No matter how you feel about Michael Moore, his new movie has highlighted an often overlooked issue in healthcare: many who think they have insurance find that, when they need it, their coverage falls short. I don’t think of his movie as a true documentary because he is, as usual, highly partisan in how he presents things. He is a polemicist, and opinionated polemicists are always loud and sometimes obnoxious. They are also wrong at times.
None of that matters here to me. What he has accomplished is to get this issue to the forefront, at least for a while. Even the New England Journal of Medicine is talking about Sicko; you can find a fairly dispassionate discussion about the movie here. It is a good review of the situation, and I recommend it.
For myself, I have encountered families who suddenly find their insurance contains key coverage gaps regarding what their critically ill child needs in the PICU, or at least in how reviewers at their insurance company interpret that coverage. It is difficult enough to have a child in the PICU; haggling with an insurance company over the telephone can add a crushing additional emotional burden to their situation. All parents want the best for their child, so a PICU admission is not the appropriate time to ask them to weigh the costs of a particular treatment and decide on that basis if they want it or not.