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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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I haven't seen the film so far.

In Germany we still have a very good health system but it is getting worse. The whole system is partly financed by the fees of the health insurance everybody must pay. But the current problem is that medical treatments and medicine  are getting very expensive due to new technologies et cetera. But they cannot be covered by the fees of the health insurance anymore. Therefore insurance contribution has to be raised and so it won't be obtainable for everybody in future. So today some treatments are not being covered by the health insurance.

Moreover Germany is facing a declining generation of young doctors. Working conditions in German hospitals are really bad and salaries are quite low. As a result young doctors are going abroad, e.g. to UK, in order to work there in better conditions. 

10:24 AM Dec 12 2007 |




it`s really a popular topic.I like the documentary film maker,sicko,very much.I have seen some of his films,such as Fahrenheit 9/11.

the health care is bad in our courntry-china,may be werse than US.the service of doctors and nurses in most hospitals is terrible and the medical fee is very expensive. what`s more ,the hospital pay more attaintion  to profits rather  than the life of the patients.Many patients in poor condition are died because lacking the bality of affording the medical costs.So,I hope that the govenment can take some measures to change this situation.

10:17 AM Dec 12 2007 |



Viet Nam

in Vietnam, it's up to you. if you are rich you can  go to international hospital or choose the best service. But if you are poor, of course you can not get the best one.Most of people have insurance but it take too long

10:05 AM Dec 12 2007 |




too expensive in china

09:44 AM Dec 12 2007 |

Green Alice

Russian Federation

In Russia universal health care is declared, but it is not really "universal". It is based on insurance certificates, which are valid only in one hospital of your district (where you can get medical help for free). Such hospitals are usualy crowded by people, and attitude to the patients is awful. Moreover, many people can't get free health care, because they don't live in their home cities.

Last time I was sick I went to my "free" hospital. Staff was very rude there, and I felt miserable in addition to illness. Yes, I had X-ray photography for free (and that was great), but it was so depressing to stay there that I preferred to go to a private clinic.

08:59 AM Dec 12 2007 |


Sri Lanka

When it's comes to heath care system in Sri Lanka i always think that i'm lucky to born in Sri Lanka because in our country we have a free health care system which is in par with the private hospitals and some times better. Government is bearing the cost of all the expencess in government hosptals. Not only health care we have a free education system where one of the world's best

08:51 AM Dec 12 2007 |


Sri Lanka

When it’s comes to heath care system in Sri Lanka i always think that i’m lucky to born in Sri Lanka because in our country we have a free health care system which is in par with the private hospitals and some times better. Government is bearing the cost of all the expencess in government hosptals. Not only health care we have a free education system where one of the world’s best

08:51 AM Dec 12 2007 |




I think ,in our country,it should improve  health care system.In China,there are many people who can't afford some huge medical fee.And for that I don't know how many people will die because of that.So I intensely demand our country to give more attention to those people.Be here I say 'thank you' on half of poor people!

06:52 AM Dec 12 2007 |



from the dialogue about the  healthy care of america, i know some persons are not content with their healthy care system. they blame the stytem for ite privatcy and only caring for profit. and they admire the healthy care ststem for its universal character. i disagree the views. for instance, in my country, the hospital is common, situation like to be worse. you know, the health  care issue has been a big problem in china. espically for poor and low level person can't pay for their expensive fee. to our's sad,the service attitude is so ugly and unacceptal. maybe the hospitals lack enough competition. so i think making hospital private is profit to people.  it is more important for government to take the blame to serve their people from their heart.

06:24 AM Dec 12 2007 |




        when   i was in bad   conditions. Or when i am unhappy.


06:04 AM Dec 12 2007 |



I haven't seen Sicko yet,and I don't know whether China is included in or not.I thought the Health Care System was well performed in America,well form this dialogue It seems not.American doctors are among the top 20 richest careers in the country which is a far cry from here in China.We don't have universal health care too.And the poorest populations here are usually not covered.Both the doctors and the patients are complaining,for the former can't get well paid and the working condition is becoming worser,and the latter can't get good care.This is problem of the system,the government,but not the doctors or the patients.But since it is the patients and doctors who contact with each other directly,so the relationship between them is getting tenser and tenser.I think it is a very complicated issue which involves also in the area of politic and economy.It can not easily be clarified in just two or three words.And It also need a long time to settle  it.

Just for America,I don't think the problem can be  sovled easily by cutting the pay of doctors,though they are really filthy rich.

Let all together looking for the day when all the people in the world can be covered. 


03:00 AM Dec 12 2007 |




I live in Brazil and we talked about this documentary in our english classe at UpTime Consultants. The health care in my country is very human. People use to pay attention on your problems in the private and in the public hospitals. Sometimes people might say that the public hospitals are caothic but it is not true. Doctors and nurses do what they can to take care of the patient, even when the hospital are full. And I have many examples of that. I was really shocked when I saw those problems in the US, witch I considered to be and example of techonology… well, seems to be true in tech, but related about the human care…. too bad!

02:27 AM Dec 12 2007 |

english speaker


well, come on boy it help me a lot, I was just thinking abbut to live in america, but it’s good to know about such problems, that sucks…thanks man, I apriciate that…

02:03 AM Dec 12 2007 |





01:50 AM Dec 12 2007 |

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