Michael Moore is in Washington today for a screening of his crockumentary, Sicko. What’s alarming is not his pre-school level of comprehension about the health care market and pharmaceutical industry–but the fact that so many share and swallow his uninformed views.
The NYPost’s Kyle Smith has a devastating review here. An excerpt:
Regardless of whether any particular claim in “Sicko” is true, no one doubts that lots of insured and uninsured Americans face health-care crises. So far, Moore is master of the obvious. We all hate insurance companies and red tape, and we all want to improve the system. Where do we go from here?
To France, Britain and Canada, says Moore, who presents each of them as a health-care paradise. But lots of people in those countries have health-care nightmares of their own. Here’s how easy it is to lie by anecdote: Say I wanted to make a film about gay black Republicans who live in Chelsea. I find ten of them, make a film about them, and you walk out of the theater thinking: Wow, so many gay black Republicans in Chelsea! The six years it took me to find these ten guys will go unnoted.
All three countries are edging away from how Moore portrays them. Moore knows that in France, where he praises not only the health service but limits on working hours, expansive unemployment benefits and the country’s three preferred forms of exercise—street-marching, banner-hoisting and strikes—a new conservative president was just elected by promising to cut back on such nonsense. (According to Moore, if you need a babysitter or help with the laundry, the French government will send a trained professional right over.)
Everywhere he looks, Moore finds French happiness. But this phrase is as close to an oxymoron as French rock. In a poll, 85 percent of the French recently said their country is heading in the wrong direction. Right direction? Nine percent. In France in 2003, 15,000 mostly elderly hospital patients died in an August heat wave–because hospitals lack air conditioning and doctors were on vacation. The French parliament blamed the health care system. That’s five times 9/11’s toll, all of it preventable, all of it unlamented by Moore.
Moore knows that in Britain, where National Health Service spending has more than doubled since Tony Blair was elected, with little to show for it, there is a two-tier health system: the smart set carry private insurance, which Moore wants to outlaw in the U.S. The cliché in London (check out this story and this one) is that the well-shod go to the same doctor as the suckers on the National Health Service. The difference is that private clients get treated right away while the NHS losers wait two years to get their strep throat looked at.
Moore glosses over wait times, hoping his audience is too stupid to notice. He asks a handful of Canadian patients how long they had to wait to see the doctor. Oh, 20 minutes, 45 minutes, everyone says. So if Moore finds five people who didn’t have to wait, there’s no waiting for anybody!
Reality-based documentarian Stuart Browning, who has chronicled health care woes in Canada, has a new video out that tackles the myth of the uninsured in America. Watch it.
The real “Sicko,” he says, is socialized medicine. Indeed.
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