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Normally, I give you the link to the site I’m quoting right up front, so I don’t forget to do it. This time I’m going to show you where I found this article at the end, because I suspect it will be a surprise.
Michael Moore’s “Sicko” has been out for a couple of weeks now, and it’s made $7 million. Not exactly a blockbuster. The critics love it, however, and it received a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, reading the blurbs you get the sense that these critics didn’t so much love the film as agree with it. So, if you already agree with Michael Moore, you’ll love the film. Ipso fatso, as it were.
I did stumble across an in-depth look at the actual substance of Moore’s film, and I’d like to share some excerpts with you:
One giant health-maintenance organization, Kaiser Permanente, is so persuasively lambasted in the movie that, on the basis of what we’re told, we want to burst into the company’s executive suites and make a mass citizen’s arrest. This is the sort of thing good muckrakers are supposed to do.
Unfortunately, Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never more so than in this film. His cherry-picked facts, manipulative interviews (with lingering close-ups of distraught people breaking down in tears) and blithe assertions (how does he know 18,000 people will die this year because they have no health insurance?) are so stacked that you can feel his whole argument sliding sideways as the picture unspools.
As a proud socialist, the director appears to feel that there are few problems in life that can’t be solved by government regulation (that would be the same government that’s already given us the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles).
What’s the problem with government health systems? Moore’s movie doesn’t ask that question, although it does unintentionally provide an answer. When governments attempt to regulate the balance between a limited supply of health care and an unlimited demand for it they’re inevitably forced to ration treatment.
Moore’s most ardent enthusiasm is reserved for the French health care system, which he portrays as the crowning glory of a Gallic lifestyle far superior to our own. The French! They work only 35 hours a week, by law. They get at least five weeks’ vacation every year. Their health care is free, and they can take an unlimited number of sick days. It is here that Moore shoots himself in the foot. He introduces us to a young man who’s reached the end of three months of paid sick leave and is asked by his doctor if he’s finally ready to return to work. No, not yet, he says. So the doctor gives him another three months of paid leave — and the young man immediately decamps for the South of France, where we see him lounging on the sunny Riviera, chatting up babes and generally enjoying what would be for most people a very expensive vacation. Moore apparently expects us to witness this dumbfounding spectacle and ask why we can’t have such a great health care system, too. I think a more common response would be, how can any country afford such economic insanity?
Fidel Castro’s island dictatorship, now in its 40th year of being listed as a human-rights violator by Amnesty International, is here depicted as a balmy paradise not unlike the Iraq of Saddam Hussein that Moore showed us in his earlier film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” He and his charges make their way — their pre-arranged way, if it need be said — to a state-of-the-art hospital where they receive a picturesquely warm welcome. In a voiceover, Moore, shown beaming at his little band of visitors, says he told the Cuban doctors to “give them the same care they’d give Cuban citizens.” Then he adds, dramatically: “And they did.”
If Moore really believes this, he may be a greater fool than even his most feverish detractors claim him to be.
Now, here’s the weird thing. This rational, intelligent, fact-based, economically correct essay wasn’t published in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times or even the New York Post.
It’s on MTV’s site. And that just made my day.