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Date: Dec 12 2007

Themes: Health, News, Pop Culture


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Documentary film maker Micheal Moore had to keep a lot of the details of his newest movie, Sicko, under wraps until it was released. After Bowling for Columbine, a film that attacks America’s gun laws, and Fahrenheit 9/11, a movie that goes after the Bush administration, when pharmaceutical companies found out Moore’s next topic was privatized health care, they locked their doors and hid.

Nonetheless, Moore was able to deliver a powerful documentary that shows that the United States is one of the worst places in the world to get sick. If you can’t pay for it, you probably won’t get the help you need like you would in many other countries in the world. Listen to Amanda and Devan talk about Sicko and health care.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Amanda:  So I finally saw Sicko, Michael Moore’s documentary on universal health care...

Devan:  How was it?

Amanda:  Very disturbing. It basically shows how every other country in the world like Cuba and United Kingdom and France and Canada all use universal health care but we can’t get on board for whatever reason.

Devan:  Why is that? We can every other country figure out a plan for everybody to be covered but us?

Amanda:  Absolutely! I’m not sure what it is. A lot of the people are afraid that with universal health care the quality of care won’t be up to par, but that’s not the truth. It’s just a paranoia of not getting the quality.

Devan:  Yeah, I talked to someone who saw that movie and they said there’s a part where they interview a doctor, I believe it was in England or France…

Amanda:  Possibly, yeah.

Devan:  ...and they were asking him how much money he makes and he lives completely comfortably just not like completely filthy rich like American doctors.

Amanda:  Exactly.

Devan:  And so if every American doctor was willing to just lower their income but still live very comfortably we could have that sort of health care program here.

Amanda:  And that’s what’s so sad. It focused on HMOs and how the United States health care system is all about profit and everywhere else is all about care, so…

Devan:  Do you think that any of the candidates running for president that are promising universal health care will come through if they actually get elected?

Amanda:  Well, the Democrats are, but we’ll see.



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Amanda says that Sicko was a good film. It’s disturbing, but it’s meant to be. It shows how even countries like Cuba which are generally not as advanced as the US have better health care systems.

Devan wonders why the US can’t get it together to have health care for everyone. Amanda says that a lot of people are convinced that private hospitals are better,but that Moore’s research shows that that’s just not true.

Plus, a lot of people are making a lot of money off of health care in the US. Devan says that if a few people took a pay cut, there could be care for everyone. Sicko shows that the US is the only country that places profit before people its health care system.

Most of the candidates running for president from the Democratic Party are promising health care reform. But it remains to be seen if they’ll come through.

How is health care in your country? Some people think that Sicko made the health care system in their country look better than it actually is. Was your country featured in Sicko? Do you think it was represented accurately?



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Well,after reading this lesson,i went to see SICKO. It`s so real.The service of health care in UK and France is great.It`s totally free.Moreover, you will be paid when you leave the hospital if you don`t have enough fare to go home.It`s really amazing! I couldn`t imagine this before i saw the film. Though they pay a high tax,they get the service they deserve.

12:28 PM Dec 13 2007 |




medical treatment system will reform in china

10:05 AM Dec 13 2007 |



I am from china.I feel chinese health care systems are not good because it takes us so much money.Sometimes we don't get good care after we spend more money.

07:50 AM Dec 13 2007 |

sam yang


You know, chinese govenment want to build the harmonious society in the next five- year plan.It is the right time for china to implement the sound health care system especially for the poor and ordinary people.

04:42 AM Dec 13 2007 |




well, i haven't seen the sicko documentary but our health care system here in the Philippines same in the united states. Its so sad that the indigenous people have no right to confined in the hospital because they cant afford the high expenses and the professional fee of the doctors. They really lived in the filthy rich but they don't mind or care about people who are in need. The rich people are the one who prioritize, I feel ashamed on it.  

04:14 AM Dec 13 2007 |



i havent seen the movie but would love to watch it just to improve conversational skills.

03:17 AM Dec 13 2007 |



i´m from chile and here, public health is one of the worst of southamerica, you have to wait frecuently more than 5 hours to see a doctor, or you have to wait out side of a room in a stretcher, even in winter, sometimes the old people died there, in my city, talca, the hospital has the worst quality, even the other day a false nurse was found working there, and that is not possible.

whereas in private hospitals you only need the money, and you will be ok.

if you have money you can save yourself, if you don´t you only are wasting time.

07:07 PM Dec 12 2007 |



Russian Federation

It is a problem in Russia too. State doctors are sometimes very rude and as for privite they are very expensive and are not very profissional sometimes…But if you make a lot of efforts u could find good state doctor. It`s not simple but real.Cool

05:23 PM Dec 12 2007 |



 I am very interested in Michael Moore's latest film, I think he is doing something very important, revealing to the world, and in most cases to americans too, that USA is not a land of fantasy, there are serious problems that have been overlooked by the country's government. The curious thing is: how come that americans have such a bad healthcare system and still they spend so much in weaponry and war around the world? It doesn't sound democratic that people can only be treated if they have money to pay…

01:33 PM Dec 12 2007 |




Fahreit man

01:24 PM Dec 12 2007 |



i am here for the first time, i like the web.

12:56 PM Dec 12 2007 |




Universal Health Care?I thought we didn't have this system in China,as seeing a doctor is also very expensive,and we're afraid to be sick,not only agonizing our body, but also spending too much money!

In China,welfare work should improve in the future.Looking forward to the development .


12:45 PM Dec 12 2007 |




I would have liked to come to the USA for treatment cause I've been suffering for the past 14 years and now I am hearing bad news from the USA in the treatment field.

12:31 PM Dec 12 2007 |




i m imran

 does anyone want to make friend me?

12:31 PM Dec 12 2007 |



i am from china

12:09 PM Dec 12 2007 |



i am from china

12:09 PM Dec 12 2007 |



I donot  know  how  to say  .i am  not watch the movie,my  english is pool  ,i  am  sorry!

11:58 AM Dec 12 2007 |



Its right what patagonia2007 is saying. The free market for medicine is broken in Germany and we pay a lot for these things. By the way its ok if we pay the development of new medicine also for other poor people in the world but mostly this is only the half truth. 

I do not like M.Moore. In Bowling for Columbine he faked real stories only to be popular. Normally this must be the dead of documentation-film-makers. His humor is flat and primitive. I like satirical very much – but not in this way -more slender and deeper -not heavy built humor. 

But I think in times full of patriotism and nationalism in United States its important to hear more critical voices in the folk. If you take a look of the history in last century of my country – you know how important are critical voices.

We cant see the movie in Germany in moment, because every movie will be synchronizing at first (bad to learning English)  I hope this movie will be munition for all politicians who want to change the medical system in USA – for example Governor of California A. Schwarzenegger. By the way how is the actual situation of his reform? Does anybody know this?



11:13 AM Dec 12 2007 |

ade zhang

ade zhang


i live in China,our medicine terms is in a bad situation.in our hospital have expensive fee.so as to lots of poor people can not cure their ill. but they do not have better ideas. in addition,the doctors and nurse have a worse serve attitude.because of shortage of competiton.

so i completely agree with people's view. our hospital change the privated.and they will live a competition position with their mates.

11:04 AM Dec 12 2007 |




I think ,not only health care we have a free education system where one of world's best.

10:28 AM Dec 12 2007 |

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