"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
July 23, 2007
Even if you've been hiding in a cave on a deserted Pacific island for the past 50 plus years, you probably know Michael Moore has a new movie out called Sicko. In his latest attempt at documentary film making, Moore takes on the US health care industry, armed with his usual reality bending anecdotes and distortion of facts. In all honesty, I have not seen the movie (I have better things to do with $8), but I have caught some scenes from the movie and interviews with the calorically challenged Moore .
Moore is correct in his assertions that healthcare in the US leaves a lot to be desired and that the government and insurance companies are in bed together, doing things that would make both the Marquis de Sade and Larry Flynt blush. Unfortunately, Mr. Moore points in the wrong direction when it comes to solving the problem, much as when he insinuated in 'Fahrenheit 911' that electing Al Gore would solve America 's problems.
Moore is obsessed with Canada 's healthcare system and infatuated with Cuba 's. He offers up lots of anecdotal evidence and questionable statistics (they come from UN organizations). Scenes of clean Cuban hospitals with satisfied patients are the most troubling. When viewing such scenes one must be aware of the fact that Cuba is ruled by tyranny and fear; uttering the wrong phrase or running afoul of the official party line can land a Cuban in jail or worse. Keep in mind that very little happens in Cuba without the blessing of its communist government. Taking all this into consideration, it is easy to see how Moore is able to find a clean hospital with smiling and satisfied patients. The real picture isn't quite so perfect.
In an interview on ' ABC News Nightline,' Moore states that 'there is artistic and religious freedom in Cuba .' This clearly proves that Mr. Moore is more than willing to sacrifice the truth in order to make his distorted points. He wouldn't have to go as far as Cuba to tell the story of Amado Veloso Vega, a Cuban man who lost his legs while trying to escape Moore's healthcare nirvana (like hundreds of thousands of other Cubans). Later he was denied certain treatments by the state-run Cuban healthcare system because he was a 'malcontent.' But Amado's story and that of hundreds of thousands more like him trapped in Cuba did not serve Mr. Moore's purpose, so he conveniently ignored them.
Canadians themselves are locked in a debate over their own healthcare system. One thing is certain: Canadian pharmaceutical companies aren't trailblazers when it comes to coming up with new, innovative drugs, for the most obvious reason: they have no incentive to do so. Supporters of Canada 's healthcare system base their support on a very faulty premise, that governments are benevolent and caring entities. The undeniable truth is that governments are controlled by and populated with very fallible individuals, who have their own preferences and prejudices and very little or no incentive to please a captive clientele (see Medicare and Medicaid).
Healthcare is a commodity. Until we are all ready to admit that, we will continue to go in directions that lead to certain misery and failure (I would include death but we're all headed there regardless of healthcare). People must have an incentive to find cures for deadly and debilitating diseases (that afflict others), or to treat patients with the flu, as well as those with deadly or debilitating diseases. This explains Cuba 's biggest distinction when it comes to healthcare: it has a disproportionate number of doctors driving cabs and waiting on tables (waiters and cab drivers that serve tourists earn more than doctors in Cuba ). Sure, there are examples of folks who provide services out of the kindness of their hearts (and should be appreciated for doing so), but they are the exception and not the rule. That's not to say that doctors who run for-profit practices will not see patients for free or reduced rates in certain circumstances--they often do.
In an interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, Moore was combative when challenged by some simple facts. He resorted to referring to 'Fahrenheit 911,' saying that he was 'right about the war,' then continued to babble on as if he were the only one who had expressed opposition to the war. The reality then as now is that many (unfortunately not enough) folks opposed the war and spoke out against it, without distorting facts or profiting from their opinions as Mr. Moore did. This clearly shows that apart from being deceitful and disingenuous, Mr. Moore has an ego larger than his Twinkie stuffed face.
Michael Moore has created his own religion, complete with obfuscation of reality, anecdotal testimonials, and blind faith. Instead of dumping their hard earned money into the offering plate on Sundays or listening to the incessant banter coming from the pulpit, Moorites spend their money to sit in the theater like drones and ingest every factoid their own messiah spews forth. Mr. Moore should improve his own healthcare situation before trying to solve everyone else's, or is his holiness above putting down the cheeseburgers and getting on a diet or joining a gym?