Guest Post: Oh, Sick
Many might be fooled by my wife’s surface Republicanism, but let it be known that I am the conservative in the marriage. This weekend, after a fine meal with my in-laws, a few of us headed to the local cinema to catch a flick that was covered on this very blog: The Waitress. Unfortunately, we were at one of those non-artsy cinemas, where such films are not shown. My sister-in-law, seeing that we needed to select another movie, purchased tickets to the most recent propaganda film by Michael Moore.
And so I did what any self respecting conservative male would do. I pitched a fit, and led a small revolt into the theater showing Ocean’s 13. Time well spent. However, the fire was stoked, and having worked on health care legislative issues for about two years, I would like to take a moment to rebut that fat slob/gentleman.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch:
You’ve heard it before. And if you haven’t understood this little nugget of wisdom up until now, please head to the poor man’s version of IRF. At one point in the movie Michael tells the story of a man who inadvertently cuts off two of his fingers while in the U.S. of A. He is told that it will cost $12,000 to attach his ring finger, and $60,000 to replace his middle finger (I think Joe Miller would have told him to rub some dirt on it and wrap it and get back to work). This guy decides that the cost is too much, so he goes to his native Canada to have them both replaced FREE OF CHARGE. Sound too good to be true? Not in Canada! Oh, wait. It is too good to be true. It still costs money, even if you simply measure money by the time the doctor spent not doing some other surgery. It’s just covered by taxes paid by hundreds of thousands of Canadians who surely care less about this guy’s fingers than he does.
Viva Cuba libre!
I could save you time and simply urge you to visit a wonderful site called The Real Cuba, but I can’t resist expounding. Señor Moore takes a boat of honorable 9/11 heroes to Cuba to get the health care they have been denied by their insurance in the U.S. It is tragic that these men and women have not been able to get better coverage in the U.S., and our system clearly is broken (P.S. “Our system is clearly broken” is the overused catch phrase of the year, and expect it to get worse through the election next year), but neither of these things makes Cuba our role model in health care. If you look at a few of the pics on the aforementioned site, or simply remember that we’re talking about Cuba, you’ll catch on fairly quickly. Maybe Castro has first rate clinics for his inner circle, and for foreign documentarians to serve as propaganda. And maybe the rest of the country, which has suffered tremendously under Castro, is not getting the same standard of care. Maybe that’s what all those inner tubes floating towards Miami are about. Someone should document that.
In the interest of getting you back to the work you’re supposed to be doing right now, lazy, the bottom line is that Moore and the rest of the Capitalist Critics miss out on some very key points. The drive for profit in health care is not inherently evil. Profits and patents provide incentives for drug makers to spend millions on risky research and development of new drugs and vaccines. Also, the cost of medications can be high, but all providers participate in the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (the commercials with Montel Williams and the orange tour bus), which helps low income individuals get vital medications at no cost to them—notice I didn’t say “free”. Lastly, we have a federal program that provides a pretty clear example of how private-based insurance reform could work: Medicare Part D. The program is run by private insurance companies that offer plans in order to compete for enrollees. Beneficiaries are able to ditch plans that don’t provide the drugs or service they want. Being able to walk away from a deal, means the consumer forces the provider to offer the best service. Would they be able to do the same under Michael Moore’s proposal?