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Thanks, Michael!

I've long believed that Michael Moore may very well be more valuable to the right than to the left. In this vein, Moore's recent publicity stunt for his movie "Sicko," which involved transporting sick 9/11 first responders to Cuba for treatment, seems to have provoked a long overdue dialog.

As a result, the New York Times (which is certainly no friend to the American health care or drug industries) throws some cold water on the hard left's most cherished articles of faith -- the deluded belief in a utopian Cuban health care system.

“Actually there are three systems,” Dr. Cordova said, because Cuba has two: one is for party officials and foreigners like those Mr. Moore brought to Havana. “It is as good as this one here, with all the resources, the best doctors, the best medicines, and nobody pays a cent,” he said.

But for the 11 million ordinary Cubans, hospitals are often ill equipped and patients “have to bring their own food, soap, sheets -- they have to bring everything.” And up to 20,000 Cuban doctors may be working in Venezuela, creating a shortage in Cuba. . . .

Until he had to have emergency surgery last year, Fidel Castro -- who turned 80 this year -- was considered a model of vibrant long life in Cuba. But it was only last week that he acknowledged in an open letter that his initial surgery by Cuban doctors had been botched. He did not confirm, however, that a specialist had been flown in from Spain last December to help set things right.

Hey, it's about time that someone said it. Someone in the mainstream media, that is.

Thank you for that, Michael. Without you, the New York Times would have had no impetus to run such a piece.

And thank you as well for your forthrightness as to what exactly your agenda really is regarding America's health system: the complete destruction of private health insurance in this country. If we'd accused you of wanting to do that, we'd have been dismissed as paranoid reactionaries. Thanks for being upfront about it and saving us the grief.


Way to go Barry! You stick up for the saintly Big Insurance scammer who are only trying to make a thin dime by fucking patients AND doctors at the same time, taking a huge slice of pure gross, excessive, unearned profit out of the middle!

These great corporations that you love, the insurance companies, have destroyed American health care, not Fat Boy.

Now they bully both doctor and patient, while colluding with the Pill Pushers (Pharmaceutical companies).

I personally don't know too many people flocking to Cuba for medical care. In fact, the very doctor that delivered me into this world fled FROM Cuba. It's not that big of a stretch to say Michael Moore has no clue how to present an actual 'fact'.

So Barry,
Are you saying that the current health care system works well? Why were the 911 responders denied health care and had to go anywhere else?

I dont think proposing a complete change of the health care system (even eliminating some private health insurance agencies and HMOs) is so radical. It happened in Canada, while there is socialized medicine that works fine in England and France. Ask the few millions of Americans that do NOT have any coverage at this time. Don't they deserve better?

>Are you saying that the current health care system works well?

Does it look like that's what I said?

To your point about abolishing private health insurance, yes, I can envision a system without private insurance that works well (although I think a healthy amount of competition from the private sector cannot be a bad thing.)

My concern is that destroying the insurance industry in and of itself does nothing to help the uninsured. That Moore would make that statement suggests to me that making war on the companies he doesn't like is a higher priority than helping the people he pretends to want to help.

>Ask the few millions of Americans that do NOT have any coverage at this time. Don't they deserve better?

In some cases, no. I had this discussion with a guy at a Memorial Day cookout this weekend. He's been 30 years without insurance, not because he can't afford it, but because he's too cheap and lazy to get it.

"My concern is that destroying the insurance industry in and of itself does nothing to help the uninsured. "

It depends. How could a system without private insurance ever happen if the insurance lobby blocks its development?

"In some cases, no. "

True. But these cases are a slim minority. In most cases people can not get health insurance because their job does not provide it or because they are too sick!!! (i.e. having serious pre-existing health care problems). It always amazes me that the system allows greedy private insurance companies to deny health coverage because of pre-existing illnesses.

Fidel Castro has managed to do two amazing things. First, he has managed to survive politically despite driving Cuba towards ruin even when they were a client state of the Soviets. Second, he has managed to make Fulgencio Batista, a thug in league with mobsters, look good by comparison.

To compare United States' system with Canada's .. I think is a valid comparison because I do know Canadians who are satisfied with their health system.

To compare our system with Cuba's.. c'mon Michael.. if you were born Cuban, you would've been shot by now and then you would've found out that disposing of dissidents is the one thing that Castro's government handles with efficiency.

>But these cases are a slim minority.

This guy was pretty chubby.

"In most cases people can not get health insurance because their job does not provide it..." (BW)

In America?

Actually about 85% of Americans ARE covered by insurance provided by their jobs.

Do you have different stats than that?

EVERY government managed healthcate system has some degree of rationing and restrictions on the number of visits, etc.

Our own current system is far less efficient than it was when it was more private and more market oriented. I'm sure it could be argued that "medical insurance had to be introduced to support the many more expensive tests and procedures that have become the basis of modern medicine," BUT, free market advocates, like the late, great Milton Friedman would say that healthcare professionals could only charge what the market would/could bear in a market-based system.

And PE, those were indeed two rather amazing things - surviving politically and making Batista look good by comparison...both are amazing feats, when you think about it.

"In America?
Actually about 85% of Americans ARE covered by insurance provided by their jobs.

Yes, 85 % may be covered but 15% is NOT covered. 15% is several millions of Americans. Dont they deserve better?

I was surprised by the "In most cases..." phrase that you used. I'd thought that perhaps you'd seen other figures, or something.

If you accept that 85% of Americans are now covered and your concern is really for the 15% not covered, then your issue seems to be one of coverage and NOT quality of care.

If that's the case, then I'd think that the idea of tax credits for medical insurance, would probably be far more appealing to most of those concerned primarily with coverage.

In fact, why not a tax credit for those who purchase medical insurance...in fact, a tax credit for all, along with taxing those who receive health insurance as a benefit, as income?

That would seem to be most fair....and it would fully address the coverage issue.

"Why were the 911 responders denied health care and had to go anywhere else?" (BW)

That's not actually true, BW. Virtually all the cops & firefighters have health insurance through their jobs, and so do/did most, if not of all of the construtcion workers who worked the pile, as well.

In fact there's been a lot of federal money for various outside treatment programs. I'm being monitored by Mt Sinai's program, for some kind of lump on the left side of my throat and some other relatively minor situations.

My brother Jim had been on six different lung medications. He and some of the other guys from his firehouse had their lungs "vacuumed" of particulated glass and things like molybdenum and other substances found in the debris, and he's still being monitored today.

The city's position is still, "There's still no direct proof that exposure at ground zero caused the illnesses."

In that regard, Bloomberg is trying to protect the City's purse, as much as he can.

Part of the problem is that we can't just invent money. It has to come (be taken) from somewhere else (usually beleagured taxpayers).

It seems as though most people feel good about "inventing more money" for anything "for the children," or "for the Troops," or "for our First Responders," but there's got to be accountability in everything. A "good heart" has to balanced with a "good head."

Sometimes, we simply can't afford to do all the things we want/need to do and choices have to be made. Those are generally tough choices that nobody likes to make.

The feds are thinking of pulling the plug on the monies funding the Mt Sinai program and others...they haven't yet.

There's even a free CT scan program for First Responders going on, because pulmonary physicians claim that the number of lung problems amongnthose who worked there will only grow.

In short, not only are virtually all of those First Responders covered by job-related medical insurance, the City's been paying for their treatment as "job related medical conditions" - hundreds of firefighters and many police officers are being treated for pulmonary problems related to WTC work and there are a host of outside programs, like Mt Sinai's that have provided care.

I certainly am no Cuban health system fanboy, not knowing much about it. And I'm sure that watching Moore's latest film or reading a few anecdotes from the New York Times is NOT going to help me form an opinion.

Still, I would like to see a system put in place that gives health insurance to those who don't have it. We should at least try it and see how it turns out. The system we have now really sucks for those with out the insurance.

Private insurance now has way too much power in what they are allowed to charge or who they choose to insure and what amounts they choose to reimburse.

The problem here is that we don't do bureaucracy all that well, Tracy. Not that anyone else does either - again, rationing and all that). Still, I'm betting that an IRS-styled healthcare system would be horrible and untenable to the vast majority of Americans.

At the very least, we'd HAVE to keep private insurance as an option for those who (1) are able to pay and (2) serious about getting the best possible healthcare, instead of some government managed, bare-bones, clinic-styled care.

Of course, more than likely, the government would farm such a gargantuan project out to the private sector.

But who'd be able to take on such a huge challenge?

Oh yeah, well, Halliburton might. In fact, they may well be one of the only companies able to try that.

Well, THAT would certainly seem to be a better option than a straight government run bureaucracy, from my vantage.

There was some reviewer discussing the movie on Fresh Air last night and he said that it's really unfortunate that Moore did go to Cuba because otherwise the movie was very effective. It seems to have been very much a "cut off your nose to spite your face" type of thing.

I must give credit to the photographer for making him look about as stupid as President Chimp on a good day.

Yeah, "the photographer made him look stupid."

There's not much to work with there, Michael Moore is a poster boy for that great line, "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

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