02 July 2007

sicko is whacko

Kurt Loder, that old guy on MTV that pretends to be journalist, has reviewed "Sicko," Michael Moore's attempt to cast the light of truth on America's hugely inept health care system. Loder has spotted Moore's lack of actual knowledge on the subject.
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. The American health-care system is in urgent need of reform, no question. Some 47 million people are uninsured (although many are only temporarily so, being either in-between jobs or young enough not to feel a pressing need to buy health insurance). There are a number of proposals as to what might be done to correct this situation. Moore has no use for any of them, save one.
it's quite obvious Moore believes we're too stupid to recognize a good thing when we see it, so he trots out a carefully selected band of people who, quite honestly, were raped by their HMOs, etc. the whole contrived sequence of dirty American companies and super-delcious-awesome-happy euro-hospitals is a continual smell, ideally suited to those already under the unthinking spell of socialism.
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.
i'd agree that the US system is completely broken, but creating our own mega-version of those systems that aren't actually as hella-awesome as Moore would have us believe is a worse mistake, mainly because large programs once undertaken in this country are largely unstoppable, regardless of performance.

i'm certain i could go find a bunch of Cato or Reason articles or papers to support whatever system i currently think is better than what we have, but (as everyone can guess by now) i'm quite lazy. let it be sufficient to say that we as consumers should be made more aware of what costs we're imposing on the system, maybe by eliminating employer-sponsored health care plans. if you subsidize something, you get more of it; by subsidizing the consumption of medical care, we're wasting some very precious resources.


  1. Aside from the obvious fallacy - do tax-supported fire departments lead to more house fires? - there's the hard evidence that a couple dozen other countries get results at least as good as the USA for two thirds to three quarters of the cost.

  2. Mike Moore has a point : healthcare in the US sucks unless you're relatively affluent. Sadly, he's also a dick, and the worst kind of yellow journalist there is.

    My argument against government-run healthcare is this : It has mangled public education, so what makes us think it wouldn't mangle public healthcare too?