Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Moore takes 'Sicko' to the politicians
Love him or hate him, Michael Moore knows how to draw a crowd.

The controversial and issue-driven filmmaker was met enthusiastically on the steps of California's State Capitol Tuesday with chants of "hey, hey, ho, ho, insurance greed has got to go." (Watch Moore's active role)

One thousand nurses from around the country joined Moore in Sacramento to talk (and chant) about health-care reform. They all want the same thing: guaranteed health care for all and the elimination of for-profit insurance companies. Moore even testified at a legislative briefing in support of a bill proposing universal health care for California residents.

After the rally on the Capitol steps in which Moore urged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to "Do the right thing!" by signing the bill (which is unlikely as the governor has vetoed similar legislation in the past), Moore and the nurses marched four blocks to a special screening of "Sicko."

As I made my way to the front of the march to interview Moore, I was elbowed, pushed, and shoved (not by the nurses, but by an unidentified "handler"). Moore seemed to appreciate my efforts and answered all my questions. He told me he has been concerned the U.S. government might confiscate footage from the film.

Moore is currently under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department. It is reviewing whether his trip to Cuba for the movie this past in March violated the trade embargo against that country. Moore told me he is keeping a master copy of the film in Canada for safekeeping.

While Moore certainly has his critics, in Sacramento he received nothing but love and support from politicians and the nurses, all hoping for a serious overhaul of the health care system.

By the way, if you think "Sicko" is just another indictment of the Bush administration like "Fahrenheit 9/11," think again. It's really equal-opportunity bashing of politicians, including Hillary Clinton. He takes her to task for, he claims, accepting money from health-care lobbyists.

Moore is attempting to bring some focus to health care as a whole -- an issue in which political party lines are certainly blurred.
MA has a law for compulsory health insurance and they have subsidized health care for people who can't afford it. This is for sure going to increase the profits of health insurance companies. Instead why don't us government open free hospitals where any US resident can walk in and get free medical treatment. Also Govt should regulate the insurance costs.
It is interesting to note how the health care/insurance systems in this country are so money-centric and lacking when it comes to prices and actual coverage compared to the large majority of countries with free health care. This shouldn't even be a question to change our system! Health care is a necessity and we need to overlook corporate greed and focus on the sick and dying.
Nurses are part of the problem in many hospitals.

Nurses working overtime or from 'agencies' (for shortages) make upwards of 50 dollars/hour -- they are paid more than many doctors.

Nurse 'managers' now effectively run large sections of hospitals and are responsible for coordinating large sections of healthcare delivery

Nurses accept lucrative 'consulting' contracts from HMOs as well as legal firms for medical malpractice lawsuits.

If nurses got back to nursing and stopped trying to get rich off of patients we would have a better system.
Hooray for Michael Moore... Once again he is shaking things up. When are we, great citizens of this so called land of the free and brave going to understand that even though we all may not agree on the proposed solutions at hand for our many issues/ problems; that Mr. Moore is creating a forum to stir up the issues and get us to pay attention. The health insurance companies are taking advantage of every single one of us, we all need to band together and stop them. Let's regulate health care costs and spending so that we all will receive the care and service all human beings deserve.
Government funded free healthcare? I don't think so. I don't want the government taking care of me. That is my responsiblity.

Yes, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, but insurance companies aren't the only ones to blame. I think hospitals, healthcare providers and the public at large also play a role in it.

As a company, our healthcare costs began to go down as the company instituted a preventative health program. It included negotiated lower rates at health clubs, they brought in weight watchers to teach proper nutrition, etc.

I truly believe that if EVERYONE took a role in his or her healthcare then they too could reduce there overall costs. If you take care of yourself through proper nutrition and exercise you reduce your risk of cancer, alzheimer's, heart disease, asthma, depression, osteoporosis, etc.

We are a society that says I'm going to do the worst I can do to my body and then I want to live forever so someone needs to fix me.

It's called personal responsibility. Plain and simple.

As for the woman in the video who's daughter died because she went to a hospital that was not covered by her network. I'm sorry for your loss, but I have a hard time believing you were turned away for that reason. I've gone to the wrong emergency for a broken wrist and was not turned away. I had to pay a higher portion of the bill because it was out of network, but that was it.

Again, personal responsibility no government healthcare.
Free US health care? Have you noticed the recent negative circumstances service men have experienced at Walter Reid? I personally do not wish for that level of nationalized health care on any one.
Being from Canada I totally support Michael Moore. We are lucky enough to have free healthcare which helps us live healthier lives as well as not having to worry about bills when you want children or if your parents are getting older. The next government should send a few Healthcare reform specialists up North to learn something.
I think we would all be better off if we simply limited the insurance companies ability to challenge claims. People don't get cancer, contract diseases or incur injuries, so that they can get free medical services. Oh sure there are those who seek unnecessary medical attention due to munchaussen disorder; but doctors are in a better position to recognize those patients and recommend the treatments they need to deal with such a problem. Insurers could still compete, by promoting good health practices among their clients.
The ONLY government now existing is the one we can't see. BUT, Daniel 2:44 describes what it will do in the near future (Read this in your bible) "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite;...
Please read this and think about what it is telling us. To learn about the city you go to the "City Hall; to learn about the town...the "Town Hall" Where would you go to learn about the kingdom?
If universal health care is such a great solution, why doesn't it work in other countries that have it? We see the same explosion of obesity and chronic disease in those industrialized nations as well.
Way to go Michael! One thing I would like to know is, why do the pharmaceutical companies advertise so much on television? With the costs of prescriptions being so totally unaffordable, doesn't this keep the prices high?
I haven't seen the film (obviously, since it is not in regular distribution yet), but I applaud Mr. Moore for moving on this controversial topic. I could rant on and on about this, as I worked on a single payer proposal when it was a push in the Maryland State General Assembly (through then Baltimore Health Commissioner, Peter Beilenson, MD), as well as during an internship in D.C. with the American Medical Student Association. I have watched our health care system deteriorate over time and watched our lawmakers do very little to intercede in its demise. I will leave you with a very tiny statistic... "William McGuire, of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's leading insurer, was the third-highest-paid CEO on the Forbes list. His pay of $124.8 million could cover the average health-insurance premiums of nearly 34,000 people." Imagine how many Managed Care Org CEO's exist and how many Insurance Comp. CEO's exist. Add up salaries like this. What is right? For profits like these to be given to individuals (and shareholders) or back into our healthcare system to assist its resuscitation? Debra A. Rogan, M.D., M.P.H.
No one can deny that health care is expensive. But giving control of it to the most financially irresponsible people in the world, the US government, would only make matters worse. And just out of curiosity, when did health care become a right and not a privilege.
I cannot argue that all children should be covered by a safety net if their families do not have insurance as they were did not ask to be born. But, if you are 45 and can't afford it...tough. What about the millions of 20-30 year olds who choose driving their BMW's instead of buying health insurance. They inflate the numbers of uninsured and then when they wreck their cars and need hospital care, who pays, the government because they were too lazy.
We live in a free market economy. Let the economy decide how this whole thing works and everyone will be much better off. Yes, there will be some people uninsured, but some people don't have a home -- should we buy them one?
We all know that there is an epidemic of obesity in this country (not to mention all of the smokers), and yet somehow we feel someone else should pay for our healthcare when we don't even care about our health. Hey Michael, how about spending all of this energy, time and money helping needy people in Africa like Bono?
I don't think US government "free hospitals" will do much to better health care in the short or long term. The US already operates hospitals for military veterans and I have never heard a veteran who experienced those facilities say a positive thing about them. Look at the recent mess at Walter Reed. If the US government cannot supply adequate and respectful health care to disabled/wounded veterans, what consideration will they give to your "average Joe"? In my opinion, subsidized free health care will increase basic coverage to simple items such as vaccinations, antibiotics, prenatal, etc., which would be a good thing. But this would come at the expense of a total loss or significant decrease in the quantity and quality of long-term, quality coverage for chronic injuries or diseases. Health care costs will go up and "rationing" will follow, as it has in Canada and Cuba.
All insurance is out of control, but health care insurance is the most important. And things won't get better as we allow millions of illegal permanent status and access to our healthcare nightmare. Those of us with coverage are paying more to cover those without. EVERYONE deserves coverage and we need to stop stalling on this issue.
Why is this under Entertainment rather than Health or Politics?
I don't think anyone can survive without healthcare coverage. Securing insurance benefits is probably the number 1 priority for most citizens in choosing a job; it is for me at least. As a libertarian, and because I've seen other government projects, I know that a universal health care system in the hands of the US government would be poorly managed and terribly over budget. I think that competitive non-profit alternatives to insurance companies should exist, but the government could be doing more to promote such a lofty venture.
large companies providing healthcare insurance for their employees are empowering Health Insurance providers to set whatever rate they want. There is little competition or incentive to keep the costs down since these large companies are a huge compliant source of revenue.
Small co.'s can't afford this service since they effectively shut out in a tight priced market.
I think its sad that peeople don't realize that by creating universal health care, you will destroy the quality we have in this country. I agree that it is expensive. However, it's the best in the world. I think Giuliani's idea of giving it back to the consumer is a great one, one in which they can make the decision. This will lower costs. Also, we need to start attacking plantiffs attorneys who sue for frivoulous things. That is the bigger problem of high health care costs.
Have you ever been to a government open free hospital? Just ask any VETERAN. I will pay cash for treatment in a civilian healthcare center before I will go back to the VA. You do not want the government messing in our healthcare.
I would much rather have someone base their service off the rate of profit made off of me than a doctor that makes the same pay no matter what he does or how he does it, with absolutely no chance for retribution because everyone knows that you CANT SUE the government!
Bravo Michael.. Let's hope this sparks the debate for the Presidential race..
It's frustrating to see the majority of Americans still believing the false rhetoric of politicians -- whose only reason for not supporting nationwide access to health for all citizens is very simply that they'd rather spend (waste) our money on their other pet projects.

America is the only industrialized nation that allows its citizens to go without simple, basic health care.

For decades, most of us have gone along with politicians who have convinced us that public health is somehow akin to socialism -- led by pinko, leftist, tree-hugging, tax-wasting liberals. Meanwhile, the US continues to slip further down the rankings of national productivity and standard-of-living indicators among the other industrialized nations of the world.

American politicians have us believing that our economy will be damaged if the US supports its citizens' healthcare needs, just like all the other evolved nations support theirs' today -- and yet, the economies, and productivity, and general welfare, and living standards of those other nations' citizens continues to grow further above and beyond the US.

It's time to stop believing the lies and marketing campaigns that have come to replace great statesmanship and stewardship of the ideals of freedom and respect for all citizens. The US is behind all other industrialized nations on this issue, and the reasons have nothing to do with what our political representative have been telling us. Again, very simply, they've done a poor job keeping our accounting responsible and spending in check. Rather than telling us we're almost broke, that most of our money is currently being wasted, and that we have no resources left that would allow us to provide truly helpful services to us, ...they'd rather just try convincing us that supporters of national healthcare are somehow lefty communist sympathizers! How pathetic.

Politicians: Balance America's budget, pay our bills and reduce our debts, cut the "pork", and then start providing nationwide access to healthcare for those who need it. If you choose instead to continue avoiding this issue, it will only cost us more in the long run (in both lives and money).

And don't forget the phenomenal benefits in preventative medicine, both in terms of individual health and long-term cost reductions of any national healthcare system - which most people have no choice but to avoid until their conditions and ailments become more serious and expensive to treat.

There's no reason why America's political representation should continue avoiding this issue. Healthcare will not destroy the economy, but would actually make it stronger (healthier workers equals more productivity). It is a moral obligation to make sure poor families and children are protected and healthy. Compassion is one of the ideals and principles on which our country is based, and national healthcare would show the world that we value the lives and individual struggles of all our citizens, and that we as a nation are willing to protect each other - not only from serious and preventable illness, but from bankruptcy and life-long debt (and all the other ills) that our current healthcare "system" puts on our shoulders.
As a bankruptcy education counselor, I see exactly what the increasing cost of healthcare is doing to our country. Yes, there are those who abuse credit and mismanage their funds. However, I would say that about 70% of the clients I deal with who are considering bankruptcy are those who are overwhelmed by medical debts. In many of those cases, one of the income providers lost their job and health benefits and incurred a significant medical expense afterward (heart attack, stroke, car accident) and is now left with 60-100K or more in medical debt. I am not sure I am the person to propose a solution, but something has to be done. The financial impact of bankruptcy has negative effects our entire economy, not just the person(s) filing the petition.
Why doesn't the US have free hospitals? Because that's what's known as socialized medicine and countries with socialized meds have tax rates 2-3 times as high as the US. Also, I have witnessed first-hand where people who have no financial stake in their health care (ie. Medicaid) flagrantly abuse the system like they have a blank check. Even worse, they act like they DESERVE it. They want it now, they want it free and, By God, they want it delivered!!
Free Hospitals....thats a good Idea, we have them now for veterans, they are called the VA...look how well they are managed. Also with ~300 mil people what do you think the waiting times will be like in this utopian heathcare fandago...
We do know how to do this! We have Medicare in place whose overhead is way below any other provider! All we need to do is to have a rolling entry platform. For example in 2008 all newborns plus 64 yr olds would be added. The next year newborns continue and the upper age drops by 2 years now that we have some experience. The following year we drop by 4 years, then 8, then 16, then only by 29yrs so that by the end of 2013 (or five years depending on the start date) everyone would be covered!
i hope this brings some much needed attention to this issue. health care costs and the corruption within the companies is way out of hand. this needs to be dealt with as it affects all americans. we all deserve health care and it shouldnt be such a burden for employers and employees to attain it.
Dear Anonymous in MA: I hate to disappoint, but there is no such thing as 'free medical treatment.' I assume you are referring to medical care paid for by the government through your taxes. If you think that the government wouldn't be rationing care and making healthcare decisions in much the same way as for-profit insurance companies then you are sorely mistaken.
Universal, free health care will not work in the United States. A fundamental theory of economics states that people respond to incentives. If every doctor was received a government paycheck for the same amount, they would have no incentive to be a better doctor.

Why be a great doctor when I can be a mediocre doctor and get paid the same amount?
There is an excellent article about Healthcare in the US, comparing it to Healthcare in Europe. The article can be found in the IHT at:
It is a good read and as a European presently living in the US, I agree with the articles' findings. I am appalled at the lack of free healthcare provided to one and all in the US, and in addition, the incredible costs of American healthcare. Healthcare in the US should be transformed and run by the government in a centralized and efficient fashion not as it is today in the US - decentralized and privately-run for the most part. Still, if such a transformation were to take place, then the powerful monied elite (both democrats and republicans) would not be able to continue to play wargames protecting the world from so-called tyrants who care little about their own people......Hmmmm........
for you guys bashing the cuban and canadian health systems:

the average life expectancies (at birth) in cuba and canada are comparable to those in the usa.

(usa=78, cuba=77.1, canada=80.3)
ken... "Why be a great doctor when I can be a mediocre doctor and get paid the same amount?"

well, presumably because you became a doctor to help the sick and dying, not to rob them for their cash.

wait a minute... i almost forgot this was america. personally, i'd rather be operated on by a less skilled doctor than a moneygrubbing bastard.
Consider this ... if the doctor is in it for the money, and the money is in treating the patient, where is the incentive to make the patient well? I have to fight to get a physical therapy referral (which helps me avoid being injured in the future) rather than just get a shot of steroids when I have a pulled muscle. And if it isn't for the money, why do insurance companies limit what drugs are available to their patients? It isn't based on science; otherwise all the insurance companies would be using the same drugs ... which they don't.
This is a debate about payment systems, and our current system is grossly inefficient with the wrong incentives throughout. It is true that we have the best medical technology in the world, but our system makes it inaccessible to the majority of use, even many of us with insurance coverage.

Every other industrialized nation (except South Africa) has some sort of universal insurance/health care system. Those nations also rank above us in every objective public health measure. Costs also tend to average half of ours. (This data can be obtained from the WHO's website).

To those who oppose government intervention in this sector, I assume that you will be refusing Medicare upon reaching age 65. After all, you wouldn't want to hypocritically participate in "socialized medicine."
Let us look at another Government program that we can make a comparison to. Social Security... good idea, poorly executed. Would Health Care which I dare say is far more complex program to manage, fare any better? probably not.
Then again if we throw money at it like a federal sales tax like those seen in Eroupe ~22% and also throw an additional 10 cents per gallon sales tax we may have decent coverage.
Fo all those who look to Eroupe I say this, if you go there on holiday, especially england, you will find an overwhelming number of adverts for suplemental health insurance. Why you ask... because There if there is one constat in the Universe it is this; Governments are crippled by Bureaucracy without competition they become inefficient and broken.
It amazes me that the argument against universal health care is often "I've got mine, so screw you!" What kind of human being feels that way about their fellow man? The only people who believe health care isn't a human right are those who have never been denied it because they were uninsured, or who never watched someone they love die because of the greed of their beloved "free market." Each and every one of them will sing a different tune if they lose their job through no fault of their own, can't afford the COBRA payments, or even if they can are denied individual coverage because of a pre-existing condition. You won't be hearing "You've got yours, so screw me!" when it happens to them.

If you're going to argue against human decency and compassion for your fellow human beings, please get it straight: Universal health care does not have to mean the dreaded socialized medicine. Single payer simply means that the government reimburses the claims of private doctors and facilities, similar to Medicare, which works just fine.

Universal health care is also not "free" as it is paid for by taxpayer money. I pay $1000 per month to insure myself and my son on a private insurance plan, the sole purpose of which is to deny care and make a profit at the expense of the people already struggling to pay those outrageous premiums. I'd much rather pay the equivalent in taxes for GUARANTEED coverage. The fact is that many would be paying LESS in taxes for universal health care than they now pay the for-profit insurance industry to deny them. It's a no brainer, people!
As usual, most people on the anti-universal health care side are completely misunderstanding the issue.

This is not a debate about "government-run hospitals". In single-payer health care, which is what we're talking about here, all that happens is that the insurance companies are replaced by a government agency, which then pays the health providers. Doctors and hospitals will remain private. The government will not run the hospitals. Let me say that again. The government will NOT run the hospitals. And bad doctors will be put out of business the same way - when patients stop going to them. In other words, the market will decide. We're not talking about Britain's (socialized) NHS, and we're not talking about the VA.

And for all those "concerned" about rationing - when your insurer tells you they won't cover a certain procedure or medication, how is that not rationing?
Just a clarification for those comments below who think that doctors in socialized medical systems such as Canada are salary based and therefore have no incentive to work harder.
I myself and most other physicians in Canada are fee-for-service. We bill based on the number of patients and/or procedures we do. The difference is that rather than billing a variety of insurance companies, we bill the provincial health insurance systems. Some physicians are on salary, but those are contracts negotiated by individual physician groups with provincial insurers as an alternative to fee-for-service.
Being from Canada I have been saved many times by our universal health care system. Sure we may have to wait a bit longer for things depending on how sick one is, but in my opinion the system is handled well and most people are very happy. One of your posts said that the money would be better spent by giving it to Bono to feed the African people rather than looking after the health of your own. That's insane. How can one look after another's house until theirs is first in order? Bono should get together and work with Moore to assist him in first cleaning up your house.
I feel that we should have Universal Healthcare. Only the well off do not. How can you not care about your fellow man? How can you allow a single mom who has cancer & no insurance die and leave her kids motherless? It just shows how evil and selfish the world truely is! I am 34 yrs old, mother of 3 and I am uninsured. I had cervical cancer 12 yrs. ago. When I was employed and insured I went to my 6 mth check ups. Now I am unemployed & uninsured. I haven't been seen since 2003. I don't know if the cancer has returned & cannot afford the rediculous prices for check ups. So all I can do is pray it hasn't returned and try to find a job that won't take 1/2 my paycheck for insurance. You rich americans need to realize that things happen and it "can" be you without money and insurance. Wouldn't you want to be seen? I went through Katrina and the well off were without money, food etc. They were in line w/ their foodstamps. Things happen, remember that! I "can" happen to you too!!! Karma!!!!
We only need four laws to fix the health care situation:
1. If a doctor orders it, the health insurance company has to pay for it. Period. No argument.
2. If a person doesn't have health insurance through their employer, they are assigned to an insurance company on a percentage basis. (i.e., if the company has 35% of the business in your state, it gets 35% of the assignees). Assignees pay for the insurance according to their ability to pay. No one can be turned down for insurance. (Right now, insurance companies pick healthy people, and refuse insurance to people who need it. If you have had cancer, and want to buy insurance, you can NOT--at any cost!)
3. Insurance companies should be limited to a maximum profit (maybe 10% or 15%?), or made nonprofit. (This would be good for pharmaceutical companies too!)
4. Insurance companies can NOT donate to political campaigns. Let's pass this one first! (Another good one for drug companies.)
I am a single Canadian. I pay $32.00 a month for Health Care with my employer paying the same amount. This includes basic health care as well as extended service such as paying on;ly 20% of medications and being covered when I travel. Most Canadians realize that there are problems with some aspects of our system but realize they are fixable. A big concern that with NAFTA American for profit will be able to set up and create a two tiered system.

Canada has a population of approxiamtely 35 million people and all are covered. There are over 45 million Americans not covered; 9 million of those are children! Shame on you!
Almost all countries come to the US if they have a major medical need. You never hear of anyone going to Canada for Health Care. They need to do a return on investment of individuals as life does have a cost. there is limited resources for anything. They need to stop paying for the 60% of people who never will pay their hospital bills becuase they can not afford it... They need to turn these people away as this is what will happen in the future as the healthcare system collapses as there will be about 10% of the people who are actually paying and have healthcare insurance of some type. Welfare is the underlying issue which needs to be elmininated.
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