Monday, June 25, 2007

A Review of the Movie "Sicko"--Michael Moore Blew It!

Michael Moore's new movie, "Sicko," was supposed to be this great argument for a "single payer" government-run health care system.

It turned out to be exactly the opposite because Moore overplayed his hand and did his argument more damage than good.

The first half of the movie would have had anyone mad at the system--and for good reasons. It's real easy to find lots of examples of market stupidity in the way health care is delivered and he found some doozies.

It's also easy to find some examples of government-run stupidity in health care and he conveniently avoided those.

He highlights a case of our system denying a husband and father an end-of-life bone marrow transplant--denied not by a big insurance company but local plan trustees. He forgets to tell us that kind of end-of-life spending would never even be considered in Canada, Britain, or France. He doesn't think the U.S government-run Medicare system denies coverage?

He highlights the British system but never mentions that 12.5% of Brits have opted out of it and into private health insurance--most through employer provided benefits for the higher paid.

In politics, the battle is always over the middle. Those on the left will always be on the left. Those on the right will always be on the right. National elections, and national issues, are always decided by those folks who occupy the middle. They were the ones who elected Ronald Reagan and those same people elected Bill Clinton.

They will also be the ones that finally make health care reform a political imperative.

Michael Moore's adept movie making likely had those middle folks real mad at the largely market-based U.S health care system--for about the first hour.

Then, I think he lost them as they laughed at the foolishness of the French health care system and the notion that we had something to learn from Cuba.

Instead of going for the close he got off on a far left tangent highlighting a guy who left America and went home to France to get Cancer treatment. So far, a good argument for the French system. But then, when the treatments had ended, he showed the guy going to his doctor to get a prescription for three months off at full pay so he could go hang-out on the Riviera. He bragged about the French system's willingness to send a maid over to do the laundry for a new mother. All apparently common under the French system.

Later he went to Cuba and argued that their system, which he says spends less than $300 per citizen per year on health care and he says rates below ours, is a health care model for us to learn from. Arguing that a country, whose citizens risk their lives to get to Key West and which confiscates private property to function, is a model for us to learn from isn't a theme likely to play well with "Joe and Mary Middle America."

It's no surprise that the leading Democratic presidential candidates are not interested in getting too close to this thing.

But "Sicko" will help the Democrats.

In the end, Michael Moore is so far out on the extreme left that what he does accomplish is to make Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards look like middle of the road health care reformers with their incremental health reform plans.

That's why I won't be surprised when Hollywood puts "Sicko" on network television in the days just before the 2008 presidential election.

My earlier post on "Sicko": "Sicko"--Hate it All You Like But Don't Ignore It! The Best Response is to Satisfy the Customer!

My earlier post on dumb things insurance companies do to unnecessarily make their customers mad: California Fines Wellpoint $1 Million for "Unfairly" Rescinding Health Insurance Polices--Was Wellpoint Fair or Not?
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