Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sicko, Michael Moore and Karl Marx

I watched Sicko today, mostly as a result of a dare.

It was not what I expected.

The movie is well done. Michael Moore is not waving his arms and screaming into the camera like some protester or street evangelist. Instead, his narration is done in a voice one would expect if telling a story to a small child. Almost a Fred Rogers kind of tone.

His focus is not so much on the uninsured in this country as it is on the insured. He also spends a great deal of time talking to people in other countries about how well their care works and how little they pay.

He uses the word "free" a lot.

In fact, there is nothing free about health care regardless of where you live.

I suspect his posse also believes there is such a thing as free health care, free housing, free police & fire protection, free education.

I did find it interesting that he paraphrased Karl Marx by stating health care is paid for in other countries by "asking those who have the ability pay to take care of those who have the need ."

That is not a direct quote from the movie, but close enough.

I don't recall any government anywhere making taxes voluntary. There is no asking people to pay taxes, rather it is a mandate.

Karl Marx of course penned the Communist Manifesto and felt that capitalism should be replaced by socialism which would then become communism.

One would deduce from the movie that other nations are more charitable about health care where here in the U.S. health care is all about profit.

More on the profit motive can be read here.

The idea that Americans are not charitable is bogus. In 2001 the estimated total for uncompensated care was $35B according to a Kaiser report. Even though the report says that 85% of that total is "covered by the government" it ignores one thing:

The government doesn't have any money. It all comes from taxpayers.

Allowing "free" and (mostly) unfettered access to health care regardless of ability to pay sounds charitable to me, but not so to Michael Moore.

You would think after watching Sicko that everyone, everywhere has better health care than we do and there is no downside to health care in Canada, Great Britain, France or even Cuba.

If so, then why do Canadians cross the border into the U.S. to receive treatment? Why do Brit's have to get in the queue and have treatment for certain conditions denied? Why is it Cubans can apparently get the best in health care yet 75% of them are illiterate, almost no one owns land and unemployment is rampant. Cubans may have excellent health care, yet many die each year from curable diseases for lack of medicine.

Wonder how Sicko missed this fact?

So is health care perfect here? Of course not. But neither is it perfect in these other countries.

In Canada, Britain, France and Cuba people still suffer, they still die and (in some cases) are denied care. For all the good these health care systems have done, they have not managed to banish heart disease, cancer or other serious illness from their country.

While the system here has its flaws, it is neither uncharitable nor is it costly because of profiteering. Free comes with a price. The question is, do we really want to trash the current system in favor of a Katrina Health Plan?
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