Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Over at RealClear Politics is what I hope proves to be merely the first volley of an all-out carpet bombing of Michael Moore's latest agitprop, Sicko, in which he ignores the abject failure of socialized medicine everywhere it has been tried as he attempts to convince his audience that it will somehow "work" if tried in America.
The article is by Helen Evans, director of Nurses for Reform, an organization of European nurses "dedicated to consumer-oriented reform of European health-care systems". Its title is, "What Michael Moore left on the cutting room floor", and its first three paragraphs should pique the interest of anyone who has even the remotest concern for his health:
Michael Moore's denunciation of America's health-care system is about to hit the silver screen. In the film's trailer, a desk attendant at a British hospital smiles while explaining that in Britain's National Health Service, "everything is free." But for free hospital care, Britons pay an awfully high price.Miss Evans knows that for nurses everywhere to have a better shot at saving lives, she must first perform a post mortem on the system Michael Moore would foist upon his countrymen. And so she does, describing, among other things, the high rate of infections acquired by patients as a result of checking into hospitals, the results of shortages within the system, and rationing -- the final, predictable result of any attempt to provide necessities by government decree.
Just ask the nearly 1 million British patients on waiting lists for treatment. Or the 200,000 Britons currently waiting merely to get on NHS waiting lists. Mr. Moore must have missed those folks.
Curiously, though, many American policymakers seem to think that a government-managed, NHS-style system is the answer to all of America's health-care woes. Before heading down that road, however, America's leaders ought to actually investigate Britain's experience with state-sponsored medical care. [bold added]
Her picture is very bleak, although even she had to leave out a few details, such as the fact that smokers in Britain will be denied certain surgeries altogether or made to wait longer for treatment they "still likely" may get if they do not quit. In addition, some physicians there are already also denying treatment to drinkers and the obese. Perhaps she ran into space limitations -- or maybe she wondered whether the full truth, being stranger than even Moore's most outlandish fictions, might strain her readers' credulity.
And then she necessarily also had to leave out Cuba, which Moore famously visited during the making of this propaganda piece in defiance of American law. I needn't discuss the Cuban system in any detail either, since the following news excerpt from The Chicago Tribune (blogged here) just about makes doing so at all unnecessary.
Medical procedures for show may be new to audiences in the States, but they're old hat in Latin America:
Some Cubans express resentment at the resources being poured into Mision Milagro, complaining that foreigners get better medical treatment than they do. Other Cubans seethe as they watch foreign patients driven to and from hospitals in new Chinese luxury buses while they wait for hours for scarce public transportation. [bold added]Mision Milagro, by the way, is a program financed by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, which is being used to gain popularity for socialism by providing free eye operations to the poor throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Needless to say, their friends and relatives will see their improved vision when they return, but will remain blind to what life is really like for those who already live under socialism -- unless, of course, they succeed in imposing it upon themselves, at which point it will be too late for most of them.
Government officials want two things: (1) to have life and death power over others and (2) to appear to be all-powerful to everyone else. Is it any wonder then, that they universally ignore those they can take for granted, while pulling out all the stops for those not yet under their power? Specifically, is it really any surprise that Cuba and Venezuela are collaborating to put on Mision Milagro? Or that they do it at the expense of decent care for Cubans and Venezuela's coffers? Why the hell would anyone in his right mind accept what a medical system, run by a politician who doesn't govern him, does at face value? And, for that matter, why would he want a government official in charge of his medical care?
For all their disdain of capitalism, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Michael Moore don't just epitomize the very worst imaginable caricature of hucksterism any of them could possibly impute to capitalism: They remind us that snake oil salesmen, needing consenting victims, are harmless by comparison.
If Mision Milagro sounds like a bait-and-switch scheme, Sicko should sound like false advertising at best. Unfortunately, your health is at stake, and the funny thing about the government is that unlike in the case of a lousy business, you're not free to go elsewhere.