American v. French Health Care Systems

Health care systems refer to the comprehensive network of agencies, facilities and all other health care providers in a specified region. Usually, nursing services are considered an integral part of the health care systems. Health care systems vary from one country to another, due to diverse social conditions, economic conditions and health policies. Michael Moore, through his controversial documentary film, correlates the US health care system with other countries’ health care systems (Moore, 2007).

By comparing the American health care system with the French health care system, Michael Moore criticizes the American health care system of abusive financial practices, geared by chief insurance companies and politicians. From Sicko’s perspective, American health care systems, value money at the expense of human beings. Similarly, Michael’s documentary displays shocking evidence of illegalities perpetrated by US medical insurance companies (Moore, 2007).

The documentary captures testimonies from some of the people who have been denied medical coverage for ludicrous reasons. In the film, some of the US insurance companies’ employees disguise themselves as federal agents, before investigating their client’s past health conditions to deny them medical health insurance (Moore, 2007). This illustrates how the US healthcare system focuses more on profits to the extent of expanding unethical practices.

In accordance to Sicko film, 50 million Americans are uninsured, whereas in France 96 percent of the population receive free medical care (Moore, 2007). With this wide disparity, Michael suggests that Americans should learn from the French health care system, and work towards the achievement of an efficient and fair health care system.

Unlike the US health care system, France’s health care system is considered the most effective health care system in the world (Moore, 2007). As illustrated by the movie, the main source of French national insurance program funds is income tax. These payments are passed through the quasi-public insurance funds, where doctors’ charges are then set (Moore, 2007). As a result, doctors are able to choose where they can work, outside the system. In addition, the system allows the government to regulate hospital fees. Therefore, this maintains the medical cost as low as possible.

Within Sicko, French people live longer and have healthier lives as compared to Americans (Moore, 2007). Michael asserts the improved health care system to the good care starting from birth. To support his claim, Michael illustrates that France’s infant rate was 3.9 per 1000 people compared with seven per 1000 in the US. Additionally, sicko affirms that the life expectancy in the US was 77.4, two years less than in France (Moore, 2007).

Critically, Sicko elucidates the difference between the two countries heath care system, by comparing the effectiveness and the number of the heath care institutions and resources in the two countries (Moore, 2007). The documentary indicates that France has more doctors and hospital institution than the US. Through this analysis, the director specifies that the US can realize the same health gains if only they adopt similar and appropriate policies and strategies.

In the documentary, Michael inquiries from the US experts stationed in France indicates why French’s health care system is very expensive to provide, but is considered one of the most expensive in the world. On the contrary, the US health care system provision is not as expensive as the French is, yet more costly with ineffective services (Moore, 2007).


Moore, M. M. (Director). (2007). “Sicko” [Documentary]. United States: Michael Moore.

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