Wednesday, July 11, 2007
My conversation with Michael Moore
Last night on Larry King, I had a chance to sit and discuss health care with a man I admire. It is true. Michael Moore has been able to get people talking about health care policy in a way that I haven't seen in a long time. It is important, because we both agree on the need to fix the health care system. It is shameful and heartbreaking that so many people don't have access to what most consider a basic human right. An uninsured person in this country is forced to make impossible decisions every day, such as choosing between food and medications. They live with the constant fear of getting sick or injured and then suddenly finding themselves in financial ruin. Even for the insured, the system seems broken and antiquated. Most everyone who reads this, whether you are a doctor or a patient, agrees that the time has come for a change.

Michael Moore and I agree on these points. In fact, after the segment ended on Larry King last night, we chatted for a couple of moments off the air. It was friendly and he seemed appreciative that we had a chance to discuss some of these issues. He reminded me that we are both from Michigan, although he favors the Spartans and I am a die hard Wolverine fan. He also reminded me that he has been working on Sicko for a long time and wanted to be recognized for his efforts. And, I do recognize that. Sincerely.

I also think, though, that it is important to get the facts absolutely right and to be transparent about the sources of those facts. Michael knows that I took issue with the "cherry picking" of some numbers to try and bolster his argument. He cited an unsourced BBC report when talking about per capita Cuban spending. That same report also talked about US per capita health spending, but he apparently didn't like that number, so instead he used a projected number from a different study. I worry that comparing apples and oranges purposely, and perhaps needlessly, muddy the argument. To be clear, I got a number wrong in my original report, substituting the number 25, instead of 251. It was not deliberate, but an error of transcription. I felt awful it happened. I did correct it and apologize.

I also worry that Michael, who is an accomplished film maker, tried to leave people with the impression that health care is free in many other nations and there is a state of utopia. True, Michael did talk about increased taxes in his film, but he also kept calling it "free," which made it nebulous. No question, there are many valuable things to learn from other health care systems, but we should know all things before wholeheartedly endorsing one system over another. We should know that taxes will be much higher, as is the case in France where they are crippled by their health care system. We should also know that a significant number of people in these countries still buy supplemental insurance, apparently unhappy with what the government alone can provide. We should also remember that Medicare, an example of a limited national health care plan in the United States, is expected to go bankrupt by the year 2020. If there is a new national health care plan, we want it to be around for a very long time and to provide the sort of health care that we deserve. Personally, I believe that adopting a much more prevalent prevention model is an important first step. Keeping people from getting sick in the first place may cost more in the short run, but it is medically and morally the right thing to do.

Judging by the response over the past few days, people are very passionate about these health care issues. I think I can safely speak for Michael, when I say, that is the best news of all. I was a bit baffled, though, that Michael took such issue with my reporting in Iraq. I reported on a group of Navy doctors who worked hard to address the consequences of those booms and explosions we watched on television. They risked their lives everyday to save and improve the lives of others. I think about them everyday. I wish Michael would've watched some of that reporting before being so critical.

Although Michael accused me of it, I have never shilled for a corporate sponsor and I never will. What I will do is try and present solid reporting on the complexities of a health care system in disrepair, no matter who it makes uncomfortable - be they powerful vested interests or filmmakers.

On a final note, Michael has told people at CNN that he regularly receives nasty email and even death threats. As I have been thrust into this world over the past couple of days, I understand what he is talking about. If you want to contribute to the discussion, please try and keep your comments constructive.
A fair comparison with other health care systems must account for total $ spent on health care per person per year verses life expectancy. The argument that you have used with “wait” times for specific procedures does not add value to the argument. What matters is how effective are the $ spent on medical issues that give the greatest result to the most people. Many Americans have no access to health care (despite so called “free” services for the poor). On average, Americans are less healthy than those of other nations (eg, Canada, France, England) and those countries spend substantially less per capita to achieve that result. Please crunch the numbers, there are well published and conclusive studies on this. Thanks.
I'd like to see your thoughts on Mike's response to your conversation:

http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/news/article_10017.php
Hello Dr. Gupta,

I appreciate your participation in dialogue with Michael Moore on this critical topic. I have long admired your skills and medical opinions, and I hope the intensity of this dialogue only enhances the reputations of both you and Mr. Moore.

At the close of your debate with Moore last night on Larry King's show, Moore raised the question of why the gentleman whose opinions were featured in your review is from an organization that he properly characterized as a "right-wing think tank". I feel it was a very unfortunate choice on your part to so prominently include the statements of someone whose affiliations tend to undermine confidence in the objectivity of your report.

I believe it's important for you to respond to this question raised by Mr. Moore. Would you explain to us why you included this questionable segment with the Heritage Foundation's president?

Thanks.
First and foremost, I deeply respect you, Dr. Gupta. I never would have thought you were "shilling for a corporate sponsor" and I personally believe you have the best in mind for all the people that you are bringing health and medical news to. The world needs information like that and they just don't get it, or understand it, or know how to implement it half the time. (Maybe they should read your book, which I really liked.)

The health care system in the United States and pretty much everywhere else is a disaster. The ideas are wonderful- to create a society where anyone can get great care and not have to worry about their health, but, like you mentioned about France, the cost is high... and apparently the service is still substandard. The question that myself and others have constantly brought up... how to fix it?

Instead of harping all over how WRONG everything is, how about some solutions? There are many, many people screaming about how it's completely messed up but no one seems to have a viable solution. That was my recent question on YouTube to the candidates- how would they fix the terrible health care system in the United States?

I'm personally voting for the world to become like Star Trek where everything is free, the doctors are brilliant geniuses, and all injuries can be fixed by waving the tricorder thing over you. Since that's not going to happen, I guess I'll just have to support whichever plan comes out that seems like a good idea. I just hope that the plan is forecasted and projected well into the future, so that it doesn't fall apart like everything else has.
While I usually find Dr. Gupta to be well informed and likeable, I have seen a long pattern of reporting to please the corporate sponsors rather than the real news. His reporting style is starting to remind me of that corporate stooge, John Stossel. His report disfavoring the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada seemed to be completely written for him by GSK. But last night really took the cake. His libelous, innacurate, misleading and desperate attack on Michael Moore made me want to research which HMO Dr. Gupta sits on the board for. It was less reporting and more reminiscent of a health insurance industry VNR. I must say that I will aalways have second thoughts about the advice that Dr. Gupta gives on CNN from now on.
this comment is for DR.Gupta, regarding that in EU countries they pay hight tax's to have health care free. well i am am american leaving in spain last 5 years and belive me they pay total when you add our tax our meducare and our private ins. even what we pay not add employer portion we pay more than them much more. so how come the most richest country in the earth can pay for health care for all. thanks.
Dr. Gupta,

I saw last night's exchange and I hope that a full hour will be devoted to completing the discussion at some point in the near future. To be really productive, the points of contention could be identified in advance so both parties could have their charts and sources ready.

I have not seen "Sicko" yet--it just opened in my area--but I plan to. So not being fully informed, I will dive in here and say that it appeared to me that Michael took most exception to your comment at the end of your piece where you said "...fudged some numbers..." I must admit that stood out to me when I saw your piece last week on 360. I thought whoa, I bet that won't go over well.

I will keep in mind the points you brought up when I see the movie. You bring a balance to the discussion that needs to be there. I just wish I had confidence in the Congress or our President (both current and future)to come to grips with fixing our broken health care system. Everything is so partisan now.
Gupta, you said "We should know that taxes will be much higher, as is the case in France where they are crippled by their health care system." Thanks for the precise, analytical, and quantitative assessment of France's economy. Your choice of the word "crippled" can be translated, "Hey I like my million dollar salary and high incomes outweigh better distributed health, so lets all get rich and watch the lower-middle class anxiously suffer."
Here is a good litmus test for you Gupta - whenever you feel the desire to talk about the economy quickly tell yourself to shut up, and then focus on how best to distribute quality medical care for the largest number of people.
If you admire this man, then why were you nit picking his movie? It seems to me that you should try to make his data better. I believe that if the United States take the best parts of each nation and put it togetter in one nation, we would have better health care. Lets face the facts, health care for profit KILLS thousands of people every year. The health care system will kill me.

The uninsured person has to pay little over 2.5 times more then someone that has health insurance.
Insurance companies will cancel you if you get sick. Why don't you do a peace on that? Why don't you do a peace on infant mortality rate of 6.85 or the mortality rate if you are of a different race?
Profit for health is just that a money making business, and somewhere in the past 50 years doctors, hospitals lost the reason for helping sick people. To Die because you don't have money is the real story.

Thanks,
Patricia Bilger Gardnerville, NV 775-265-3661
Hello Dr. Gupta.

I watched your discussion with Micheal last night, which I thought was quite interesting as I have the good fortune to live in Canada where we do have universal health care. This is certanly an issue that needs to be discussed. I did want to comment on one of the points you brought up last night as i felt it did not seem exactly true with my experiences. I am an advanced life support paramedic in Alberta and often treat and transport patients needing urgent angiograms. Althought weight times are an issue with urgent unstable angina type patients, it seemed you were painting a picture of emergent AMI patients were waiting six days to recieve life saving angiograms.
My experiece is nothing like that. I am proud to say that our region EMS services around Calgary have developed a system in which in feild 12-lead ECG's are read by responding paramedics and if determined that the patient is having a miocardial infarct, the 12 lead is faxed to the trauma centre and the patient is transported directly to the catheter lab, by-passing the emergency department decreasing the door to cath time.
Many incidents have seen patinets arriving for angiogram /plasty in less than an hour of onset of symptoms.
It is important to note that this service is available to everyone. As a front line health care worker paramedics experience first hand many of the delays in our healhcare system in Alberta, however, emergency situations are always dealt with in a timely manner, with no bias or discrimination based on wallet size.

humbly yours,

K. Palmer
EMT-Paramedic
Banff, Alberta Canada
How many of the -millions- of uninsured Americans do you take into consideration when considering an estimate of how long it takes for Americans to get treatment? As shown in SiCKO, and as I personally experience, you wait indefinitely if you lack the insurance or financial standing. Canadians don't wait for that. Brits don't wait for that. Cubans don't wait for that.

The U.S. medical system is designed to operate on shortages; this benefits capitalism. As a medical doctor, Dr. Gupta ... what is the medical effect of so many people having no regular access to medicine? How much do prescription drug benefits help those who have no insurance to get to doctors to determine what prescriptions a person might need in the first place?
It is shameful that you and the rest of the news media use this opportunity merely to fight with Michael Moore! Especially when you, and nearly every other interviewer, state that you liked the film/thought it was moving/AGREE with the fact that our health care system is broken. I am deeply saddened that CNN chose to go this route. I was once proud that you told more of the truth than the conservative stations.
Sanjay, I dont think it makes any sense when all your past reporting have been in health science . I have never seen your clip reporting about U.S health care system and 47 million uninsured people and suddenly you attack to a person who try to bring this issue. I would have agreed with you if you have brought this issue in the past. I am not a Michael Moore fan but some of the argument you made yesterday about free health care system. He has already mention on the movie and I understood what he meant on the movie. I agree he is cherry picking fact but he is not reporting wrong number. You seemed to be worried about our health care system but havent seen any report in the past.
Dr.Gupta: We watch you often with admiration and respect. While true that Mr. Moore wants to push his message and he has done so very well, I understand your defense of complete accuracy in reporting. We're not the worst in health care, yet, but our decline in health care services continues. My husband and I have good health care coverage, but each year the corporation cites spending so much on retiree health care that it cuts into their profits (or was it cuts into their bonuses). The coverage with my husband's last UAW contract now costs us more, covers less and the talk is that trend will continue. This system is broken and needs to be fixed but with the lure of huge profits and a great deal of greed by those who have very much, it may be a long time before progress is seen. Thank you for your passion for doing what is right and compassion for all people. When I finally do retire I hope I can become a politial activist and help turn the tide of unfair laws that allow profit and greed to dominate what is right and fair to all. Maybe our country can return to what democracy means: life, liberty, justice for all. If the majority of our people are treated with dignity, respect and fairness, we can all work toward helping those who are the minority. Karen, Oklahoma
I agree with your comments about Michael Moore and really appreciate the fact that you are helping provide a more balanced perspective of Moore's movie and our healthcare system. In my opinion, I think Moore is not being completely candid about what universal healthcare really means. You are right that it is not free as Moore leads viewers to believe. There are financial and personal costs to universal healthcare in higher income taxes, lack of choice, lack of control over our healthcare options, waiting lines, etc. I would have respected Moore's perspectives more had he presented the pros and the cons of universal healthcare because the American public deserves to know what this will mean. Nothing is free and there are consequences with every healthcare model that currently exists. The question is, what are we as Americans willing to give up to change the system. In my case, I am not willing to relenquish my healthcare decisions to the federal government. Furthermore, I think that you made an important point last night about cherry picking data in the movie. I agree that you have to be consistent about which data points to use - obviously Michael Moore chooses stats from sources that only support his way of thinking. Anyhow, I think you handled yourself with class and, more importantly, stuck to the facts which I very much appreciate.
As a former overweight American, I think Michael Moore should follow the path I took and lose some weight. Obesity is the best example of preventative medicine. I appreciate Mr. Moore doing a film on our healthcare system, and agree we need an overhaul of the system. That being said, it is ridicule that Mr. Moore constantly assails the government yet thinks they are capable of running a healthcare system. Lets let them try to figure out Iraq before we give them anything else to focus on!
Michael Moore should spend time fairly explaining both sides of an issue if he is presenting a documentary, or he should clearly state the films he makes are for entertainment purposes. We see too much on both sides of the fence of opinions being stated as 'trhe whole story'.
Dr. Gupta: I graduated twice from the University of Michigan, so I hope this fact adds some credibility to the comments that follow. My comments express support for Michael Moore and concern over the point of view you exhibited in your review of his film.

In short, I believe your review of "Sicko" suggests some bias on your part against Moore and his message. Your assertion that he was "fudging the facts" did not survive further scrutiny as the overly long discussion about 6,000 vs. 7,000 showed. The small variances in the numbers appeared to be of minimal difference in the grand scheme of things and not worthy of the amount of air time spent on the topic.

So why would you say he was fudging the facts? And why would your only subject matter expert be one with a conservative point of view? Because you feel compelled not to be accused of "liberal sympathies"? Because you wanted to innoculate yourself against possible conservative complaints?
Between us two Wolverines, I would like to challenge you on such concerns, should they exist.

I, for one, am pleased to say that I learned my liberal sympathies at the University of Michigan where I was taught that social justice and concern for our fellow man were noble objectives to pursue throughout our lives.

Of course, being concerned for others doesn't mean you shouldn't be objective. True objectivity could have taken the form of several interviews, one supporting Moore and one not. But the one interview, coupled with the "fudging the facts" statement made it look as though you were doing a number on Moore's film, even if you believed you were not.

I am especially interested in the topic of medical care because of personal experience with the current system. Several years ago, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois cancelled my policy because of two tests my son's pediatrician ordered to determine whether he had a heart problem. The two tests confirmed he did not have a problem, but Blue Cross cancelled us nonetheless. He was without health care coverage for two years until his father agreed to put him on his plan, after I spent thousands of dollars in legal fees.

By the way, during that time, a cardiologist and family friend periodically checked my son for no charge to make sure nothing was wrong with him. He gave him EKGs, etc. "on the house," knowing we could not afford the cost of these tests ourselves.

This doctor and others I have talked with over the years have confided in me they hate the current system and look forward to the day when we can send the insurance companies packing.

Thanks to Michael Moore and the anger of American citizens like me who have been victimized by the current system's cruelty, that day may come at long last.
It is ironic that Mr. Moore wants credit for something he's worked on for a long time, yet instinctively attacks you, someone who obviously has worked alot longer with and knows alot more about healthcare. I don't know why he was so defensive. While eating my lunch yesterday, I read the article before your televised discussion and felt the story was simply filling in some of the pieces that the film missed. (I think Mr. Moore would agree that for purposes of entertainment and time, a movie can not be expected to tell the entire story.)You were not trying to discredit Mr. Moore or his film. He's a filmmaker not a healthcare provider in the trenches every day. He should be elated that someone with your credentials and reputation would even consider his film legitimate bringing more publicity to his work. I have been reading and following your helpful information for more than three years because there is no drama in your presentation, just the facts. Like Mr. Moore, I too am against the war and think healthcare reform is necessary. However, I have decided not to view any of Mr. Moore's films because too much drama surrounds them. Excited people can not make good decisions. Mr. Moore is too excited and thinks his films will change people's minds. Wrong. We each must change our own minds. I choose to dissect information from many different sources before coming to a conclusion about things. Mr. Moore should view his film as a resource and not THE answer. Together, you both provided me with alot to think about. Thanks!
Dr. Gupta, your nit-picking criticism of Michael Moore was disgraceful and beneath a man of your accomplishments.

You could have tried to have a real conversation with Moore but instead you just picked and picked at what you consider his "mushy" or "confusing" arguments -- that in the end...you basically agree with!

He caught YOU fudging. And instead of apologizing gracefully, you just continue to attack and smear. You've lost credibility as a reporter. I cannot take you seriously from this point forward, I'm afraid. If you aren't a sympathetic shill for the health industry then you may be too hypersensitive to know when you've been made a fool of and stop picking a fight you can't win.

Shameful.
Dr.Gupta,

Your response to Michael Moore was at best, partial, and did a greater disservice to the American debate on Health Care Reform than the fudging of facts that Mr. Moore may have engaged in. Having lived in Europe for thirteen years and having received both Nationalized Healthcare and Private Healthcare under that system I can only say that we should be ashamed of the system that we have here in the United States. I was back in country only three weeks when I was forced, without coverage, to seek attendance for a Bronchial Infection. I was attended to by a very young Nurse Practioner who after taking vitals, and conducting an Influenza nasal swipe wrote a prescription and sent me home. For those fifteen minutes I was charged 260 Dollars and the Prescriptions cost an additional 160. Something is not right Mr.Gupta. For the same service in Europe I would have paid 15 Dollars, and I have the actual numbers and life experience to back those numbers up. Oh, I am sorry, I do not wish to mislead the readers, this is paid out of the taxes both citizens and the corporations pay in the EU space. And to clarify further I did carry Private Health coverage to offer greater flexibility as the Deloitte Consultant on your Op-Ed piece so poignantly pointed out. The cost for a family of three per month with miniscule co-pays and deductibles a whopping 92 Euros. In closing it is unfortunate that so called experts like yourself can debate and argue the difference between actual numbers and projected numbers but offer no solutions to our current healthcare crisis. Americans will have to pay no more than they are paying now for a Nationalized Healthcare or hybrid system and your reference to that is what is misleading. WE THE PEOPLE need only ensure that the money we pay to the Federal Government is placed where it is needed most for the further development and security of its people. Perhaps you should watch Mr. Coopers 360 piece on keeping them honest so you can put together a constructive, subjective piece of where there is funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Nationalized Healthcare out of money being misspent and misappropriated. That is the real tragedy. National healthcare will be free if the people demand it and steward its functioning. Uncontrolled greed, corruption and lies are the downfall of any great civilization. What are your hourly fees Doctor?
Mr. Moore, does not know the stats of canad's medical , it is true we have a great system, but also many doctors do not want new patients, hence they spend hours at emergency. Mr. Moore has to lose weight before he talks about health, many fat & obese people are costing us a lot of money, cause they do not eat right, and they do not do sports, just eating and sitting on the coach either watching TV or playing games.

Thank you.
I'm sure your uninsured viewers are really appreciative of all the medical advice you provide for which they will never be rich enough, or insured enough to partake of.

I certainly believe that you think that you're not beholding to any pharma corporation, but on this side of the screen, when all we see are puff pieces aimed at the status quo jet setters (don't east those greasy pizzas when your vacationing on the beach) it's pretty easy for us to see that your not really that concerned with the poor.

How hard would it be to take your film crew out onto the streets and expose the situation as it exists for the working poor, and homeless?

Why is it that someone who puts out a couple of movies every decade or so had to bring this issues to the attention of the public, and someone who has daily face time with the whole country hasn't had the time to address such an "important" issue?

And no one really thinks that health care in those other countries is "free" ... what kind of morons do you take us for (oh yeah, I forgot, you DO take us for morons.)

Of course taxes will have to pay for the system, and yes it is extremely likely that taxes will go up ... but insurance premiums will disappear.

Also, when stats are given for per capita spending on health care, that's both public and private spending that they are talking about. So Canada's 10% GDP spending includes all the extra supplemental insurance that one might wish to partake of. So let's not say Moore is "fudging" the facts by not making minor issues perfectly clear while you yourself takes no responsibility for presenting all the details of your argument as well.

Now, if you are really serious about fixing the system, then lay off the cream puff reporting on issues that affect next to no one (older pregnant moms get genes screened, Are boardwalk delicacies the next target? for example) and start presenting real information that exposes the more relevant and important issues that face real citizens every day of their lives.

Be a doctor of the people, and not just a doctor of the rich for a change.
Thank you, Sanjay, for helping to keep the points of this issue in balance. The US needs to do so much better with health care, and it is hard to hope with so many complicating factors and angles facing those in power with a genuine desire to “get it right”, let alone the greed and corruption permeating everything.

But there will be zero hope if the population processes only inflammatory info and demands “solutions” that are no true solution for other countries, either.

The point I would like to make is it is not just the 47 million un-insured who are losing out w/the current status. My husband and I both work and I am fortunate to have a fully insured family. But we too never go to the doctor because, even after insurance chips in, the expense is still formidable. And should even a moderately serious medical event strike me or mine, I would lose everything trying to pay for it. I know I am not the lone ranger, here.

There is "free" medical care now. My mother works for a specialist where drug addicts are treated for liver disease every day. They have no $ to pay, and you and I bear the burden. This doc is no charity or flunky. He is an expert and if I had to go to him, it would break me.

You are exactly right: the first step is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own health and the risks we take when we eat junk, smoke, abuse substances, sit on the couch and depend on meds when lifestyle changes would suffice.

We all know this much. We can all do this much.
You handled yourself very well w/ Moore last night Sanjay. I thought it was odd that while Moore was so defensive regarding facts about 'Sicko', he recklessly complained about you being a corporate shill and questioned you being embedded with the troops in Iraq. The 'Poison Food' special you did certainly wasn't anything the food industry would embrace, but it was a story that needed to be told regardless of potential advertisement fallout. The embedding in your case was unique, as unlike with other journalists who to some degree deserve critique for covering a war that way, from a medical standpoint, the only effective way to cover the story would be to embed.
Mr Moore most certainly has an agenda. He most certainly uses numbers and statistics to his advantage. Why shouldn't he? Finally, at least somebody cares about one of the most embarrassing and ignored problems in the US today. Are other nations perfect? Far from it, but at least they aren't so busy stealing from sick people they forget their roll as caretakers of the public.
Dr. Gupta, as a reasonable, highly knowledgeable, and accomplished surgeon, has it occurred to you that CNN and its corporate interests are using you as their unobjectionable front man to get Moore riled up, to trap him into attacking a physician rather than the insurance and drug companies that fund the network? If you basically agree with the film, as you have stated, what is the point of nitpicking over the numbers, and thereby detracting from the film's effectiveness? Why not simply endorse and promote the film as a galvanizing force for desperately needed change? Instead of interviewing an industry-funded think tank pawn, a useful investigative report would be to calculate what an adequately insured middle class American family pays annually in salary deductions, premiums, co-pays, and deductibles and compare that to the percentage of an average middle-class French family's annual tax burden that is dedicated to health care. Even if, in comparison, the French pay a little more, 3-5 year superiority in life expectancy, not to mention quality of life and universal coverage, are benefits of incalculable value.
I did not see the interview, only the snippet on CNNHN this morning. I found it interesting that Mr. Moore accused you of being a shill. Perhaps it was bias in previous medical reporting or the heavy pharmaceutical advertising on CNN, but I always assumed you were a shill for the pharms. If you are not there is certainly that perception. That being said, being called a shill by a pseudo-documentarian might make for good train-wreak tv, but it isn't earth-shattering. Hopefully Mr. Moore thanked you for playing along with his publicity drive.
I'm a little disappointed that while you chided Michael for giving the impression that in counties with socialized medicine, medical care is free, you did the same thing by insinuating that that the higher taxes they pay ONLY provide them with health care.

You should know better than that. Eurpoean countries with those really high taxes (and Canada too) have vastly better unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, and have an education system that far exceeds our own.

They also have social programs and an entire culture of caring that can be no coincidence that their violent crime rates make us look like a nation of criminals.

They get a lot more for those tax dollars that just "free" healthcare.
Dr. Gupta,

The major concern many people have is that the news networks have 'gone after Michael Moore' with a vigor that only seems to be reserved for Michael Moore--and none of our elected officials, whose facts and arguments often get a "free pass". After watching your segment and reading his fact rebuttal, I can only conclude that you were grasping for straws when you made that report. I am also unhappy that you seem to think, as you said on the Larry King Live show, that the average American is too "unsophisticated" to understand that free universal health care is not free and will result in higher taxes. Your credibility has been compromised.
Why are we ignoring the big pink elephant in the room? The greedy insurance companies are to blame for 90% of these problems. How much does the "machine" advertise on your network?
I did not see Larry King last night (will watch the rerun) but I read the transcripts.
I am with you. I am an analyst by profession and will get a pink slip easily if I provide my managers a lopsided analysis of situations or events. Apples to apples analysis, be objective, differentiate between facts, your own feelings and biases. I will be ridiculed by my colleagues if I cherry pick my numbers to fit my analysis. While everyone agrees that health care needs to be reformed (who doesn't), it is Mr. Moore's sensationalization of the subject and injection of himself that derails the real purpose of his documentary. While I think he is sincere in trying to affect change, injecting his BIASES derails what could very well be a noble work for him.
I find it hard nowadays to get to the bottom of things or issues when I watch something on TV. There are so many misleading reports, things are just not too clear for someone to make a good decision. Sometimes, who makes the most noise wins. There is a lot of "cherry picking" information to fit a "story" nowadays. I am so glad you did it for this one, for who else would put that challenge to him? Everybody will just nod and applaud him and give him awards. Who makes the most noise and endorsement "wins". Who are we deceiving? Just ourselves, by just nodding our heads to one who obviously has a lot of prejudices. If you did not, the people might think what he was stating is "the truth" or "fact".

The reason we cannot get to the bottom of things and really affect change is we muddy the waters with our own biases and prejudices. Let the facts speak for themselves. Yes, we need change. I think he really cares for this issue, but his views are so muddied with his prejudices that what would have been a great documentary becomes just a "docu-movie."
First of all, I'm glad people in this country are even having this discussion. Many people have been watching our health care system go off the rails for decades now and have felt powerless to improve things because no one was covering this issue.

Moore's film did a great job of opening up this topic, and I'm glad Gupta agrees with the overall point that our system needs to be fixed.

But instead of quibbling over numbers (does the difference between 229 and 251 or 6000 and 7400 really matter all that much?), it's important that we keep focused on how we can improve this system.

Gupta's point about voluntary preventative health care has been a good first step and aligns with the work he has done to educate the public. But it does little to help those who are already sick or to help those who cannot change their health through diet and exercise. And it has been the only systematic approach used for quite a while (the food pyramid, "your brain on drugs", etc.) and hasn't resulted in any tangible improvements to the system.

Michael Moore is not the only person who believes that single-payer healthcare is a good idea. If you don't like him or his approach, why can't we hear from others who advocate this idea?
What do you think would be cheaper for the average American?

Tax-funded government health care or insurance funded health care?

What is supplemental insurance funding in other countries, and why don't their governments provide those services?

Thank you.
Dr. Sanjay: You didn’t mention that Americans have long waits to see specialists and non-specialists too, and that while patients in other countries may wait a few weeks for elective surgeries, life threatening surgeries or issues are addressed right away. You also don’t mention that Americans may pay insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles that approach the taxes paid by people in other countries that have national health care. I for one would be glad to pay more taxes to keep a family from going into financial ruin due to health care bills. Doesn’t it make sense to take what is working in other countries including ours to come up with a health care system that works for all Americans? With this in mind - What about revamping the Medicare/Medicaid system - a National Health Care System that is already in place?
Dr. Sanjay: You didn’t mention that Americans have long waits to see specialists and non-specialists too, and that while patients in other countries may wait a few weeks for elective surgeries, life threatening surgeries or issues are addressed right away. You also don’t mention that Americans may pay insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles that approach the taxes paid by people in other countries that have national health care. I for one would be glad to pay more taxes to keep a family from going into financial ruin due to health care bills. Doesn’t it make sense to take what is working in other countries including ours to come up with a health care system that works for all Americans? With this in mind - What about revamping the Medicare/Medicaid system - a National Health Care System that is already in place?
I am from Canada and I feel that we do have an amazing health care system. I am 34 years old and on Nocturnal hemo dialysis. I get all my supplies delivered to me and I have a Machine in my home that the hospital and government provide for me. I was able to have to 2 kids. I have a 3 year old boy and I have a 1 year old. So I know that we have a great health care system does not matter if you are rich or poor you get the same treatment. When I had my babies I received VIP treatment. I had a team of doctors working with me -- in the states I it would have cost a bundle without insurance. I am very proud to be Canadian and I love our health care system. I am also first women in the world to carry two babies to term on Nocutrnal hemo dialysis.
The one issue I would like to hear discussed in-depth regarding Universal Health Care is the Quality received during and after.
In my rush to post a comment on your blog, I fact-checked too hastily (everybody just calm down :)).

I identified your expert as the president of the Heritage Foundation, which is incorrect. He is Paul Keckley, a spokesman for the Deloitte Center. I apologize for this error, but I contend my comments are no less valid regardless of the conservative organization Mr. Keckley represents, or what title Mr. Keckley holds.

Would you please replace my phrase "Heritage Foundation president" at the end of my post with the phrase "Deloitte Center spokesman"?

Thanks.
As a Canadian citizen it concerns me that you make comments such as "nothing is free", "long wait times", "high taxes" about the Canadian Healthcare system. My Brother, who was on disability, spent 3+ mos being cared for in an ICU unit and we paid ZERO for this care. Yes we pay higher taxes,in Canada but I don't believe even with a private healthcare plan in the US that I would not have had to pay excessive fees for his more than competent care. There was no wait time and in my experience with the Canadian healthcare system, yes you will wait for cosmetic or non life threatening treatments but cases are for the most part dealt with based on urgency. I have never paid for any treatments in my life for myself. My Mother had ALS and my Father had APA and related strokes and we never waited for care. When my father needed an MRI he was bumped up on the list based on urgency an again we DID NOT PAY. When my parents required in-home nursing care once released from Hospital, this was also covered by the Canadian healthcare/social system. I am sure our system is not perfect but unlike the US it is not run for profit which I believe is Mr. Moores point. It is sad that the American government does not see the value in spending large sums of tax dollars unless it is to kill someone or blow something up, not save them!
Michael Moore has always had a history of presenting information that supports whatever point or preconception he had prior to making the film. I saw the Columbine film and it made me want to throw up. Although a fair amount of what he said was factually true, it was always without context or considered the larger perspective. Moore is out to make money and he knows he'll make a ton by either appealing to certain peoples' desire to hear what they want or to anger those who disagree. A true, unbiased, exploration into any subject is not his thing. Personally, I can't deal with such bias.

I have read through the blog comments and notice that the criticisms of your truly skeptical questioning of him are by people who don't seem to care about exploring all angles and options, but rather think that anything that is said in support of the higher purpose of improved health care is justified regardless of the truth. It is possible to disagree with the means in which a point is presented and still agree with the conclusions.
In regards to the reader (Patricia) that said "Make the data better". Data can not be made "better" and a dataset never speaks the truth or lies. It is merely information that must be treated skeptically in the context in which it was gathered. Numbers don't lie, but those interpreting those numbers do and will always introduce a bias when it comes to interpretation.
Dr.Gupta,

You have lost all of my confidence as a Journalist and I will no longer watch you in primetime.
Hi Dr Gupta,
I am a Canadian and I watched your conversation last night with Michael Moore. It was kinda hard to watch. Americans can really get worked up.

I would like you to know that today I bought my asthma medication. My company has a health plan. There were no lineups when I went to pick it up and I handed the girl the card, she came back with my package and I walked back to work. The cost on the package said $0.00. In this sense, our health plan seems to cost nothing but the truth is I've been paying for it through deductions in my payroll.

And yes our wait times can get silly and we're all well aware of that here in Canada. Our government is moving to correct that. But please don't miss the bigger issue here...

WE ARE ALL COVERED. The ENTIRE NATION has health coverage. Can you say the same thing??

I think that is the simple point that Mr Moore is trying to make and that is the point that everyone is missing.


regards
will

ps. dont get caught up in fact and figures. forget all that. dont get caught up in terminology. its not important.

keep your eye on getting EVERYONE health care. THAT's whats important here.
What a smokescreen that Gupta's worry that people will think that health care is free in other countries when everbody knows it isn't. Do you think American's are too stupid to know there is no free lunch. Such a red herring oh learned doctor.
The truth is that health care is more available to everyone in these countries and they spend less on health care regardless of where the money comes from. America spends more of it GNP on health than everyone else and has less coverage. End of story. Yes America doesn't seem to be able to get the concept of public good and instead rejoices in the evil of every man for themselves. You can have your culture values, just stop infecting them into the rest of the world. Sicko is a brilliant title for the theme of the movie.

Alberto - Canada
I think you guys are both in a position that can allow for positive developments to occur in both the short term and long term. You have access to the media and our legislators - hopefully they will listen and have the courage to act.
Having worked both in corporate America and for myself the past 7 years there is a huge difference when one is on their own for health care benefits.
The private insurers and the lawmakers have brought a lot of this upon themselves. Allowing insurance companies to have the power to reject people for insurance and cherry pick what procedures will be covered and will not for even healthy individuals is wrong. No wonder there are so many lawsuits when all they do is deny and are allowed to run wild. As much as certain politicians want to believe that HSA's and other high deductibles are the answer they aren't looking at the details. There are too many exceptions that can easily bring one's out of pocket expenses into the tens of thousands of dollars if one becomes ill in any given year. At a minimum, we all should have the same healthcare that our elected politicians currently have and without the hassles.
The benefits of a Universal Health Care system that both of you didn't speak about is accountability, time & cost reduction. It holds or has the ability to hold accountable bad doctors, hospitals and bad results by having data more readily available. The 80/20 rule of business would go in effect with all of our health. The private model could do this, but currently does not. It is far too difficult for one to verify if a doctor has done what they claim they have done and whether or not they are worth seeing. Small Business owners, the lifeblood of our capitalistic system would benefit tremendously by eliminating countless hours, days and weeks of dealing with private insurance issues by having one card for all their insurance needs and not have to worry about this or that not being covered – True Freedom. Freedom that will come back in higher productivity as a Nation – more Jobs and more money.
At the end of the day, the goal should be for all to have insurance, reduce our costs, attain the best medical results the first time and fund medical research. The best way for this to occur would be by one centralized administrator and fully fund (increase funds) the NIH.
Having hundreds of insurance company’s be that administrator is not cost effective nor getting us the best results.
A separate Government entity or a hybrid between Gov’t and one or two Private Insurers could work, but the lobbyists and egos need to be checked at the door.
There is plenty of money in our system to make all this happen with stellar results. It is going to take one enormously talented and passionate individual to step up and do this along with many other issues he/she will face in their term as President. I don’t see this from anyone of our current choices from either side, but it needs to happen.
Our nation is at a point of threading the needle on many of our issues. It can’t afford any more errors and expect for things to take care of themselves.
As it was said in the movie “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash’s father on his deck before lunch about his brand new tractor – “What’s going on down there with that tractor? That’s a fine piece of equipment to leave sitting there in that mud. Is that the way you take care of your things?”
We need to start taking care of things around here.
Hi Dr. Gupta,

I consider any attempt to sway, mislead, or convince others of an idea's merit through omission, misrepresentation, or any other manipulation of data dishonest. A course in probability and statistics demonstrates just how subjective conclusions can be, and Mr. Moore seems to specialize in exploiting this subjectivity. In my opinion, you’ve done us all a service by putting by pointing out inconsistencies that result from his selection of data from disparate sources in an attempt bolster his position.

While some people are easily swayed or mislead by partial truths and biased information, others are antagonized when they recognize that their opinions are being manipulated under false or misleading pretenses. What I can’t understand is why Mr. Moore would risk antagonizing potential supporters/believers/reformers with his misinformation tactics.

Most of us agree that health care in the U.S. needs reform and there’s enough data to generate impartial statistics that would convince the handful of us that don’t without “cherry picking” as you so aptly put it.

G. Chavez
New Mexico
the argument that health care in france or canada is not "free" is a false one. Is calling the fire department "free"? are the public schools "free"? yes, they are because you are not charged differently whether or not you use those services. while nothing is actually completely "free", Gupta is being dishonest in accusing Moore of fudging on this point. especially when, as moore pointed out, he mentioned that France pays more taxes than americans do!! Gupta is simply doing his job of defending the american "free market", corporate system like a good, obedient member of the mainstream media.
Dr. Gupta:

As a long time viewer I know you are bright and knowledge about the field of medicine. In addition, you appear to be a very genial person. I have in the past and will continue in the future to enjoy your segments on CNN. With all this in mind I was somewhat mystified when I watched your review of Michael Moore's movie "Sicko".

It appeared to me that you desired to point out the smallest of data mistakes made by Moore. Did Moore present data that as you pointed out were "fudged"? Perhaps he did. That said, did you really expect Moore's movie to be 100 percent factual? Do you really believe other documentaries contain 100 percent factual information? I suspect Moore was faced with a myriad of confusing and contradictory facts. I further suspect Moore chose to use those facts that best supported his argument. None of this subtracts from Moore's contention that health care in the United States is a for-profit business. Moore tells us we have great doctors, nurses, and hospitals; most likely the best in the world. The problem he tells us is the need for the health care system to turn a profit. Moore's data does not need to be 100 percent actuate to prove his conclusion.

I believe consciously or perhaps unconsciously, Moore's negative critique of the field of health care in the United States made you defensive. To me this only makes you human. Regardless, Moore's movie stands on its own as a scathing indictment of for-profit health care.
Who says our taxes have to become outrageous if some type of universal health care is provided in this country? That is hogwash. The government often is innefficient but your aversion to some type of national coverage/insurance is self serving.
Admit it. As a doctor, you don't want anyone affecting your rates. That is really the issue.

Lots of cute little articles here in the CNN health section. Very little depth; light weight fluff. Did it make you feel superior to attack Moore's film? What a waste of time, but then it gets you some press.
Dear Dr. Gupta,
I have been a fan of yours for many years, specially when you did the piece on MRSA of which I contracted taking care of my 94 year old grandfather after he had hip surgery and contracted it from the hospital where he had the surgery. How come you've never followed up? Do you know that we are about 15 years behing in this research I am a 35 year old woman with 4 children, my husband and I own our own business, I cannot get health insurance now because of that hospitalization--6 weeks I might add, and the doctors cannot tell me that I absolutely do not have it anymore. In some of the other countries Mr. Moore discussed I would be happy to wait to get regular blood work done, so that I would know if I was transmitting or not---my childrens lives are at stake. We lost my grandfather this past year, he lived with us for 6 years, we would never put him in a home because you should see the state of them!!!!!!!!!! And we live in Palm Springs, CA a place for retirement!! I had to fight every day with his insurance companies, & he was a veteran of the Army for 35 years ---Decorated! I cannot say how disapointed I am in you, at one time I thought you were going to break through the next big scandel since ENRON!! I guess I will have hope that Anderson Cooper while take this on--I will write him as well, because he aired your piece. I hope in the future you can redeem yourself as a Doctor that took the Hipocratic Oath. Mimi In California.
If you "admire" Moore so much, I would hate to be someone whom you didn't.

The one who has been doing the "cherry-picking" is you, Dr. Gupta. His information was better than your own. You also have failed to correct several other bits of misinformation on your part, such as saying the lone "expert" in your story had no affilliations with the drug industry and the Republican party.

Moore most certainly did not "fudge" facts. It is well-known that he and his staff, whom you seem to feel so threatened by, have made a herculean effort to be accurate, knowing that folks like yourself would be out there, ingratiating themselves to the camera while grasping at straws. You are simply trying to make it about the messenger - and it is YOU, sir, who is "muddying the waters" by drawing us into a debate that is a most unwelcome distraction from the real issues.

As for Iraq, like so many others, you absolutely failed to simply ask the real questions, which might have prevented all of those soldiers that you make sure we all know you treated from needing your copiously promoted medical services in the first place.

I encourage everyone to just go to Michael Moore's website - and to his movie - and make your own mind up. You don't need a slick referee with vested interests to tell you what to think.
The thing that made so many people upset about your report was that it was incredibly unbalanced and the statistics that you used were wrong, and Michael Moore was able to refute those statistics. In addition, the "expert" you interviewed for your report was a Republican contributor who had done business with insurance companies like Blue Cross. You should have told the viewer about this guy's background, so that the viewer would at least know of his possible biases. However, you failed to do so. It was just down-right lazy journalism on your part. Moreover, on Larry King, you had no real response to the fact that Moore's team sent you the facts used in his movie the day before your report started airing on CNN. Why were you guys still able to get the facts wrong, even though you were given the correct facts the day before your report aired?
Dr. Gupta,
I watched your initial piece on Sicko, and your subsequent appearance on Larry King with Michael Moore. I find your positions puzzling. One can pick at the details of any work, be it ones research, documentary etc. What your commentary on Sicko amounts to is just that--picking.

You expose no significant error whatsoever. In fact, you take a SERIOUS issue (one that of all people, you as a medical professional should hold dear) and obfuscate the it by "correcting" the work on minuscule details. All of your points, in my view have been shown to be false.

In particular, I find it amazing that you try to imply that in Sicko, Moore tries to "convince" the audience that a single-payer system is free. Dr. Gupta, surely you understand that anyone truly dense enough to draw that conclusion from Sicko--will be in the theater next door watching the Transformers movie instead, and most likely, not quite grasping the plot.
"I also worry that Michael, who is an accomplished film maker, tried to leave people with the impression that health care is free in many other nations and there is a state of utopia."

I think this is totally condescending. I guarantee that the people who go to see Sicko and the average CNN viewer understand that people in other countries play higher taxes. It doesn't matter - we are paying for it here one way or another. As for your point about prevention - it only works to a certain extent. We still need to fix the sytem because preventive medicine will never work all the time.
Nicely stated, thank you.
I saw both broadcasts when Michael Moore appeared on CNN live, and I was hoping he would present something compelling both times. On both occasions, he was evasive, emotional and un-rigorous in how he evaluated information. I don't understand how there is so much support for a such a sloppy approach to determining we need to adopt a government-controlled, tax-funded, non-profit healthcare system. Simply demonstrating that our system is broken does not mean such an option is the only choice, and I was particularly surprised by Mr. Moore’s refusal to acknowledge there may be some other solution outside complete socialization. Blaming the inflated cost of healthcare in the U.S. solely on business profits is also ridiculous. An article published in the June 28 edition of The Economist indicated that a recent Duke University study showed that America spent $339 billion dollars in medical lawsuits, FDA regulation costs and insurance regulation. What has Mr. Moore said about the effect of lawsuits and bureaucratic regulations on costs? I imagine this sort of information is an inconvenient truth for someone who is determined to bring the tried-and-failed approach of socialized medicine to America. I believe we can come up with something that is both better than our current system AND the systems used by other countries. Why is it I feel Michael Moore would not come to a table to discuss other options? Probably because he has shown he wouldn’t. Thanks, Dr. Gupta, for trying to elevate the discussion.
I think Moore got you on every point with the exception of the 'free health care' point. That guy in your segment is a republican contributor (Moore posted the records on his site) and works with Tommy Thompson and a right wing think tank (he posted links to their websites confirming it). How can you say you 'checked into it'? Clearly you didn't. Also, how can you say he cherry picked his numbers? You cited the 2004 cost of insurance when all data proves insurance costs are increasing at 5-10% per year. You knew your number was low and his was an official government number. Yes it's an estimate because it takes a few years to compile the data - but his number was surely much more accurate and current than yours. As for the Cuba numbers, the cost you cited makes his point better than the number he quoted in the movie! That's a bad job of cherry picking if that's what he was doing!
Dr. Gupta, your dialog with Mr. Moore last night was very enlightening; I certainly hope to see more.

I'm a bit disturbed, however, to see you jump right into encouraging "preventative care." That's fine, of course, but it should be in addition to universal care, not an alternative or even a first step.

I developed Crohn's disease at the age of 9 and have been through the wringer on surgeries, medications, etc. It has been difficult for me to stay employed, and I am totally uninsurable as an individual (Crohn's has also led to kidney stones and the cortisone I took led to Type 2 diabetes; skin inflammations also led to skin cancers). I have a friend who has Multiple Sclerosis, with incredibly expensive drugs.

Everyone talks the wonders of prevention, giving many in the public the idea that sick people deserve to be sick.

Most of us don't.
It seems a bit disengenous when you accuse Mr. Moore of "cherry-picking" the facts, over what amounts to tiny discrepancies that don't really affect the big picture of health-care in the U.S.A. - when you never raised the question of George W.Bush chery-picking the facts to lead us into an empty war where tens of thousand of innocent Iraqis have died - check out The Lancet if you need a cite, as well as thousands of Americans both military & civilian. You seem to pick strange times to speak up, where was your voice when George Bush and his admin were lying about yellow cake uranium? Why don't you confront the military's use of depleted uranium in massive quantities in Iraq? Why do you dog Michael Moore, yet put the administration on a pedestal? If you are a real journalist as the highly rated Wolf Blitzer claims, why don't you question those doing the most harm rather than attacking a man who shines the light on a problem the media won't touch - come to think of it that's a pretty long list.

I'm sure in your bubble world you think you do a heckuva job, just like Brownie did in the Bush bubbleworld, please get out into the real world and help us before it's too late. Speak up, question authority, talk about unpopular topics, question those in charge who shepard you towards stories instead of blinding reading any words that appear on a teleprompter, you owe us that if you want our attention, if you want our trust. Thank you, you've shown yourself to be intelligent, now stop carrying water for your corporate masters and start speaking from your heart. Please...
Dr. Gupta,

Although your attempts at self-redemption can fool many naive viewers, those with rational, logical mindsets--the critical thinkers--can merely look at the facts and see that you remain incorrect in your accusations. Simply look at the facts that are posted on Michael Moore's website, with the cited support, and you will learn the truth.

Shame on you for engaging in such poor journalism. Are you incompetent, or are you a puppet of a more powerful force?
Am very pleased that the interview between Dr. Gupta and Michael Moore took place; it further highlights the need for comprehensive health care in the U.S.

Having said that, I would point to Dr. Gupta's error on Cuba health care costs of $25, which is substantially higher of course; yet Michael Moore's error on the same issue was only about $20 out! So, who is doing their homework here!

Finally, it is acceptable to say that Canadians pay for their health care costs through their taxes. In fact, in addition to these taxes, residents of Ontario, Canada, pay a further $1200 a year surtax on top of their federal taxes. At the same time, however, those individuals living at the poverty level, and subsisting on welfare, DO NOT PAY into the Health Care System--a significant factor---no one does without.

Enjoy CNN and think Wolf Blitzer held his own with Mr. Moore's rantings...

Margaret Harper
Canada.
Dr Gupta,

As someone who has experienced the health care systems of 3 countries (US, UK, and France), I'm happy to see that we as Americans are so engaged with this issue.

I must, however, take issue with some of your comments. Again, as someone who has actually experienced health care systems (or 'socialised health care') outside of the US, it seems that we often hear arguments coming from politicians and other thought leaders, such as yourself, that are simply misinformed. In particular, you made a comment that people in universal coverage systems buy addt'l insurance because they consider the health care offered by the gov't inadequate. Yes, this happens (ie often businesses provide addt'l insurance coverage to their employees), but I must stress that the basic coverage you get is already extremely generous. In addition, the monthly fee for addt'l health insurance, which the employer funds primarily, is extremely low (in France, I pay something like 40 eur/mo to cover my whole family). Once you have this coverage, the insurance company essentially covers everything the gov't doesn't. And yes, this means the insurance company reimburses you with no hassle (this is unfortunately not the case in the US).

You rightly pointed out that we do pay a good deal in taxes for this, so it is not free (as well as the fact that it is costly for the gov't). However, the care is very good (and not just here in France...). In addition, we (in France) also have the ability to choose our doctors (so, there isn't restricted choice like we find in HMO/PPO based systems). In addition, the 'waiting time' criticism is truly an exaggeration. When living in the UK, I had a medical condition that wasn't extremely serious, I got an appt within 3 days (this is within the NHS, not a private doctor). In France, last year I needed to have (again, not serious) and the doctor said he could fit me in to do the surgery the following wk. Of course, sometimes there are wait times, but this is also a real problem in the US system.

All though these systems are expensive, guess what...the US one is pretty expensive too (Mr Moore was spot-on on this pt). I find it unfortunate and intellectually dishonest that our thought leaders and politicians seem to find no trouble criticising systems they've never actually personally experienced themselves...
I haven't been to a Doctor since I was in a traffic accident in 1985 and a policeman, against my will, forced me to go to the Emergency Room. It turned out that I had broken ribs.
I worked for AT&T through the 1980's and had a good job, a good income and a future. AT&T used to have 1,000,000 employees, now they have less than 100,000.
Every job I have had since they downsized me has paid less. Medical Insurance is astronomical and I can't afford it. I have had chest pains for over ten years and have no doubt the only trip I will ever make to a hospital or a doctor will be with a tow tag and again against my will from now enevitable fatal heart attack.
American Medicine is a disaster. Doctors, Insurance Companies, Drug Companies are cruel and greedy and commit murder every day.
Dr. Gupta echoed Jeff Greenfield smear job on CBS. A rich Doctor or TV Critic has no idea the life real people have to live, or die.
I remember Edward R. Murrows last documentary was about Migrant Workers in the early 1960's. Surprisingly, they were mostly white families living on starvation wages. Mr. Murrow spent 6 months researching, interviewing and reporting. He talked to them and was apalled that 10-year-old boys and girls never went to school because they had to work for starvation wages. They lived in hell.
Edward R. Murrow took the suffering of innocent poor people to heart and told the truth because he was one of us.
Dr. Gupta is wealthy and one of them. Of course, he would interview a talking head from a Republican Think Tank, who has no interest in the truth, no interest in facts: all he was was cold-blooded heartless greed.
Michael Moore is one of us: he gives a damn about me and I will stick up for him too.
You go, Michael. You're more of a journalist than Woolf Blitzer or Dr. Gupta.
The situation at CNN is hopeless though.
I will give CNN credit: Michael Ware is honest and tells the truth, you can tell by the number of times FOX attacks him.
Yesterday's Larry king live was a disappointment. I was expecting debate on health care issues. But instead all we saw was CNN trying to show that sanjay gupta's report was not wrong.

Who cares about numbers. The facts still remains that the health care system is bad and we are not going to discuss hot to make it better.

I once has sprained my knee, I called to make an appointment. The lady on phone said that earliest appointment was 45 days from now. She said she can send ambulance or chopper if it is an emergency.

My friend is a doctor and she moves to chicago to cleveland. She was not feeling well and her hospital denied her treatment saying that the cannot give her medicines because they need approval from the chicago's insurance company to do so.

Are all these insurance companies and customer protection laws are for protecting people or killing people? Many people are denied treatment because hospitals are afraid of getting sued or because of insurance.

All doctors hate the current system, all patients hate it and very few corporates make money and are happy.
How is USA a democratic country when majority hates the current system and nothing is being done.
It is more like a dictatorship run by the corporates.
Sanjay - I really admire you and am always interested in your experienced and compassionate reporting. Buuut.... I really think you're mis-focused on the Michael Moore/Sicko conversation.

Why?
1) Using the word "fudged" was a really high-impact mistake, and an apology for CNN's fact-check error that led you to use this word is really not adequate to balance the huge ripple-effect that occurs from this. I've seen this happen to Moore repeatedly and keep rolling, despite the integrity of the corroboration he puts on his web site! I'd really like to see CNN offer not just a quick technical correction to their fact error but a bigger commentary that includes pointing out the integrity of at least 98% of his facts (and certainly his 99% fidelity to the "working man's concerns" and the basic spirit of truth).
2) Please, Sanjay - use of President Bush's reports are not "cherry picking." Please don't continue this argument, give him his due for choosing this as his primary source rather than the BBC source, and is it really a substantive difference and worth mentioning, raising doubts, and distracting the audience with this??
3) Higher taxes - CNN, help us out here - - how much higher would our taxes be, and what would we get in return? Keep your focus on the big picture, don't be as worried about cherry picking as nit-picking. Stay on point.
4)Let's distinguish between personal heroism (your noble actions) and the bigger points (where thousands of lives are in the balance)of the Iraq & health care debates. You are a gentleman & a scholar, Sanjay, but as a CNN reporter we need you to be responsible in reporting the BIG picture with more accuracy. Please.
5) I have to tel you - the question comes up in my mind, "why should I have to pay for health care for someone who doesn't work?" - - this is what's behind the delay in national health care and should be addressed directly. I felt this way until I read the Dr. Jonas Salk quote re: (roughly) "We don't patent (or own, or profit from, or sell) the sun, so why should we own, sell, hoard, and profit from medicine that is just as basic to people's survival?"

I do now see that universal health care is the responsibility of a modern wealthy government, a government fund that has been funded with the sweat of so, so many over-worked and under-compensated working folks.

Thanks for listening, Sanjay. Show us what you're made of - we're watching and listening....

Warmest Regards,
Bonnie C./Glen Mills PA
You guys have a problem with your health care and only Michael Moore is doing something about it. Arguing over facts and figures is not the way. That's just missing the point.

For a country that calls itself a "superpower", you sure have a lot of stupid people in office. you have a war you shouldn't be in and that you started. You have a health care system that no one seems to want to fix... and those that do are getting lambasted. You have areas of your country ravaged by global warming (which you say doesn't even exist) that are still not repaired. You have a drug problem that's been spiraling out of control... you have crazy people shooting up your schools with guns which you allow them to have... you have a government that is working for it's own gain and not the peoples.

I am SO glad I'm not an American.
Thank you Dr Gupta for your honest and unbiased report on Michael Moore’s new movie. After seeing Moore’s response to you I realize this: Moore must not want honest debate. He wants to over look or cover up anything that doesn’t further his agenda. He wants to cherry pick facts. And most disappointing he attacks anyone who points this out or doesn’t agree with him. This does not help uninsured people like me.
I thought your attack of Moore was shameful. In your attack piece you were guilty of exactly what you were accusing Moore of doing: fudging the numbers. And for what? Trying to denounce someone who is trying to raise awareness of an issue you claim to be of importance?

I can honestly say I no longer trust your reporting. This exchange with Moore has shown us you do in fact lie and mislead those whom you are trying to serve.
I believe it is really unfortunate that Dr. Gupta and Michael Moore gave the appearance they were so far off in statistics when in actuality they were both close enough in their statistics to make the point clear that the US health care system is in deep trouble for its consumers.

All funding for health care be it by taxes or private premiums paid to insurance companies, is sort of socialised medicine. The pool of funds is not distributed evenly because of course some health care problems are more expensive than others. And many patients will not use much of their benefits they paid for. But that is the premise fo insurance. It is a calculated risk which requires a standardized contribution so that all members are covered. That is the theory in private and public managed health care systems.

One point Dr. Gupta cited is the need to invest in preventive care which in the long run will save substantial costs for medical care.

Michael Moore and Dr. Gupta you are both right. The minor differences in statistics cited should not cloud the commitment you both have to address this very serious issue.

However the politics and special interest groups that bebefit from lobbying will prevent us from solving this problem. Our Congress is not serious nor in tune with our needs and will fail to make any changes. They should look at how good their benefits and entitlements are. It is shameful how good they have it relative to the citizens they represent.
Dr. Gupta, I have been an RN in this country for 30 years and was deeply disappointed in your debate with Moore. After stating that a cardiac cath could be obtained in 6 hours, you failed to follow-up that the patient will most likely die in poverty after paying for it, using their savings, selling house, losing job and insurance. Why don't you do some journalism and see how many are reduced to abject poverty, lose jobs and coverage, become uninsurable and often commit suicite, by denying themselves treatment or directly. I'd rather live in Cananda or England where I won't die in some hell-hole,leaving my family wiped out. We do see, you know. The desimated public health care system that left use to die in Katrina, poisons our food chain, only treats the "worthy" in an anthrax attack, we've seen our doctors dilute cancers drugs, take kick-backs, sell us out for studies, patents. copyrights and royalties. Scam after scam. The Amer. Hosp Assoc stopping Nurses from passing safe staffing laws to save lives etc. So, be an MD, not a preening buffoon and do some journalism, we are dying here! We have been betrayed and sold out. Stop talking about checking my cholesterol when the FDA lets us be poisoned. You do know HR is told not to hire men over 50 due to potential heart attacks, women over 40 have breast cancer. Our system is only for profit and greed, tell the truth, if you can stop grinning for two seconds.
RN angry at you.
I am more than a little amazed to see someone so obviously avoiding real issues and instead opting for Heritage Foundation propaganda. Why do you and others like you think Americans aren't worthy of the same, basic care that citizens in most other first-world nations receive? I don't care what "wait times" are like for those who have health care, I mean the millions of people who have none. And why are the citizens of every other wealthy nation in the world deserving of added health insurance that will pay for the surgical procedures that are routinely turned down in the US by insurance companies of those Americans who believe themselves to be insured in all cases?

Why do you hold Americans are inferior to every other first world nationality?
"Dr. Gupta and CNN need to watch 'SiCKO' first before commenting on it. 'SiCKO' says Cuba spends $251 per person on health care, not $25, as Gupta reports. And the BBC reports that Cuba's per capita health expenditure is… $251!"

As man of science, your mistake is a very dubious one. I hope you're never tasked with interpreting my test results, or anyone else's for that matter!
Dr. Gupta, the bottom line is that NO ONE in this country should be denied medical care for any reason. NO ONE in this country should lose their house in order to receive medical care. NO ONE in this country should be reduced to poverty in order to received medical care.

That is the ONLY point that should be considered. Everyone should receive all medical care necessary to maitain wellness, to gain back health.
The Foxification of CNN

I think the major point about the Moore v. CNN spat, is how CNN ends all their reports these days (which they learned from FOX). Larry asked Michael whether he thought the piece was fair? The piece was not terrible, until Gupta’s last comment, where he says, "so no matter how much Moore fudged the facts, and he did fudge the facts." With this Fox style end to the report, the viewer was told Moore is a liar, and could now disregard the earlier content of the report. And if Gupta’s intent was to discredit Moore, than you want your viewers to forget the content of your report and get to your point, which is Moore is a liar. It is interesting that Larry King was trying to point out, that the numbers used by Moore and Gupta were not that different. Which would have been the impression in most people’s mind until Gupta tossed in the “fudged” bomb. To point out another example of the Foxification of CNN just watch the Moore v. Wolf Blitzer piece, it ends with Wolf going to Lou Dobbs who calls Moore "left of Chavez" and McCafferty chimes in to Wolf that “he’s not paid enough.” These are prefect Fox ending to news pieces.
Dr Gupta,

Shame on you for YOUR blatant fudging of the facts. I have always had the utmost respect for your reports on CNN, but you really crossed the line here. Are you auditioning for a spot on FOX news perhaps? I believe you owe all of your viewers a responce to Michael Moore's rebutal to each of your unsubstantiaed comments. Sadly you're reputation as an impartial "journalist" will be tarnished should you not step up and admit you're mistakes.
I am a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada. I have experienced both systems.

I can assure you not many Canadians I know are happy with their health care system. Certainly nobody in my family is. The doctors and nurses I have talked aren't either.

While they like the fact in their minds it's free it's really not.

Last year I became ill in Canada in early January. It wasn't until June that I saw a stomach specialist, thats how long it takes to get an appointment. In the mean time I sat in bed sick watching television for months. To see a neurologist the first appointment available was October. A CAT scan didn't happen until near the end of July and they finally scoped my stomach in August, 8 months after I became ill.

In the end I was told they didn't know what was wrong with me and I was on my own.

One thing I did not hear discussed about Canada or any other socialized system is the abuse. People show up to the emergency room with ear aches etc. Antibiotics are dispensed like candy.

One time a doctor confided in me what a joke it was having an emergency room full of non-emergencies; he said it was pure abuse and what a complete and utter waste of money and resources.

Good luck needing an MRI that takes 6-9 months and appointments are set 24 hours a day.

When its free people don't care, their view is simply it's not my money. My own family abuses the system all the time.
As a former citizen of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and a forced user of a socialized health care I can say only one thing: Mr. Moore, wake up. Russian people used to have this famous saying "Soviet health care is free, and you don't have to pay... if you are not interested in the result".
This relates to all the attempts of the far left to turn the USA into new USSR. We all know what happened to the USSR. Do you want the same for your country, Mr. Moore?
Gupta's report on Sicko was like grasping at straws, just another mainstream journalist pretending to be objective because they are afraid of being labeled a radical, left-wing liberal. It was shameful quibbling and trivial, just like his Iraq reporting. If Gupta really wanted to save lives in Iraq, he should have aggressively asked the hard questions about why we are there. Instead, his reporting then was a career-boosting platform as it is now. If he was really concerned about saving lives and improving the health status of Americans, he would use his position to reinforce the message in Sicko, not try to cast doubt on its accuracy (unless he had a real case to make, which he doesn't). But then again, he's just a TV doctor.
Dr. Gupta:
You say, "We should know that taxes will be much higher, as is the case in France where they are crippled by their health care system."

What do you mean by the second part of this sentence? Are you saying that taxpayers in France are crippled by the French health care system?

As an American citizen but French resident, I can confirm that for myself and everyone I know, the French health care system is rungs above the U.S. system. In France, the cost of care is more reasonable, wait times are significantly shorter than in the U.S., and surprise, preventive care is actually reimbursed.

Granted, there is room for reform, and granted, my evidence is anecdotal.

But for you to claim that the French health care system is somehow crippling in relation to the U.S. one is a big load of intellectual bunk.
I appreciate the steps you have personally taken to further medical research and awareness. Your stories about preventative care are always very helpful, however in this story, you are doing far more harm than good. Not only are your own "facts", quite refutable (have your producer link to Mr. Moore's page for evidence), but I got that funny feeling that there is something going on in the background, like perhaps your interests are not exactly pure.

You've lost a fan, Doctor.
Sir:

I regret to note that you embarassed me with yor original report and your condescension last night.

Either you are a poor journalist or a shill for people and etities that you are enriched by. That you negated and attempted to detract from the truth that Mr. Moore imparted is testament to your disgraceful bias. And I used to be a fan.....who lived vicariously in pride for your heritage. Nevermore!!!
I appreciate the idea of fact checking, although it is probably clear that there are many sources/studies that show slightly different numbers. I also noticed it when I watched the movie that Cuba is #39 on the WHO list, and the US is #37. Sure, Moore didn't point it out. HOWEVER, I'm not sure if Dr. Gupta is really proving much by stressing that during the conversation. After all, if we are only two spots above Cuba, which spends $250 or less, and we spend $7000 (or even say ONLY $6000), may I say: Houston, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! Why is our system so inefficient that overall, we spend at least 40 times (assuming it's $6000) the amount of Cuba, and we are in pretty much the same ranking? In the report, Dr. Gupta mentioned that Canada is the only country that has longer waiting time for seeing a doctor than the US, but he also said in the report that the US has a short waiting time. So I guess there may be inconsistency there too. I don't doubt that many patients have high satisfaction -- I suppose these are the ones who have good insurance. For those who don't have any insurance (not the subject of Moore's movie), I wonder if they are part of the calculation.
Dear Dr. Gupta:

I was shocked at your comment regarding health care in Canada, specifically the remark you made regarding wait times for patients who are in a life and death situation having to wait up to six days to be looked after. This is completely false.

Four years ago my husband entered a hospital in Ontario after suffering a heart attack in the his doctors office. The fire department and ambulance service arrived in minutes. The ambulance rushed him to the emergency room at the nearest hospital and he was taken in immediately. He was given all the proper care relative to his condition. He was transfered from the emergency room to ICU where they monitored him for several days. Unfortunately during a stress test while in the hospital his heart stopped. The cardiac doctor who was looking after him immedately did whatever it took to save his life. Thankfully they were able to bring him back. He was sent back up to ICU. From there he was taken, by ambulance, to the nearest hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a blocked artery.

In less than two hours after being admitted to this hospital he was out of surgery.

Please stop making false statements about health care in Canada. In Canada no one is denied health care! NO ONE!
Dr. Gupta:

I was very disappointed in your piece on "Sicko" and in your appearance on Larry King Live last evening. Unfortunately, I am one of the uninsured adults in this country, so I speak from that perspective.

What really upset me in your report and again on Larry King was your nit picking of Moore's facts in the movie. Are you kidding me? With the significant problems occuring in the health care system, is this all you have to offer? Was this really the best you could do for cause?

I've watched you for years and admired your knowledge and skill, but I don't think I can watch any longer.

If you really want to know what it's like to be a college graduate, and a hard working American without health insurance -call me! I'll let you know what this is really like. It just seems to me from your recent appearances that you don't care at all about those of us who have no access to health care in this country.

Trish
Concord, NH
I have seen comments on this blog about :Moore should see both sides of the facts, true....but I should also ask Sanjay, that what if he wasn't a doctor and was from a middle or lower income family,without health insurance would his views will be the same?
Dr Gupta's response proves that Moore's accusation that the media doesn't report the truth is true.

Instead of focusing on how much more the US spends to get health care comparable to nations that spend far less on health care, Dr Gupta chooses to focus on whether the 2004 HHS statistics are superior to the BBC's unsourced numbers. Nevermind that whichever one chooses, the US still spends far more than any other nation while leaving more than 40 million uninsured.

Instead of focusing the "wait times" uninsured Americans face, Dr Gupta chose to focus on the wait times Canadians face for discretionary procedures. Nevermind that 18,000 uninsured Americans *die* every year waiting for health care they cannot afford.

And instead of focusing on those millions of uninsured, many of them children, Dr Gupta chose to focus on the meaning of the word "free", as if the cost of medical care and insurance is not the reason why their medical needs go unmet.

So I thank Dr Gupta for informing me that Moore's numbers may be a tad off. I thank him for informing me that universal health care will be funded by taxes.

I only wish that Dr Gupta never has to wait 8 weeks to get an appointment with a geriatric neurologist the way I did when I feared (correctly) that my mother had Alzheimer's. And where was Dr Gupta when I had to wait 3 weeks to have my rotator cuff repaired?
"I also worry that Michael, who is an accomplished film maker, tried to leave people with the impression that health care is free in many other nations and there is a state of utopia. True, Michael did talk about increased taxes in his film, but he also kept calling it "free," which made it nebulous."

HE SAID FRANCE WAS DROWNING IN TAXES! THAT HYPERBOLE STAYED WITH ME! PAY ATTENTION!
Wanted to respond to Mary’s point about most people not deserving to be sick, since I was among those who blogged about personal responsibility above: I too care about people in my life who are victims of conditions beyond their prevention.

But the fact remains that fat/sedentary/addicted America is a tremendous drain on the health care system. Being able to go to a doctor @ no charge will not keep people healthy if their lifestyle is not—wherever you live on the globe.

Americans would only expand their dignity if they took responsibility for healthy living and the side effect of a lesser drain on the system would be generosity towards the rest of Americans who are unavoidably ill and suffering financially because of it. Assuming of course the largest evil in this mess, insurance companies, accordingly passed it on.

As for obese Moore, he is a double edged sword for CNN or any other outlet. If he was not given a forum = publicity over being denied one. When his heart attack makes its debut, at least he will have his millions to fund his recovery if he is so lucky to recover at all. No need for death threats, crazy people! He is a large enough threat to himself.

The sad but true thing is: Moore has to be to some degree sensational and fictitious and aggravating—or no one would pay any attention to him and the important issues he does take on and the facts he does bring out.

Case in point are the names I don’t even remember of those in government and the private sector who honestly are working to find fixes for this before we are all broke. And for that, meaning our preference for “media lite”, we can all take the blame.
Dr. Gupta, you are smart enough to know exactly what your 'fact-checking' report's effect would be. It was a dishonest and underhanded attempt to undermine the efforts of a patriotic American hero. You have lost all credibility with the reality-based community until you apologize to Mr. Moore for your slick attempt to mislead CNN viewers and then cover it up by praising Mr. Moore after you trashed his credibility. I know that you know that you are wrong on all the 'facts' you presented, but let's reiterate them:
1. Michael Moore 'fudged' no facts whatsoever. He didn't 'cherry-pick' anything. He said that we spend 'almost $7,000' per person per year on healthcare in this country. That is a fact. We spent almost $6,500 in 2005 (not a projection), and probably just over $7,000 in 2006 (an HHS estimate). Your 2004 number is outdated. Admit that you were wrong.
2. That Cuba is 39th on the list that put the US 37th is clearly stated in huge print in the movie. That same graphic was deliberately obscured by CNN. Admit that you were wrong.
3. Whether Cuba spends $251 or $229 per person per year is so small a difference as to be inconsequential and each number can be justified depending on which study you want to cite. But if Mr. Moore were 'cherry-picking' as you have accused him of, he would pick the lower number as it would strengthen his argument (that other countries spend substantially less on health care than we do and still cover everyone.) Your $25 number is the only one that's out of whack. Your retroactive editing of the hit piece that aggravated Mr. Moore so much is unethical and dishonest. Admit that you were wrong about your 'cherry-picking' accusation.
4. As Mr. Moore has made abundantly clear in the film, the French are drowning in taxes and a single payer healthcare system is not a charity, it is paid for by taxes. Your accusations to the contrary are false. Admit that you were wrong.
I find your appeal for civility incredibly hypocritical, since it was your lack of class, honesty, decency (and now, accountability) that caused this backlash in the first place.
Dr Gupta, I'm a big fan. But I think you missed the point Michael Moore was trying to make about your reporting of the Iraq war. He was not attacking what you did as a Doctor. He was trying to say you didn't do your duty as a JOURNALIST. You should have questioned the basis for the war. You should have questioned whether the soldiers were risking their lives for a just cause. You should have questioned the staggering number of Iraqi civilian deaths.
Michael Moore is a very angry person and Dr. Gupta was his target for that particular day.

Dr. Gupta is more crediable than Moore.

As you can see Moore is troubled and deeply disturbed about the free country he lives in.
In the past week there has been a flood of disent that seems to be porduced by the managed care industry. Their message is is to scare the public into thinking something terrible will happen if we cut out the middle men. Dr. Sanjay claims he is not a shill for any corporate sponsor,but he is right on message.
Dr. Gupta,

I watched you and Mr. Moore on Larry King last night. I truly admire your poise.

I live in Canada and heathcare is not free. I pay $80.00 a month in healthcare premiums plus I have supplemental insurance through my employer.

You are so right!
Dr. don't let this "specialist" fool you. It's true that some people in other countries buy complimentary healthcare. This probes that "socialized" healthcare does not mean closing private healthcare.
However this is a very small percentage of people, some times linked to American companies working abroad (at least the cases I personally know). In other ocasions, in countries with universal healthcare, if got an accident the private insurance company should care of it "outside" the public system (such as some car accidents).
But the most important thing is that people in those countries can buy private healthcare for a fraction of what American people do.
The reason is that there is not an oligopoly as there is in the US.

Another thing is that in all these countries to study to be a physician is basically free for the student.

A watcher of CNN from Spain.
I am having difficulty mustering support for Dr. Gupta’s (seemingly day late and dollar short) attempts at reconciliation. Perhaps it would have been easier for me if:

- he had stated clearly that he disagreed on some of Moore’s sources – rather than “he fudged the numbers”.

- he had a long-record (or any record for that matter) of journalistic investment in the covering the problems with the us healthcare system

- his reconciliation letter didn’t contain unsubstantiated and unprofessional propoganda – like “We should know that taxes will be much higher, as is the case in France where they are crippled by their health care system”. Cite the study. Taxes higher than the $7K we each spend already? Defend your implied assertion that governmental investment in the health of the citizenry is a bad idea. Defend your qualifications to make this economic assessment.

- if he did not work for the network that famously (and in hindsight shamefully) summarily dismissed Moore’s earlier film Fahrenheit 9-11 – without actually covering the issues presented in the run-up and later mismanagement of the war.

In short, his "coverage" of Sicko did precious little to enrich the debate, nor to elevate CNN's viewership's impression of it's rather nebulous journalistic integrity.
This is the problem with Michael Moore. He never tells the WHOLE story. He tells just enough to half inform you and get a group of people all excited. Yes, the health care system in the US is a farce. However, you will not find one other country that is completely happy with their system. Like it or not, taxes in countries such as Canada and France are MUCH higher than ours here in the US. So either the gov't pays for your healthcare w/ your tax money or you pay for it with your money. It all comes from the same place (your pocket) and ends up in the same place (healthcare corp pocket). There are more issues than just spending per individual to consider. Doctors per capita, facilities, medicine, equipment, emergency services, care for the poor.. blah blah the list goes on. The main point that people are forgetting is that Moore and Gupta do agree on ONE thing and it's the only thing that matters! THE SYSTEM IS MESSED UP! Instead of offering suggestions, Moore and some of the self proclaimed intellectuals on here argue over a dollar figure that doesn't really matter in the whole grand scheme of things. Why don't we try something new instead of complaining? Moore is a great filmmaker and he touches on issues that really strike a nerve and hopefully this movie will raise awareness however, he's losing credibility as I've yet to see any changes come in the aftermath of his movies. People should take this film what it really is as it's only a complaint. Not a solution. Dr. Gupta, his reputation as a Dr. is top notch and does not deserve to be ridiculed b/c he disagrees over some facts. Maybe Gupta and Moore should get together and make a movie called Resusitate as that is what this system and our government needs. Would you really want this government to running your health care? Right now, I'm willing to take my chances w/ Aetna, Blue Cross, whoever... not the boys and girls on the hill... Until then, instead of complaining, try to think of a solution! The only one I have for now is live healthy, exercise and eat right! It's saved me money over the years.
Dr. Gupta,
Why would you say that Michael Moore fudged the facts in his movie? That is not a valid critique of the information presented and is a personal attack on him. He has referenced and cross referenced every fact presented in his movie. Where are your references and cross references? Why didn't you disclose the background of your 'expert'?

We have already spent $442,280,320,978 of our tax money on the war in Iraq. Why not spend some of that money on health care in the US instead of invading a sovereign nation in order to make rich men richer? If we did that our taxes would not have to increase but our national priorities have to change.

We are the richest nation in the world? Why do we rank just above Cuba in health care ranking? Please compare the economies and per capita income of the US and Cuba. Are we near equal therefore we are ranked closely in health care?

Also, I called my physicians office for a well visit check-up and was told that I would have to wait three weeks.

Last year my friend's husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and was given the soonest appointment to see the surgeon - two months later. In Canada those cases are triaged up and that patient would be seen immediately.

You were vague and then defensive. You skim the surface of all of your stories, you also 'cherry pick' facts frequently and as Michael Moore said when you were covering the war in Iraq you should have been asking why we were there.
I stopped watching you a long time ago.
Your statement isn't exactly accurate. Health care in Canada is free. We don't get turned away at hospitals or clinics because of insurance issues. We don't have to pay cash every time we go to the doctor. We don't pay higher taxes than you do. We can drive toll-free on our roads, our lottery winnings aren't taxed. I could go on but the point is the U.S.A taxes the crap out of people in all forms & you still don't have free health care. What are the sick & elderly supposed to do? Oh, I know, they come to Canada & put a burden on our health system because you can't seem to provide for your own people. Shame on you.
Dr Gupta needs to get his facts straight.
I am Canadian, my family has NEVER had to wait a long time for any medical procedure including heart valve replacement for my 84 year old father and hip replacement for my 81 year old mother. And yes is was free....no money ever changed hands, we just show our health card. I have a degenerative disease and saw a specialist the same day in his office 5 years ago. No our system is not perfect HOWEVER I WOULD RATHER BE SICK WITH ANYTHING IN CANADA THAN HAVE A HANGNAIL IN THE USA.
Our system works because we are all treated equal... you cannot buy your way to the front of the line. It is called triage ..the sickest people are treated first.
It is the Canadian way and it is the better way. Yes our taxes may be higher than yours but no one goes bankrupt trying to pay medical bills if they develop a disease. Shame on you, a Doctor. I thought you were suppose to want to heal everyone not just the ones who can afford you.
I repeat I have never had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for any medical emergency. To say anything different you are "fudging the truth". American need to stop listening to people like you and listen to Michael Moore.
Doctor, I appreciate your insistance we get the numbers right before attempting to do anything about fixing our health care system.

Michael Moore insisted 18,000 Americans are dying for lack of care every year. I've heard that figure is actually only 17,950.

In the spirit of your recent expressed concern, I'd like to see you go after this possible error. As you say, it's critical we get the numbers right before adopting any changes to save lives. And of course, that could take a long while, since figures are always in dispute.

Thank you for your past efforts and please, do, continue the good fight against petty people.
Dr. Gupta, if you are reading these comments, surely you must be shaking your head, wondering what you have fallen into the middle of. Perhaps I can offer some insight: Although you probably have not seen it in the circles in which you socialize, I can assure you that the majority of this nation's citizens are profoundly angry that they have been subjected to a substandard, greed-driven healthcare system that is bankrupting and/or killing tens of thousands of them every year. Michael Moore is addressing this injustice in a way no one else has. And for whatever ill-advised reason, you then proceeded to file a report that appeared to be designed to help the establishment discredit him. You see? That is how you have gotten into the spot you are in, with large numbers of viewers vowing they will never trust your reporting again.

I have no idea what your religion is. But if you are a man with a moral compass and a working conscience, I would think this turn of events would give you pause, and perhaps make you reflect: "Maybe American healthcare is more inadequate, more slipshod, more heartless, and more wrong than I have realized." God bless.
Many people go to buffalo and Detroit for MRI's etc. despite our free health care in Ontario. There is no lineup for people from Buffalo trying to get an MRI in Toronto.

Don
As a former British Citizen, having been born in England, I must take exception to what Michael Moore said on Larry King Live about British Healthcare being free. WRONG!!

EVERY employed person pays into a National Insurance Stamp, the money being deducted from their paychecks. This ranges from approx. $200.00/week. Prescriptions are also paid for, albeit a flat rate fee.

There are waiting lists for surgical medical procedures; each county maybe has one CT machine and a patient may have to travel two hours one way just to have a CT Scan. There are also zip code lotteries (Postal Code) for certain cancer treating drugs, and some drugs are not approved by some healthcare districts, so patients needing those drugs are having to take out second mortgages to pay for those drugs.

No, the US Healthcare System is not great and is flawed in areas. However, being the survivor of brain surgery, a tumor removed in 1995, had I been in England the certainty is I would have died before getting an MRI or CT.

Right now as retired folks, our monthly medical premium for two of us is $1600., approx. a month! No we don't like paying this amount, but do so every month.

I just wish people like Michael Moore would get their facts straight on other countries and instead of government bashing, do something constructive for THEIR country. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Moore bitched about the expense major corporations are spending on advertising - is Mr. Moore getting free advertising or screening his movie for FREE. No, of course he isn't, so he is just as guilty as corporate America, and he is getting rich off the poor saps who pay their money to see his movie.
Here are a couple of points I would like to make (1/5)
1) Comparing wait times in Canada to the USA system has to be adjusted for population density. Like compare Toronto to Alaska, we would kick their butt on wait times at the level of serious required surgury. USA has almost 20 fold (please check bout it would be close) the population density than us. If these expense machine get use then we would buy.
2) Canada intentionally limit the amount of doctors into the system through the universities. It is intentional to lower cost. Hence elective stuff is purposely delayed, due to lack of staff. So you do have to wait 4 hrs for stitches, serious cases have been mistakely triaged and waited. These are few and compare to all those in the USA who never a chance to get the triage stage.
3) The statement city roads are free to use in the USA, would commonly be accepted as correct. CNN would perfer to see us all note that they are tax payer funded. Bravo for them. Ditto for many other systems, and health care should be thought of as one of them. No one in our Country does not refer to the health care as any but free, like the city streets.
4) Your privates system funds the world medical system. Loaded into every insurance payment is the reseach that is done in the USA by private hospitals trying to do better than the other. Yes you do have the best hospitals, best the rest of the world look over your shoulder and goes AHHH so that how that is done. Lucky we did not have to do the research to find.
5) In all my life and I am 45 I never heard of anyone who did not get the timely service they deserve. I am in Toronto, so factor that in. Like we have places in this country where it would take 2-3 days just to get to a hospital that is how big it is, and how rural some places are.
Dr. Gupta:

I know you are getting overwhelmed with e-mail and comments, but Id like an answer to the journalistic question I posed to you in a private e-mail:

As I journalist, I still have a question about the "fact checking" report which aired before the big blow up on Wolf Blitzer's show Monday: If Michael Moore told the truth and he did send your production team notes after the June 29 airing on "Anderson Cooper's 360," why was the misquote about the $25 cost for health care per Cuban still in the report and re-aired July 9 before the appearance with Wolf Blitzer?

You cleaned it up before the airing on Larry King tonight (July 10), but why was that specific mistake not cleaned up before yesterday? And how many other times did it run with that wrong fact (on weekends, etc.)? The sloppy mistake you blamed on a "transcription" error was potentially aired dozens of times.

Thanks,

Mark

www.marksweetwood.blogspot.com
I work in the healthcare field, and any debate on healthcare is much needed. However, I find it very interesting that everyone is dancing around the true issue including Moore and Gupta. Healthcare is expensive for Americans because we are unhealthy and do not take responsbility for our own action (include myself in this statement). These days taking 2 medications and being overweight is considered healthy(and I assure you the average American does think like this). Changing the "delivery system" of healthcare may or may not help the cost of healthcare, but until Americans decide to become healthier with diet and exercise instead looking for the magic pill or surgery while eating fast food, the delivery system does not matter. Changing the healthcare system is strictly treating for the symptom and not for the cure.
I guess my only flaw with Dr. Gupta's dissections of Moore's "free" healthcare label. While taxes would certainly go up, let's not forget that our income should rise in the absence of a need for private health insurance. Now, my company has to pay for insurance for thousands of workers each month, policies that cost hundreds of dollars a month per policy. Government regulations could enforce employers to pay those benefit expenditures to employees now.
Dr. Gupta, We are all STILL waiting for your sources! Mr. Moore has cited all his facts. You have not. You accused him of fudging the facts, yet you refuse to even provide your sources for any of your "facts". Your argument that you are not a corporate shill holds no water without backing up your "facts" with sources. Still waiting...
Hi Dr Gupta,
I watched your discussion with Michael Moore last night, on CNN and I am a bit disappointed. You didn't seem to have the right numbers and you do not seem to have a real, clear understanding of the Canadian health care system either. While the Canadian health care system has its flows, in case of an emergency the patient gets right away the medical treatment necessary. It is true that we pay more taxes; I gladly pay it as long as I know that everyone else is insured. All the homeless people, all the people in welfare and social assistance get the same health care as I get and I do not regret it a bit. Every baby, child, woman, man or elderly is looked after, regardless if they pay taxes or not or if they work or not. This is what you omitted to say in your discussion and this is something you might want to think about. How about the low income, non-insured people from US, or about homeless, or people in welfare in US? Who covers them?
Also, I would like you to know, that I've seen many times, poor pregnant women from US who crossed the borders to deliver in Canada because they could not afford to do it in US.
And for Mr Moore....please, keep up the good work you are doing and stay safe. One thing for you Michael...In Canada, are hospitals what will reject the American health care insurance and will ask the American patients to pay up front the money (This in case if they have any money, if not, they are still getting the treatment they need). The reason behind this is because Canadian hospitals know that some insurance companies from US wont reimburse the money so they try to minimize their expenses either.
It's in your power Sanjay to lobby for a change. You are in a position where you can make a difference, please use it to help the millions of children in US who do not have and do not receieve any medical care.

RN NICU
ONTARIO, CANADA
Dr. Gupta,

I have never seen you so defensive. You acted as if Moore's movie was an attack on you personally. And why were you so agitated when defending the status quo? Why were you defending the status quo at all?

Also, how important are a few statistics when 47 million Americans are uninsured? Criticizing what statistics were gleaned from where was a waste of our time.

How exactly are you working to change the system? Do you operate free clinics around the country? Do you lobby Congress to save Medicare? Do you protest the billions spent on the war?

Man, you lost it, and my opinion of you fell a long way from where it used to be.

By the way, did you even see the movie?

K Burris
Lewiston, Maine
While a practicing physician is certainly more qualified than the average person to comment on the delivery of medical services, people must recognize their inherent bias with respect to the debate on private vs. socialized medicine.

Dr. Gupta, who currently practices in the U.S. has stakes in making socialized medicine look bad, because under a socialized system he would become a government employee; the government sets the fee they can charge for services, and can cap the amount they can bill to the government for services delivered per year. In Canada, the government also regulates if and how much to charge for providing additional services such as processing of forms, etc.

This is also why it is easy to find critics of socialized medicine in countries that have it, as the stakeholders only stand to get paid more if the system falls apart.

The 'clients', or 'citizens' --- however you like to refer to them --- have to pay either way, but from a logical (and apparently fiscal) perspective the public as a whole largely wins under socialized medicine.
Dr. Gupta,
Is CNN going to correct your statement last night on Larry King that Paul Keckley's only affiliation is with Vanderbilt University? Did CNN really check his affiliations as you stated? If so, this is extremely worrisome. Now that CNN has played your segment at least three times, they should really disclose your so called "expert's" full background and affiliations.

Also, what is the deal with making it sound as if Michael Moore was trying to hide the fact that Cuba ranks 39. Did you really see the movie?
Sorry Dr, Gupta, but you still need to address some of your own distortions, especially the mischaracterization of your own rebuttal "expert," whose connectons to the GOP and big Healthcare companies you have yet to acknowledge.

Also, if you have seen the film as you claim to have, it is ridiculous for to claim that Moore "fudges" the role of taxes in funding national health systems. He does NOT claim that any system can or will lead to a health-care "utopia." That is YOUR false construct.

I think your whole piece reflects a troubling trend at CNN, that is to treat all "issues" as if there were "two sides" when in many cases, there is simply FACT vs. DISTORTION.

Iraq comes to mind, as Moore suggested.

I wish you would just apologize for your clumsy attempt at a smear and let it go at that.
I just viewed Sicko and realize that many points of national healthcare funding were glossed over. Nothing is "free" be it in the form of more taxes or health insurance payments.

My payments to BCBS are $2475 per year out of my pocket and the rest underwritten by my employer in a group plan. It seems that if I were to cut the middle man out, meaning the "for profit institutions", that I would be easily able to fund national health insurance for probably a fraction of cost if we were to make the healthcare industry a less highly profitably industry.

Of course, I would have to sell my highly profitable stocks in pharmaceutical companies that sock it to the public because they can.

Healthcare cost are exhorbitant and have fallen prey to how the next man on the ladder of sucess can make a buck. We do need less capitalism in healthcare and more socialism for the common good of all citizens.
as a beside rn, this conversation is long overdue. so, let's not waste time and lose people's attention by squabling over numbers. whether it's 225 or 251, whatever! the fact is the insurance companies in this country are playing us for fools. they deny claims, dictate treatments to physicians, and use their own set of rules to decide what's a "pre-existing conditon" or an "experimenal treatment." shame, shame, shame on all of us for letting this self-serving brat of a system have their way for so long. please keep this important issue front and center until it gets the attention and changes that so many of us are anxiously awaiting!
Dear Dr. Gupta,

I take issue with the fact that you decided to cherry pick numbers when you yourself had the numbers wrong. Moore has posted on his website that the report was not unsourced but from the UN.

I agree that there's no such thing as "free". However we often refer to how everybody in America gets a free high school education, yet some choose to send their kids to private schools.

Your assumption that people in France buy supplemental insurance because they are unhappy with the system is not a fact but your opinion. Couldn't it be that some buy it because it makes them feel better and it distances themselves from the general population? Just like there are many reasons why someone sends their kid to a private school, there's many reasons why some choose to buy private health care.

I also think it was unethical for CNN to rerun your report on Larry King not in its original form but edited with the correction Michael Moore made.
I'm a Canadian and would like to respond to the person who requested information on the level of treatment we get before, during, and after a required hospital stay.

When I gave birth to my two-year-old son, I elected to have a registered midwife in attendance as opposed to an obstetrician. I met with my midwife once to three times a month in the 9 months leading up to my baby's birth, and each visit lasted at least 60 minutes, during which my midwife (who was also an RN) and I talked about how the pregnancy was progressing and affecting me both physically and psychologically.

When I had my baby in the comfort of my own home (my choice -- I could have also had the baby at a hospital at no cost), I had two registered midwives in attendance, working closely with me for six full hours as I laboured to deliver my baby.

After the baby was born, I had one of the midwives come to my house to make sure my baby and I were doing okay. She visited me the day after the birth, 3 days after, 1 week after, 2 weeks after, 3 weeks after, and six weeks after.

All six of these home visits lasted for about an hour and again dealt with both my physical and metal well-being as well as that of my baby.

I also had a nurse call me when my baby was six weeks old -- and then again when he was six months old -- to see how I was doing and to let me know about all the wonderful free services available for new moms in the area (free parental drop-in classes, breast-feeding clinics, post-partum support networks, you name it).

I wonder how many Americans get that level of care before, during, and after the birth of their babies?

All of the care I received was 100% free (well, as free as tax-funded K-12 education is).

I should also mention that my father -- who recently had a hip replacement (100% free) -- also received a high level of support before, during, and after his operation. In addition to his regular doctor's visits, he attended three different half-day long education sessions where doctors told him exactly what to expect during his operation and recovery. And he also had several at-home visits from a nurse and a physiotherapist to help him during his recovery.

So in my family's experience, I can say that we're extremely satisfied with the level of care we've received from our socialized medical establishment.

Hope this provides some insight... EJW
Dr. Gupta,
I completely agree with your views on Sicko.
Our healthcare system is broken and it desperately needs fixing. However, Mr. Moore takes some liberty with his numbers. It is odd that he used a 2000 WHO report when he had access to the 2005 report.
In response to your pointing out that England has longer waiting times than the US to receive urgent, emergent or elective angioplasties, he said that it was due to uninsured not going to get care, and not being able to afford care. For the uninsured, in Minneapolis at least, the unisured get the same urgent or emergent care as the insured. Elective may or may not be taken care of in the same timely manner. A few times the patient is sent to another heart center if the services are more in line with the condition he has. Otherwise, elective's are handled in the same manner. It is up to the patient when to schedule the elective procedure.
Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC)in Minneapolis is losing a great deal of money because of charity care. It is an excellent hospital. It is also a level 1 trauma center. Anyone who arrives with severe trauma is cared for no matter ability to pay. If a patient is not indigent, and is one of the working poor, or unemployed without insurance, who cannot afford the care received, payment plans and discounts are arranged. Hospital social workers will also help a patient apply for Medicaid, if appropriate. All hospitals in the Twin Cities do that. For hospitals other than HCMC, approximately 10% of care is charity care, and arrangements similar to HCMC's can be arranged for the working poor.
I agree with Mr. Moore about price gouging pharmaceutical companies. I have very good insurance, but I still have to pay ~$250 per month in co-pays for my medications. My cousin's daughter, in her mid-20s, is a quadreplegic. She has to have Zyvoxx, because she went into respiratory arrest as a result of methycillin. She will have to be on Zyvoxx for the next year. The co-pay is approximately $600 a month. Her mother had to fight to get the medicine covered. Otherwise, she would have had to pay about $1400 per month for the medicine.
For-profit insurance companies are making obscene profits by raising premiums and refusing to cover care. United Healthcare, bsed in Minneapolis, is a typical example of such a company. The president/CEO and other high level administrators make huge amounts of money from various benefits. There had been a problem with the previous president/CEO because of discrpencies in accounting and certain benefits that were not entirely on the up-and-up. Even with a quesionable track record, England invited United Healthcare to set up an office and determine what type of private insurance needs to be offered in England.
United Healthcare is not allowed to do business in Minnesota, because, in Minnesota, insurance companies have to be non-profit.
Hospitals, clinics, etc., must also be non-profit. It helps a little, but not enough, to have these entites be non-profit. they have to have a specified margin, about 2% or 3%. Even though insurers are non-profit, they still try to refuse covering services.
This past year, insurers in Minnesota tried to institute a policy that all providers had to call for approval if advanced imaging techniques such as MRI was to be used. On the phone the doc would speak with a person who read a list of guidelines to determine if the patient met criteria for the imaging procedure. By the way, only the doc could call. There were, of course, grievance procedures to follow if the doc was denied authorization for the imaging. Of course, no doc in the state agreed with this. Healthcare systems struggled to work with insurers. Finally, two of our biggest insurers agreed to a method whereby the doc has to follow guidelines on the imageing order page. Negotiation is still going on with the third largest insurance company.
I hate the way healthcare systems are evolving towards practice parameters rather than practice guidelines. Docs need autonomy to be able to give the best care for each patient. There is currently a movement which says that all patients are alike and individual differences should not be taken into account when caring for a patient. The herd mentality of health is well and good for public health issues, such as immunization against disease, but could delay proper treatment for an individual patient. The movement is in all industrialized countries not just the US. The art that should be part of medicine is being pushed out of patient care to the detriment of the patient.
Using Medicare as an example of socialized medicine that works is ludicrous. Retirees either need to be wealthy, or have supplemental insurance paid for by themselves, or go on Medicaid. Medicare will be bankrupt in the next 20 years, if there is not some type of cut back in care. No senior citizen in the country will agree to that, nor would any politican. The drug benefit offered to senior citizens is not good for all seniors. The "donut" hole is quite a problem, as is the fact that no one plan offers the lowest co-pays for drugs. In some case I know, my uncle being one, the out-of-pocket co-pay for drugs actually went up, compared to what he paid previous to the introduction of Medicare part D. Medicare part D will also reach the breaking point just as Medicare will.
Mr. Moore does not realize that healthcare rationing is actually used in other industrialized nations, as a way to cut costs. I did not see any mention of the problems with the lack of available dental care in England. It is disgraceful that people can't afford to go to the dentist because most dentists have opted out of being a provider for the national healthcare system. The wait to see the few dentists left in the system is untenable.
Mr. Moore presents himself as the "balance" to offset the media's image of healthcare in other countries. He is not acting as a balance when he uses outdated numbers, and unsourced numbers. He also does not seem to realize that an average lifespan of 76.5 years is not different from an average lifespan of 76.6 years. He is not knowledgeable about how to tease out the intricacies of data, such as how data were collected, was there risk stratification, and on and on. Looking at infant mortality, the US definitely is in a poor position compared with other countries, but has he taken into account demographic differences between patients? Has he taken into account cause of death? He is manipulating the public to believe that other countries are Utopian with respect to healthcare. It is not so.
How to fix the system? If any intelligent scientist or healthcare professional had an idea, even the glimmer of an idea, it is doubtful that our elected representatives would listen and logically debate the proposal.
In conclusion, there are lessons to be learned from the experience of other countries with nationalized healthcare, both good and bad. We also must examine what is good and bad about US healthcare. Then, we need to learn from the good things in all systems including our own, and avoid the bad.
Anyone who makes comments like "Michael Moore is fat and needs to lose weight before he has room to talk about health care" or "Dr. Gupta has so much money he isn't worried about the middle class so he has no room to talk." are no different than anyone else who is missing the point with a doc like SiCKO.

Moore's points seem to hold up as far as accuracy is concerned. It doesn't matter to me if you are fat/skinny or rich/poor, any American has a right to talk about having health care. (By the way Michael Moore actually looks like he has lost a lot of weight, since the last time we saw him on screen. No word yet on how much money Dr. Gupta has lost however) There is no such thing as "free" in my opinion. I have seen the film SiCKO and I never got the impression that Socialized Health Care was free. I will have to watch it again, but didn't Moore make a point (albeit a small one) to say that the countries with SHC have to pay higher taxes?

Love him or hate him (pick either Moore or Dr. Gupta) he only wants what's best for Americans. He tries to get the word out the best way he knows how. Through a media blitzkreig, he will be heard, but will that really change anything?
Implement a corporate healthcare tax.

ooops! Am I threatning CEO salaries?
California's population is predicted to go grow by 22 million by the year 2050. Not quite doubling, but starting to get close. 1.6 times increase over what we have now.

But this shouldn't be a problem at all. We will simply acquire land from private owners, and expect the private owners to give us their land for free. Contract and build new hospitals and emergency rooms on this land and expect all the contractors and building materials suppliers to furnish their labor and materials for free. Hire personnel - nurses, doctors, administrators and expect them to work at these hospitals for free. Order all the advanced imaging equipment, MRI, CAT SCANS, and all the other vast amounts of equipment necessary, and have all this stuff delivered to the hospitals and tell the manufacturers and suppliers that we want all this equipment for free.

What a wonderful, wonderful world it is to live in LaLa land. Where everything is free -- food, housing, healthcare -- where everyone that works at hospitals works for free, and that those that choose not to work, are provided whatever it is that they need or want for free --- housing, food, healthcare.

Gee --- why should I work when everything is provided by the government FOR FREE.

When Michael Moore kept saying over and over on Larry King that healthcare was "for free", he was acting like a complete moron.

All of this so called "free" has to be paid for by peoples taxes. If I don't pay my taxes, the government tells me that they will take away my property and send me to jail. So these free dollars, are not free. They are acquired under threat of going to jail and under threat of losing my property.

Now if they said you don't have to pay your taxes, and you will still get all the healthcare you need, then I would call that free. But I don't believe for one second that the government is going to let everyone off the hook. They will require payment of taxes. And when I have to pay, I don't consider that free.
Dr. Gupta,

As others have said, You comment that health care is not free because of increased taxes is a red herring. Everyone knows money chnges hands at some point. When it is all taken into account though, we in the US still pay more, except it is paid to the insurance companies rather than taxes.

In my own case, I would have to have a tax increase of $12,000 a year on 52,000 I (keep only about 40,000 now as the extra 12,000 is insurance benifits provided by my employer) to not break even as I and my employer pay that much in premiems.

Instead of that 12,000 going to the insurance co. it could go to taxes and I would never miss it. If I had no coverage, I cannot imagine how I could not prefer a universal health plan.

Since the European countries actually pay less GDP in medical care when it is all added up, who cares if it taxes are higher. We are already paying the cost but in premiums, not taxes.

It is disingenous to talk about the other nations being choked by high taxes for health care and pretend that even a higher percetage of our GDP is not going to health care. That money my friend, is comming from somewhere.
Our costs suport 2 industries (health and insurance). Therefore taxes increase minus premiems paid will still allow the consumer with as much if not more take home pay


I would even be willing to pay a bit more as I can still never be comfortable in my possition as can anyone here. If my job is cut, I would lose my covarage. I am in the same boat if I decide to move to be near my family.

So there you go. For those of us with insurance, even though our taxes may go up, chances are we will never see the increase, and we could have piece of mind.

Rick
Dr. Gupta,
I watched with interest you and Mr. Moore on the Larry King Show last nite. I personally investigated, yours and Mr. Moores comments about Mr. Paul Keckley who commented in your your commentary about "Sicko". Mr. Moore was absolutely correct because Mr. Keckley left Vanderbilt and is now Executive Director in a Republican think tank "The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions" headed by Tommy Thompson.

My wife's family are Canadians and her niece's husband was rushed to the Hospital with a heart attack in Toronto. He was immediately diagnosed and recieved a couple of stents and today is doing quite well. Her whole family raves about the great health care they recieve.

I do appreciate your very good reports on many medical issues. In this case though, you were wrong and owe Mr. Moore an apology for not getting your facts correct.
Figures lie and liars figure.

Both of these guys distort the facts to reinforce the biased conclusions they have already reached. It's just a matter of which one of them will profit from your viewing loyalty. In this regard Mr. Moore has more to gain.

It seems to me that in spite of the state of our health care system more Cubans/French immigrate to America than the other way around. Nothing is free.
Gupta,

You might have seen the movie, but you missed the point completely. Moore’s argument wasn’t that we must have the same system as in Canada or France, but that we are America and that we take the best and make it better. My father is a very successful doctor who’s worked in the Spanish and the Canadian systems, as well as the American, and he has always said that our system (the HMOs) doesn’t allow him to fully comply with the oath he took when he became a doctor. This because, in America, his work is not about the patient and helping people, but about the profit margins and the HMO.

I have always admired your work in Iraq and after Katrina. Maybe because I saw a reflection of my father in you. My father is devoted to his calling, and people I don’t even know come up to me and tell me how my father saved their life or a family members, how much they admire him, and how he’s a great doctor. After seeing you this week, I don’t think you are anywhere near my father. The $25 thing was pretty bad, but it could’ve been an unintentional mistake. After seeing Larry King, I don’t think that anymore. I looked into your “expert,” and Moore was right, again. You must have known the “expert” was not associated with Vanderbilt U. anymore, he ended his association with them in 2006, yet you blatantly lied to us, LIVE. And if you lied to us then you must have lied to us before.

I was wrong about you. You’ve lost my trust, and I will not believe any more of your reporting. If you’ve noticed, in the beginning of this I didn’t refer to you as doctor. You don’t deserve that title. My father is a true doctor, selfless, devoted to helping his patients. You are clearly not.
Dr. Gupta-

You argue that there needs to be change. You argue that you admire Micheal Moore. Then you speak out of the other side of your mouth and try to scare people with fears of higher taxes and try to discredit the work he has done.

Read the "secret memo" from Barclay Fitzpatrick at BlueCross on how to respond to Micheal Moore's film and ask yourself what have you done that isn't straight out of that playbook. You're doing their work for them.

You've become the poster child for the Status Quo.
Just two things, when my first wife died I had adequate health coverage. One of the largest companies in the world bought my employer and "adjusted" benefits. As it was recent, I took all of her bills and figured out that under the new plan it would have been about 25,000 dollars out of my pocket. Unfortunately, care would have ended up being denied.

Now I approve credit for a living. I see hundereds of credit reports every night. A large number of them show medical related bankrupcy.

Fewer people are insured now than in 2000. Those that are insured have worse coverage.

Yeah, this is a great system
Dr. Gupta, When you said Moore fudged some facts,you cause doubts about his honesty. In fact, he tried to bring a balance to the facts. He used a higher number for Cuba because he believed it to be the most relevant. Moore did the same for the United States data. You ASSUME cherry picking. He was also right about your health expert. I hope these facts will be told. Thank you
Dr Gupta,
I saw both the "interviews" on the Situation Room, your overview of Sicko, the movie Sicko and your debate with Michael Moore on Larry King Live. All of this has made me proud to be a Canadian and confirmed my growing opinion that CNN has lost all objectivity and relevance as a reliable, thoughtful news organization. The pompous, condescending attitude you had made me wonder how much your "fame" has made you lose your compassion and objectivity.

You cherrypicked from the movie
which Moore has stated over and over again is an answer to the constant misrepresentations and urban myths promoted by your station and American insurance companies about both the "health" of your system and the "socialization" of my own.
What about a balanced review which dealt with what the movie did have right: that a country that constantly depicts itself as the gereatest country on earth leaves over 40 million people uninsured which is larger than the population of my country and that you wanted to point out the the US has a 37th ranking and Cuba a 39th ranking. One would think you would be embarrassed to admit this.

I also was waiting to hear some research on the difference in the cost of drugs in Cuba with the cost in your own. These were aspects of this part of the movie that struck me the most. This is only one example of what your "objective" critique overlooked.

Canada's health care system is not based on "socialism" but on the value that a country takes care of their own. Katrina and your health care system are just two examples of the fact that this is not what your so called Christian nation is based on.

Shame on you for missing tis very key tenet of the movie and the disspassionate attitude you displayed on this topic.

Lynn, Vancouber, BC
I believe that Dr. Gupta and Mr. Moore hold very similar beliefs on this subject. However, Just as Gupta was concerned with Moore comparing some apples to oranges (which is less "fudging" facts than selectively representing them), the public needs to be careful about doing the same in judging this argument.

Moore created a feature length film to make his argument. Gupta was assigned a much shorter segment to make his. In short, Gupta and Moore may be bothe somewhat correct about this issue, but it's just silly to assume that Gupta's 10 min (or whatever) argument can measure up to a feature length film.

In my opinion, that's not what it was intended to do. What I heard from Gupta? - Good Movie, Heart in the right place, might be different ways to look at the facts.

What's wrong with that?

I think the use of the word "fudging" perhaps should have been avoided. Fudging sounds more like changing the numbers rather than perhaps what it was which is use the numbers that best support your argument.

I commend both for their work, neither has an easy job... and both agree we need to fix out system.
As they say "Liars figure and figures lie". As regards Michael Moore's statement that 70+% of people in England see a doctor within one day, that is not strictly true. My aged Mother lives there and if she calls her doctor on a Monday and the doctor cannot see her until say Friday she will be told to call back on Thursday at which time she is given an appointment for Friday and so the statistic shows that she has her appointment within one day. It's government chicanery!
Dr. Gupta,

I would like to say I know why you brought up issues of Moore's number, and I respect you for having the "guts" to stand up to Moore. Moore is a filmmaker not the first and foremost authority on health care. His movie, while brining to light the issue of universal health care, will make profit as much as any of the HMO's Moore speaks about. If Moore cares so deeply why does he not start donating money to free clinics, who do provide free care for people?!


I work in the health care industry as a Clinical Research Specialist. I fully understand what it takes to get facts correct, and you cannot cherry pick to have a fair and well rounded report. Moore does do this! All of this movies pick information that Moore wants to use- he uses examples that will support his theory without having a flip side, or if he does use a flip side the side is so extreme it doesn't represent the actual opposite side of his argument.

I think, sadly, Americans really do look up to people on the big screen, especially since Moore comes off as your friendly next-door neighbor. This big screen admiration leaves most people not to fact check for themselves, and if everyone did their own research on the subject of universal health care in the US maybe people would be motivated to have our politicians make changes in legislature. Massachusetts is a state which is already making changes with their new bill passed in April, which requires all residents to purchase health insurance at a low-cost. This equals out because if we have universal we would pay with taxes, so why not offer it to people at a very low price? Pennsylvania has a program called CHIP which insures every child in the state!!!! So, health care in some states is changing, but we need more people than just Moore to do their homework.

I think it is wonderful that Moore is brining the issue to light, but let's face it if a movie wasn't made would people care so deeply about the issue? I just think its sad that Americans rely on people like Moore, and while I am at it Al Gore to be the foremost authorities on the topics of their documentary.
Dr. Gupta - I am a US citizen who has lived in Canada for over 27 yrs. Our income tax rate is roughly 18% on an 80K income after deductions. Health care here is as it should be - I can get an appt with my family doctor the same day. I can wait for an appt. for a specialist if the issue is not critical, but if it is I am seen immediately. Medicine is not covered and we pay for prescriptions. I cannot imagine being denied care and my heart goes out to the tragic cases Moore features in the movie. You are a respected voice in the U.S. Please stand up and act for change. I recognise that "socialism" might be a dirty word in the US, but it really the government acting for the common good of the most people it can. Please be on the side of the people. Thank-you!
Barbara Metelka
I agree the system is broken. But much like our Congress and government in general, special interests have to be excluded from the solution. When we have "plaintif's rights attorneys", the AMA, Medicare and Medicaid (yes, they have their own agenda, eventhough the government) and the drug companies running the show, we get what we have. I am not being critical of any of the above, except that from what I see daily it puts doctors, hospitals and pharmacies in the big middle. Until we can have a fair, complete dialogue on appropriate coverage and treatment (extraordinary lengths to which the public is going to fund care), then we won't see a solution.
I don't agree that you attempted to have a discussion on Health Care rather, I saw you attempt to justify using the word "fudge" in your commercial for the Rx companies.

Maybe this won't be posted as I don't see many disenting points of view on this site, however, it should as many people who watched you on TV with Larry King were disappointed that you did not move past this boring inconsequential numbners to topics in health care of interest. Do I watch CNN, No. And this display of continual justification of quality of informaiton and elightenment is percisly why I don't.
I am a 55 year old male living with hiv. I do not have health insurance as I had to leave my job years ago due to inability to work. I watched the exchange on Larry King a couple nights ago. I wish I could receive the medical care I believe I need. I avoid going to doctors because I cannot even afford to keep my car on the road, right now, I am more concerned about paying my rent and utilities. It is sad that I have to put my health aside for other financial considerations. I saw Michael Moore with Wolf Blitzer the other day and I was very proud of him standing up for the disenfranchized. Dr. Gupta strikes me as a pawn for the insurance comapnies and right wing who only want to continue to line their pockets with profit. I guess Dr. Gupta has got a good gig going for himself.
Any problem that exists in this country can be traced back to one thing ... greed.

Doctors are charging too much, and validating it with the old "don't worry, your insurance will pay for it" schtick. This, in turn, enables the insurance companies to empty the pockets of their customers. Not fair. Insurance rates go up every year, for cryin' out loud.

Heck ... I wouldn't be suprised if a cure for cancer has already been discovered, with the discoverers are just sitting around deciding how rich they can and should get.

Greed sucks. It ruins everything. Everything!
Thank you for a fair analysis of "Sicko".
Health care is extremely important, to all; Let me state my personal belief:
I think that health Care and Education are an universal rights, both must be universal.

I am from Canada and I would like to point out that Health Care in Canada is provincially based not federally based. So residents from British Columbia cannot get treatment in Ontario without payment. The health systems in Ontario are very different from the health systems in say Nova Scotia.
In Ontario all tax payers pay a premium on their wages (approx $900) in addition to other taxes.

So yes Ontario does provide a good basic system and there is opportunity for all. But bear in mind that Prescription medications are not covered (unless you are over 65 -$100 deductible), Dental care is not covered and other out patient services like physio-therapy etc is often covered at only 50%. However many employers offer supplemental insurance. (this is good if your employer offers this else it is expensive).

In order to provide a universal system there needs to be a big mind shift in the people's attitude towards taxation and social welfare.

Europe and Canada etc have long tradition of big social programs and hence it people are on the whole more accepting of such systems.
In the United States increasing taxes is very unpopular and to try an universal approach to health care will take a big big paradigm shift in the people! We need to have an inner belief that the money we pay into a universal system may not serve us individually but rather will be used for the greater good of all in the community.

As world economics shift it is increasingly hard to provide and sustain large government sponsored programs epically in health care; the life expectancy rates are increasing rapidly and as result senior care costs are up. Lets face it we live longer today because of better health care, but there is a cost to this, as senior population increase the population of younger folks entering the workforce is declining. In order to sustain a good balance in universal health care we need (ideally) an equal number of folks retiring at 65 to the younger people joining the workforce. (So is immigration the answer to increase the number of younger people in the workforce).

My suggestion would be making health education a real priority to young children so that as they get older they make better health and lifestyle choices, preventing many illnesses.
We also need to cut the Insurance companies ability to override Doctors decision making. Let doctors make the decisions not an “Insurance agent”.
We need more community health centers where they can triage more effectively.
Above all we need to ensure children up to 18 years are covered by a universal fund, this may be expensive in the short term but in the long term will be very beneficial. Yes there may be people who abuse the system but the overall good from this approach out weigh the minor abuses.

We have to start to think in terms of the greater good of the community.

Jawahar Rajan
Michael Moore's comments after the debate:

GUPTA: "Well, I mean, he pulls $251 from this BBC unsourced report ... Where you pulled the $251 number was a BBC report, which, by the way, stated that the per capita spending in the United States was $5,700. You chose not to use the $5,700 from one report and chose to go to a totally different report and you're sort of cherry picking data from different reports ... Well, why didn't you use the $5,700 number from the BBC report?"

THE TRUTH:

* Actually, the number 'Sicko' cited for per capita Cuban spending on health care - $251, a number widely cited by the BBC and other outlets - comes from the United Nations Human Development Report, helpfully linked on our website. Here it is again: http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/indicators/52.html.
* That UN report does list American health care spending as only $5,700, but it's a few years old. Since then, the U.S. government has updated it's projections for health care spending, to $7,498 in 2007. So we used that number. It's the most recent, and comes right from the Department of Health and Human Services. If the Cuban government gave a figure on 2007 projected health spending, we'd have used it.

GUPTA: "Medicare is going to go bankrupt by 2019, and is going to be $28 trillion in debt by 2075 ... Look, I believe the very measure of a great society is in how we take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. But would you say that this is going to be still a working system 20 years from now?"

THE TRUTH:

* Medicare indeed has enough money to cover all seniors until 2019. At that time, it will simply need more funding. That shouldn't be hard to find in a nation spending trillions of dollars to invade other countries.
* Medicare is not in trouble because it is socialized medicine. Medicare faces the same economic problem private health plans do - health care inflation is out of control, far outpacing inflation for other goods and services. And in fact, Medicare is much more efficient at dealing with this inflation than is private insurance. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Table 13), per beneficiary costs have risen in nominal dollars by 519.5 percent since 1980. By contrast, the cost per enrollee of private insurance has risen by 676.6 percent over this same period. So Gupta should instead be pointing his finger at the inefficiency of private insurance. (Social Security and Medicare Myths, Lies, and Realities. Institute for America's Future. http://www.globalaging.org/health/us/myths.pdf; "Gupta Says Medicare is Going Bankrupt," Dean Baker, Beat the Press blog. http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/beat_the_press)
* There is a clear way to make our health economy more efficient. We waste $400 billion dollars per year administering our mess of a private, profit-driven system. The answer is switching to a single-payer, Medicare-style system and taking absurd profits and administrative costs out of the equation. (Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., Terry Campbell, M.H.A., and David U. Himmelstein, M.D., Costs of Health Care Administration, N Engl J Med 2003;349:768-75 )

GUPTA: "The point is, though, and I think you would have to concede this point, Michael, that you are trying to lead people to believe, again, people who are really concerned about this issue, that it is free in these other countries. And that is what I think is - (MOORE): It is free. (GUPTA) It's not, Michael."

THE TRUTH:

* 'Sicko' doesn't hide from the obvious fact that higher taxes are needed to pay for free, universal health care. Former UK MP Tony Benn reads from the National Health Service founding pamphlet, which explicitly states that "this is not a charity. You are paying for it mainly as taxpayers." And 'SiCKO' also acknowledges that the French are "drowning in taxes," a line that clearly stuck with Gupta since he used it himself during the broadcast.
* The medical care in countries with socialized medicine is still free. Gupta doesn't seem to grasp that. Here in America, when you go to the library and check out a book, it's free. When the fire department puts out a fire at your house, it's free. In Canada, when you go into the hospital for chemotherapy, it's free. You don't walk out with a bill. Yes, citizens pay higher taxes in countries with socialized medicine, but they don't pay the premiums, co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket medical costs that we face in America. Moreover, in other industrialized countries citizens are not bankrupted by huge bills during a medical crisis – as is the case in America, where the leading cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. (Medical Bills Make up Half of Bankruptcies. Feb. 2005, MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6895896/)

GUPTA: (On the lone expert shown in the original piece, Paul Keckley). "His only affiliation is with Vanderbilt University. We checked it, Michael. We checked his conflict of interest. We do ask those questions."

THE TRUTH:

* Keckley left Vanderbilt in October, 2006 to become the executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The chyron on CNN even notes his new position. ('Vandy administrator to head Deloitte research center,' Nashville Business Journal. Nov. 1, 2006. http://nashville.bizjournals.com/nashville/stories/2006/10/30/daily20.html).
* The independent chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions is Tommy Thompson, who was George W. Bush's Health and Human Services Secretary from 2001 to 2005 and is currently running for president as a Republican. ('Meet Tommy G. Thompson, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/employee_profile/0,1007,sid=80772&
cid=86217,00.html)
* Keckley has made large contributions to Republican candidates and organizations. He gave $1,000 to GOP Senator Bob Corker in 2006, $1,000 to the Tennessee GOP in 2002, along with $1,500 to two GOP Congressional candidates, and $1,000 to the Tennessee GOP in 2000. (www.fecinfo.com)
* Keckley was also the CEO and Founder of EBM Solutions Inc., of Nashville, Tennessee, which counted among it's customers Blue Cross of Tennessee, the drug company Aventis, and others. Considering Keckley makes his living in the for-profit health care world – a world 'Sicko' argues should be abolished – viewers should have been told exactly where Keckley was coming from.

When will "the most trusted name in news" correct these many factual errors?
Dr. Gupta,

You seem to be just another corporate shill who has sold his soul to your sponsors. You did yourself a huge disservice by nitpicking Moore's documentary. With respect to long wait times in other countries, my 83 year old mother had the flu and developed serious complications. The paramedics took her to the emergency room and we had to wait 6 HOURS for her to see someone. Sure they stabalized her, but she could barely sit up in her chair. Totally disgraceful! You should be ashamed.
I have four questions for Bonnie C of Glen Mills PA.

If the health care/medical community is not allowed to patent products then where is the incentive to produce innovative medical products?

Do you work in a job/career where you receive no compensation for you efforts?

If you are not compensated for your work, how do you live from day to day?

Which country develops the most innovative medical products? Hint, it is not France or Canada or Cuba…
Dr. Gupta,
I appreciate your views on the need to fix our healthcare system. I did find one of your comments a bit odd. You said that Michael Moore is being "nebulous" by referring to national healthcare programs as "free." You said you "worry" that people who see the movie Sicko may get the impression that they won't have to pay taxes for such a program. If so, you must have a rather low opinion of the public mind, or at least those who see Sicko. People use the word "free" in common speech to describe all types of tax supported programs such as the "free" public library and the "free" public schools and the "free" public parks, and everyone (at least those beyond about a 4rd grade education) knows this doesn't literally mean that these services are "without cost" but are instead supported by taxes. It's the same with "free" national healthcare. We all know it won't drop down from heaven, but the cost will be born by taxes. We don't need you to "worry" about this. We need you to help as a prominent commentator to move the nation toward a solution. Currently we have millions of poeple uninsured and millions of others paying hefty out of pocket costs for coverage that is often denied exactly when it's needed most. If we have to shift the costs to our tax pool and provide meaningful healthcare to all citizens, the tradeoff seems well worthwhile. This will "free" us in more ways than one. Thank you.
As a physician who has practiced over 30 years much of it in a self owned small(1 to 2 docs) general practice(108 years old this year).

You have certainly taken a whoopin' because of your approach to health care reform via Mr. Moore's film. You chose to humiliate people's intelligence and experience and therefore turned the conversation about you with the expected backlash.

However it not useful or humane to kick someone in whatever position when they are down if you truly wish to change things. So if you could use your considerable talents to move in a better direction it would be greatly appreciated.

The questions on health care reform:

What needs to be changed?

What needs to be kept?

Leadership means being informed, mindful of mutual survival, and the ability to communicate effectively. I believe Mr. Moore fulfilled this public contract.

We all are skeptical of government solutions but sometimes they are necessary especially when there is a universal need.

We understand that someone's income may go down under any reform(winners and losers) but if the greater benefit can be shown this has more acceptability.

I look forward to your responsibility to continue this debate in ernest. Let it begin.
I enjoy your presentations on CNN, and appreciate what appear to be informed and fair reporting. This health insurance issue is complicated, and no solution will be "free" as you so aptly point out. The loss of jobs to the "global market place" is intimately tied to this problem, and seems to be ignored.
Do you plan on responding to the allegations on Moore's website?
Dr. Gupta: Congratulations on a wonderful dialogue with Mr. Moore. I consider Mr. Moore a master of propaganda but at least he is bringing attention to a critical issue. I was very discouraged by the fact that he receives nasty emails 'even death threats'. Everyone MUST be civil and promote meaningful dialogue just as you did with him. I am a regular Fox News viewer (and CNN!) and sincerely thank you for keeping the discussion fair and balanced. All the best to you!
Dr. Gupta,

I watched with great interest your "debate" with Michael Moore regarding his facts in the movie "Sicko". I am not a fan of Mr. Moore's or his work, and I enjoyed the documentary about his movie making "Manufacturing Dissent". (http://www.cinematical.com/2007/03/13/sxsw-review-manufacturing-dissent)

You are an esteemed professional in the healthcare and journalism fields with years of education and experience. Mr. Moore is a rabblerouser with a reputation for seeking publicity to support his films.

I am a former inusruance fraud investigator who worked for one of the largest health insurers in the nation, and I now work as a consultant helping people and physicians most often against insurance companies. I agree with both of you on the concept of getting this issue up front in the public and doing a better job of providing health care for all.

I find Mr. Moore's antics laughable however, when you take issue with how he cherry picked his data to support his point and create more dissent. His supporters attack you but all you did was supply a factual critique of his facts - all the time agrreing with his premise as I do.

His blog response to you noted in an earlier copmment is even further evidence of how far he will go to try and be outrageous to create dissent and buzz. He's actually threatened you with libel litigation. That's a laugh. You have to be wrong for it to be libel, and you were right in your reporting whether he liked it or not. If it was really libel he would have sued you already. And he might still sue you, let's see how the movie does and if he needs more publicity then prepare to get served.

If he wants to discuss libel, he should review the debate for the moments he called you a liar when you were reporting facts. That Mr. Moore is libel, but you know that - but he knows that he's just smart enough to act dumb.

It scares me to think I live in an America surrounded by people who write comments like so many outrageous pro-Moore factless rants preceding this. Particularly for all those Moore operatives claiming foul over your "right-wing" source. Michael Moore is as politically left wing as it gets and he can never hide that agenda. For all those MoveOn.orgers out there it is disengenuous to claim impartiality so please spare the rest of us. Don't attack Dr. Gupta's source, bring us the real facts.

And don't attack Dr. Gupta, just present the facts that would prove him worng. Don't present different fact numbers because he already acknowledged different fact sets co-exist, present proof that Michael Moore did not cherry pick his data to support his point, create dissention and make his movie more contraversial. By the way, if he's so concerned let him give all the profits if there are any to help provide healthcare to the uninsured. Once again he's "Manufacturing Dissent" and he's despicable. Do yourself a favor and see "Manufacturing Dissent" and you'll get a better idea of what you're up against.

I won't be a coward like half the pro-Moore posters and possible operatives, I sign my name.
Sanjay Gupta,

You miss the big picture in Moore's film in order to dispute data, which even though it may not jibe with your data still supports Moore's central thesis--health care in our country is screwed up and screwed up big time. Instead, you go out of your way to find more fault with "Sicko" than you do with our health care system. That's why you come across as the typical corporate panderer. Pandering to CNN sponsors, pandering to those who sign your paychecks, and pandering to an audience who thinks you deserve credibility.

Moore has balls. You don't. He's willing to stand up to a corrupt system, you're part of it. Too bad you're a doctor.

D W
Dr. Gupta. Michael Moore wants to twist the facts to fit his agenda and if confronted becomes irrational. We look to professionals like yourself for the honest facts, Thanks Jack
Please apologize to Mr. Moore. I think that this is an important lesson learned! Do your own editing.

There is a lot of speculation about what motivated you to challenge Mr. Moore's report so savagely. You're in Big Pharma's pocket, you want to increase your book sales, you are trying to climb the corporate/amazon.com ladder. Only you know what your motives were and only you can do the right thing.

The health care issue is too important to Americans to get it wrong. Please get it right or move over to Fox News, where people don't really care so much about facts just ratings and book sales.
dr. gupta, i'm a canadian with family in france and the uk. in all of my 30 yrs ive never paid for health care. knee surgeries, stitches, child births, etc. your argument that taxes are higher is ridiculous. homeless, poor, rich,employed, unemployed, it doesn't matter we're all covered. to say are taxes are higher is true. it pays for our roads, education, federal, provincial and municipal infrastructure, and so on. we have come to terms with our needs and responsibilities. our only hardache is that our roads are being fixed on a regular basis (traffic). you are a smart man, so i'm wondering why you delibrately mislead your views. canada is a population of 40 m. therefore, compared to your population our taxes would seem higher, but that's just not the case. as soon as you and the rest of your country come into reality with the rest of the world, your country will countinue to slide into oblivion, which is really sad.
Yep. I'm Canadian. I'm loving my "free" health care. I pay taxes for it, so it's not really free. But I wouldn't trade it for the American way. Not a chance. Keep knocking the way we're doing it up here Sanjay. Why don't you take a poll of Canadians and see how many people would get rid of our health care system. You truly are American... wave your flag sir...
Here is a great article about you!



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Dr. Gupta's Bias
Posted July 12, 2007 | 09:22 AM (EST)


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Rachel Sklar and Michael Moore himself have already done a great job taking CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to task for his biased reporting on SiCKO.

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But what was most striking to me during the Moore-Gupta face-off on Larry King Live was when Gupta showed the heart of his bias, a bias against having our government guarantee universal health care.

Gupta says to Moore, "You criticize the government so soundly. But you're willing to hand over one of our most precious commodities, our health care in this country, to the government."

Moore rebutted, "I actually love our government ... It does a great job of administrating Social Security ... the problem is who we've put in power who holds office."

Then in response, Gupta made a completely misleading attack on Medicare:

Michael, one of the best examples of health care, at least some sort of universal health care, would be Medicare. I think you would agree with that.

It's going to go bankrupt by 2019. It's going to be $28 trillion in debt by 2075...would you say that this is going to be still a working system 20 years from now?
Is this some evidence that our government can't be directed to fix our broken health care system? Economist-blogger Dean Baker doesn't think so:

CNN's health care analyst is now telling people that Medicare is going bankrupt. What does this mean?

Medicare's costs are projected to exceed its revenue and drain the surplus from its trust fund in a bit over a decade, but this has been true at several points in the past. Did Congress tell tens of millions of beneficiaries to get lost? No, Congress appropriated the money needed to keep the program going...

...If Dr. Gupta meant to imply that Medicare, as a government program is uniquely inefficient, then he is way off the mark. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Table 13) per beneficiary costs have risen in nominal dollars by 519.5 percent since 1980. By contrast, the cost per enrollee of private insurance has risen by 676.6 percent over this same period.
That gets at the heart of Gupta's bias.

The pressures on Medicare's finances are not the fault of our government, but of skyrocketing health care costs across the board.

Yet Gupta's cherry-picks his facts to attack a government guarantee of universal care, and raise the prospect of dismantling Medicare, just like how conservatives sought to do the same with Social Security.

Health care costs are a major problem, but as Baker notes, "Eliminating Medicare would raise health care costs, not lower them."

Whereas directing our government to ensure universal health care, as Medicare already does for seniors, can contain costs by pooling risk and maximizing bargaining power.

In the proposed Health Care for America plan -- a Medicare-style public plan for those under 65 which would compete with private insurance -- policy architect Jacob Hacker writes:

Because Medicare and the Health Care for America Plan would bargain jointly for lower prices and join forces to improve quality, they would have enormous combined leverage to hold down costs. Cross-national evidence and the historical experience of Medicare show conclusively that concentrated purchasing power is by far the most effective means by which to restrain the price of medical services...

...Other nations spend much less for the same medical services than we do because their insurance systems bargain for lower prices. And though Medicare covers less than a seventh of the U.S. population, it has still controlled costs substantially better than the private sector, especially since the introduction of payment controls in the mid-1980s.

When was the last time you saw a mainstream media report that merely raised the possibility that our government's Medicare plan does a better job at containing costs than private insurance companies?

There is one thing said by Gupta that I have no disagreement with: "It makes it very hard to advance the argument if you're not getting the numbers right."

A slightly different version on this post originally appeared at the Campaign for America's Future blog.

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Dr. Gupta, surely you must be aware that the "socialized medicine" in Canada that has scandalized Americans for so long is actually health care insurance. When I moved to Canada from the U.S., where my employer paid our premiums, my new employer paid approximately equivalent premiums for my family into the government plan. When I left that job and went into business for myself, I started paying my own premiums personally. The only difference between the two countries was that I knew, if I got into financial difficulties and could not afford the premiums, my family would still be insured.

Yes, I assume I did pay extra taxes to help assure that others less fortunate than myself received medical coverage.

For years Amercian doctors fought "socialized medicine." Now they have "capitalized medicine" in the form of managed care programs and private insurace programs. And most of their dire predictions about what would go wrong under government insurance have come to pass.

Certainly government bureaucracies often get muddled in procedures and lose their sense of objective. On the other hand, the bureaucrats shuffling the paper in the health care businesses are held to a clear objective: corporate profits. Profit is indeed a good goal. But healthy people are a better, more important goal.
I have seen Bowling for Columbine. Moore took a horrible trajedy and exploited it to create a personal crusade for gun control.
In F911 Moore seemed to just want to make one man look dumb and others evil.
M. Moore thinks he's a great man pointing out the wrong in the world.

M. Moore is a hack who wines and sensationalizes.
M. Moore IS NOT a documentary maker.
Wow, you are a doctor AND an economist (i.e., France's economy is "crippled" by its health care system). Could you please enlighten all of us on the proper definition of this term as it relates to economics? As is the case with many doctors, you believe yourself to be an expert in every field, allowing your huge ego to color all of your opinions. If you want Michael Moore to check his facts and not cherry-pick, then at least have the integrity to hold yourself to the same standard and write a concise, detailed report, including FACTS and SOURCES that support your assertions.

Or better yet, take your huge salary and bigger ego and just go away.
Unforunately, there are 2 issues - accessibility to care and the quality of care - on accessibility its clear we aren't doing very well and because of that fact in general our averages on many health statistics don't measure up to countries that have total accessibility. The second issue is quality and while the notion of quality seems simple it is not - for there is high quality that is quite expensive like a Mercedes Benz and there is high quality that is cheap like a Toyota or a Honda - our system does fine on the MB type of quality - we have the finest technology in the world - overused or underused - its available for the rich and the lucky - where are system fails is in the cheap quality areas - we can't deliver ordinary care at a competitive price - Insurance companies, excessive paper work, lack of cooperation between doctors and hospitals and a whole host of other problems impact this type of quality.
The high cost of normal quality impacts accessibility to high quality care and full accessibilty for normal care. This is what we have to resolve - and we have to do it quickly since the numbers of people who can't afford expensive health care will grow tremendously over the new 20 years.
I guess that your comment regarding that only sophisticated viewers would be able to fully grasp Mr. Moore's comments rang the loudest with myself.

Apparently, you seem worried, or at least those directing your editorial comments, that the average American might not be smart enough to understand the issues at hand and that by debating minutiae around numbers it seems as if you are trying to obfuscate the debate on purpose.

Does the news media see itself now as the guiding shepherd for the American masses?

Please continue your excellent work both as a surgeon and reporter, particularly when saving lives. Perhaps you could also try and save some face with Mr. Moore on this issue.

Not so sophisticated in the Great White North!
Dr. Gupta,

People other than doctor's can criticize our health care system and offer up solutions. Why do you take such issue with what are by all appearances, very minor mistakes? Choose any CNN story off the wire, and you often find it is less thorough and well checked that "Sicko." You are holding Moore to a higher standard than CNN's own editorial staff. If you agree with the conclusions of the movie, just say so. Don't devote 90% of your efforts criticizing his choice of references.
It was a very interesting debate with Micahel Moore and Dr. Gupta. What disturbed me most was Dr. Gupta's apparent lack of confidence in our ability to establish a working National health care system. I disagree with Dr. Gupta. I believe the U.S. HAS the ability to create a system that would rival those in Canada,France or the U.K. Understand that an entire industry stands to lose a lot of money if this happens. It's easy to see why the industry would put up a fight. I almost get the impression that Dr. Gupta falls in this camp.
Dr. Gupta is wrong when he crticizes Moore for saying health care is "free" or that other systems were "utopia".

Moore's doesn't say that. Dr. Gupta is taking completely out of context the fact that people do not have to pay out of pocket at the doctor's office nor do they get a bill that requires a second mortgage after a hospital stay. Moore's point about WHERE the health care services were paid for was clear so claiming Moore was saying other systmes were "free" was intellectually dishonest.

Moore's points were totally correct and Dr. Gupta would have done the public a service by emphasizing those important points:

1. Health care costs the US TWICE what it does in European systems.

2. US health care has demonstrably poorer results. One could call having one's baby live (US has higher infant mortality rates) or living longer oneself (US has lower life span) as "utopia" as Dr. Gupta calls Moore's pointing out these facts.
Comment about susie a., minneapolis said... post.

Dear Susie,

I am sorry but you do not realize that rationing is going on in any system whether it is universal health care or for profit private insurance. Insurance companies do ration your care even now by denying certain claims, etc. Don;t you get that?
that is why your stand, as just a stand of many GOP supporters, that universal healthcare will lead to rationing is BOGUS! we have rationing now and always did with current private insurance companies.
So before making a claim like that, you should learn what rationing means.

thanks
Dr. Gupta,

I have been watching your program for a long time and I almost (stress, almost) bought the book you recent wrote. The first time I saw your piece on Sicko I didn't finish and my impression was that you thought he got the facts right. When I saw your piece the second time before the Larry King program, and watched it until the end, I was surprised to see that you said the statistics used in the movie were "fudged".

Then during the debate with Michael Moore, you said the numbers he used were from BBC and WHO and other places. So maybe his numbers were not all from the same source, but "fudged" in a lot of people's mind, means he made up his numbers. In the dictionary, "fudged" means fake. Apparently, according to you during the debate, this was not the case.

I think it is important for a journnalist to show the reader/audience the facts, and not to pass your own judgement. I am very disappointed at your reporting on this movie.
I am going to have to side with the majority of the commenters on this one and say that though your honesty is appreciated, it seems to me that by harping on the minute details of the movie, and not focusing on the larger issue at hand, you are playing into not only the hope of the insurance companies, but also the pitfalls of the media today. There is only so much airtime dedicated to the topic of health insurance in America, and to spend it trying to point out the faults of the movie, and not the faults of health insurance, makes it seem as if the movie is inaccurate and that all is well with America's healthcare. The reason that I find this so frustrating is that this attitude of saying, well, we only want to be fair and make sure that we are analyzing both sides of the issue is disingenuous because you are not analyzing the issue of healthcare in the first place, just any attacks against it. In my belief it is the job of the journalist to investigate the institutions themselves, not just the people that look to challenge what those institutions are doing and in this I feel you have failed. As a result, I have that much less confidence in your stories and your ability to be a representative of the press that is fighting for the common person.
Frankly I was very disappointed the Larry King live Show about the Sicko Movie.

Sanjay, Michael and most importantly Larry completely missed the point. I was looking for the healthy discussion regarding the Health system in the America. Great Nation like America has failed to provide proper health care to people and that is not acceptable. No need to compare what other nation is doing – that is not a point. I was looking for answer what we can do to fix this problem. We aspect lot more from Larry (Giant talk show host) has lot more responsibility than other junky talk shows. As a good host Larry should have drive discussion toward how nation fix this problem, try to get the answer from Sanjay and Michael. Rather Larry created opportunity to have a cat fight between two. Sanjay, Michael you both are professionals, we needed answers not cat fight which created cheap headline next day.
I am Australian who has been living in the US for 4.5 years. i remember when i first arrived here i was shocked at my monthly (employer-subsidised) health insurance premiums- which were around $80. I have now come to realise that is a pretty sweet deal. I first required medical attention in this country, for a blocked ear no less. The 'unblocking' took all of 5 minutes and was performed by a nurse. Several weeks later i received a bill for around $100 and was completely shocked (again) to find that i would have to foot this amount in its entirety. I thought that surely as a was paying close to $1000 a year, my insurance would cover me for this one visit. Of course copays ensure that it doesn't work this way. I have since avoided visiting my local practioner. What does this say about the system when someone who has 'good' coverage avoids it?
Dr Gupta: I have been following your recent interchange with Michael Moore with much interest. I am a nurse practitioner and my husband is a physician. I'd like to comment on "shilling for corporate sponsors". I believe that one of the problems with our health care system is just that - the shilling that most U.S. physicians unwittingly do for the pharmaceutical companies. As a nurse, I was educated to care for patients using a more holistic approach than that of my husband, with modalities other than prescribing medication. The drug companies' wooing of physicians starts early and continues throughout their careers.
Research studies that determine treatment protocols are commonly sponsored by them. Professional journals are filled with their colorful ads. My husband's staff is treated at least once a week to free lunches by them. Physicians are more dependent on drug companies than they realize and I think health care reform should begin by taking a good hard look at this issue.
Dr.Gupta,
I believe the key point of argument is US spending between $6K and $7K. You are right that there is a difference but to call it ‘fudging’ seems on the extreme side as well.

At the end, it’s about the big picture. Does this movie bring the issue up? Does healthcare in this country need to be fixed? If these are yes, arguing on the different of $1K seems to be ridiculous and take attention to a wrong direction. Why do you trying to do this? It does seem like you are working for people who try to drive attention to the other ways.

I remember when the movie ‘Bowling for Columbine’ came out. Instead of discussing about gun control and how easy to get a gun, media discuss about if it’s true to be able to get a gun by open the banking in 10 minutes or 25 minutes. At the end, either it’s 10 minutes or 25 minutes, it’s still VERY EASY to get it.

Big picture please and don’t try to drive attention to the other way if you truly believe the healthcare system in this country need to be changed.

Best regards,

Patrick
The reality is that you live in a different world and cannot see the problems of the common person. Michael Moore highlights what is occuring in the real world, that you could never do with the time you have on CNN all these years.
Moore is pushing Moore, not universal health care. That's his first problem. He goes into things with an agenda and not wanting to present a balanced report. If it makes the liberals look good and the republicans bad, he will jump on it.

As for universal health care, the tax payers should not be expected to foot the bill. Period. The government is unable to build the bridges we need and keep the roads paved - they are not responsible enough for managing health care.

Why is it the governments responsibility? Take advantage of the free education you receive, wok hard and earn going to college and pay your own bills and your own insurance.

Stop pharmaceutical advertising and that will eliminate some of the problems.

If the government moves into universal healthcare, that will doom the middle and working class and we will be on the road to complete socialism.
I feel Dr. Gupta is a brilliant doctor who dedicates his life to helping others. I feel Dr. Gupta handled himself very professionally with Michael Moore. I, for one, feel Michael Moore enjoys reporting untruths and stirring the pot. If Michael Moore is so interested in America's healthcare system then why is he not donating all the profits from "Sicko" to the poor and underpriveleged who cannot afford health care. He needs to put his money where his mouth is.

Dr. Gupta, please continue with your hard work and dedication to medicine. I, for one, closely listen to all your reportings and use them in the best way that positively effect my life. When Moore starts saving lives as you do, then maybe you and he can have a legitimate debate.
When you did the fact check on Sicko you went from a medical journalist to a political journalist. When you claimed more was fudging the numbers you were echoing a political strategy that many of your corporate sponsors have supported in attacking Moore. You ignored all of the larger points that you are now making, and left it very much as a hit piece on Moore's credibility. Therefore, yes, you are shilling for corporate elites.

Regarding yourreporting on the war and health care you miss the larger point Moore is making all together. If the media had challenged the accuracy of the administration in the run up to the war, than maybe you would not have had to gone to Irag to pick up the pieces. The war gave you a great visibility and a platform to build your image - the good doctor reporter who does surgery as well!!! - but you never once challenged the utter insanity that created the war in the first place. CNN chose to put you on fixing bodies, and ignored the root cause of why there were bodies to fix. CNN is supposed to be news, not just buildng up people's resumes.

You give lots of medical advice that many people can not take advantage of because they do not have health care. (I enjoy your medical programs very much) But again you never spoke up about the big picture. Saving someone from a heart attack is fine, but you never once spoke up about the thousands of people who die each year because of lack of access to health care. And your comments about there being no utopia was tremendously insensitive and insulting to people who just trying to get the most basic health care so they do not die.

You ask for politeness in the comments, fine. All we are asking for is the truth. You can not expect people to hold a civil conversation when they are dieing in stupid war or from lack of access to health care. People are getting mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore. You can stick you politeness where the sun don't shine - we want the truth, and we want it now!
Dr.Gupta,

Please go back to your Medical Practice. I am sure that youar a good doctor. Can not say the same for your Journalistic endeavours though. I will no longer watch you! Maybe it is time that you join Tucker on MSNBC!
Your brains and charisma are so apparent. What a contribution you could make to society if you used your platform to honesly speak of the issues. It was apparent to me as a viewer that you agreed and have a depth of knowledge of the facts but continued to hide behind semantics.
please reconsider. think of your articulation being leant to such a worthy cause.
I have health insurance, but my deductible is so high that I have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor anyway. What good does that do me?
There is one tiny flaw in this whole health care argument: health care is not a right. People can call me heartless; I don't care. Medical care is a service meaning someone has to perform the task for you, and no matter how much anybody tries to fool themselves, no one does anything for free, be it monetary or not.

When government starts to mandate action by holding a "gun" to your head, the person with the gun to his or her head, be it a doctor or taxpayer, will probably not stand up for that and withdraw their services completely in the case of the doctor or get really ticked off and vote out politicians in the case of the taxpayer. Good doctors need to be well compensated, not "fairly" compensated. They do a difficult job and good money is an indicator of that difficulty.

If the government would keep its nasty hands off of the medical industry and just have laws in place that prohibit collusion and such, the free market would, surprise, work!

But what do I know. People always become complacent and want "free" stuff. The successful are always sacrificed for the mediocre anyway, so whatever. A person's hard earned money is always "needed elsewhere."

[Begin sarcasm] I have an idea, lets abolish medical care and get rid of doctors and go back to survival of the fittest. That would get rid of all of the sick people and leave just healthy ones to repopulate the planet! It would also help global warming, too, since the population would be much smaller! [End sarcasm]
I am French. You are right Dr Gupta, nothing is "free" in France but at least the taxes, the French are paying, come back to them in case they are in need with health problems. This money is not spend for war. May be the American people would like to see their billions of tax-$ which are spent for war come back to them in a better way, for example when they need health care. It is inadmissible in this so selftcalled "greatest country in the world" that people have no health insurance and are condamed to die because of that. Profit profit, well good, but where is the sharing and caring in a such religious country?
I cant help but feel that Dr. Gupta was trying to find some minor discrepancy to point out in the film to appear as though he was looking at the film in a balanced way. The idea that using the term "free" to describe universal health care was misleading is ridiculous at best. Americans are smart enough to know there is no such thing as a free lunch - and it was obvious that such a system would be paid for by taxes. The whole point of the movie was to ask Americans to consider our priorities when it comes to health care. Whether we are talking about $7,000 or $6,000 the point is, we spend a lot more than other countries on health care and get, in some cases, an inferior product. In my opinion, people should be talking about the man featured in the film who DIED when his insurance company denied him multiples times for treatment. That was hauntingly sad and I cant understand why Dr. Gupta and others ignore that, but instead want to talk about minor differences in figures.
Make no mistake. Dr. Gupta, and CNN will never make a clear argument favoring universal health care. He would be fired if he did.

His goal, that of the media, and the medical industrial complex is to obfuscate a rather simple issue, one that most of the industrialized world appears to understand, and to make people far more scared of changing an exploitative system than keeping it going.

This is exactly what they did in 1993, after Bill Clinton waved a single payer health care card in the air and promised all the voters health care. There followed a vicious advertising campaign led by the HIAA.

Canadians across the border watched the Harry and Louise advertisements in amusement, and wondered at the gullibility of the U.S. public. At the time, in September 1993, Clinton's proposal enjoyed a solid 56% approval rating, with only 24% disaproving.

The ads weren't really targeting the public. They only aired in fewer than dozen markets. They were really aimed at the media -- people like Dr. Gupta, and CNN -- who dutifully did their job to discredit the program. Dr. Gupta was in medical school at the time, but he got the message, and learned who his masters are: the American Medical Association, the HMO's, and big Pharma, the pillars of the Medical Industrial Complex.

Don't think for a minute that the AMA is in favor of reform. They continue to enforce a system of scarcity. They are the gatekeepers of the dysfunctional system. They have no interest in increasing the supply of doctors. One has to ask why an economically devastated country like Cuba ranks third in the world in doctors per capita (627 per 100,000) while the U.S., the richest country in the world, manages only 264 per 100,000.

The AMA has no problem with the "in-sourcing" of foreign nurses at much cheaper salaries, but is loath to increase the supply of medical school slots for doctors. In fact, they make sure that the generalists (the family doctors and internists) we need most, are paid the least.

The entire system corrupt. There aren't even any "market forces" at work here. Everything is controlled and designed for the extraction of maximum profit from your pockets to that of the drug companies and health care management system.

And after reading the comments on this bog, it's clear that the vast majority of readers are quite well aware of this.

Herman Wedemeyer
Dear Mr. Gupta,

I have to say that I have admired your past work but however found the entire LKL interview quite distasteful. The impression you portrayed was one of self-righteousness. I found it odd that out of an entire film, you harped on about one single fact. In your blog, this is what you said about that one fact:
That same report also talked about US per capita health spending, but he apparently didn't like that number, so instead he used a projected number from a different study


Why, in your blog, did you not mention that the other source Michael used came from the US government? I'm confused. You leap in to comment on the BBC source, but not on the US govt figures???

As for the "free" debate, I was honestly shocked. Coming from Ireland, where our taxes are THE SAME as the US, we still manage to take care of our entire society. I have lived in the US for 11 years and have persistently been appalled at the healthcare system, even when I had to work for it. When the US govt decides it needs money for something, it manages to find it. How many billions have been spent on the war??? ALso, to mention the deficit of other countries was a huge example of your own cherry picking since you failed to mention that the US is now carries the biggest deficit of US history.

To negatively argue that we should all be weary of the taxes we would now pay is ludicrous. Do you think we shouldn't pay for firefighters and the police force too? Why are they more of a basic civil right than being healthy?

A good journalist provides all points of view but you seemed intent on trying to discredit Michael Moore and I found that to be very disappointing. He's not perfect, no one is, not even you! But I really would have expected you, as someone whom you repeatedly explained is a medical doctor and a journalist, to look at all sides.
The initial 'fact check' piece you did was reminiscent of the good ole boy saying 'how dare you criticize anything that is American'. It's a DUTY for any American to question their system and their government.

That you chose, ad nauseum, to banter about one statistic was petty and unprofessional.

Very disappointed,
Audrey
Orlando
Gupta should be commended for letting Moore air his grievances, most other subjects of reports don't get the chance. I'm reserving judgement regarding who is fudging the facts until I hear CNN's response to Moore's claim that Keckley indeed has affiliations beyond Vanderbilt U. I hope the response is forthcoming.
What is the issue here, the word fudged? Well I think Dr. Gupta accurately displayed some "fudge" in Moore's numbers..such as picking Cuba's #s from one report and then picking the USA's #s from another report, even though the USA's #s were in the same report where the Cuba #s were found...why would Moore do this, oh I know because the #s in the other report fit his argument better...that I think accurately fits the description of "fudging"

Also, love how people on here say my son had a heart checkup and our insurance dropped us...so that is proof that the whole system sucks. Also some of the people saying Moore needs to present the entire story is accurate...for example many of these countries ahead of the US don't have many of the problems which the US has...for example 10s of millions of illegals flooding their systems. The point being there are many problems which the US needs to fix, which are putting burdens on everybody. While it is true that the Health insurance companies are greedy and they are getting theirs, and it is true that the Drs are greedy and also getting theirs. It also sounds like those wanting something for "nothing" are also a bit greedy, they are just disappointed that they aren't getting theirs.
I read all the comments with "sicko", "cherry picking" and "fudging" and wonder if we are discussing healthcare or Iraq.
I remember Bill and Hillary talking of universal health care and opponents asking if we wanted higher prices, less choice and longer waits. The opponents won but millions of Americans got higher prices, less choice and longer waits anyway.
We seem to be able to extend life but not improve the quality of life. We warehouse millions of elderly. From all the studies I have read the conclusion I have is we have the healthiest mice and rats in the world.
In his blog post on his conversation with Michael Moore regarding the American health care crisis, Sanjay Gupta writes that France is "crippled by [its] health care system," but fails to explain what he means by this assertion, or to provide any evidence for it. France has a more efficient and comprehensive national health care system than either Canada or Great Britain (the two most popular countries of comparison with the United States), which point also brings out the fact that not all national care systems are the same. The US should emulate the best systems, not the worst. And Medicare, which Gupta mentions apparently as a negative model, has been shown to provide more cost-efficient care than private health insurance coverage. Nor is France "crippled" in any way, certainly not economically.

Yes, western Europeans do pay higher taxes than Americans do. But they also get value for their money, being provided with many of the things (including basic health care) that Americans pay for out of our own pockets. And yes, many people in countries with national health insurance do purchase supplemental insurance. In America, many people who have insurance not only choose to do so but must do so in order to cover their additional medical expenses. Or they simply pay those additional expenses out of pocket.

This argument of Gupta's asserts that since other country's national health care systems are not perfect, then there's no point in trying. The late anthropologist Clifford Geertz points out that this sort of analogy is like saying that because we cannot achieve a perfectly sterile environment, we might as well perform surgery in a sewer. We don't need a perfect system; we need one that works, and the current American system doesn't. We spend more per capita on health care than any other country, and yet a huge number of Americans have no medical coverage at all.

As for Gupta's suggestion that we focus on preventive care, that is a fine one, but rather beside the point, unless he is suggesting that medical care for actually existing conditions be replaced with preventive care. (And he leaves unanswered the question of how even preventive care would be paid for.) Again, the logic is faulty: preventive care is compatible with any number of modes of providing health care.

Reginald Shepherd
Pensacola, Florida
Dr. Gupta:

Your integrity as a doctor is admirable. It is your journalistic integrity that leaves a bit to be desired.

Why have you wasted so much time ripping on the details in this film? The casual viewer may be led to believe that the entire film is filled with lies and falsehoods when in reality you have picked out only one or two very minor and un-important details. And you've gotten some of the details wrong at that.

Also, do you really think the public doesn't realize that universal healthcare in other countries is NOT paid for via taxation? Come on, doc. We may not all have a PhD, but we ain't stupid.

You could have spent your time re-einforcing the need to fix this broken system. Instead you tore apart the only person brave enough to ask the hard questions. You have already admitted one error in your own report - which took courage. However, you still need to correct your error regarding Keckley's affiliations.

I think you still have some work to do in 1) correcting your own mistakes 2) lending credence to the importance of "Sicko" and the questions raised within it and 3) encouraging people to see the film to form their own opinions.

I look forward to hearing your apology.
Dr. Gupta,

Let me just give you an example of how the Canadian health care system works and then you can judge for yourself.
My mother who is 65 years old fell and broke bones in her hand and wrist. That happened at 0730. By 0800, she was at the emergency room and was first screened by a nurse. She waited until 1730 to see a doctor only to have him tell her that the radiologist was done for the day and come back the next day. A 65 year old woman is sent home because the radiologist is gone for the day, go figure. The next morning she went back to the hospital at 0800 and finally saw the radiologist who told her the bones were shattered and she needed surgery right away. They finally operated on her at 1700 more than 34hrs after the initial fall. She walked around with 3 shattered bones in her hand and wrist for more than 34hrs. You can all imagine the pain she was in and she is 65 years old. So when i hear Mr.Moore say that Canadians are happy with their health care system, i do not believe him for one second. I don't know how he got that information.
It seems to me that more individuals should find the time to take responsibility for their own health. Realize that the physical body is only a manifestation of our thought. Stop attempting to pass the responsibility on to a Doctor - who will rarely take into consideration the entirety of any one person's condition - stop poisoning yourselves, both with the chemicals in our foods and the thoughts that can cause these dis-eases.

Good Dr. Gupta, I turn you off almost every time you come on the air anymore because most of your reports are aimed at those who fear ill health - thus feeding the fire. Get a grip good Doctor, it can't all be so frightening. Don't you know that too much information fed with just enough fear sprinkled in is nothing more than an advertisement for some BIG PHARMA company?

Do you think we ALL are frightened little sheep?
It is so easy in America to ridicule and slander people. If I want to discredit someone in America, I just lie. It's as easy as that. Michael Moore is one of the ONLY Americans trying to improve the USA, but people like Gupta will always use the media to protect the status quo. It sickens me to see Americans - many of whom have probably never even seen a Michael Moore movie - brand him a liar and profiteer just because of pieces of like Guptas. Enjoy all of your money and all of your prestige Sanjay - I personally believe there will be a reckoning when we all leave this world. Sleep well in knowing that you have actively contributed to blocking a true American's efforts to improve his country. I have always hated CNN for just this kind of thing. What a sorry "news" organization. I am VERY glad to be Canadian.
Dr. Gupta, it was very frustrating watching the first half of the Larry King interview. Squabbling over the exact price that the U.S. pays versus Cuba, what was the point? It looked like you were trying to divert attention from the TRUE point of the movie. I expected much more from you. Now, please turn that very critical eye on to our lobbyists, please! I'm quite certain that you would have more than enough material. But then again, you might burn some bridges, er...I mean "experts".
Dear Dr. Gupta,

You have spent all of your time and influence discrediting miniscule differences between reports taking from various sources. The larger issue is that healthcare in this country is terrible, a problem that I'm sure a successful wealthy doctor like you has lost touch with. Who cares if it was 7,000 or 6,000 your using two different sources! Regardless the ball park figure is the same and it's ridiculous. I did not hear anywhere in your argument a better idea on how to fix the health care system. The concept that our country's healthcare is horrible does not require a sophisticated understanding. I feel you have done nothing but help stall the process of creating a better health care system. Al Gore recieved the same type of petty arguments in an attempt to discredit him. Al gore was right and we all know that Michael Moore at least has the right idea. Instead of providing a nuanced opinion of ways to achieve public health, you have given fuel to people who want to keep it the same. I expect to hear Rudy Guiliani quoting you in the next debate. Congratulations, the next time I am charged 7,000 for a shot of novicane at the emergency room(true story) I will think of you.
I must say. I have watched the inteview several times now. And I just feel bad for Dr. Gupta. This is terrible for his reputation. Even if it was not his intent, he looks like he is defending the major health corporations.
I think it is wonderful that the media listens to an obesely overweight blow-hard talk about fixing health care. The only thing better would be to listen to an ambulance chasing Senator. I cannot take advice from anyone who deeply admires Michael Moore. Thanks for reinforcing the fact that CNN panders to the left-wing fanatics.
What an awsome movie. I really enjoyed the discussion on CNN. I didn't agree with everything Dr. Gupta said; however, it was refreshing to see both gentlemen "and I mean gentlemen" discuss their differences with respect and intelligence. They could hold a class for all the politicians in this country. Thanks and I hope Larry has the both of them on for a full discussion soon.
I like the comments on your blog about your chat with Mr. Moore. I love all his movies, but they all suffer from "cheery picking". On the issues he tackles, he doesn't have to cherry pick!!! The real facts are bad enough. He only gives those with differing views easy targets to shoot him down. And I say this as a big fan of his. Also, I greatly appreciate your work, too, Dr. Gupta.
Life, liberty, and property... These are basic human rights. The founding fathers did not think that education, childcare, healthcare, retirement were the role of a government. It goes against the very fabric of our nation. To have become so dependent on our government would have simply been implauseable to these great thinkers. Limited government was the main goal of the definers of our nation. It really is sad to think what we have become and where we intend to go.
Unfortunately, both Michael Moore and Dr. Gupta missed the point that the exact price tag is irrelevant. 5700, 6000, 7000, 7400. Who cares? Call it 6500 plus or minus a grand. It is too high, and increasing much faster than inflation.

And if Cuba is $226 vs $251, again, who cares? It's 10% difference.
The point is we aren't getting what we pay for.

Michael's numbers are good enough, and the preciseness of them doesn't blunt the message of the film. We're paying for a Porsche and getting a Yugo.
Dr. Gupta,
You seemed to backpedal into admitting that the present system is a disaster (much like IRAQ.) So why spend the interview splitting hairs? Why not join forces and change it? Is it because you and your associates benefit from it? For me, your credibility is gone. You obviously have no financial worries. We do.
I agree with other posters who have characterized Gupta as a superficial peddler of kitschy "medical drama". He represents the incarnation of our societal values applied to medicine: attractive, smooth talking, deceitfully caring, shallow, with a short attention span. I guess that's why CNN hired him (or should I say created him).
Why not have Moore debate someone of real substance? Surely the right can come up with someone better than "Dr. Gupta".
I am a pediatrician in an underserved area outside of Los Angeles. The majority of my patients are on government assistance, and a significant percentage abuse the system. Many patients parents drive new Escalades, Mercedes, and are on public assistance. 50% of all my office visits are for colds, sore throats and sprains for which home care is the best treatment. The perceptions is that health care is an entitlement is wrong. Emergency care should be available for everyone. Since healthcare has become a 'business', and there is direct marketing from health insurance companies to the public, everyone believes that health care should be 'free'. These are the same people who have cell phones, plasma tv's,and i-phones. Access to health care is severly limited by the abuse of unecessary appoinments and er visits. Recent studies suggest that 70% of er visits are unnecessary. The costs of these unncessary er vistis costs billions of dollars each year. We must inform the public that health care in NOT an entitlement and paying for care is necessary. Health care costs are also burdened by law suits, most of which are frivolous. As a physician my reimbusement for taking care of medi-cal patients is less than $6 per patient. This does not even cover my staff expenses. With medi-cal patients not paying co-pays and abusing the system due to lying on income reports limits legitimate patients access to health care. Health care is so top heavy, due to enormous costs due to paper work and law suits. I believe the only way to fix the problem is to go back to fee for service and open government clinics for access to the poor. This way HMO's will be eliminated and access will be available. We must also eliminate lawyers from regulating medicine.
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