Thursday, June 28, 2007
Examining Sicko
The latest film from director Michael Moore opens across the country this weekend. "Sicko" is Moore's examination of the health-care system in the United States and how it compares with health care in other countries.

CNN Medical started hearing about "Sicko" more than a year ago. About a month ago we started receiving messages of support for Moore and the film from various organizations - and an equal number criticizing "Sicko." I am still not sure how many of these groups had seen the film before sending out their "reviews"... but considering that the film's nationwide opening is still a day away, I have my doubts.

CNN is covering "Sicko." Moore will be the guest on "Larry King Live" Friday night. Following Larry King, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, will offer his analysis of "Sicko" on "Anderson Cooper 360." Dr. Gupta has fact-checked the film, and his findings might surprise you. He also will introduce you to a 9/11 rescue worker who is featured in Moore's film. She joined Moore on a trip to Cuba in search of high-quality, affordable care for health issues stemming from her work around ground zero.

Do you plan on seeing "Sicko"? What changes would you make to the U.S. health-care system?
The answer to "Sicko" is very simple, we need single-payer universal healyh care. It is time we come in line with rest of the modern industrialized countries and quit favoring insurance and pharmacuticals corporations. We have become,unfortunately, The United States of Big Corporations, much to the detriment of the overwhelming majority of Americans.
I plan on seeing "Sicko" when it comes out on Friday. I am interested to see the public reaction to the ideas and facts presented by Michael Moore. I hope that this movie will incite some movement toward health care reform that health care providers all recognize needs to happen. The facts presented are unlikely to be new. Health care workers know that our health can be better. Can our country make decisions to use health care money to cover uninsured for pregnancy, well child care, better nutrition, more exercise and education about health? Can our country make a decision to eliminate the insurance industry feeding off our public through exorbitant CEO salaries and high cost of providing care through the process of denial of care? Can our country find a way to continue to innovate in drug research while keeping the cost of medications low? The business of medicine is a huge and lucrutive field. The providing of that care is not so lucrutive. The truth is our society is not currently willing to make changes to move us forward in health as a nation. To do this would require dietary prudence, more exercise, smoking cessation, covering all patients with basic health care and taking the "business" away from providing care.
Jon Zonca, MD
Yes I plan to see Sicko. I'm interested to see where these insurance premiums are going and find out how in the world did healthcare become such a mess.

It's interesting when I was a child (I'm now 35), my parents did not have medical insurance. We couldn't afford it. Whenever any of us got sick, we paid our doctor cash. He had one receptionist and one nurse because back then, it wasn't necessary to have insurance and "be in his network" to be seen. Luckily we were all healthy and only needed a yearly physical and maybe a trip twice a year if we caught a nasty cold that turned into a sinus infection. I think of how much money I lose in my paycheck going to premiums now and it angers me that as a healthy individual, I'm required to pay for services that I use once or twice a year at most. I truly believe that this whole insurance situation needs to be done away with. Healthcare is not a luxury and shouldn't be treated as such. There must be some sort of happy medium where we the people can just pay our doctor directly and have government assistance available according to what we earn annually.
I am very happy to hear about this and am looking forward to it. I would love to see more quality fact-checking from our news organizations.

This is what the term "quality programming" means. An hour of talking to Paris, followed by an hour of talking about Paris, is a great invitation to go out to the movies, as I did last night, rather than having your brian implode from over-exposure to stupidity.
First I would like see the Larry King show and Sanjay Gupta's facts finding comments on Anderson 360.I have not seen the movie but-will see it depending on these shows.L
Reading Moore's interview in US News & World Report--I like his point about middlepersons messing up Doctor-Patient relationship.My doctor and other doctors tell me that they are dictated by the system on"How to practice medicine and not what they would like to do".This is going on for more than 15 years.
I am not sure of Single Payer System idea proposed by Moore.
All the comparisons with Europe,Canada,Japan are misleading.EXAMPLE: WIRELESS CAPSULE ENDOSCOPY sales are close to 100 million$ in 2007 in USA and only 30 million$ in rest of the world.This product was introduced in Europe.Prices in USA and W.Europe are same.My point is that Medical technology available outside USA is not as advanced as in the USA.That is why all the sheikhs prefer Johns Hopkins,Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic for their treatment and for their hospitals in middle east.
We have good doctors and bad doctors and we have good hospitals and bad hospitals.They all charge/are paid the same amount.THERE IS NO TRUE COMPETITION.If I have stroke--NY law says that ambulance will take me to the nearest hospital-even if another hospital 10/15 miles is better.PATIENT HAS NO CHOICE--to circumvent that--I must go by car to the hospital I like.If I want to see a Gastroenterologist for my GI problem,Insurance wo'nt approve,but they will pay for 250$ for ER doctor who does not realize that his diagnose of STOMACH ACHE for Crohn's disease is wrong.
PATIENTS SHOULD BE GIVEN THE CHOICE to choose their doctor/specialist and hospital in truly emergency like Stroke,Heart attack,trauma accident.
Moore is right--Patient has lost control and Doctor has lost control.
Fixing that problem is important,but will not happen as the attention is "to insure the 40 million without Health insurance."
Dr.Sanjay Gupta,
Look forward to your comments on SICKO.
Please look into the Incredible story of IAN DUNCAN in BEACON NEWS of 6/22/2007.
Find out--1)Why he went to ER 3times and not go to a specialist right away?
2)Why did the 2nd ER doctor not refer him to a Gastroenterologist knowing that his condition could be different than Stomach ache?
3)This person changed Hospital--why did he go to the first hospital?How did he switch to the second hospital?Did the hospitals differ in service?
His recovery is amazing.Fit people can easily maintain Fitness,but Ill persons must have good trainer/doctor/their own motivation --Find out from Ian who was the biggest help.
On kids Obesity issue--kids parents are equally to be blamed--they eat JUNK FOOD/BEER .These parents come home and watch TV shows with actors who are OBESE--and fat.The whole environment is the issue.
Fortunately--FITNESS CENTERS ARE GROWING fast and many employers pay partially for these fitness centers.
CNN effort for FITNESS of AMERICA needs to be an ongoing effort.
I haven't seen the film yet, and am not sure of what "fact checks" Gupta has found. However, I do know one thing: healthcare in this country is seriously flawed. For example, my father has been ill for almost a decade and cannot work, and my mother takes home $75 every week from her paycheck because of the high cost of their health insurance premium. Can you live on $75 a week? And at least they have coverage. There are millions in this country without it, there are millions of CHILDREN in this country without it! This is a failure in public policy that needs to be addressed post haste, and I commend Moore for bringing this issue to the forefront and for challenging us to do something about it.
I love this country, but we have some serious issues. Our health care system is one of them. Michael Moore who to my great admiration is often seen just yelling and screaming and being critized. However, that does not get him anywhere--at least not with people who didn't agree in the first place. So, I'm glad that with such a serious issue he is making a contraversial movie where he can be taken seriously across the board.
-Storm Wyche age 16 NJ
I plan on seeing "Sicko" when it comes out on DVD.

My health is too bad to see it in the theaters. I have an inhallant food allergy to Popcorn and use a wheelchair.

I submitted some of my personal horror stories with health insurance and health care to Michael Moore, BEFORE he asked for submissions.

I am grateful to Michael Moore for finally getting America to seriously talk about health care in the US.
I am a Registered Nurse and I know our health care system is seriously flawed. We have the best Health Care in the World if you can afford it. We currently have 46 million Americans without health insurance. They don't get screening to prevent illnesses. We don't have a health promotion health care system. What we have is caring for the sick health care system. We don't focus on disease prevention.
There’s something seriously wrong with American health care, the richest nation in the world should be able to take care of its citizens. Anything else is unacceptable.
I am sure that Moore will fail the fact check, just like he does with all his movies, which is really a great disservice to the question he is trying to address. It makes it easier for the ones who don't want to fix the system to argue about Moore and not the real issue. What I would change about the system? I would provide universal health care.I am an American living in a foreign country that does provide universal health care for a small monthly fee (@ $20). It works very well, and the care is great. Nothing like the horror stories you hear from those opposed to national health insurance. It was actually one of the reasons my wife and I decided to move hear (return for her). Now we have a child health is too expensive and too impractical in America.
I plan to watch the film "Sicko". I am interested in what it will bring to light. I think it is pretty sad that we are one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world yet we have millions without health insurance and whom can't afford medical care. In the U.S. having health insurance depends on whether your job offers it. So basically, you have to have a good job to have health insurance unless you qualify for some other special program. Health insurance SHOULD NOT depend on what job you have. Every person in the U.S. should be able to go to the Dr. when they need to. In otherwords, I do believe there should be some kind of universal healthcare system in the U.S.

Someone needs to champion this issue with Americans. If that means making a movie that they may see and therefore be enlightened, then Michael Moore is the man to do that. But as my sister just said, nobody in America will vote for healthcare reform because they don't care enough about it. This was said to me, a 52 year old single mom, raising 2 children alone while fighting advanced Breast cancer. I worked all my life , never took a day off work. I have zero factors to cause my cancer. I always ate healthy, never over weight, don't drink, don't smoke and it hit me. If it hit me, it can hit anyone so America...don't feel like you don't care because it's not you. Now I spend my days fighting the insurance company who has caused me endless problems with denying treatment. As I just told the insurance company yesterday, I paid you for 32 years and now that I need the insurance to help me die with a little less pain, you want to deny me? What is wrong with this country? We are all so "Christian" now, yet we don't think healthcare for all Americans is important? I don't get the hypocrisy. What happened to us to stop caring about those most in need?
I'm all for universal health care. We as a nation have tried the insurance monitored rout in medical care and find it overall lacking and harmful.

Its time to try something new! If it working for Canada and others, it seems insulting that we, the citizens of this country are being fed off as cattle to the insurance industries! Our collective health fails for the favor of the bottom line? A great nation takes care of its citizens and empowers its people through top of the line education and health care. Compared to the rest of the world we have low standing in both these regards. Lets be the great nation we claim to be.
I work for a major medical company and I am always working in different hospitals every other day; the one thing that I have been hearing more and more over the past few years, are Directors and Managers referring to patients as 'revenue'. The health system in this country needs serious reform; I am very concerned that my parents (they are Baby Boomers) will not be treated right when they retire in a few years. I have seen people on the news having to sell their house to pay their medical bills because insurance would not cover enough of the cost; I could not handle seeing my parents go through that nightmare.
I can't wait to see the film. I am an internal medicine physician being squeezed out of practice by declining reimbursement rates. I am slowly converting over to doing cosmetic procedures; it's the only way I can make a living without running patients through like cattle every 15 minutes.
If a plumber came to my house and gave me a bill for $200 for fixing something, I couldn't say, "Hmm, I think I'll only pay you $120," yet this is what insurance does to me every day. 50% of my patients are Medicare, and my billing service told me that if, on a given day, 10 out of 20 patients were Medicare, I would be better off just not coming in that day, as I would just be losing money. Last year, after a paperwork mess-up, I went 8 months without getting paid by Medicare; I had to refinance my house to keep the practice open! And people wonder why doctors don't want to take Medicare! The system needs fixing now! Sorry for the rant, but I am discouraged by the fact that I can make more money doing Botox shots and facials than I can helping sick, elderly folks.
"Seriously flowed" is quite an understatement to describe the U.S's current healthcare situation! Those criticizing socialized healthcare obviously have the money to afford healthcare in the first place. What gives those with money more right to proper healthcare? Should a child born into poverty be the victim of his/her family's inability to pay an outrageous insurance premium? We send billions overseas to help citizens of other countries, and yet we do not even take care of our own. It's sickening. And I can't wait to see "Sicko."
In the US if a family pays taxes for their entire life and perhaps has sent a son or daughter to war in Iraq and the father of this family gets cancer but has limited or no insurance, as far as the Federal or State governments are concerned, that's basically their problem. This is America and it's every man for himself? If you're poor or middle class you have no value or purpose other than to generate revenue for taxes. Beyond that you are on your own. It's quite sad to see the indecency that this country has lowered itself to , and accepted, over the part 7 yrs. I'm disgusted to be an American in 2007. -Daniel, Beverly Hills, CA
I have worked in the health care system as a biller, clerk, care coordinator, administrator and now a health care attorney. At each level, it was CLEAR that America can, and should, do better by its citizens. Private health interests, advocates and PhARMA will have us believe that health care for all would be a bad thing, but for all the uninsured AND for all the small businesses struggling to pay into the health system, this should be a wake up call for all of us to demand better.

- rmj
Of course I plan on seeing "Sicko". How can I form an opinion on it if I don't watch it first?
I hear lots of criticism of Canada's system and it is not perfect. But when needed it is there. Nine months ago at a routine checkup my doctor noticed a problem and sent me straight to the hospital that afternoon. Next day I had an angiogram and the following day bypass surgery. No wait. No insurance approval. All went well including 4 months of rehab that was part of the procedure. Total out of pocket expense - $25.00 for first day of tv in my room. No one ask for anything more than my government insurance number and I got first class care. So don't trash Canada to lessen your problems. Is our system perfect -no. Doesn't include dental or drugs (covered when in hospital only and free to over 65 people). They do prioritize needs so even if you are rich your hip replacement will be delayed for a more critical procedure. This kind of wait is annoying but seldom life-threatening.
Yes, I will see "Sicko" as soon as it is released. While Michael Moore can over-dramatize situations, he does give us an opposing view to that of the large industries. While agri-business, pharma, and, of course, the medical and insurance industries, would have us believe what they do is "best" for us, the bottom line is their interests lie in pleasing a board of directors. And I'm not hip to Moore's Cuban shenanigans, but the moral of this part is the US is ranked 37th, and I just heard recently 38th, in the world for chronic or on-going health issues by the World Health Organization. Although, I must add, we are Number 1 in the world for obesity (heavy sarcasm intended). It's time we all shake-off the drug-induced stupor industry has us in and take a closer look, make the necessary changes to an industry which should value quality of life over the current value of the pocketbook.
Having lived another country where health care was not a privilege, it is sad to see the United States as a place that is incapable of effectively taking care of its own. Why is healthcare about big business? We are the only country that operates in this fashion....a very sad commenatary for the most "powerful" and resourceful country in the world.
I'm very glad Moore has decided to address the disgraceful issue of health care in America. Regardless of what the film contains, this nation which claims to be such an advanced leader of the world in so many ways simply MUST change the despotic and disgusting health coverage or lack thereof! The American people should not have to go entirely without proper health care or pay out every cent they have to get it! Doctors and especially the pharmeceutical companies are making grotesque profits from our illnesses and this needs to be legislated and put to a halt immediately. American legislators have long cringed at anything that sounded 'socialistic' but all socialized medicine means is medicine FOR THE PEOPLE, not for profit.
What troubles me about the issue of national health care is that no one seems to be examining the wealth of data and experience from extant national health systems in other developed countries. In the UK, a large percentage of physicians and nurses are dissatisfied with their system, and thousands of UK nurses are emigrating to Australia for the better pay and work conditions in that nation's system. Moreover, the UK system rations organ transplantation so that people over certain ages can't get lifesaving surgery. In Sweden, the welfare state there costs citizens up to 50% in income tax. In Germany, hundreds of physicians have decamped for neighboring countries for better pay. On the other hand, countries like France have much more favorable and humane family medical leave policies than the US does. Some of the 2008 US presidential candidates have offered national-health-system proposals, but have any of them or their staffs really done in-depth research into the established systems? Maybe a revamped US health care system would be better than forcing people into a new, and untried, system.
Access to health care is not an issue because it is flawed. Access is a problem because it is expensive. Take all of the flaws out of it, and it will still be expensive. Of course there are millions of children without healthcare. Because, for the most part they do not need it - they are young and not sick. This does not mean they do not have access to coverage - and in many cases extreme care is picked up by the government. In many case their parents choose to buy cigarettes, alcohol, cable or some other "necesssity" instead of making the choice to buy insurance. Give Americans choice and incentitives to invest in their healthcare and the American people will fix the problem. Government has never effectively fixed a market problem.
I too have not seen the film but know this - those without healthcare are paying for those of us with it. Several years ago our insurance cards came out with an invalid primary care physician. Our actural dotor refused the card and refused to call the doctor. In order to be seen we had to pay the full cost of the office visit, $75.00 and submit the claim. After the $15 decutable we got back $3.00. The insurance co advised the negociated rate for a doctors vist is $18 which lease $3 after the copay. We had to go back to the doctors office with explaination of benefits in order to get the rest of our money back. The uninsured pay $75 for what my insurance company was only willing to pay and the doctors office agreed to accept - $18. We need National Health Care and we need it now.
I haven't seen the film yet either. I can tell you though that just speaking from experience, we need significant changes to our health care system. We have three children in our family, and I have what I would consider an above average job with good insurance coverage. Just paying for small medical items such as braces, eye care, regular checkups, etc. can get really expensive. I can't even imagine not having insurance in this country, yet there are millions that don't.
You would have to be living in a cave, in the very best health, if you are unaware of this critical problem in our society. Perhaps the reason may lie in the fact that our elected "public servants" have access to the best care possible, so it's not a priority for them. Whatever you think of Mr. Moore, he deserves our gratitude for stirring up this much needed controversy.Hopefully it will bring about some changes.
I've seen Sicko and Moore does very effectively point out the issues with American Healthcare. Which I guess can be summed up by the following statement, "you're money or your life".

I spoke with my sister who works in a hospital as a lab tech and she's seen the problems first hand.
Evidently it's not uncommon for patients to be released when the money stops regardless of whether or not they're ready.

Still, the most disturbing statement she made was that if she got cancer she didn't know what she'd do. She's a mother of three and the family just makes ends meet. The payments even with insurance would devastate them financially.

While I'm skeptical of universal healthcare it's time for the people we elect to come up with some answers for this. NOW.
I have not seen "Sicko" and therefore cannot comment on the film itself. However, as an American living in Mexico, I can say that the American health system is far superior to the socialized medical system here. The system here is broken to such a degree that unless someone has a life threatening emergency they will have to wait months before getting service. In Mexico there is a private medical system that operates independtly of the public system and is providing world class service. I have had a daughter born here, a broken ankle, surgery for appendicitis and I have another daughter to be born next week. We received great service and treatment in all three cases. From what I have seen, socialized medicine does not work.
I saw the film a while back. Sure, some could argue that it is slanted towards a particular view... but facts remain facts. It was a great film and hopefully will be a catalyst for some sort of action with the US health care system.

I am going to see the movie "Sicko," and do believe that the healthcare system in America is extremely flawed. However, I do believe that Americans should keep an open mind while thinking about healthcare. We should make a decision based on facts about healthcare, and we should also thoroughly analyze those countries that do have Universal healthcare. We must remember that this situation is not black and white and no system is perfect. Whatever we decide, we must not run away from the problem by irrationally doing what seems to be a good idea, but rather we should run toward a solution that is well thought out and best for everyone.
SICKO in Bakersfield California

I am a 53 year old disable person, from several chronic illnesses, the worst of which are Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Degenerative Disc, Arthritis, and others not mentioned. I have been disabled since march of 1998, and only receive Social Security and Medicare. I get too much money from Social Security to qualify for any low income governmental assistance programs like Medicaid. due to my multiple diseases, I am a very expensive patients to any Medicare HMO Insurance Carrier and their contracted Medical Providers. Their are suppose to be protection for Medicare Patient from being involuntarily dis-enrolled, or what is commonly known as Patient Dumping. However due to recent regulatory chances by the Bush Administration all Medicare Patient no longer can be assured of those protection from being dumped anymore.


My Assigned Medicare HMO Medical Group was able to dump me as an expensive disabled patient without due cause or process, because I filed too many valid complaints against them.

I was unable to appeal to my California Department of Managed Health Care (*1), because Medicare has recently ordered them to no longer take appeal cases from Medicare HMO Patients.

In my case Medicare could only deal with my assigned Medicare Advantage (HMO) Insurance Carrier, and could not deal with the local Medical Group that dumped me, because they are regulated by the same CA Dept. of Managed Health Care, that I no longer have access to.

Since the Bush administration has forced these changes on to all States, now all Medicare Patients, be they Seniors or Disabled no longer have the same protections and rights as any other non-Medicare HMO Patient has available to them.

Reference Notes;

(*1) CA Dept. of Managed Health Care toll free HMO Patient Helpline (888) 466-2219

In Closing;

I am very knowledgeable, because prior to my disability, I was an Executive Director of Computer and Network Operation for a major Health Care Corporation. I was responsible for Data Center interface with 7 Hospitals, 22 Medical Groups, and 800,000 insured member lives.

Since this has happen to me I have become a lot worst due to all the stress placed upon me, and you should understand what stress can do to chronic illnesses, especially MS.

Frankly I am at the end of my rope, barely holding on, looking for help desperately. I am sure you are very well aware that Kern County ranks as the number one most conservative county in California, and the eighth in the Nation. I am loosing faith in my government. I feel it is no longer “WE THE PEOPLE”, but has been changed by the Bush administration to “WE THE CORPORATIONS OF AMERICA”

PLEASE, I am begging you for your help. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME!

The health care system in the US is very much under the control of the private sector. It starts with the belief the private sector will do better than government run institutions or endeavors. This means that it is profit oriented. Maximizing profits is inherent in the private sector. It also means that funds will be channeled into researches that promise to deliver profits. The US health care system is the reason why most other countries will also have to pay higher for drugs.
Saw Larry King Live and Anderson 360 on 6/29.Moore answered questions well.
1)Insurance co.and HMO's are driving the doctors.I experienced a problem,when Insurance changed my prescription for lowering Cholestrols/Trigylcerides.Fought and told them NOT TO BULLY MY DOCTOR.
2)Agree that all kids must have health insurance as a top priority.
Larry and Sanjay --keep up with great job.Moore needs FITNESS lessons from Dr.Gupta.
I watched Gupta's analysis of "Sicko" last night, in which he claimed to fact-check the film. Gupta made at least two mistakes about the film.

First, Moore claims in the film that the average health care cost per person in Cuba was $251 -- not the far lower figure that Gupta falsely attributed to Moore. (I believe that Gupta claimed that Moore said it was around $25-30!)

Second, Gupta also misreported what Moore said about the average American expenditure on health care. Moore said it was "nearly $6000" in the movie, not around $7000 as claimed by Gupta.

In both cases, Moore's figures are accurate (and close to what Gupta himself claimed are the correct figures).

Gupta claimed that Moore was making mistakes here, but it is Gupta who is spreading misinformation. Did he even watch the movie? He should acknowledge these mistakes.
The business of healthcare is similar to insurance. People jointly contribute to a pool of money to cover the "what-if-I-get-sick" scenario. Anybody who gets sick dips into that pool to pay for treatment.

In Canada, people contribute to a healthcare money pool through taxes. The Canadian government then provides all health care services.

In the US, people contribute to an HMO's money pool through premiums. The HMO's pays for the health care service.

The difference is that the Canadian government does not take any profit, while a HMO, of course, needs to feed its shareholders first, before paying up.

Essentially, a Canadian who pays $100 in taxes for healthcare reasonably expects $100 in services. An American who pays $100 in premiums can probably expect $60 worth of services. So, to get $100 worth of service, an American would have to pay the HMO $167.

At the bottom of all this is a philosophical question: "Is health care a right or a privilege?"

Canada as a nation consider healthcare as a right, and is enshrined in law.

I guess America considers healthcare a privilege?
Just saw Sicko last night. No matter your politics go SEE THIS MOVIE. the information in Sicko is important to know. Dr. Gupta in all his reports has not mentioned the sick 9/11 workers, the patient dumping in Los Angeles by USC med center, and people with cancer being denied life saving treatments. All stories covered in Sicko. Dr. Gupta has not even tried to talk with the doctors interviewed in Moores film and get their story. Why hasn't the media been covering the topics discussed in Moores film? WHO sponsors Gupta's segements? The news media tries to discredit Moore while ignoring the real issues he is trying to shed light on. But CNN has lots of air time to cover Paris Hilton.
I never liked Moore's previous films, but I happened to catch this on a friend's computer -- apparently it was intentionally leaked online, which makes me think Moore actually wants the information to reach people from this movie, and not just the ticket sales. I sat down and couldn't tear myself away -- if even half of what I saw is true, then the American People need to band together and put an end to this hopelessly corrupt system; a good first step is to educate yourself and watch the movie.
I wrote this letter today to President Bush, the subject falls right into the same category: "Sicko and the White House does nothing":
Rolf D. Seichter
115 Chestnut Drive
Gilford, N.H. 03249
Tel: 978-852-5803

July 2nd, 2007

To the President of the United States of America
Mr. George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

SUBJECT: Suggestion to Change Rule 37 C.F.R. 1.102, MPEP 708.02, Section X
Cancer Patent Applications vs. Superconductivity Patent Applications

Dear Mr. President:

I am currently studying for my Patent Bar Exam and I found an opportunity for you – in the current patent rules - to do something good for the United States of America and the people who suffer from cancer, including HIV/AIDS. In addition, my wife was diagnosed twice with breast cancer, so I am speaking from experience. Fortunately, my wife is a 3-year survivor. The prognosis for the future is excellent and the disease has hopefully been cured.

I am referring to the section of the US Patent Rules, 37 C.F.R. 1.102, which covers the subject “ Petition To Make Special”, allowing inventors – among other details – to get into a faster processing of a patent application by the USPTO. This section of the rules is not only written on an inconsistent basis and neglecting common sense, the rules also suggest that a material interest is dominating over possible cure of diseases, in this case Cancer and HIV/AIDS.

The situation: MPEP 708.02, based on 37 C.F.R. 1.102 “Advancement of Examination” lists the rules on how to and also indicates if a fee is required or not required in certain situations. All these XII rules under 708.02 make sense and are understandable and based on common sense. However, looking at IX (Applications relating to Superconductivity) and X (Inventions relating to HIV/AIDS and Cancer), the reader gets the feeling that the President’s Office is very much out of synch with common sense.

Paragraph IX, Applications related to Superconductivity: “…In accordance with the President’s Mandate, directs the USPTO to accelerate the processing of patent applications…involving superconductivity…such requests should be accompanied by a statement…NO FEE REQUIRED” (MPEP 700-135, Rev 3, August 2005).

To the contrary: Paragraph X, Inventions relating to HIV/AIDS and Cancer: “…applicants who desire that an application relating to HIV and Cancer be made special should file a petition AND THE FEE under 37 C.F.R. 1.17(h)…” (MPEP 700-135, Rev.3, August 2005)

This inconsistency in the Patent Rules is not based on the so called common sense at all – requiring NO fee for superconductivity for ”make special” patent applications – supported by a President’s Mandate – but requiring a fee for “make special” inventions curing cancer. The rule also suggests that the United States of America, by President’s Mandate, put material issues over the health of the inhabitants of the USA and the world.

Here is how you can help as the President of the USA:
Several options might apply, i.e. reverse the mandate, change it that a fee applies for superconductivity inventions (applicable fees will be paid by larger companies anyway and are affordable, no real burden to companies).

The best option in my opinion is to reverse the mandate under IX, require a fee for superconductivity inventions and the “make special” applications AND put a mandate on section X, the HIV/AIDS and Cancer “make special” applications, also waving the fee for “make special” petitions. That would set a tone in accordance with common sense and also relay a message to the world that the President of the United States of America supports cure for diseases over materialistic and industry specific inventions which will help only directly the companies and only indirectly the population which needs so badly the cure for cancer.
Your decision to change the rules accordingly would help to promote – by gesture, authority, and visibility – the cancer research and it would stimulate our doctors and scientists to focus on the research and to develop a cancer curing medicine which can result in an accelerated patent application as well, to get the medicine into the market.

Respectfully submitted,

Rolf Seichter
115 Chestnut Drive
Gilford, N.H. 03249

Director , USPTO
Channel 7 News, MA
Sen. Edward Kennedy, MA
CNN Blog Site
Maybe people are waiting and maybe the other systems aren’t perfect, but at least they have a system. To concentrate on waiting times and the fact that no system is perfect is ludicrous.

As a person who had cancer when I was young and have not been able to get insured all these years, that angers me. I would be more than happy to pay for insurance if someone would insure me. I am considered uninsurable. Insurance companies only want healthy people. Maybe all the people you spoke to should interview the millions of people in my shoes.

I applaud Michael Moore. He has more guts than any of those people in Washington who are just worried about getting reelected and their own agendas. Why should they care, they and their families have great insurance coverage.
I just watched your show in which you allowed industry representatives to repeat the claim that the United States ranks highest in patient satisfaction. You failed to inquire whether the patient satisfaction survey was statistically valid and included responses from the people who were turned away from the hospital doors because they had no insurance. Please ask next time.
I just saw your “Fact Check”as it pertained to the the Moore film “Sicko”. By in large, facts are correct….although the nonsense about wait times in other countries has been used as a scare tactic by the health industry in the US for years and is simply not true, especially in life threatening situations. However, the major issue is the one of universal health care coverage. We have the best system money can buy—and you better have the money. The problem is that there are far too many Americans denied adequate health care because they cant afford it, don’t have insurance, and in some instances even those with insurance are denied care (do the words “pre-existing conditions” ring a bell.) Yes, as you say, our spending per capita is the highest in the world,but a vast portion of those costs go toward administrative costs, which tend to be much, much lower in countries with single payer systems. Finally, as I grow toward retirement, I am scared to death that I may very well have to make a choice between eating and receiving just minimal health care…with my insurance rates predicted to be over $1,000 per month when I retire, that choice may not be far off. So say what you will about the film, what Moore says is not that crazy…we do have a health care problem, but I bet it is not an election issue in 2008--- too many candidates are too scared to deal with it.
No one, and certainly no corporation, should be permitted to profit directly and proportionally from a person's suffering - or worse - death.

When that corporation has a fiduciary duty to that person and freely chooses to breach it as a matter of policy, it's the company that should meet a painful, lonely, despairing death. Not the insured.

In this country full of both wise, ethical, good Christian senators and congressmen (they tell us this constantly so it must be true) and millions of innocent citizens suffering tragically and needlessly due to lack of insurance or unresponsive insurance, I have this question:

Who would Jesus deny medical care to?
Michael Moore is 100% correct with the information provided in his movie Sicko.
Saw the film yesterday and it is outstanding.
The health for profit business must change.
The only people that benefits from our current system are the insurance companies and drug companies.
Oh and of course our politicians that the insurance and drug companies buy.
We cannot listen to their scare tactics any longer and demand universal health care.
See the movie.
Sicko needs a followup.CNN can do that.Just one Video is not enough.
Do a Video on Change in practice from 70's to today.
Pick up different points in SICKO and CNN can create their own videos .
For example,Look at Colon Cancer Screening rates in US vs.Canada,Vs.France,UK. and make a Video on that.How many people die of Colon Cancer in US,Canada,UK,France?DO A BIG STORY ON COLON CANCER covering 4 countries might might be interesting.
Do the same for OBESITY or Fitness in 4 countries mentioned.
Do the same for Visits to doctors--how many in each country?
Do the same for children under 10 in these 4 countries and if US truly has a problem because of lack of 9 million uninsured--then talk to Gates for help from their foundation for kids in America.
These Comparative Videos for Colon Cancer,Obesity/Fitness,Kids may add another look at Health Care.
Here is an idea that I have to improve our health care system, and I am wondering what others think:

To solve the health care situation in the U.S., the two main issues that need to be addressed are the lack of a requirement for coverage and individual accountability. This proposal attempts to solve both problems.

For any type of insurance to work, the risk needs to be spread out as widely as possible. Since everyone will at some point need some type of coverage, possibly extensive, it only makes sense that everyone should pay an equal portion to health care for the span of his or her life. This is the only sure way to keep rates for everyone as low as possible.

This sort of coverage, henceforth called Necessary Coverage, will cover anything necessary to survive. This means that without the medication or treatment, the person would be unable to carry on day to day activities. Any treatment that doesn’t satisfy this requirement would be Supplemental Coverage and would not be required. An analogy to this would be the liability and full coverage systems in auto insurance. If a person has no Supplemental Coverage, everything not covered by Necessary Coverage would need to be paid for in full out of pocket.

What is proposed is to add a new payroll tax for every American to cover per capita costs for Necessary Coverage. No business would provide insurance. Instead, the money that is currently being spent to provide coverage for the employee would be added to the amount that he or she is paid. The important difference of this system from many advocated socialized programs, however, is that people would then use this taxed money to choose a provider. Any funds not used to provide Necessary Coverage would be refunded, and any additional funds required would be added as a tax. Doctors and pharmacists would then bill the insurance company as they now do, and the insurance company would bill the government for the cost of a person’s insurance. The government would then disburse the tax money collected to the insurance company and the IRS would then tax or refund accordingly. Although this system would add a bit of logistical work to the current one, it should still be workable.

By keeping competition in the marketplace, much of the extra wasted money with the current system could be avoided, and everyone working would have no choice in whether or not at least basic coverage is obtained. However, the quality of health care that we enjoy in this country should still be maintained, since insurance companies will try and cut costs and improve service to keep their customers. Currently, people with business coverage have no accountability. Many pay nothing, so they waste dollars unnecessarily. More importantly, drug companies are being given a “blank check.” They can charge as much as they want, and since the individual consumer isn’t paying, there is no personal incentive to reduce cost or choose a cheaper alternative.

If a person is unable to pay for insurance because they do not work or make too little money, the tax burden for their costs should then be assumed by the rest of the taxpayers.

An in depth numerical study is necessary to determine what the cost per person for a program like this would be and if it is a feasible solution, and I have neither the time nor resources to complete this. I am hoping that someone reading this will.
I have always had health insurance and I do believe that providing universal health insurance is a moral responsibility this country's government has to its most needy citizens. However other national health issues need to be addressed first before asking taxpayers to finance the healthcare problems of a chain-smoker or someone whose diet consists primarily of cheeseburgers and fries.
The taxpayers would only be paying for health care for those that are too destitute to have it taken out of their income tax, which should hopefully be very few. You would really just be paying for your own health care, like either you or your employer do know. The differences are that since everyone is paying, the risk is reduced, and since the money is being taken from you as a tax unless you don't spend it all on care, you will want to reduce the amount that you pay if possible. This should hopefully eliminate some of the bloat in our current system because insurers will have an incentive to reduce prices.

I agree there are many pressing issues for our country, but arguably health care is at the top. Our aging baby boomers will keep making Medicare a higher and higher proportion of our budget. Skyrocketing costs to employees who must contribute to plans as well as people who get their own coverage have also dealt a huge blow to the middle class. It isn't an accident that this is such a hot button issue.

More importantly, health for almost everyone IS the most important thing. If trying something different can still allow you to have health care at a reasonable price, but because of more competition and personal accountablity, allow someone else to, I believe it is worth pursuing as soon as possible.
Wow, Dr. Gupta (and everyone at CNN) is missing the point! Though I can’t say I blame them, they have health care so why should they care? That’s clearly their attitude. However, most moral people would believe that health care should be FREE and AVAIABLE to EVERYONE, most importantly children. How do they sleep at night? Oh wait I forgot, the lovely pharmaceutical companies who sponsor their special health programs probably send them a little something to take care of that. To get the going rate on your soul and not care about anything else; must be nice.
I think that Mr. Gupta has some explaining to do. I refer you all to get a hold of the clip of this evening's Situation Room with Wolfe Blitzer interviewing Michael Moore on CNN earlier. Moore BLASTING Wolf Blitzer for a good 10 mins straight. Moore was relentless in calling out CNN, Blitzer, Sanjay Gupta, the MSM, on iraq and health care and the poor investigative reporting in both cases… there needs to be more of that because that’s the only way to drive the point home to these people and hold a bright light and expose their lies, distortions, and distractions. Also, CNN tried to pull a fast one by shrinking Moore’s face from the screen and setting it next to a larger image of clips from his movie, in an obvious attempt to distract the viewers after it was clear several minutes into Moore’s torching that he was touching on topics they really didn’t want to cover. Afterwards, you have Lou Dobbs and Jack Cafferty taking their jabs at Moore, missing the point that they have done a poor job... instead, they rather attack the messenger.
I saw Dr. Gupta’s “fact checking” report and he is missing the point on some issues involving the Canadian health care system. Yes, there are waits, sometimes long ones. But it’s based on priority, the more urgent the problem, the less the wait. Yet in the end, health care is given to every Canadian, and no one goes without. Also, some jobs offer benefits that cover prescription drugs, dental, vision, and even reimburse you so much money a year for gym memberships or exercise equipment. It’s not perfect, no one ever claimed it was, and yet most Canadians are happy with the system we have. If you don’t want to cover your citizens, fine, don’t, but stop looking to the Canadian systems flaws as an excuse as to why America should keep their system the way it is. However, in your search for flaws, you miss one VERY big difference between the American and the Canadian health care systems, and that is there isn’t anyone in Canada going without health care or with poor health care. And I think that’s ultimately the point of “Sicko.”
To me your credible is shot after your piece on "Sicko." You dealt with minor details ($7000 or $6000 in US, $25 or $250 in Cuba) to discredit his overall assumptions. Shame on you! Are you pandering to all your pharmaceuticals sponsor. I'm switching to MSNBC.
RE: SICKO & Michael Moore. In 2000 I visited Havana Cuba for about 20 days and I still have family in Cuba. I witnessed a family member who received stitches for a wound. The suture was sewn with sewing thread which I'm sure was not sanitized. The hospital did not give her a band aid, or any ointment for her cut. The citizens of Cuba when going to the hospital must take their own pillow, bedsheets, cotton, alcohol and other items. The doctors don't have enough food to eat; female doctors moonlight as prostitutes and they can earn more with one trick than one month's pay. Cuban citizens actually have non-health care, no money to pay for medicine and there is no medicine to be found. Since 1966 that our family arrived to the USA, we have filled multiple prescriptions for meds and eyeglasses including bed pans. I have been to the so called pharmacy in Cuba and I could not find one bottle of antihistamine. All I could see was empty shelves and the clerk saying "products did not arrive". I send my sister money, clothes and shoes because they are living in poverty. Tourists may have access to medical care but I know that the Cuban citizens do not. I'm sure that our health care system has problems and needs to be revamped but it is a shame for Mr Moore to consider Cuba in this health care debate.
I'm from Germany, I live here in the US for a couple of years.
Every time when I have to go to a doctors office it is always amazing for me to see how many people in a doctors office, here in the US, are working, a front desk assistant, doctor's assistant, a nurse, and if you are lucky a real doctor. But is the health service better or faster as in Germany? NO
In most doctor's offices in Germany you have a doctors assistant (he or she does the paper work and will take your blood pressure too) and there is the real doctor thats it. Is the service better, faster (appointment time max. one, two days in case of an acute illness no appointment) and more professional? Yes.
I really believe Mr. Moore did with his Movie a good thing perhaps some
people finally are starting to think and try to learn from mistakes.

Thank you and have a healthy live
sorry, gupta is way off here. it's all about peace of mind for all american citizens, end of story. nothing else has to be examined here, we don't have universal health care and everyone else in the industrial world does. i've travelled all over the world, all the people from europe, australia, canada, can't believe that we aren't all covered. what a joke we are to the world!! when it comes to health, everyone should be covered, just like the other countries, making the almighty dollar and profits shouldn't even cross anyones mind. right and wrong, usa is wrong, the rest of the world is right, and i'm tired of the stress about being covered. don't tell me to leave, because if you get me citizenship in australia, i'm gone, but it's not like you can just go and live in another country, most americans have no clue about that because the facts of citizenship of other countries have always been hidden from them, just like health care!!
Dr. Gupta,
You should apologize for misleading people. And please apologize to Miceal Moore.

Thank you!
Dr. Gupta,
I saw your piece yesterday, after returning from seeing "Sicko". I was amazed at the factual inaccuracies that you expressed. Most notably, you stated that moore says Cubans spend $25 per capita on health care when I distinctly heard $251 in the movie. Perhaps you should take the time to SEE the film before you take it to task. In fact, many of the doctors in the filmsay that they would not want to practice medicine under our present system where those in need are left behind. I wonder how you feel about your part in this system?
Michael Moore rightly points out that health care should not be handled as a "for profit" enterprise, and that the universal, single-payer insurance--cutting the private insurers out altogether--is the way to go. As he aptly pointed out in an interview on PBS' NOW, police departments and fire departments don't debate which fires to put out or which crimes to investigate based on how those decisions will affect the bottom line, and we should not allow such discussions to enter into our delivery of healthcare to our citizens.

To those who object to paying for healthcare for those who "eat too many cheeseburgers" or who smoke and thus do damage to their own health, I point out that we have huge industries devoted to selling Americans cigarettes and high-fat foods. If objections are going to be raised to our sharing the costs for health care for all based on the poor lifestyle habits of some--actually, a majority of Americans--then we should also start talking about penalizing companies that manufacture and promote products that do damage to the health of their customers.

Frankly, though, this is a red herring. None of us are exempt from the possibility of falling gravely ill or suffering traumatic accidental injury, and it is criminal that even hard-working, responsible, thrifty citizens may be bankrupted by such unexpected and unpreventable events. (At age 42, for example, I ended up near death in the hospital with a diagnosis of leukemia. Fortunately for me, it was a form of leukemia that is highly treatable, and I'm still alive 9 years later. If I hadn't had excellent insurance, I would have been immediately wiped out financially by the expenses of what amounted to no more than 8 weeks treatment, including approximately 4 weeks in hospital.)

We're not marching in the streets in fury over the $12 BILLION PER MONTH we're spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet universal health care for all Americans would cost far less than that. It seems to me that the objections to such a system are originating from those with something to gain or lose, namely, the insurers and others in the health industry who have gamed the system to their benefit. We rightly deplore "war profiteers," yet those who deplore "illness profiteers" are dismissed as kooks, lefties, or commies.

The insurance companies are running scared now, because they know Americans are reaching a boiling point on this issue, and they can no longer categorize the American populace as a whole as being merely "fringe" or "extremist" elements with radical ideas.
Dear Dr. Gupta,
It is with great respect to your training and background that I leave you with this comment:

If you are truly trying to help people, perhaps you should realize people are in dire need of affordable Health care. If you are saying these remarks about "Sicko" without checking the facts, then you are just earning a fat paycheck at the expense of all of those Americans who cannot afford Health care. As a doctor, your intent should be on healing, not supporting the corporate models.

Is money more important than truth?
Re: Watching the 'facts.

Mr. Gupta states that the French pay WAY more in taxes than Americans. But, he doesn’t tell us how much more!

Let’s look at a few ‘facts’ from my household.

We are a single-income household. After taxes, my husband brings home $5400/mo. We pay out an additional $300/mo in health care – that’s 4% of his pay.

Neither my husband nor I have any chronic diseases and neither of us take any type of medication on a daily basis. However, we did have some minor setbacks this year. I had some serious pain that caused me to pass out which required diagnostic tests. Insurance covered the tests – no problems there – but, my out of pocket expenses just for the diagnostics were $1500.00. I also fell and fractured my ankle which required x-rays and more doctor visits. The x-rays only cost me $120 out of pocket. My husband needed two crowns – that was $760 out of pocket. I figure we paid about $200 in co-pay for office visits alone. That’s a whopping $2580 in additional out of pocket expense in addition to the $300/month we pay for health care insurance. When you spread that out over the year, you add another $215 per month to our monthly outlay for health care bringing our total of $515 or 9.5% of our monthly income. And, we’re only half-way into the year.

If we took the 4% of our collective incomes that we’re paying to the health insurance company and paid it directly to the government for health care, would that about cover the cost of universal health care? How about 9.5%? Why doesn’t Dr. Gupta - or some other CNN 'reporter' - investigate THAT?

As for some other ‘facts’ in Mr. Gupta’s report.

1. The US pays $6,096 per person for health care while Cuba pays $229 per person.

Hmmmm. That makes me wonder …what are American’s paying for? In American not everyone has health care – but, in Cuba, they do. Is this number adjusted for deflated currency? And, if the cost of an inhaler in the US is $120 and the cost of the same inhaler in Cuba is $.05…then, maybe the problem is inflated prices??????

2. The US has greater patient ‘wait times’ than in Canada, France or Great Britain.

Obviously, Mr. Gupta has not been to our county medical facility, Parkland Hospital. The last person I spoke with who had to go there waited 12 hours to be seen in the emergency room. It’s a busy place….it’s where all the people without health insurance go.

Another point not addressed in Dr. Gupta’s reporting – did he factor in those Americans who were flat our DENIED services?

It's true in America that if you can PAY for the procedure you can generally get in and get it done pretty darned quickly. But, if you can’t get your insurance company to pay for it, there is no such thing as a waiting list for those folks – for them, there is no list at all….they simply cease to exist.

For example, I didn’t really get that $1500 diagnostic test the doctor wanted me to get after I passed out. Why not?! Because we don’t’ have $1500.00. I'm a full-time grad student and $1500 is almost half my semester tuition!

That’s been four months ago – so, you could say I’m on a ‘waiting list’ of sorts – I’m waiting until I have enough money to pay the out of pocket expenses for the diagnostic tests so I can find out if there is anything seriously wrong with me.

Am I included in the US Waiting List statistics?
I was very surprised to see Doctor Gupta's attack on Sicko. This is what he calls "fact-checking"?

Dr. Gupta got several basic facts wrong, completely misquoted Sicko on the Cuban health care costs, ignored key points that Sicko makes and then has the gall to say that "Michael Moore is fudging the facts". Unbelievable!

I guess we know which advertisers own CNN, and can get them to run this kind of "reporting" for them.

CNN owes it's viewers an apology!

1. Put a sign in the back window of your car that says "UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE GETS MY VOTE". Make 9 more and pass them out to nine friends and ask them to do the same.

2. On the back of each sign write out this sight:

Instruct people to send an email to their congress person/senator that tells them that if they vote against universal healthcare, they will lose your vote.

You'd be amazed at how few emails it takes to light a fire under elected officials. It's Washington's most tightly held secret.

Healthcare is one problem the American people can fix with very little effort. Don't let Washington and the lobbyist change the subject or use fear tactics to keep us submissively in line. We can fix this problem!
"Dr. Gupta has fact-checked the film, and his findings might surprise you."

But how well has Dr. Gupta fact-checked? Quite a few of his checked facts are counter-refuted by Michael Moore on his site. I think Dr. Gupta should take a look. The FACTS may surprise him.
Michael Moore is right, the hawks like Wolf Blitzer were cheerleaders for the war and shirked their responsibility to report the truth when our country needed him the most. The submarine piece put together by Dr Gupta seems professional to the average viewer but has been totally refuted on Moore's web site. I checked Dr Gupta's blog, to see if he would site sources for his statistics or provide more details to back up his reporting but It seems that getting the facts straight is not important as cnn tries to out faux fox news.
I think it is a total tragedy that Mr. Gupta has decided to "de-bunk" Mr. Moore's film "Sicko".

Why isn't he doing a story ABOUT it? How can Mr. Moore's movie be seen as a "threat" to CNN (or it's major sponsors?)

Why couldn't CNN be looking at things from the Cost/Benifit standpoint of the average citizen?

CNN (Sanjay Gupta Included) are expected to "report" the news and not "create" the news by trying to support the Pharmacuetical companies and HMO's against a formidable and logical documentary film that brings to light many serious issues that lower income and average americans face. (the ones that DONT have jobs in an Atlanta sky scraper and drink cappuccino's ever day) - You CNN people are covered with healthcare, and are not making the menial salaries that most Americans are. I submit that YOU are "out of touch" with America just as much as America is out of touch with you and this president.

I say get rid of Sanjay and bring someone in that we can TRUST to look after OUR overall health- not the over all health of HIS pocketbook. It appears to me that you are all a bunch of foot soldiers for Tony Snow anyway. Just regurgitating what he says over and over again. When was the last LIVE feed from Baghdad (that was NOT one of your reporters). Show us REAL news! Stop "analyzing" and "interpreting" with all your "Military Analysts" that don't actually KNOW the situation. Where are the translated interviews with IRAQI's? Where are the LIVE reports from Hospitals in the Ghetto's?

All of your "news" is quoting what American Officials say, then letting American analysts "analyse" it.. That's great, but you are supposed to be the PRESS. Let the American people SEE reality. Analysis is great, but when it is needed.

I am yet to see international news that I can actually believe. Even about Iraq- it is so biased towards the US's point of view. If you want to know what's happening, then have your reports actually do real journalism instead of going all the way to Iraq so they can regurgitate what some Military Spokesman is saying. Or rather, instead of getting "embedded" with the US. That is NOT reporting. You are VOLUNTARILY likening yourself to a state run news outlet! Do you realize that?

Most of the WORLD knows this. Which is why CNN has lost much MUCH respect in the international community in the last 5-6 years. You ONLY give the point of view of US politicians, instead of giving a WORLDWIDE view of everyone. Stop using this administrations WAR slogans like "Axis of Evil". You are a MEDIA organization, NOT BUSH'S Spokesman.

Overall, Moore's criticism was expected. I figured CNN wouldn't ACTUALLY look into the different kinds of health-care around the world. I have friends that live in western europe and Canada that NEVER have to go through the crap that me and my kids have to go through here in this country!

I was born here, my children were born here, I have always paid taxes, but FOR WHAT?

My only hope to get what I deserve as a citizen is to hope that the "free" press will report TRUTH, instead of trying to "debunk" truth in favor of thumbing up this administrations already failing policies and failing to recognize the plight that Americans are in today.

Shame on Sanjay Gupta, Shame on CNN.
Count me among those DISsatisfied with private medical care in the United States. I was lucky because I could (and did) opt to use the Veterans' Affairs Health Care system, but I didn't do so until I realized just how awful private health care and private insurance are.

The VA has erroneously billed my insurance company for a service-connected condition, but you know what? Whatever money the VA can wring out of my employer-provided insurance they can have with my blessing. Far be it from me to correct the error. At least my insurance PAYS the VA, as opposed to arbitrarily denying bills.

And at least I'm getting competent care at the VA for my insurer's money; I can't say the same about my previous private providers. I could say "arrogant idiots", "misdiagnosis" and "should have been expelled from medical school" about my experiences with private health care.

I hate to think what I'd be dealing with if I didn't have the VA. Oh, but wait...I do know. I wouldn't be dealing with the private health care system at all any more. I'd be dead. I'd have given in to the voices that were telling me to kill myself as I waited to see a counselor some 60 days later in order to qualify for mental health treatment. I'm alive because the VA saw me and started treatment within 7 days of making an appointment.
I am an expatriate who is currently living in the UK and spent several years living in Germany. I have found the medical system in both countries to be great and prefer them over the strange system the US has. I do not live in fear that a severe medical problem would put my family into debt or even worse not be treatable because I could not come up with the money to pay for it. Sure taxes pay for the system over here, but the standard of living does not seem to suffer. Maybe not spending so much on the military is also a help.
Nobody is mentioning the problems with government run health care. I work in long term care and medicaid limits the types of treatment that people may access. Just recently they forced everyone on the antidepressant Lexapro to change to another medication.
I am a Canadian who moved here 4 years ago. I must first say that I am impressed with the quality of healthcare here but everyone must understand that it is no better or worse than anywhere else. It is however extremely expensive and the paperwork involved is incredible.

When we first moved here, we had to investigate different doctors not only on their ability but also on which provider they were enrolled. I made the mistake of not taking this into account originally and paid dearly in additional fees.

I also had to learn that all bills were negotiable. This is incredible to me and must cost me dearly in all of the additional administrative support that my insurance pays for.

I watched the CNN fact check segment on Michael Moore's movie. I was quite upset at how the Canadian system was portrayed as under-staffed and plagued with long waits. I have never seen this side of the healthcare system in Canada. While everyone will complain about any system, the Canadian system had always served my family well.

My personal evidence of the care available in Canada was when I first realized that I am Anemic. I received a very needed blood tansfusion very quickly and once my blood levels were stabilized, I quickly underwent a barrage of tests to ensure that I had no internal bleeding. I left the hospital roughly one week later and never received a single bill for any of the tests that were required. No doctor contacted my insurance company to get clearance from a doctor in some remote location. I received the care I needed, when I needed it. Your coverage of the comparison of facts never mentioned what a relief this is to someone already under intense pressure due to the realization of their illness.

As I said at the start, the care here is very good but quite honestly we have a great deal to learn about the business of healthcare. Our costs are too high and it is not the doctor getting rich. If you want to mention facts, why not state how efficient Medicare is at keeping administrative costs down in comparison to the private insurers.
I'm watching Larry King tonight (Tuesday, July 10). At first I thought Moore was overreacting to the Gupta "fact checking" piece because when I first saw it, I thought it was pretty fair. But now I think the Gupta piece appears fair only because it was so hard to find anything to dispute in Sicko that the piece didn't have much teeth. Moore has been accused of fudging the facts so much in the past, no wonder he's sensitive about Gupta saying that about Sicko. From what I can tell, the difference in the two sets of "facts" is so minimal, that it really is a disservice to Moore and Sicko to use that "fudging the facts" cliche. I think Gupta and 360 were just trying to stir stuff up and they were wrong to do it that way. My trust in CNN is now much less than it was.
I hope when Dr. Gupta debates Moore on Larry king tonight that brings up a little bit of Moore's investment portfolio. Michael Moore is the president of an organization called The Center For Alternative Media & Culture. In a 2000 tax return (visible on the foundation’s website) it lists a number of stocks in which they were heavily invested. Among them: Pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly, and defense contractors Honeywell and Halliburton -all targets of three of his op-ed films. I guess as long as they’re making him money, it doesn’t matter that he's a hypocrite. Check out -it’s filled with Moore’s manipulation of the “facts.” and it's not a smear piece. It was made by Moore fans who happened to uncover some unpleasant info about his methods. I actually like his films as pure entertainment, but I take them with a grain of salt. That’s why I find it so amusing when he goes on a tirade to defend them. At least he’s stopped calling his films documentaries, which in the strictest sense of the word they are not.
I just saw "Sicko" today and am currently watching Moore and Gupta on the Larry King Live show. While caught up in the details of who's right and wrong, I would love to see both form a united front to help us as Americans change the healthcare system. They both make the same point about the system needing change. I want to know what can we do what needs to be done?
Michael Moore appears sloppy to me in that he didn't state that some of his figures were projections and not verified facts.

Having been a reporter and an editor, it is important not to "pick and choose" which figures to use if they were established by differing criteria or reports.

Dr. Gupta was fair (even complimentary) in his fact-checking report of "Sicko" and while not quite as important as those things - he was also a polite gentleman in the interviews and Larry King appearance.
Moore over reacted a bit I think, but he is correct. Why does so many people think like Dr. Gupta? Why do they think that private business does things better and cheaper than Government can? Isn't it sad that so many can't even imagine of demanding responsible Government? They have so little faith in our system of Government. It is very telling. No small part due to a great sells job, by the business community, on the public.
Dr. Gupta - First, let me say I really enjoy your weekly shows. I also applaud Michael Moore for his tireless efforts in bringing to light our woefully deficient medical system.. Regarding your interview with Michael Moore and his movie "Sicko," my husband is from Britain and we live in Los Angeles. My husband has suffered from congestive heart failure for almost 11 years, and we've had the best medical care available - USC County Hospital and Medicare. He's since been outfitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillabor (ICD), and our co-payments (since Medicare and Humana have partnered) are only between $1.00 and $3.00 - before Humana, they were free.
That said, his brother in England - and on the National Health System - was told that he was too old to have either a pacemaker or a Defibrillator. We've had several conversations with his brother and his doctors in England and have found that finally he "may" be eligible for a pacemaker, only. I think Mr. Moore should not be so quick to sing the praises of other countries' National Health Systems. His research is sadly lacking.
I watched Dr. Gupta's fact check on "the situation room" and the debate with Michael Moore on Larry King Live. It was very disappointing that Dr. Gupta was trying to cover himself and his distortions of the facts that Moore shows in Sicko. The $7000+ per capita figure that Moore refers to is a figure from 2006. The even greater figure of approximately $7400 is a projected figure for 2007. Either way, both figures are much greater than Gupta's ~$6000 estimate. Moore clearly states that the $7000+ figure is from 2006 and is not a future estimation, however, Gupta ignores this and because of his inability to fairly defend himself, Gupta keeps saying that Moore is comparing projected estimates when clearly he is not. This was very frustrating to watch on Larry King Live.

What was even more frustrating was when Gupta corrected his misquote of $25 per capita in Cuba when Moore clearly states $251 per capita in his film. Gupta does not air the orginal version of his report that Moore had responded to on The Situation Room. Naturally, anybody who is so grossly misquoted would be extremely offended and rightfully angry. Still, Gupta, although he admits his misquote, fails to apologize to Moore about his negligent presentation of Moore's film. Gupta completely minimized his inexcusable negligence and at the end of the interview asked Moore why he got so mad suggesting that Moore was overreacting to his report. The fact of the matter is, Gupta's report on Moore's film was biased and clearly wrong on many facts. This is perfect grounds for any serious filmmaker who has done his homework to get reasonably upset.

I was very disappointed by Gupta. I have much more respect for people who are able to admit to their mistakes not by trying to minimize the severity of it, but by offering a true apology.

Michael Moore apologized to Blitzer at the end of the Larry King interview for asking Blitzer for an apology on behalf of mainstream media. A wise man is not afraid to apologize and admits his faults when he realizes he has made a mistake. Dr. Gupta is incapable of doing this.
Moore deserves an apologize from Gupta.

Of course, I won't be surprised if he never gets one, and I won't be surprised if this blog doesn't get posted, but I will be sure to send Mr. Moore this same blog. Let's see where it shows up.
DR. GUPTA was excellent on Larry King's show! His comments were fair, measured, balanced and positive. Having lived in England, be assured, their health care is anything but free!! "Waiting lists" to get care are dreadfully long! Would Mr. Moore wait many months to deal with an illness he might have - don't think so! Our system desparately needs to be fixed but, in my opinion, NOT by following the European model. "Been there"
I work where the rubber meets the road regarding health care and affordability. The Department of Welfare. I wish you could hear the pleads of people trying to get a few more food stamps because their costs for medicines out strip their ability to pay for both. Mostly older folks on SSI who are in the "so called" golden years of life. Their eyes are sad and their pride is broken. If it is true that a nation's greatness is judged by how they treat their young and their old. God will not continue to bless America. We have the ability to provide national healthcare we now must find the will. Profit over people cannot be the bottom line on a nations health. It will not be perfect but it must be off the table. More than 47,000,000 of our people will be better off for it and certainly 18,000 people will be better off with it. Rodger Moore has been the latest voice to expose the truth of it. Let us seriously resolve to solve this healthcare crisis. Our future as a nation depends upon it!
Dear Sanjay Gupta,
We have seen Sicko to us we deal every day in our practice. I have watched CNN and a discussion with M. Moore. I also loged in Mr. Moore web site and he clearly laid out the facts which you are not sincere about it.
We are ( wife) both in primary care Physicians and we are paying close to 22,000 every year with detuctable and 20/80 coverage for insurance.To be honest and frank about it we would like to see Universal Health care syestem for us as well to our patients, as our 70 percent of pratice is Medicare and Medicaid and 30 percent of private insurances. We are at least paid by Medicare and Medicaid without hassel. We are too some extent practising some sort of universal care!
Would like to see some discuusion on the Nursing Home stay? How we are fairing compare to the Western Nations.Its cost implications? I have relatives in Canada, they have no fear of getting old compare to us!!
Ed & Emolyn , M.D.
This is an incredibly complex and sensitive subject. I have been intimately involved with health care financing for all of my adult life, both here and internationally. Bottom line - there is no rational economic model for health insurance when it doesn't include everyone. The infrastructure costs for sales and underwriting consume large portions of otherwise usable capital. Create a minimum coverage requirement for everyone which ensures diagnosis and preventive care and then layer on private care for those who want to augement their coverage. There is no excuse for the exclusion of care in the richest country in the world. In addition, the per capita cost should be reduced when everyone is included in the system and we are no longer paying the cost of avoiding coverage.
Regarding the Michael Moore and Dr. Sanjay Gupta debate on "Sicko" -- I was on a Caribbean Cruise when this movie was released. In the interest of "Full Disclosure", I am in the insurance business (25 years) and am an "insurance broker". I do not work for a specific insurance company. When I watched the debate on "Larry King Live" tonight, I noticed the same thing that I had noticed w/ the interviews w/ Michael Moore regarding this subject before I left for the cruise. First of all, Mr. Moore does not come across as being very "educated" in this arena. He is basically stating what people "want to hear" vs. "reality". Canada (as well as other nations) pay WHOPPING tax for health care. DO WE REALLY WANT THE GOV'T DECIDING HOW MUCH EVERYONE SHOULD PAY IN TAXES TO COVER HEALTH INSURANCE?? Come on - let's get real!!! As Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported, there's not enough to continue paying for Medicare -- wait til all the baby boomers start coming up!!!!!!!!!! Talk about the "whammy"!!!!! WE ARE ALL GOING TO PAY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. It is a matter of "how" we pay" and if everyone is "required" to pay. We are also going down a very slippery slope w/ "illegal aliens" w/ this concept. Why would anyone want to even consider being legal, if we have to pay out all of this money in healthcare taxes? Also, we DO have the best healthcare in the world, which everyone is wanting to cover up in disgruntled insurance complaints/scenarios. Excellent healthcare is EXPENSIVE!! VERY EXPENSIVE!!!! However, take your complaints where they belong -- to the insurance commissioners -- have them require good insurance agents have the right to advocate on their clients behalves, or else incurr very, very serious penalties. Insurance companies are not afraid of any of the legal entities any longer. There needs to be more serious consequences for them. They are getting way "too big for their pants". But putting government in complete charge of our healthcare is a HUGE mistake. I can go on and on about the pros and cons of this, if anyone wants to debate further on the issue. Right now, Michael Moore is coming across as being quite uneducated, and no one should even begin to base their decision off of his suggestions or the movie "Sicko". The whole story is not there, in the least!!
who cares what moores thinks, he only wants people to believe what "he says" dont think for yourself. the next time he goes to the doctor because his arteries cloged up with all that mash potatoes under his skin, he better hope his in america. with american doctors that have medical a liscense. didnt he say he was moving to canada when bush won the election, did he move?
I'm married to American. We had to compromise about the place we would live. So we lived in Europe for few years and then moved to US. Health care and higher education policy in the US are pathetic. Luckily we are moving back to Europe so we don't have to deal with this primitive system.
I am passing this (from a webchat)on to the good doctor:
Steve in Los Angeles: Michael,

Can you please explain to Dr. Gupta that in the world that most Americans live in, we're not looking for "Health Care Utopia", and having to wait in a doctors office to be seen is something of a luxury many of us can no longer afford. His comment that in countries with free health care there is a long wait-time to see a doctor and it takes months to schedule elective surgery is laughable. That's like telling a starving person "don't bother with the free food, there's a line to get in and service is just awful." Are you joking?

I'm a self employed carpenter with no health insurance. None. I can't afford it. I go to work everyday knowing that one slip of the saw, and I could be choosing my fingers or sewing up my own leg. That's my reality. Everyday I go to work and listen to the cartilage in my knee CRUNCH when I climb a ladder, and the only thing I can do is pray it holds out for just a couple more years. Everyday, I am one misstep away from bankruptcy.

I've been living with a degenerating knee injury for YEARS because I can't afford to do a god damn thing about it, and you think having to wait in a Doctor's office for free treatment is something I care about? If I could schedule a simple arthroscopy, free of charge but it's going to have to be in September, do you honestly think I'm going to say "no, I'd rather wait until arthritis completely debilitates me and I can no longer work?"

Come live in our world for a while, Doctor, then talk to me about "wait-time".

Thanks Michael.
Dear Dr. Gupta,

I appreciate you attempting to clarify many of the allegations Mr. Moore tried to make through his film Sicko.

I agree there are serious flaws in our healthcare system that leave millions unfairly exposed to risk and need to be resolved. And though I might otherwise be willing to forgive an altruistic crusader who may somewhat selectively choose facts and data regardless of context to support his conclusion (rather than reaching a conclusion based upon relevant data), in this case, I simply cannot.

Ironically, the largest revelation had nothing to do with the facts, figures, truths, or misrepresentations, or anything having to do with healthcare. What I saw was Mr. Moore stripping away the veneer of pretense disguised as "Sicko" as, absent any basis for refuting your examples of skewed and innacurate data, he repeatedly followed the same path over and over again, which clearly revealed his true agenda, an at-all-costs attack upon our President (and his) and the current administration.

Make no mistake, I'm no fan of our current administration and believe it is responsible for some of the greatest political blunders (foreign and domestic) in history. I don't believe President Bush is disingenuous, I simply believe he is wrong and has damaged American society incalculably. However, that does not justify what Mr. Moore has tried to do, which is to wave the banner of patients right as a pretense for levying an attack upon the President's reputation.

Many may ask why this matters if the ends justifies the means, except I believe Mr. Moore is doing this in a two-fold attempt to further his own appeal and personal gain, and at the same time insulate himself from exactly what he proved himself to be.

Without any basis for substantiating his claims of inferior care, he immediately ran behind the cloak of nostalgia, and how the financial burden of the war in Iraq is the real problem. He did this early, often, and without fail.

Unfortunately, many of your valid points may have never been fully made. Perhaps you can find some measure of satisfaction knowing that by Mr. Moore exposing himself for what he his, viewers will be willing to find the answers to these questions for themselves, relying neither on Mr. Moore's politically motivated biases or whatever personal perferences you may have. Should people be willing to "do the work" themselves, I'm sure they will reach the same conclusions you have, and for no other reason than you happen to be correct, and Mr. Moore wrong.

After viewing Sanjay Gupta's debate on the facts on Sicko. I wanted to barf. It seems Dr Gupta is more interested in feeding his own ego than helping millions of people suffering in the corrupt, broken and unjust system we call US healthcare.

The facts he tried to discredit Michael Moore on were irrelevant. Who cares if Moore was slighly off on Cubas per person cost of healthcare. The fact remains they have a system that does not have the waste that the American sytem does. Who cares if average healthsare of Americans is $7,000 or $6,000 that fact is its double/triple of what other countries spend for equal or better care. Dr Gupta just does'nt get it!

Instead of helping Mr Moore with an important, life and dealth issue that could help millions, as any citizen(not to mention a doctor)should do, Sonjay was intent on discrediting Moore thus hurting his chance of creating a meaningful movement.

Gupta also conveniently left other real and meaty issues such as patient dumping, the cost of drugs, the waste of 30% of healthcare dollars spent on administration, the uninsured.

Gupta's debate in my opinion makes him a part of the problem vs someone who could possibly make a difference towards a solution.

Shame on you Sanjay. I thought you to be smarter. Perhaps the drugs companies are your sponsors. Go figure.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta was wrong when he said to Michael Moore on CNN healthcare in the United Kingdom is not free. I am from the United Kingdom and healthcare in the U.K is free.
I was highly disappointed by Dr. Gupta's statements last night on Michael Moore facts. Are you becoming the second "Wolf Blitzer" trying to justify the money CNN pays you? You are in the health field ( are you? or you are more in the "CNN world" now?) and if you try to justify that our health system is better or less expensive than of most European countries, or even Cuba, or that we do not stay in line even when visiting a physician - then either something is wrong with your intelligence lately or you are closing your eys on purpose...
I think that every your appearance on CNN as of yesterday will bring drastic cuts in your audience. It is a pity to see what you are doing.
Dr. Gupta, Having lived in both a socialized and privatized medical system, I was eager to see Michael Moore's movie. I enjoyed it, he certainly raised some valid points, however your section truly balanced Michael's documentary to give an accurate view of the systems of the world. To me, the best part about socialized medicine is I need not worry about healthcare, and as a doctor I am sure you know worrying is often the worst part of most illnesses.
If Americans are ready for lack of choice, long waiting periods for treatment, higher income taxes and government inefficiencies in managing our healthcare system, then universal healthcare is the right choice. I am personally unwilling to trust the federal government with my healthcare decisions nor do I trust that they are able to provide me with the best care possible. Universal healthcare is not the answer and I don't think Moore is balanced in his movie about the personal and financial costs of universal coverage which is a critical part of the story. I applaud Dr. Gupta for taking a stand and truly presenting the facts which we all deserve! I only wish more reporters were doing the same.
Dr. Gupta, I watched your joint commentary with Michael Moore last night on CNN and was very surprised and disappointed at your view on the Canadian health care system. I am going to speak to you about my personal story. At 16 I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, I was hospitalized for a year and a half total. I was on a ventilator for 6 months; I had 3 rounds of plasma exchange, with two relapses. Cost to my family, ZERO Canadain dollars!!
My daughter was born with a cleft palate she has had 14 surgeries. Cost to me, ZERO Canadian Dollars!! I am employed directly in the United States working with Americans for 16 years, I have heard their horror stories about costs which were not absorbed by their HMO. Astounding, but what was more astounding to me is the American complacency with the hand they are being dealt. Then along comes Michael Moore to shed some real light on the subject and he proceeds yet again to get critized for his films accuracy by you? Critizize the inability for people to get proper health care in the United States, do not critize the messenger! Yes, their are flaws in any system, but my good olde "Canadian Government" run system has been their for me when I have needed it, now where is yours?
Dr. Gupta's extreme good looks, soft-spokenness and hurt puppy dog expression make him an excellent puppet for the powerful insurance companies that run the show in this country. I find it hard to believe that a man of his intelligence would not see the slant in his comments about 1. Nationalized medicine is not free, and 2. Medicare is going bankrupt. It is true and anyone with a brain knows that anything provided with government services pays taxes for that reason. When your house is on fire, does the fire dept have to check to see if you paid before they put it out? No, because taxes pay for that very convenient service. Instead of paying for the corrupt wars that use hundreds of billions of our tax dollars, against the will of the majority of American people, wouldn't it be better to take care of our health issues? Wouldn't it be better to pay a gas tax for health care instead of paying for 40% profit for oil companies as our gas prices go sky high? European gas prices are high BUT THEY GET HEALTH CARE FOR THE TAX ON GAS. WE GET GAS and wealthier oil people. The next slanted statement was that medicare is going bankrupt. If you visit the site you will see why. Medicare pays insurance companies. There are hundreds of insurance companies that get paid for prescription drugs, and health care through medicare. Why on earth is our government paying insurance companies instead of paying directly to the doctors and drug companies? I will tell you why; the insurance companies are so powerful with powerful lobbiests that have our politicians in their pockets. Why too is social security running out? Because both Clinton and the Bush gangsters took OUR money to pay for other things. These systems are the best (one payer health insurance and social security) but only when honest people run the government and it has been a long, long time since that has been the case in this country. The big corporations matter and the citizens don't. Thank you Michael Moore for helping to bring this matter and others to the attention of more Americans. Unfortunately, they have to have enough perception to see beyond the slanted comments that usually lead them the wrong way.
Dr. Gupta,

Your debate positions against Michael Moore last night on Larry King were weak, to say the least.

Twenty minutes were spent arguing whether $229 or $251 was correct for Cuba and whether $6,000 or $7400 is correct for the USA. What difference does it make? I'd settle for the US being 40th in the world if we were only paying $250 per person.

You also insulted me (and many other viewers, I'm sure) to say that Moore is misleading 'unsophisticated' citizens into thinking that the rest of the world has 'free' health care. You sounded like a shill for George Bush to say that. It isn't rocket science to tell me that my taxes will go up a bit, but at the same time I will get more money from my employer (for what they currently pay as part of my 'benefits' package) to offset the tax increase. AND... co-pays, deductibles and other added costs GO AWAY...

Unsophisticated people probably don't vote anyway. Anyone who has a job and has visited a doctor in the past few years can quickly do the math and understand the overall personal gain that would occur by taking HMO's out of the healthcare equation.

We simply need government leaders with backbone working for the PEOPLE and not corporate GREED centers whose lobbyists all but write the legislation.
Dear Mr. Gupta, July 11, 2007

I caught you on Larry King last night with Michael Moore …and how sick I am of doctors like you bashing the health care system we have in CANADA!

Yes, I have broken bones and had other accidents where I ended up at the hospital and had to wait a few hours to get help…BUT I GOT IT!!!!

The issue here is that the sick get the help they need REGARDLESS of coverage!!!!!

Much of the time citizens in your country think they are covered by insurance and end up being told they are not because of some clause in their contract. GIVE ME A BREAK…profiting from the sick is WRONG! I don’t understand how people like you would not trust the government with health care BUT CAN TRUST THEM WITH WAR????

As a final note, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about two years ago…and underwent all the treatments needed to fight it and win. She is a single mother and did not have full coverage at the time but was TREATED ANYWAY!! EVERYONE HERE GETS TREATED!!! I am so grateful that we live here in Canada because if we were in the U.S. I may have lost my mom. No one should have to die or remain sick BECAUSE OF THEIR INCOME!!!

By the way, the public is not as SLOW as you implied last night. When Michael says “FREE” I know (as do many!) he means EVERYONE GETS CARE not “oh, we don’t need to pay! Give your public some credit and don’t insult peoples intelligence just because you’re a Doctor…I’m glade your not mine!

Proud Canadian,
David Silveira
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