Sicko Is Wacko

Published September 1, 2007

If you like silly comedy films that are over-hyped, over-spun, and filled with half- and quarter-truths leading to false conclusions, then you will love Sicko, Michael Moore’s latest cynical, hypocritical, and fictional agenda creation.

In late June, Moore appeared on The David Letterman Show to tell us Cuba had the world’s best health care system. Why would he say such an absurd thing?

About seven years ago, the World Health Organization said so. It didn’t matter to Moore and others that the winner of that charade was determined by calculating the percentage of gross national product (GNP) each country spent on health care. Since Cuba has virtually no GNP, an outlay of $1.50 could win that propaganda party.

Expanding Involvement

Moore then spewed the often-repeated but incorrect mantra that 45 million Americans have no health coverage. If that is so, why aren’t tens of millions of us lying in the streets with IV lines or dying in our tracks? It’s not true–that number is absurdly inflated.

Sicko, which premiered June 29, is a propaganda piece for those who say it’s time for guaranteed health care in America. Not surprisingly, several nursing organizations, including the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, hosted 3,000 screenings of the film nationwide.

A news conference on Capitol Hill featured clips from the film, as well as testimony from individuals featured in it and from congressmen who favor greater government involvement in medicine.

Removing Incentives

Moore wants to remove the profit motive from medicine, and to eliminate insurance companies. He thinks the universal health care proposals of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards don’t go nearly far enough. Showing Cuban doctors scurrying around to care for some 9/11 rescue workers that he brought over in a commandeered fishing boat, Moore suggests Cubans live longer than Americans–all because of their wonderful socialized health care.

Aren’t these the same guys who botched President Fidel Castro’s stomach surgery last year?

Filmmaker Stuart Browning is firing back with a new Internet movie debunking one of the central premises of Moore’s “docutribe”: that 45 million Americans have no health insurance and no access to medical care.

Browning’s nine-minute film can be viewed at, along with some short pieces portraying the reality of rationing in Canada, which shows what Canada’s system has in common with the Soviet-era economies that produced the Trabant–reputed to be one of the worst cars in history–with a long waiting period to boot.

Wasting Time

In a June 22 newsletter, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner noted, “Heaven forbid that we would wind up making policy by propaganda, because that is exactly what would happen if anyone were to base any serious health reform proposals on Moore’s film.”

This is not a must-see, waste-your-popcorn-and-movie-money film–unless you believe in bad science fiction.

I wonder if this means Michael Moore will be going to Cuba for all his future health care?

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D. ([email protected]) is a visiting fellow in Economics and Citizenship at the International Trade Education Foundation of the Washington International Trade Council. An earlier version of this article appeared in Jewish World Review.