Hannah Geiger
Rhetorical Analysis Essay
AP Intensive
January 19, 2014
Rhetorical Analysis of Sicko
In the movie Sicko by Michael Moore, which was released on the 22 of June 2007, we follow
Michael to uncover the truth about healthcare and the alarming difference between America's system
compared to many European countries. To do this properly Michael follows real people and their own
true life stories. Many of these stories are struggles in America, while the stories in Europe are a
blessing. In America there are over 50 million people without healthcare. Primarily the people without
heath care are the people are being talked about in this film, but not in every case. There are also some
cases of people who have healthcare but the system is so corrupt that it is almost the same as if they
didn't have insurance at all. Because of this, Michael set out to see how similar situations are being
handled in other countries, he finds out that they aren't. Things that we have to pay thousands and
thousands of dollars for here, medically, are completely free to them there. Where it is covered in their
extremely high taxes. In his film, Michael wants to show a large amount of people, primarily citizens,
other countries healthcare systems and how they were set with an explanation as to why.
The context and purpose for Michael making this film is both Political and Economical.
Obviously, the issue of healthcare is an economical issue, because it involves so much money. The
money people have to pay to be insured, and the money that both the insurance companies have to pay
out, but more importantly how much the people who work for the companies are paid for doing their
job. This is where people get furious, there has been known cases in which insurance company
employees have made a higher annual salary based on the amount of policies denied. Proving that in
some cases insurance companies are not always looking out for the health of the people that they
insure, but their own salary.
But economics are not the only issue that is affected by healthcare, politics also have a huge part
in healthcare. Healthcare is one of the most discussed issues in politics. This is because of the fact
that health affects everyone, so everyone has their own opinion. And if everyone has their own
opinions on one topic, there is never an agreement on the topic. Which actually somewhat causes the
lack in the healthcare system because they do at some point need to make an agreement. The context is
not the only aspect that is appealed to while writing a documentary, logic and emotion are also strongly
observed as well.
In this particular film, logos is used during the comparison between America and many
European countries. Micheal tries to understand how there can be such a difference in the healthcare
systems and how we, as Americans, can't follow in their footsteps. In America, we have so many
problems with our insurance companies not covering our expenses and the amount of money that is
costs for procedures to be done. For example, in the movie we hear the story of two men with a similar
injury but it was handled in two completely different ways. The men had several severed fingers, the
major difference was cost. The man from America was given the costs for both fingers, and then was
told to choose the finger that he could afford. While the man in Europe had all fingers reattached for
free. No one should have to choose between their fingers just because they can not afford over sixty
thousand dollars to sew their middle finger back to their hand. The logic part of this is, why is that, and
how is it possible? How can people in Europe walk into any clinic and get any procedure done for
themselves for absolutely no cost to to them. The answer to that is their taxes are so much higher and
their way to healthcare is different. They do not charge a ridiculous amount of money for procedures,
which allows for all the procedures to be done with no upfront cost to them. It is all mostly paid for in
their taxes, with the exceptions of surgeries or other major procedures. Another aspect of their
healthcare system is medicine. They have to pay a flat rate of ten dollars for what ever medicine that
they need. There is one downfall, their insurance does not pay for any medicine that is prescribed. But
in the long run I guess that it is a better deal, because they don't have to pay for the medical procedure,
which applies to logic side of the whole issue. Logic is not the only device that is used to appeal to the
people targeted, emotion is used quite often, especially in this film.
Pathos is used in all of the stories that were documented and their painful hard decisions
between money and health. The emotion comes through because the audience really feels for everyone
who has to choose between money and health. This decision for everyone is the same. They so much
want to forget about money and only think about their health, but right in that sentence is the problem
money. As much as everyone wishes they could just forget about it, they can't because they have to
think about the rest of their lives. The ironic thing about this that the people who are really struggling
with money and health are struggling solely due to the fact that they are trying to fight through and beat
a serious injury or disease. So they can't give up on life and hope. They can't just spend all of their
money on their procedures, when they have the whole rest of their life to look forward to.
The film Sicko by Michael Moore wants to show a large amount people, primarily citizens,
other countries healthcare systems and how they were set with an explanation as to why. Which is
exactly what he does. Michael truly makes us, as the audience, feel for all the people that have been
affected by our own healthcare and how we can change it to help the lives of many of these innocent
people, who can't help themselves. He takes the side that we should change our system to be similar to
that in Europe, by raising taxes, employing all the doctors and other medical staff, which would
significantly decrease our cost, but it would also mean that we are all paying for each other's medical
insurance. This is where America differs from many other countries. There are so many that are
unemployed and are not really trying, but are going to be just living with everyone else's tax dollars.
The Europeans think that it is just the way it is, that if it were them other people would pay for them, so
they should help others with the same problem. In America people's opinions are that they, personally,
work extremely hard for their money, and they shouldn't have to pay for other people who don't work
as hard as they do. Michael Moore does a fantastic job explaining the difference and introducing the
idea of making this system into America and the positives with that idea. The only thing that Moore
does not mention, and if he did it would just make his argument stronger, is the negatives. There is
always two sides to every story, and this film is only one sided.
Works Cited:
Moore , M. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.michaelmoore.com/books-films/facts/sicko
Moore, Micheal. Sicko. Released June 22, 2007.