This is an excellent article that exposes how little some people like Michael Moore think about the systems they consider corrupt and unworkable. It appears that Mr. Moore is so consumed with an anti-market bias that he hasn't really considered the true causes of the problem with healthcare in America. He isn't the first person to have problems with an anti-market bias, nor do I suspect he'll be the last.
Michael Moore Confirms that Government Health Care is Sicko
by Diana M. Ernst, Pacific Reserach Institute
Michael Moore showed up in Sacramento last week to promote his film Sicko. Senator Sheila Kuehl hailed Moore as a prophet of truth to the American people but the filmmaker is so mired in his own health hysterics that he regularly contradicts himself .
He rails against “for-profit” health care, but 85 percent of U.S. hospitals are non-profit, and almost half of privately insured Americans have polices from non-profit health insurers.
Moore referred to the Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor hospital in Los Angeles, where a patient died of a perforated bowel after lying on the emergency room floor for 45 minutes. Since 2004, the hospital has received more than a dozen state and federal safety citations. Hospital errors included leaving sick patients unattended which resulted in death for three of them, giving patients the wrong medications, and using Taser stun guns to restrain psychiatric patients.
This hospital is not private, however. It is owned by the County of Los Angeles. So much for reliable government care. And the private insurers Moore rails against are currently selling health policies laden with government mandates and regulations.
The Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) has reported that mandated benefits have increased to the more than 1,800 today. In some states, mandated benefits have raised the cost of individual health insurance by 45 percent. Government solutions that create more government amount to nothing but expensive salt in the wound. Such is Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to tax hospitals and physicians for mandated health coverage, and such is Senator Kuehl’s government monopoly plan, promoted as a "single payer" system.
We need to help insurers to be more competitive, not scrap them for big-government bureaucracy. Mr. Moore’s foolish preference of abolishing private insurance in favor of government-run, single-payer health care will not create universal care, only a government monopoly. In other words, Moore thinks the government should provide “free” health care that isn’t required to meet any standards.
Mr. Moore also thinks Canada is a good role model, but two years ago the Canadian Supreme Court found that government monopoly health care violates basic human rights. The winning plaintiff in this case, Mr. Zeliotis, needed hip surgery. When he tried to pay privately for his operation rather than wait in the public line (which takes two to four years) the Canadian government stopped him. Mr. Zeliotis argued against government interference with his freedom to choose private medical care. The denial of such a choice prolonged his pain and threatened his safety.
Mr. Moore also likes the single-payer system in Cuba, a one-party communist state. Some 11 million Cubans attend run-down facilities, receive dated prescription drugs, and are even required to bring their own sheets, food and soap to the hospital. Communist Party bosses get better treatment but when it came time for the great dictator Fidel Castro to go under the knife, he flew in a specialist from Spain. To adopt the health-care system of a totalitarian dictatorship like Cuba would be kind of, well, sicko. But government-run health care also presents problems right here at home.
Medicaid was instituted in the 1960s under President Johnson for the poor, but it has grown far beyond its capacity, putting its financial capabilities under great strain. In order to keep costs down, Medicaid underpays physicians, who have increasingly stopped accepting Medicaid beneficiaries as a result. Government restrictions on physicians also make it challenging to get prescription drugs for Medicaid patients.
Mr. Moore's remedies fail as heath-care reform and do not even amount to effective propaganda. He needs less rhetoric and more direct experience. He should get on a Canadian waiting list for treatment, try the “second” system that serves most Cubans, or follow a Medicaid patient’s struggle to get health care from the government.
Meanwhile, union nurses and hospital employees were among 1,000 people who must have taken sick time to cheer Michael Moore Tuesday. Perhaps Speaker Nuñez and Senator Kuehl will investigate how patient care suffered while their caregivers took to the streets.