Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who's the Sicko?

In a recent discussion with friends over a few beers, the movie "Sicko" came up. I have not seen the movie, and probably will not see it anytime soon. I know the claims that have been made in "Sicko," that the American system of heath care is poor, and that it favors enriching health insurance corporations. There may be a grain of truth to the latter claim, however small. The rest of it is hogwash.

The "health care system" in America is one of the best, if not the best, in the world. This does not rule out the need for improvement. But it is far, far better than anything you will find in a communist country (Cuba) or a socialist country (Canada). While anyone can see a doctor (general practitioner) whenever they need to, free of charge, in these countries, the waiting period to see a specialist is weeks, months, or even years. Lifesaving operations, diagnostics, and treatments are delayed for so long that patients routinely die before their appointment time. Why do Canadians come here for treatment? Because they know they will not die before they can see a specialist. There is incentive here, called a free market, for an abundance of specialists to compete for patients. In Canada, it is illegal for a patient to see a doctor unless the government is involved. The government decides how many operations or treatments will be available for its citizens (subjects) each year.

No one is denied health care in this country. Anyone who needs medical treatment will receive it, despite their ability to pay. What people get confused about is the difference between "health care" and "health insurance." The insurance companies charge more and more because "health care" providers charge more and more. The providers have to charge more to cover the loss of treating people who have no ability to pay! In poor neighborhoods, people use the emergency room as their primary care physician (despite programs to provide them with family physicians pro bono). Hospitals admit indigent people routinely. There are free clinics of every type available to anyone who asks. To say that the poor of this country have no access to health care is grossly inaccurate and intellectually dishonest.

The real motivation behind Michael Moore and his movie "Sicko" is to set the stage for socialist weenie democrat "Universal Health Care." Michael Moore has demonstrated his leftist leanings and intellectual dishonesty in his previous movies. "Sicko" is no different.

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