Viewing Sicko

Without a doubt, the biggest health care story of the next few weeks will be left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore’s movie Sicko in which Moore lashes out against a variety of problems with the US health care system and makes the case for socialized health care.
Albuquerque hosted a “sneak preview” of the movie and since I was curious, I went over the weekend.
The beginning of the movie is a series of vignettes with people who have been left behind for whatever reason by the American health care system. Although little in the way of hard data are presented, given the role health insurance companies play in denying and limiting patients’ access to health care, he certainly has a point. Unfortunately, rather than criticizing the fact that federal law places HMO’s and other intermediaries between patients and doctors, Moore uses his examples to build the case for Hillary Clinton-style nationalized health care.
Moore then takes on the American Medical Association for their role in limiting the supply of doctors. On this point, although he’d probably be horrified, Moore is in agreement with none other than Milton Friedman. The very goal of professional licensing is to limit supply, thus increasing prices. Doctors are not the only ones who do this within the medical system, but the power of these professional organizations is one factor that drives health care costs up.
Moore then visits Canada, Britain, and France and interviews a number of people who rhapsodize about the wonders of their respective systems — basically, health care is “free” and we can’t imagine how it must feel to pay for health care. Of course, Moore glosses over the very real problems with both the costs and the long waits for service in these countries: Britain, France, and Canada.
Lastly, we embark upon the episode involving the 9/11 workers and the visit to Cuba that has made headlines. I do believe that it was a shame and a travesty that workers at Ground Zero have not received the health care they needed. Surprisingly, Moore did not specifically mention the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in providing a false sense of security to workers and others who were exposed to the dust and rubble of the World Trade Center towers.
While even Moore admits that Cuba is a poor country, he fails to point out that it is the very socialist system that provides ridiculously cheap medical care that makes the place so un-livable. All the viewer sees is grateful Americans who have been ignored by their own government receiving “free ” health care.
There is no doubt that Michael Moore’s movie is part of a coordinated effort on behalf of socialized medicine. Bill Richardson will be making a big push for some kind of “universal” coverage in New Mexico next year and all of the Democrats running for President have proposed some kind of universal coverage.
Unfortunately, what we really need in health care is a good dose of capitalism and reforms that peel away the socialism that has built up over the years in our system. Seems that we need a libertarian/conservative version of Michael Moore to propagandize on behalf of limited government.