutical companies and how they vote on health care legislation.
  • Write your United State Representative and Senator and call for universal, quality and affordable health care for all – now!
  • Demand to know how each presidential candidate is going to create a health care system that meets the health care needs of all Americans.
  • See the movie, get angry, harness the anger and take action.

About jimmintz

Managing Partner, CEPSM Jim Mintz is a veteran marketing professional with many years of experience as a practioner and academic. He is presently Managing Partner at CEPSM and Program Director of the “Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing” at Sprott School ... Specialty Areas: Social Marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications, Public Sector and Non Profit Marketing
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2 Comments

  1. celpjefscycle 12-01-2008

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  2. Dan Lawrie 07-10-2011

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