'Sicko': Heavily DoctoredRead the whole thing.
Is Michael Moore's prescription worse than the disease?
...Unfortunately, Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never more so than in this film. His cherry-picked facts, manipulative interviews (with lingering close-ups of distraught people breaking down in tears) and blithe assertions (how does he know 18,000* people will die this year because they have no health insurance?) are so stacked that you can feel his whole argument sliding sideways as the picture unspools. The American health-care system is in urgent need of reform, no question. Some 47 million people are uninsured (although many are only temporarily so, being either in-between jobs or young enough not to feel a pressing need to buy health insurance). There are a number of proposals as to what might be done to correct this situation. Moore has no use for any of them, save one.
As a proud socialist, the director appears to feel that there are few problems in life that can't be solved by government regulation (that would be the same government that's already given us the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles). In the case of health care, though, Americans have never been keen on socialized medicine.
Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute has this to say in the July 4 Pasadena Star-News:
'Sicko' serves up health care lies
...Moore also ignores the limits, restrictions on access, and rationing of care in single-payer health care systems in Canada, the U.K., and elsewhere. In Canada, for example, more than 800,000 people are on waiting lists for surgery and other medical treatment, with some forced to wait months or even years for the care they need.
The promise of universal health coverage doesn't always translate to timely medical care, especially for those with serious medical problems. A Canadian citizen who needed hip replacement surgery was condemned to spending many months in pain waiting for the state to get around to treating him. Unwilling to wait, he sued his provincial government because he was denied the right to buy private insurance to pay for prompt surgery.
...One of Moore's core arguments in "Sicko" is that profit in the health sector is evil and that we should rid our health care system of private "for-profit" physician practices, hospitals and suppliers. He and other single-payer advocates are convinced that a generous and benevolent government would put doctors and hospitals back in charge of decisions.
Why, then, are doctors and hospitals today forced to follow more than 110,000 pages of rules and regulations in our Medicare program serving
42 million seniors? Imagine the libraries that would be filled with the rules to run a system for 300 million!
In our own government-run health care systems - Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA - government micromanagement and price controls are the norm. Government makes decisions about what will be covered, under what circumstances and for whom, and how much doctors and hospitals will be paid for their services. And government seldom gets it right - overpaying for some and underpaying for others, but also inducing over-consumption of health care.
Moore's new film certainly makes for compelling viewing. The problem is that it also makes for an incomplete picture of what socialized medicine is really like.
After all, it would've been impossible to fit all the Britons and Canadians languishing on waiting lists into a neat, two-hour movie.
In a separate piece in the June 29, 2007 Baltimore Sun, Grace-Marie Turner also asks:
If Michael Moore's waistline ever puts him in the hospital for heart surgery, it will be interesting to see where he goes for medical care -- the Mayo Clinic, or Cuba?