Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Jenny Lind Elmaco is one of my favorite columnists. She writes well and chooses very interesting topics. Unfortunately her column on the "Flaws of US Health care" falls short of her usual excellent performance. I must admit her viewpoint is the most popular one. Out of 161 reviews of Michael Moore's documentary (?) film "SICKO", only 13 were negative. But sadly just because you stand with the majority does not mean you have the correct opinion.

First, I have a big problem with any investigative documentary film which starts with a conclusion and then gathers only material that supports that conclusion. It is by its very nature disingenuous and most frequently simply wrong. Jenny said Moore was "brutally honest"; that is only true if you approve of hiding half of the truth and then calling it being "honest". Michael Moore mixes real problems with a ton of half truths and then paints an unreal depressing picture of the finest health care system in the world. He pompously proposes a socialist approach as a better answer to the health care "problem" (?). He attempted to support this bogus contention by citing more half truths and distorted facts.

Second, lets take a look at a FEW of the lies and half truths in the film. Moore cites France, Britain and Canada as sterling examples of how government sponsored universal health care can work. He ignores the fact that 87% of the French people do not like their health care system. Moore cites 18,000 uninsured American citizens that die each year but he fails to mention that 15,000 French patients died in one month from inadequate health care. The British system has a two tier base. You have free medical care or you can pay for your own health care. Sounds good but when you are poor you only have the free system. In that free system you can wait up to two years for a medical appointment, especially if you need a specialist. According to Moore, Canadians wait for "20 to 45 minutes" to get their free medical care. When it was pointed out to Mr Moore that Canadians have to wait so long for medical treatment they often sneak cross the border to America by the bus loads. He was told that Americas northeast border area has become the nations fastest growing medical service communities. He then vacillates and says, "even if we got the waiting times wrong, America can create a medical service that eliminates that problem". Conveniently Michael fails to explain exactly HOW that can be done.

Third, lets look at a few things Michael Moore forgot to mention. Ever wonder why the vast majority of medical breakthroughs come from American medical services and research facilities. Why do thousands of American doctors and medical researchers work themselves into almost total exhaustion? While I am sure a few of them are motivated by humanitarian concerns, but the majority are simply "greedy". The man who discovers a cure for cancer with become a billionaire over night. The profit motive is EXACTLY why America has the best medical treatment in the world. It is also why we have so many doctors. When you put the government in charge of paying for medical services they will cap them. No doctor will be able to buy his BMW and the number of medical students will drop drastically. When shortages force a lowering of professional standards, the medical profession will soon be filled by less qualified people instead of the best and brightest.

Finally, I was once a member of a "universal non-profit" medical system. The service was terrible. I once thought I could outsmart the overloaded system. When I got sick I waited until two in the morning to go to the emergency room. I figured nobody would be using the facility at that hour. WRONG! I still had to wait until 6:30 before someone finally saw me. You can just can imagine what it was like in the daytime. If you were not bleeding to death you might not be seen for several days.

The truth is there is a federal law that prevents public medical facilities from refusing service to anyone. Even if a sick or injured person can not pay for treatment they must be treated. That is why people who can pay their medical bills are charged $22 for an aspirin.
They are paying for all those patients Michael says can not afford medical care.

Ms Elmaco, you are too intelligent to just accept Michael Moore's garbage without checking the facts; I can only assume you wanted to believe he was right. That is kind of sad, but evidently most people would rather believe the worst rather than investigate. Admittedly there are some major problems with the American medical system but it is not as bad as Moore wants you to believe and if we adopt his solution the system will be a whole lot worse.

Be an Everyday Hero and research these ad homonym attacks before you believe them. Next you will be believing the ridiculous story that President Bush bombed the twin towers.

No comments: