Monday, June 25, 2007

NY Times on "SiCKO" and Cuba

Michael Moore's new film "SiCKO" uses Cuba as a foil against which to compare American health care. But how good are things in Cuba? According to this May 27, 2007 New York Times article, the Moore movie only tells part of the story:
Having practiced medicine in both Cuba and the United States, Dr. Cordova has an unusual perspective for comparison.

"Actually there are three systems," Dr. Cordova said, because Cuba has two: one is for party officials and foreigners like those Mr. Moore brought to Havana. "It is as good as this one here, with all the resources, the best doctors, the best medicines, and nobody pays a cent," he said.

But for the 11 million ordinary Cubans, hospitals are often ill equipped and patients "have to bring their own food, soap, sheets -- they have to bring everything." And up to 20,000 Cuban doctors may be working in Venezuela, creating a shortage in Cuba.

...Until he had to have emergency surgery last year, Fidel Castro -- who turned 80 this year -- was considered a model of vibrant long life in Cuba. But it was only last week that he acknowledged in an open letter that his initial surgery by Cuban doctors had been botched. He did not confirm, however, that a specialist had been flown in from Spain last December to help set things right.