Monday, June 18, 2007

The happy Moore on

I knew I should have deleted Letterman.

When I saw that Michael Moore was a guest and he was going to talk about his new "documentary" Sicko, I knew I should have deleted that episode from the DVR and watched a Southpark rerun.

But, I ignored my better judgment just to get a glimpse of the night's Top 10 List. The result of course, is that Moore's hypocritical babbling got my blood up to rant level.

Moore has no credibility in my book. The mere fact that he calls his propaganda films "documentaries" is only one reason. I have no intention of seeing his movie (although, you can see it for free here, if the link still works), but based on his remarks during the Letterman interview, it seems to fit the mold of his previous efforts.

(Yes, I am aware that I seem to be commenting about a movie I haven't seen. So to be clear, my comments are strictly about the interview on Letterman and Moore's characterization of his film during this interview.)

The problem is, as with most of his films, Moore starts with a conclusion (i.e., "health care should be paid for by the gubment") and then sets out to find stories and "evidence" to support his conclusion. When Letterman asks him if his movie is just a series of anecdotes critical of the American health care system, he gives this response.
"I spent most of my time traveling to other countries to find out how we could create a better system here.

In every single other western industrialized country it [universal health care] is underwritten by the government. You never have to worry about it costing anything. It's free for everyone."
That's right. Free.

I was just as amazed at this revelation as you are. It seems countries like France and Germany have found ways to compel health care workers to do their jobs without getting paid. Pharmaceutical companies gladly donate all the prescription drugs needed to ensure good health among the populations.

Of course, Moore knows that nothing is "free". He knows that under a national health care system we would end up paying even more taxes to a notoriously inefficient federal system to get, if we're lucky, the same health care we have now.

As if this wasn't enough, Moore further demonstrated his jerkoffitude while relating the story of his trip to Cuba. He pointed out that prisoners detainees at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base received better health care than people who volunteered to help during the World Trade Center recovery.
I thought, why don't we go get a boat, sail into Guantánamo Bay go right up to the naval station and say "I've got these 9-11 rescue workers here would you give them the same care that you're giving the evildoers. And that's what we did.
Moore goes on to state that he was not received well at the Naval base. Really? Ya think? So you sailed into a U.S. Naval base unannounced and you received a cool reception? Dude, given the location and the geopolitical atmosphere of the day, you're lucky they didn't torpedo you're ass first and ask questions later.

Look, the U.S. health care system has serious problems. I suspect very few people have a good understanding what they are. It's not just about who pays for health care. We have to look at why the costs are spiraling, why is insurance so expensive, why are prescription drugs so expensive? There are a myriad other questions that I don't even know about.

For Moore to sell the idea that "you can have it all for free" ignores the fact that the health care system is a system and needs to be addressed as such.

He had an opportunity to look into these issues objectively and pragmatically to make a truly informative documentary. Of course, he'll sell a lot more tickets and make a lot more money by being an inflammatory douche rather than informative.

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  1. While Moore's credibility is all over the place for the reasons you mention, you can't presume to know that any form of national health system would necessarily be inferior than what you have now - and perhaps more importantly you don't allow for the fact that a hugely significant portion of the population don't enjoy that health care now anyway?

    Or, being flawed in his approach doesn't mean he's wrong in his conclusion - even if that is where he started.

  2. Eolai,

    That's true, but neither do I assume that any form or national health system would necesarily be superior to the kind of system we have now (albeit, reformed).

    I guess what bothers me is that Moore seems to be saying that there's no way to improve/reform the current system. That is should be scrapped and replaced with a European model.

    I just don't think the homework has been done to really understand what the problems are and how to fix them.

  3. I have to agree with you. He is blind to the fact that if we had national healthcare, the system itself, in caring for patients would probably get worse.

    My friend is from England and they have national health and everyone here wants to say it's so great but she will be the first person to tell you it is not.

    She's told me so many stories. She had gallstones - and you know how painful that is. She had to wait 9 months for her surgery for a cholecystectomy b/c they labeled it as an elective procedure b/c it wasn't life threatening. That's just one among many stories I've heard and it is so unbelievable. It's almost like they forget they are dealing with human beings.

    And people want our country to be like that? They have lost their minds!

    We are better than that and we can come up with better solutions. Alot of it has to do with Greed. So that should tell you right there, that there won't ever be a real solution.

  4. Not to get policy wonkish but I tried to educate myself some time back. It is a disservice to the public to offer the panacea of government intrusion without first telling it what the tab is going to be.


  5. I can testify first hand Moore exaggerate a lot when he talks about the French and the Canadian systems since I'm very familiar with both.

    I agree with you to a certain extend : Europe is Europe, with its unique demography, society, challenges etc. To me, the French or the Canadian systems are much better than the current one in the US (and I'm not one of these US-hater ;) ) but I don't know if it would work in the US.

    Two things bother me a lot in the US healthcare system :

    - The high cost of medicine
    - The insurance companies

    Before I got Permanent Residence in Canada, I paid for healthcare. I went to see the doctor a couple of time and I had to pay $56. I was a student at the time and it was a lot of money for me, but I could afford it. But it seems like normal people can't afford to pay for healthcare at all in the US, given the high price of everything - prescription, surgery etc. Why not cap the prices ?

    And for insurance companies... Well, if they are as bad as I've heard, I would just save the money, put in in a bank account and if anything goes wrong pay out of my own pocket rather than arguing for ages that no, my condition wasn't preexistent, that I need the surgey or whatever.


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