Arnold Kling views Sicko and talks about an end of life care example the film brings up:
The case was of an African-American man who died of kidney cancer. His weeping wife had been told by a doctor that there was hope from a bone marrow transplant, but the insurance company denied the treatment. You were left to conclude that the decision was based on profits or racism.
After the movie, I did a quick search on Google and Wikipedia for the treatments of kidney cancer, and I could not find bone marrow treatment. This reinforced the gut feeling that I had during that segment of the movie, which is that the guy’s cancer was so far gone that none of the standard treatments was going to work, and the bone marrow idea was a desperate, last-ditch “hail-Mary pass” that had no proven track record of success . . .
. . . In these sorts of cases, my guess is that other countries do not use as much hail-Mary medicine. My guess is that they tell the patient there is nothing more that can be done, and instead try to help the family let go.