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Michael Moore, Dr. Gupta square off over 'Sicko'

  • Story Highlights
  • Moore criticized a report Gupta did on CNN Monday on "Sicko"
  • Gupta's report questions some of the movie's numbers and solutions
  • Gupta: "I thought it was a good movie, and I wanted to say that"
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(CNN) -- Filmmaker Michael Moore, whose new documentary "Sicko" takes on America's health care system, faced off Tuesday with CNN chief medical correspondent and practicing neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


Michael Moore and CNN's Sanjay Gupta argued Tuesday about Gupta's report on Moore's film "Sicko"

Moore criticized a report Gupta did on CNN Monday on "Sicko."

"He said the facts were fudged," Moore said, referring to Gupta, on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"That's a lie. None of the facts are fudged."

Moore and Gupta shouted and argued over data Gupta used and data Moore used. Moore said his staffers backed up the film's facts to Gupta before the report aired and that Gupta aired it knowing his facts were wrong.

Gupta disputed that. Video Watch Moore, Gupta make their points »

"We try and look for some of the best sources we can possibly find," he said. "Michael has a lot of different numbers. ... You're sort of cherry-picking data from different reports."

Both agreed, however, on the basic premise of "Sicko": Problems abound in America's health-care system and need to be fixed.

"I thought it was a good movie, and I wanted to say that," Gupta said. "I think it strikes at the irrefutable fact -- it's broken. We get it."

He praised Moore for raising awareness of the issue.

However, Gupta said he was concerned that the movie -- which notes that other developed nations such as France and Canada have universal health care --suggests that health care in those countries is free.

While patients may not pay for services at the doctor's office, they do pay high taxes to fund such a system, something Gupta said he was concerned that "Sicko" audiences might not realize.

Moore responded by saying Americans pay more in copays, deductibles and insurance premiums. "We [America] have a system built on profit," the moviemaker said.

He asked Gupta if the current system, which requires him to receive approval from an insurance company before performing some procedures, is cumbersome to him.

"It's a shameful system, especially when I'm dealing with some of my patients," Gupta said.

But he questioned Moore's apparent solution -- putting health care in the hands of the Bush administration, which Moore fiercely criticized in the past, particularly in his film "Fahrenheit 9/11."

"The government actually used to do things right," Moore said in response. "The problem is who we put in power."


Moore has adamantly opposed the war in Iraq and said the government should reprioritize -- a position he took many years before skepticism of the war's success abounded in Washington.

"I am sorry we've taken so much time trying to correct [Gupta's] facts here tonight instead of talking about the real issue" -- the ailing health care system, Moore said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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