I recently watched Michael Moore's 2007 documentary, "Sicko", about the health-care system in the United States and other countries. It's a very entertaining film, but not a very good source of information.
I totally agree with Moore when it comes to the American health-care system: it's broken and has to be fixed. I support government-funded universal healthcare. Moore's health insurance horror stories, though, were not very surprising. The media has shown such cases numerous times. Of course, I don't live in the States, but I'm quite sure the source of most reports I've seen on the subject is the US mainstream media.
My main problem with the film is the rosy depiction of other health-care systems. As someone who lives in a country with socialized medicine, I know that the system we have here is better than the market-based system in the States, but that our system, too, has problems. There are a lot of problems with the systems in Canada, Britain and France. I've seen quite a few reports on BBC World and Sky News about calls to reform the National Health Service.
The scenes in France were particularly annoying. Moore focuses at length on the many social benefits the French government bestows upon citizens and residents, much of it excessive, and asks how the French aren't drowning in taxes. How does he prove that they aren't? He goes to one (yes, that is one ) family and shows that they're living the good life. Other than a mortgage, they aren't in any debt! They fly off to some other place in the world once every year! So what? That doesn't really prove much, other than the fact that I'd like to punch that couple in their faces. You can find people like that in pretty much every Western country, under any health-care and tax system.
The most problematic part of the documentary, of course, is when Moore takes a group of 9/11 rescue workers and other under-insured sick people to Cuba. At first, he claims he only wants to go to Guantanamo Bay, where detainees get free health insurance (a scene that might have inspired a similar scene in an Israeli docu-activist show, where journalists Orly Vilnai and Guy Meroz visit an Israeli prison where prisoners get free dental care, which isn't covered by Israel's national health insurance). Then, Moore takes his group to a Cuban hospital. Everything is presented as wonderful. Everything is free. It's first-class medicine. Does everybody get this kind of treatment in Castro's Cuba, or just the wealthy and the camera-wielding? We don't really know. Besides, even if Cuban healthcare is truly open to all citizens, would you rather live in Cuba or the States?
The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P.
3 weeks ago