Michael Moore Jon Stewarts Wolf Blitzer
July 10, 2007 4:41 PM   Subscribe

 
I had a panic attack watching this live last night. And Blitzer was such a douchebag.
posted by ao4047 at 4:49 PM on July 10, 2007


We are using Jon Stewart as a verb now? Awesome!
posted by quin at 4:55 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]




I think Wolf said it all with, ¨this is a business, obviously.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:58 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]




Wow, he's really pissed.
posted by quin at 4:59 PM on July 10, 2007




Wolf on the defensive. Love it.

Who's the asshole at the end with the Chavez comment? I don't have the stomach for CNN.
posted by dreamsign at 5:03 PM on July 10, 2007


Blitzer handled it ok, I thought, as far as maintaining his cool. It's just that he looked much more like a Wink Martindale/Mitt Romney-type ringmaster than usual.

Can you imagine CNN previewing a Charles Krauthammer interview with a fact check, even though it'd be an awful lot easier and more accurate?
posted by ibmcginty at 5:03 PM on July 10, 2007


What's interesting is that the little Gupta intro didn't really take apart Moore's points—they were more niggling objections along the lines of "well, Cuba is worse" or "well, Canadians have long wait times too." It even ended on a point of agreement with Moore. It's more that the points were presented with a tone that suggested "we need to provide a counterpoint to Moore"—to rile him up for good theater, to serve their corporate overlords, to preserve the fig-leaf of what passes for journalistic objectivity these days, take your pick.
posted by adamrice at 5:04 PM on July 10, 2007 [14 favorites]


Really nice. Love to see someone fight back. You know Moore is an effective mouthpiece by how hard he gets attacked. They only go after the effective ones.
posted by vito90 at 5:05 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Who's the asshole at the end with the Chavez comment? I don't have the stomach for CNN.

That'd be Lou "let's build a wall" Dobbs.

Although, to be fair, Dobbs thinks we should build a wall around George Bush, too, just for different reasons.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:06 PM on July 10, 2007


Gupta was trying to be fair it seemed to me. More of the Gupta segment agreed with Moore than disagreed. So much of the statistics that are spouted are different depending on what study is looked at, I find it hard to make a blanket statement that either Gupta or Moore was wrong - but I'll tell you one thing, Gupta's piece was a lot less rude to Moore than Moore was in his critique of Gupta.

Moore spent very little time countering what Gupta said - instead he just went on a rant about how he hadn't been on CNN in years and how CNN should have asked the difficult questions about the war. Some is fair critique of CNN and other stations, to be sure, but he lost sight of actually countering Gupta - and he lost sight of promoting the agenda of the movie, and he had no comment when it was pointed out that Moore decided not to appear on CNN during those years. I just wanted to reach out and slap Moore, telling him to grow up.

I think the issues Moore brings up are important, but the way he presents himself damages his credibility and the credibility of the issues he raises. While I agreeing with the premise of his Sicko movie, I find myself wondering whether his lack of common sense as to how to present himself carries over into his analysis of the issues.
posted by Muddler at 5:07 PM on July 10, 2007 [6 favorites]


Heh. They should do a "fair and balanced" fact check on more people just before interviewing them.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on July 10, 2007


One before each Lou Dobbs segment would be a good start.
posted by Artw at 5:08 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Moore on Giuliani: "So, he hates Medicare?" Not bad for a non-soundbite-oriented kinda guy.
posted by pax digita at 5:10 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


To be fair, Gupta was given an impossible task: defending America's criminally corrupt and bizarre medical 'system'.

Victims of the attacks in New York had to beg for money to pay their medical bills afterwards.
Choke on that, CNN.

Tonight, as I fall asleep, I'm going to repeat my National Insurance Number over and over in my head. I find it very soothing...
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:12 PM on July 10, 2007 [7 favorites]


Oh, and at the end...Lou Dobbs....ugh.
posted by pax digita at 5:12 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with him on pretty much everything, but christ, Michael Moore is a douche.
posted by Brittanie at 5:18 PM on July 10, 2007 [8 favorites]


Yay, we're (slightly) better than Cuba! I feel so proud.
posted by octothorpe at 5:20 PM on July 10, 2007


I was on a business trip during the past week, and faced with the unpleasant prospect of having a TV in my room that offered the choice of either CNN or BBCWorld as the sum total of English-language broadcasting. I ended up watching a few hours of it.

CNN is a joke. I haven't seen much if any of it for years, and I suppose I'm most shocked that what was a cesspool of vapidity, ratings-chasing and blowdried soundbite 'human-interest' bullshit-mongering could have actually gotten worse. From the mannered, kabuki-theatre formal structure of the faux-conversations the anchordrones are compelled to engage in to the risible ankle-deep lukewarm weak soup that they call 'reporting', I fucking loathe it. FAIL.

I simply can't imagine how bad things like Fox News must be, given how reviled it is by so many people here. It is no wonder America is so deep in the shit and governed by the evil scum it is when this is what your television journalism has become. And I understand more clearly why people like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are so necessary, if only to keep pointing out that the anchorman has no clothes.

The saddest thing for me was that BBCWorld, for which at one time I had some small measure of respect, has apparently sunk to nearly the same lowest-denominator ratings-whoring. It is long past time for something new. I hope to hell that it's not Youtube.

[/derail]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:21 PM on July 10, 2007 [34 favorites]


I couldn't get the whole thing to play, but what I saw was really good. Moore is awesome.

-former Moore hater
posted by snsranch at 5:22 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


NPR is pretty great.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:30 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Michael Moore will be on CNN tonite debating Dr. Gupta on Larry King Live. It must have been the shortest exile in history.
posted by WhipSmart at 5:32 PM on July 10, 2007


stavros, I always love your comments...

You're right: CNN is, as Wolf said during the segment, a BUSINESS first and a 'news outlet' second. The BBC should really be more objective. It's funded by taxes, and has a real responsibility to pursue journalism in an accurate and measured way. It has fallen down of late... they even hit that Paris Hilton story!
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:33 PM on July 10, 2007


Yeah Moore has risen in my estimation too, snsranch. He's on point, he has his facts straight and he won't let himself be bulldozed. I wish he'd been that together when he spoke with O'Falafel a few years back.

Wolf Blitzer? Fuck that guy. A lightweight. I want to see Moore go mano a mano with one of the Dark Satanic Knights of "journalism".
posted by fleetmouse at 5:35 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


stavros, it could be worse.
posted by anthill at 5:37 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


CNN? C-N-"The most trusted name in Paris news"-N?

Put me down in the shocked column, please.
posted by Remy at 5:37 PM on July 10, 2007


stavros - Was that CNNi? Because that always used to be head and shoulders above American domestic CNN.
posted by Artw at 5:42 PM on July 10, 2007


Sometimes a very weak refutation of an argument makes the argument look better.
posted by elpapacito at 5:44 PM on July 10, 2007


Moore can be a manipulative blowhard, but god was that good. If they knew what was good for them, CNN would have him on every week.
posted by stargell at 5:44 PM on July 10, 2007


Contra to the FPP's title, Moore is back on CNN tonight, with Gupta, on Larry King. 9PM Eastern, for Round Two.

(They'll be embarrassed on camera as long as you watch them. It makes money. They're whores. It makes sense.)
posted by rokusan at 5:47 PM on July 10, 2007


Oh, and from Moore's refutation of Gupta's point about the US's No. 1 ranking in patient satisfaction:

"* Patients may be satisfied in America, but not everyone gets to be a patient. 47 million are uninsured..."

brilliant.
posted by stargell at 5:48 PM on July 10, 2007


Muddler, Gupta's piece seems deliberately misleading to me.

Shorter wait times ...when seeking non-emergency procedures. Canadians wait forever! ...to get a doctor's appointment. Higher taxes elsewhere! (but no health insurance premiums, wtf?)

He's not trying to be fair, he's trying to give the appearance that the US health care system isn't that bad, reality be damned.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 5:48 PM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Michael Moore is a douche

You know what? We need more douches on our team. We need an army of douches. We need a bunch of pricks, a huge number of fucking assholes, and a couple handfuls of absolute cocksuckers. It wouldn't hurt to have a few bitches and cunts distributed throughout the country as well. This is why we've been losing for years, their team has them in spades and we have a bunch of nice guys who can't even use the word "lie" on the record to describe this administration. Fuck that shit evermore.
posted by vito90 at 5:49 PM on July 10, 2007 [220 favorites]


BTW, Moore was nowhere near Stewart's level of class or wit. Moore's bad presentation is why it's so easy to spin with the word 'unhinged', which I imagine is all over the right side of the web today.

Stewart's polite but powerful appeal, complete with teh funny, is harder to marginalize.
posted by rokusan at 5:50 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Amen, brother/sister.
posted by gottabefunky at 5:53 PM on July 10, 2007


The Gupta piece picked at specifics and presented them as generalities. For example, I suspect the US probably does have the shortest wait time for elective, non-emergency surgery barring Germany. But what if you are one of the 50million uninsured? Your wait to be able to afford the operation or coverage is not counted.
Similarly, the claim that Moore was deceitful when he took the 9/11 folk to Cuba because Cuba was 39th on the list compared to the USA rank of 37. That was just meaningless and stupid.
If you have top cover, the US is probably a fractionally better place to get sick than other first world countries. If you are one of the bulk of people with less than top cover, it is significantly worse. And the truth is America spends huge amounts for shitty outcomes.
It is like the Gupta line that America scored number one for access. Well, yeah, there are plenty of open doors if you have the money or cover, but spreading the resources more evenly would give some help to those folk that have no access at all.
posted by bystander at 5:56 PM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Last I checked, Fox News was eating CNN's lunch in the ratings game. CNN is just trying to compete with Fox to win the viewers favor back, and Fox has demonstrated that the viewers are morons. So that's who CNN is catering to. Don't hate the players, hate the game. The news is a reflection of the audience.
posted by mullingitover at 5:57 PM on July 10, 2007


Ugh, do I ever hate Moore. Roger & Me was fine, and I even watched Bowling for Columbine and didn't hate it terribly... until I learned about all the crap he pulled there. Touting a cause is fine. Doing so by pulling "facts" out of your backside and using unapologetic creative editing to make people say what you want them to say and being an ass just to get attention is not, and will get no respect or money from me.
posted by po at 5:59 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


And I'll add that I am, in fact, one of the 50 million uninsured myself. Being that I'm bipolar and can't hold an 8-5 office job at 40 hours a week, I probably never will have insurance in this country. I probably agree with what he's saying, in a lot of areas. But nonetheless, I despise Moore and everything he's doing lately.
posted by po at 6:01 PM on July 10, 2007


Gupta was trying to be fair it seemed to me.
One of the main problems with the current state of the American media is that they have a tendency to interpret "fair" to mean "Here's one person who says two plus two is four, and here's another who says two plus two is five. We provide both sides of the story!"
posted by Flunkie at 6:01 PM on July 10, 2007 [16 favorites]


That was incredible.
posted by boo_radley at 6:03 PM on July 10, 2007


This specific error in Gupta's piece (acc. to Moore's site) stood out:

CNN: "Moore asserts that the American health care system spends $7,000 per person on health. Cuba spends $25 dollars per person. Not true...

[Sicko]: Dr. Gupta and CNN need to watch 'SiCKO' first before commenting on it. 'SiCKO' says Cuba spends $251 per person on health care, not $25, as Gupta reports. And the BBC reports that Cuba's per capita health expenditure is… $251!


If the above's an accurate version of what happened, that's a pretty big error; if Gupta doesn't apologize for it, he's a dick.
posted by mediareport at 6:04 PM on July 10, 2007


Metafilter: We need an army of douches.
posted by tighttrousers at 6:05 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


po, I think you should give SiCKO a try. Can't people's work improve in your world?
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:07 PM on July 10, 2007


Wow. I got a Moore boner. Didn't expect that.
posted by ColdChef at 6:08 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


The only thing I miss about CNN is Christiane Amanpour, but I turned them off permanently as soon as Nancy Grace showed up. I wish Turner would show up with another channel where they just have a boring old set with somebody sitting there reading the news.
posted by troybob at 6:08 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


I get the feeling there were some angry people in the middle-to-upper management of CNN when Blitzer promised to air any further taping of Moore's interview unedited.

I agree that Moore's tirade was a disproportionate (and partially off-topic) response to Gupta's piece. But I can understand why anyone would get defensive when their interview is preceded by someone "reality checking" their work and accusing them of "fudging facts," even if the rest of the clip is mostly reasonable.

While Moore may have overreacted, he wasn't wrong in any of his claims as far as I know, and this will only serve to further his reputation as the crusader for the little guy. Which annoys me, as someone who dislikes crusades as a general rule.

Also, Lou Dobbs just jumped like seven spots on the list of people I hope are in the D.C. madam phone records, even if he does live in New Jersey. Wait, maybe living in New Jersey is punishment enough...
posted by Riki tiki at 6:14 PM on July 10, 2007


Don't hate the players, hate the game.

To mangle Duchamp: the players are those who make the game. They can not be separated.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:17 PM on July 10, 2007 [11 favorites]


On CNN right now "live" (9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. ET) -- Larry King -- "Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore and CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta on America's health care system and Moore's new movie, 'Sicko.'"
posted by ericb at 6:18 PM on July 10, 2007


troybob writes "I wish Turner would show up with another channel where they just have a boring old set with somebody sitting there reading the news."

That's what CNN Headline News is supposed to be, but the quality is pretty low. It's like the USA Today version of cable news.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:20 PM on July 10, 2007


Wow, that didn't last long. Michael Moore is on Larry King's CNN show right now.

How long before someone claims that universal health care causes terrorism?
posted by hwestiii at 6:20 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


If the above's an accurate version of what happened, that's a pretty big error; if Gupta doesn't apologize for it, he's a dick.

I literally just got home from seeing Sicko. He says $251.
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:28 PM on July 10, 2007


Last I checked, Fox News was eating CNN's lunch in the ratings game. CNN is just trying to compete with Fox to win the viewers favor back

Exactly.

Variety | July 10, 2007: Cable News Ratings Race Heats Up
"The race for second-place in cable news is suddenly getting heated. Last week, MSNBC edged CNN in the 25-54 demographic in primetime, a rare win for the third-place news net.

In the same week, CNN.com edged MSNBC.com in web traffic, according to Hitwise, making CNN.com the third most-visited news site behind Yahoo News and The Weather Channel.

MSNBC's demo win came in a week when CNN subbed Headline News' Glenn Beck for 'Paula Zahn Now' at 8 pm and MSNBC devoted three hours on July 4 to episodes of the "To Catch A Predator" series from 'Dateline.'

The last time MSNBC won a week against CNN in the demo was in April, when it hosted presidential debates in South Carolina.

MSNBC averaged 201,000 in the 25-54 demo over the week, just ahead of CNN's 193,000 average viewers. Fox News Channel led all cable news with 307,000 demo viewers.

In total viewers, Fox News Channel averaged 1.17 million in primetime, compared to 616,000 for CNN and 523,000 for MSNBC.

On the web front, CNN.com broke MSNBC.com's longtime hold on third place among news and information sites according to Hitwise. CNN.com claimed a 3.69% share of web audience and MSNBC.com had 3.46%.

The shift coincides with a cosmetic revamp of CNN.com and the conversion of its subscription 'Pipeline' video feed into a free service.

The site was relaunched on July 1."
posted by ericb at 6:30 PM on July 10, 2007


As big of a tool I think Sanjay Gupta is, I feel bad for the guy. He's trying is damndest to both defend himself and be magnanimous about it, and Michael Moore is having none of it, just rubbing Dr. Gupta's nose in the same stuff over and over. Moore seems to be about as unmagnanimous as the President.

I wonder if those two shook hands, maybe they'd obliterate one another, like matter and anti-matter in Star Trek. I got to think that one way or the other, just about everyone in American would be at least half-pleased by the result.
posted by hwestiii at 6:36 PM on July 10, 2007


As big of a tool I think Sanjay Gupta is, I feel bad for the guy.

He is lying to you and everyone else, if you feel for him you're a sucker. The reason he's having such a tough time is because his position is indefensible. He's trying to file down the sharp edges of reality with pedantry and getting nowhere.
posted by IronLizard at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2007 [18 favorites]


I wonder if those two shook hands, maybe they'd obliterate one another

Well, Bush and Moore have held hands and even shared a tub of popcorn with each other -- and they survived! ; )
posted by ericb at 6:43 PM on July 10, 2007


Moore spent very little time countering what Gupta said - instead he just went on a rant about how he hadn't been on CNN in years and how CNN should have asked the difficult questions about the war.

This is true, but there is something to be said about giving criticisms the time and attention they deserve and no more. He spent some necessary time exposing a hatchet job for what it was and what it is again, as well as providing some perspecting on the points made.

Since the hatchet job is modus operandi for this kind of show, you get people for whom Moore = "playing fast and loose with the facts" who probably can't cite specific examples but know what they know and no one is going to tell them any different.
posted by dreamsign at 6:43 PM on July 10, 2007


As much as I am now enamored with Moore and SICKO, I have a HUGE problem with this.

It's the HUGE gap between the PROBLEM and the possible FIX. I haven't heard any mention about how, as citizens, anyone can influence the situation. So, now, I just feel sick and helpless.

Yea, Moore has done a great job with his exposition. However:

Step 2. Can't be: "?"

It has to be a reasonable approach to effect prompt change as caused by USian citizens.

How do we do that? And, yes, I really want to know. Any ideas, you really wonderfully smart MeFites?
posted by snsranch at 6:43 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow, that was almost painful to watch. It's a hard place for Gupta to be in, (he put himself there), and ultimately he was forced to concede many points. I do kind of agree he picked a few convenient numbers, but that doesn't make them invalid.

I wish all tv was like that... Damn.
posted by bobjohnsonmilw at 6:44 PM on July 10, 2007


But damn, I wish Moore would learn to get a haircut and maybe use a comb or something. He looks completely nuts, even though what he says makes perfect sense.
posted by IronLizard at 6:45 PM on July 10, 2007


By the way, I meant about the Larry King "debate" tonight...

It would be nice if instead of focusing on this big "controversy", they'd just fucking focus on the facts. Like all the time.
posted by bobjohnsonmilw at 6:46 PM on July 10, 2007


It's remarkable that people routinely call Moore a liar without citing instances in which he's lied, and that people (even here on the Blue) feel quite comfortable opining that "the way he presents himself" (which is how? (with examples, please)) is so ridiculous that no one will take him seriously.

The guy's virtually the only progressive voice that makes it onto American TV, and the director of documentary films that redefined the possibilities of the genre in terms of viewership. And he did this largely on the basis of the way he presents himself. So, I'm always somewhat gobsmacked when people single out the only person on the American left who's successfully self-presented their way into the media spotlight, and suggest that he really oughtta know enough to retool his image. I mean, if one's going to make that case, then it's at least necessary to take into account the pretty much unparalleled success he's had with his image thus far.

Next time you find yourself thinking Moore's great except for being obnoxious or being a liar, it might be worthwhile to pause for a moment to examine that perception, and see how much it's been influenced by the right's never-ending stream of descriptions of him in those terms.
posted by washburn at 6:46 PM on July 10, 2007 [39 favorites]


I saw this yesterday afternoon when it first aired. Though Moore didn't immediately respond to the charges of fact flubbing, he brilliantly took advantage of the live air time that he had. I'm sure that many with passionate views would have done the same given the opportunity. What a platform!
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:47 PM on July 10, 2007


hwestiii: "As big of a tool I think Sanjay Gupta is, I feel bad for the guy. He's trying is damndest to both defend himself and be magnanimous about it, and Michael Moore is having none of it, just rubbing Dr. Gupta's nose in the same stuff over and over. Moore seems to be about as unmagnanimous as the President."

Why should you be magnanimous to a corporate whore who is lying to you? I hate that attitude that being polite is better than being right or honest.
posted by octothorpe at 6:47 PM on July 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


Hopefully, like the John Stewart bit, this will be watched on the internet millions more times than on tv. Can someone please post the Larry King bit? =]
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 6:48 PM on July 10, 2007


I didn't see the whole thing on Larry tonight. But what bugged me about the segment before the first ad was that they acted like these debates over which source they got their numbers from was a huge deal.

It's not.

What's a big deal is that CNN can't let anyone to the left of Joe Klein show up on their network without a misleading, determined, cherry-picking, faux debunking preceding it for like 5 minutes. God forbid they just interview the guy.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:51 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Both of 'em are kinda looking like idiots during the L.King thing, but Gupta's coming off worse, at least in the first half (DVRing). He's a classic middle-of-the-roader, agreeing that Moore's right that folks in other countries end up paying less for health care, even though their taxes are higher, but then attacking Moore as dishonest for calling their systems "free" health care. When Moore points out that Gupta even used a line from the movie about the French "drowning in taxes," while trying to imply that Moore was dishonest in portraying their system as free, Moore captured perfectly what's wrong with blow-dried mainstream analysis.

But Gupta sure has been well-trained in looking into the camera in an interested way. *rolls eyes*

What a tool, indeed.

Moore's still not a great debater on TV, though; there've been a couple of times he's looked like he's lost his train of thought. Not good; it makes him look unprepared.
posted by mediareport at 6:51 PM on July 10, 2007


There's only one thing worse than CNN: CNN Airport. Every time I travel I have to endure that crap and the only way to shut it out is to plug your ears, what with televisions blaring it every 10 feet or so.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 6:54 PM on July 10, 2007


go.see.the.movie
posted by Exchequer at 6:56 PM on July 10, 2007


I'm all for thoughtful discussion and civility and decorum and rational discourse but, really, one side of the table has been screaming "Fuck you!" at the other side for so long it's time to scream back.

Corporations OWN us. They own the media, they own the government, and they won't stop until they own it all. It's nothing new. Teddy Roosevelt knew, Mother Jones knew, the Wobblies and the Populists and the Grange knew. We ran the robber barons out on a rail and now we've spent the last forty years LETTING THEM BACK IN.

The middle class has been bamboozled into giving back every gain they earned over the last hundred years. Like Lewis Black says so succinctly, "we're going fucking backwards".

Michael Moore is needed. We could use a thousand more of him. If what he looks or sounds like is more important to you than what he's saying, then I submit you're not listening.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:11 PM on July 10, 2007 [32 favorites]


If I was enslaved to Roman Gladitorial combat, I have to admit that if they announced my next opponent is a man called "Sanjay Gupta" a small part of me would be comforted.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:19 PM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Benny A. You are absolutely right! Please see this comment and respond.
posted by snsranch at 7:21 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's only one thing worse than CNN: CNN Airport.

There's a version of CNN I watched while trapped in an emergency room waiting area. That was like double-bad.
posted by peeedro at 7:25 PM on July 10, 2007


I've been noticing a ton of Sicko-debunking pieces cropping up everywhere in the past several weeks, including on NPR. This was just a more overt attempt at killing the messenger.

The heat is certainly being turned-up to try and kill whatever momentum Sicko might engender for reform. Unfortunately, it looks like Moore is being left to stand as healthcare-reform's sole public face. As much as I like where the guy's heart is, he's not a good spokesman. Nor should he be. Unfortunately, the more shit like this goes on, the less likely we'll have others coming out and promoting healthcare reform of any meaningful sort
posted by Thorzdad at 7:27 PM on July 10, 2007


How do we do that? And, yes, I really want to know. Any ideas...

Maybe a place to start is to read HR 676 (The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act) and have an honest public debate about if it would work better than the system we have in place. If it would, then it's just a matter of getting our current leaders to support it or finding new ones that will.
posted by Staggering Jack at 7:30 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I did finally see a Lou Dobbs show the other day. Man, they sure weren't kidding about him! Everything, and I mean everything was tied back to the immigration issue. Bush's popularity woes? Due to the dirty Mexicans. Health care crisis? Dirty Mexicans. Iraq war? Dirty Mexicans. Heartbreak of psoriasis? Dirty Mexicans.
posted by fungible at 7:31 PM on July 10, 2007


Wow, that didn't last long. Michael Moore is on Larry King's CNN show right now.

How long before someone claims that universal health care causes terrorism?
posted by hwestiii at 8:20 PM on July 10


I thought you were joking until I watched this.

WTF?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:31 PM on July 10, 2007


No kidding... that sounds like one of those absurd Onion satires that actually came true.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:43 PM on July 10, 2007


Benny A. You are absolutely right! Please see this comment and respond.

I, personally, think that things have gotten so out of hand that a single-payer system is the only viable solution. Insurance and pharmaceutical companies and for-profit hospitals have been handed the financial reins with absolutely no countervailing power to keep their greed in check. They have proven themselves unworthy and, to my mind, anti-American.

A single payer could dictate terms that benefit everyone, while telling the corporations to shove it it they don't want to play along.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:43 PM on July 10, 2007


To Michael Moore: A. Fucking. Men!!!! So satisfying to watch that.
posted by Astragalus at 7:43 PM on July 10, 2007


It really is amazing to see the Michael Moore bashers here.

I've seen people say he has an enormous ego. He's a little loud (figuratively speaking, his voice always stays pretty quiet) but you have to be loud to be heard in this damnable culture. And we're not talking about someone who demands the star treatment here. His movies don't exactly cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make.

I've seen people say his movies are full of lies. He regularly counters every point on his website soon after they're released, and notes that if anything in them were truly worthy of libel the fact checkers would have caught it.

I've seen people say he distorts what they say. It looks to me more like he puts an unflattering context to those words, which is perfectly by the rules and even necessary in this age. Jon Stewart does it most nights.

I've seen people say he carries water, unquestionably, for the liberal point of view, and he does do that at times, but dammit if Bowling for Columbine wasn't quite even-handed, and if Sicko isn't ultimately non-partisan. Hillary Clinton doesn't exactly come out of it well, after all.

I can only think of two things where I actually became uncomfortable in one of his movies, and where it looked like he was grandstanding:

1. Much of "The Big One" is fairly self-serving. It is definitely not his best work.

2. The end of Bowling for Columbine, where he corners the incredibly aged, yet incredibly rich, Charlton Heston in his own press room. At the end, he lays a picture of the little girl who was accidentally shot by the little boy at the foot of the gates of Heston's estate. Seemed a little too cute to my eyes.

But those are, relative to what the guy's done and continues to do, weak sauce objections. He doesn't always make a good movie (The Big One, again, wasn't so hot, and I pity whoever tries to watch Canadian Bacon, though that probably wasn't his fault), but lately he's had an excellent average.
posted by JHarris at 7:46 PM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


I love the fact that he kept calling CNN on the war thing. It was the Gulf War that shot CNN into prominence and they had kind of been coasting on that ever since, until 9/11/terrists/Iraq War, as far as I can tell. Seems like war is good business for CNN.
posted by trip and a half at 7:51 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I simply can't imagine how bad things like Fox News must be

Voila.*

*Do not click this unless you aren't feeling pesimistic enough already.

posted by homunculus at 8:01 PM on July 10, 2007


I simply can't imagine how bad things like Fox News must be
Read The Onion some time. It's something like that, but less funny.
posted by IronLizard at 8:08 PM on July 10, 2007


Yea, Moore has done a great job with his exposition. However:
Step 2. Can't be: "?"
It has to be a reasonable approach to effect prompt change as caused by USian citizens.
How do we do that? And, yes, I really want to know. Any ideas, you really wonderfully smart MeFites?


Have you looked already at Moore's SiCKO: What Can I Do? page? Have a look at #6, in particular.
posted by washburn at 8:26 PM on July 10, 2007


the risible ankle-deep lukewarm weak soup that they call 'reporting',

Same root-cause for both issues: treating health care and news reporting like any other entrepreneurial business opportunity, making profit the bottom line in absolutely every aspect of society. Why are there still publicly funded schools, shouldn't these be operated as profit-centers too?
posted by scheptech at 8:37 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, I lived in France for quite some time and, when I was there, I actually went to the doctor when I didn't feel well. $20 a visit and medication was never more than 15 or 20 -- always reimbursed in totality. Even when I had no job and was not a citizen. Even if I wasn't a permanent resident!!

Sure, my wife paid hefty taxes as a school teacher in France and that money went to support those who were unemployed and even any mefites, if they happened to be in the country.

Now we are in Washington DC. I am in law school and she teaches as an adjunct at three different major universities. Of course, she has no health care. Sol we pay $350 a month for Blue Cross/Blue Shield with a $190 deductible for each of us. This is about equal to the taxes she paid in France, if not more. Except, in France, if I was sick, I would walk down the street and see a doctor. Hell, they will even come to your f'n house!!!!!!!!!!! Even if you live in the center of Paris.

Here in DC, I had a hell of a time finding a decent doctor and, now that I have found one, I never go. I sometimes get migraines and I went to my DC doctor to be treated. I was prescribed 6 pills for $100. I am certain that I would have paid no more than $10 in France. Well, lets just say that I was cured!! I call it preventive medicine.

[On the beginning of the report: It is quite dishonest. What they fail to mention is that in many countries with socialized medicine -- such as in France -- there are private doctors where one can go and pay for an operation without too much of a wait.]
posted by pwedza at 8:39 PM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Dobbs is married to a "dirty Mexican."
posted by erikharmon at 8:56 PM on July 10, 2007


Oooo I'd love to comment more. BUt, basically, we spend way, way, way too much on health care, leave out many and get worse results.

But, you can't credit France for cheap drugs. The drugs are invented here in large part because drug makers know they can recoup the cost of many failed drugs since they will make monopoly profits on drugs here for as long as a patent runs. In essence, we heavily, heavily subsidize drug discovery and making.
posted by skepticallypleased at 8:56 PM on July 10, 2007


I haven't seen CNN for a long, long time.
posted by telstar at 8:58 PM on July 10, 2007


snsranch:Yea, Moore has done a great job with his exposition. However:

Step 2. Can't be: "?"



I think his problem is with the following:

Step 3. Profit!!!!
posted by trondant at 9:02 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


stavros - Was that CNNi?

If that trailing 'i' means 'International', yeah it was.

I wonder if the cleaning person got my ass prints off the screen yet.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:07 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


In essence, we heavily, heavily subsidize drug discovery and making.

Point taken. But there is a LOT of mark up and money that lines the pockets of many. Why are drug prices lower in France? Because there are many 'Michael Moores' in France watching the system very closely. Therefore, there is relatively little mark-up. As far as trade goes, the prices must be the same -- i.e. most favored nation. Its just that they mark up the prices here and we take it in the ***.

Why did my wife wait til Christmas to see the dentist in France when she is no longer on insured? Because she paid $30 and you she was reimbursed. That is not the pharmaceutical industry at play.
posted by pwedza at 9:12 PM on July 10, 2007


Slight derail - A friend of mine told me a funny story about when he was working as a PA at Fox News:

An Associate Producer was asked to get tape of Meatloaf. So she went on the system and ordered tapes, cued them up and got them ready for air as b-roll.

So they go on air talking about Meatloaf and his music, and the b-roll comes up and it's footage of meatloaf the food.

A Fox exec calls and is irate.

BUT, the best part is not that they didn't check this woman's work and they showed a loaf of meat instead of a musician on air. The best part is that she did not get fired. She got "demoted up" to a higher ranking position with higher pay but less responsibility.

Ah Fox News, I loves ya.
posted by spec80 at 9:14 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Part 2 of the interview.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 9:40 PM on July 10, 2007


erikharmon sez: Dobbs is married to a "dirty Mexican."

That's nothing... I've got lots of black friends!
posted by symbioid at 9:40 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Moore & Gupta on Larry King.
posted by progosk at 9:41 PM on July 10, 2007


Dobbs is married to a "dirty Mexican."

Pardon?
posted by dobbs at 9:48 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


[On the beginning of the report: It is quite dishonest. What they fail to mention is that in many countries with socialized medicine -- such as in France -- there are private doctors where one can go and pay for an operation without too much of a wait.]

Freakin' exactly. I can't really understand why there's so much resistance (among those not employed by insurance companies) to national health care - it's not like we'd be going true single payer on everything. I mean, you're never going to see medicare covering botox and boob jobs; likewise I could see a doctor setting up virtually any other practice on the side, too, if someone wasn't satisfied with the nationalized coverage. Worst case scenario, those who are really in a hurry can fly off to Argentina for a bridge or Mumbai for hip replacement - wouldn't it be nice if medical tourism was for the jet set, instead of for people who can barely scrape together air fare?

The drugs are invented here in large part because drug makers know they can recoup the cost of many failed drugs since they will make monopoly profits on drugs here for as long as a patent runs. In essence, we heavily, heavily subsidize drug discovery and making.

I think you're buying into the pharmas' argument a little too readily. You're right that we do heavily subsidize fundamental pharmaceutical production - but the important part is all the government funding of basic research, not the retail help provided by the patent monopoly.

And in any case, there are still serious problems with that argument to the extent that it is true. First, there's the market failure aspect; if a new treatment is truly the only life-saving alternative for a select group of patients, how can they be expected to insist on a "rational" market price? After a certain point, it stops looking like patent rent and begins to look more like gun-to-head style duress. And even if patients are just paying good old fashioned monopoly rents, there's the distributional issue; why should today's patients be forced to go broke subsidizing everyone who'll get it in the future at rock-bottom generic prices?

Even though pharma patents may seem like a necessary (or at least very compelling) evil, it is still a deeply flawed system, and we should be willing to investigate some alternatives. And the already-large role that government funding plays in basic research leads me to doubt that the sky would fall if we went single-payer.
posted by rkent at 9:52 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm still waiting for Roger Smith to turn up and apologize for outsourcing GM production.
posted by Demogorgon at 10:22 PM on July 10, 2007



It's the HUGE gap between the PROBLEM and the possible FIX. I haven't heard any mention about how, as citizens, anyone can influence the situation. So, now, I just feel sick and helpless.


not only is there a general critique of a corrupt, profiteering system in this movie, but a presentation of three models (four if you consider Cuba's politics largely comparable to the US's political system) for a US NHS that contrast the present US system. The three models present "how to do it."

The movie is focused on the experiences of the individual users and producers/players within each system, but arguably more so with users in the positive models than in the critiqued system, since there aren't many interviews with past or present HMO CEOs.

If you're hungry to debate the specifics of a US NHS you're wonky and i support but don't envy you. If you are a doctor or health administrator, or a user with other specific knowledge or concerns, you could comment on a specific issue.

If you're expecting anyone, especially Moore, to make a film dictating very specific policies to the us congress, you've missed the point of why we try to have representative assemblies rather than filmmakers make policy.

If you're wondering why you feel hopeless about US politics, there are even two instances in the movie that address this.
1) the "old labour" parliamentarian's theories of political control
2) moore's filmed comment on the readiness of the French to politically mobilize.

I know the left usually critiques issues more often than it offers positive examples, but this movie is not one of those cases.
posted by eustatic at 10:33 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Next time you find yourself thinking Moore's great except for being obnoxious or being a liar, it might be worthwhile to pause for a moment to examine that perception, and see how much it's been influenced by the right's never-ending stream of descriptions of him in those terms.

I think this and I'm exposed to almost zero right-wing propoganda. I don't watch television.

I've always agreed with most of Moore's viewpoints. But on topics that I've known a lot about, I've always detected a great deal of partisan spin. I know people want that from our side because that's what the opposition is all about, but to me the fact that, generally, we on the left do behave better and are more honest and fair than those on the right says something important about our values and our point-of-view.

You can't always tell which of competing goals is the best and most right. But you can usually tell the difference between tactics that are honest and good and tactics that are dishonest and bad.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:38 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I saw more's response the other day, but not Sanjay Gupta's bit before, I wanted to see what he said and what the refutation were.

I hope this movie motivates people to change the system, which suck ass.
posted by delmoi at 10:39 PM on July 10, 2007


Corporate news will always suck. News at 11.

Or, if you prefer: Moore 1, CNN blitzed down to -100.

Say what you will about Moore - and pity me, because I did sit through Canadian Bacon, which was doubly hard since I'm actually Canadian. Sure, he's not the best orator when he gets excited - but damnit, he's one of the few public figures and artists out there who's at least taking a stand, who's raising this in the public sphere, so kudos for him doing it. And yes, sadly his appearance and demenor seem to shape people's perceptions of his message - but not really surprising, since this is America.

True, there's no utopian country, and every system (medical and otherwise) will have problems, and not work efficiently, and be frustrating. But healthcare is a human right, and a system that doesn't deliver it in the name of society is broken to its core. If Moore's movie gets some sort of change down the road towards joining the rest of the Industrialized West, then I don't care how the hell he comes his hair - his work will have done something that will have literally changed people's lives for the better, and that's to be celebrated.
posted by rmm at 10:45 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gupta's report is bizzare. They report that Canadians have longer wait times then the U.S. but then they say that Canada is the only country of "six industrialized nations" that does worse then America.

So the bottom line is that the U.S. Using some metrics sometimes is not the worst. but most of the time and in most measures it is. Well great.
posted by delmoi at 10:48 PM on July 10, 2007


Why are drug prices lower in France? Because there are many 'Michael Moores' in France watching the system very closely. Therefore, there is relatively little mark-up.

Yeah, no. There's no army of Michael Moores in France. The truth is much more mundane (and actually a much more horrifying).

Drug prices are higher in the U.S. because...

* Drug companies charge their highest rates in the U.S. because they simply cannot charge high rates elsewhere -- other countries will either buy from other suppliers or simply disregard the patents and develop their own versions of the drugs for sale within their country's own border.

* Drug companies therefore need to recoup their costs and make their profits in the U.S., which as one of the richest countries, is deemed able to afford to take the high costs without incurring a terrible economic or humanitarian disruption.

* Socialized medicine allows single customers (the government) in foreign countries to place massive bulk orders.

* There is a public relations aspect, too. Big Pharma provides discounted rates to poorer countries, to be seen as good corporate citizens.

In other words ... U.S. drug customers pay the highest rates in order to subsidize low rates in the rest of the world.

It's like we're in a movie theater paying $10 for Milk Duds at the concession stand, because the theater owners need to make their money somehow, because some customers are getting their Milk Duds from 7-11 and sneaking them in.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:48 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's like we're in a movie theater paying $10 for Milk Duds at the concession stand, because the theater owners need to make their money somehow, because some customers are getting their Milk Duds from 7-11 and sneaking them in.

The film industry has existed and prospered long before the concession industry.

Which is to say that we're really paying "$10"/"billions" for "Milk Duds"/"drugs" because the handful of "movie theatre chains"/"pharmaceutical corporations" left now control the market for "Milk Duds"/"drugs" when we want to "see a movie"/"get medical care", by "preventing people from bringing in their own"/"calling drugs imported from Canada counterfeit, etc.".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:05 PM on July 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


The film industry has existed and prospered long before the concession industry.

Yes, but the business has changed. Ticket prices simply don't cover the business costs of running of modern movie theater. Their profit comes from concessions and only concessions (well, also before-movie advertising).

I don't know why this is. I don't know if it's the capital expenses of a modern theater, or personnel, or film licensing. But I know it's true, it's been written about quite a lot.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:09 PM on July 10, 2007


Seems like the movie theaters aren't the only business with that problem these days.
posted by IronLizard at 11:12 PM on July 10, 2007


Without getting into the history of studios and movie chains, I guess what I'm saying is that the analogy is just not very good.

Corporations are expected to make x% profit, regardless of any consideration of whether that involves (obvious) price gouging.

Pharma corps control the market they are in — both through consolidation and lobbying legislators — and they handily bend the US market and political environment to their rules, much to the happiness of their shareholders.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 PM on July 10, 2007


I haven't watched the movie yet, but I am going to this weekend. However, I have been trying to understand our complicated healthcare system for the past year or so. Why do we get so little for all the money we spend (which is a fact that has been fairly well established)? Our system is the way it is due to history. Each new development in healthcare was an attempt to solve a previous problem. Starting with pay-for-service at the beginning of 1900s, the Depression created hospital and physician groups insurance. From there, evolved insurance companies. However, due to rising costs, now we are in the era of managed care.

The problem right now rests at least partly, if not mostly, on the fact that healthcare is being run as a business. Remember Giuliani's comment that Moore had to respond to? Well, the problem with free market is that the market lacks morality, it lacks the ability to deal with other values besides profit such as health and happiness. Market is why we have things like "pre-existing conditions." Market is why hospitals have to make a profit. In order to do that, it needs to attract patients using the latest technology. I remember my professor on health policy inviting someone from the Scripps system in San Diego to come talk to the class and what struck me was the fact that the hospitals have to make millions of dollars in order to buy new equipment, in order to keep up with competitors. We Americans demand the best healthcare, despite the fact that the latest technology sometimes performs minimally better than the old technology (if anyone's familiar with the college textbook problem, it's similar). Insurance companies also have to spend money on advertising. That comes out of the premiums. The doctors have to sort through multiple insurance systems just to get paid. That's paperwork and time and loss in efficiency that we are paying for. Because of these things, I really don't think it's a bad idea for establishment of a single-payer system.

There's so much more I want to say on this as well as drugs and pharmaceutical companies, but it's just all a blur in my head. I really can't believe the comment made by Lou Dobbs and Giuliani's comment on socialist medicine. So what if it contains aspects of socialism? I think Americans are so gung-ho about democracy that they immediately shy away upon the concept of socialism (at least I think that's what Giuliani's appealing to). Moore is right in that Medicare and Medicaid are part of socialised medicine. Also about not being able to pay our medical bills as a major cause of bankruptcy. In third world countries, all you have to do is replace that last word with "poverty."
posted by state fxn at 11:21 PM on July 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


One of the problems of pharmaceutical companies is that they often base their research on research already performed by the academia, where unlike in the industry, information flows freely. In addition, because they are motivated by profits, pharmaceuticals will often patent a new drug that is slightly different than a preexisting one, one that doesn't really offer much improvement. Yet, they are able to claim that it's a new drug, and consumers dutifully buy it at the high price it charges.

Another thing, drug companies granting discounts to other countries that needs the medicine. Even with the discounts, some countries cannot afford it.
posted by state fxn at 11:29 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pharma corps control the market they are in — both through consolidation and lobbying legislators — and they handily bend the US market and political environment to their rules, much to the happiness of their shareholders.

More specifically: US drug customers do not pay the highest rates just so that Big Pharma can subsidize low rates in the rest of the world out of the goodness of their hearts — which is definitely not the socialist, commie pinko agenda that shareholders have signed up for — but because the US government is easily bought off to look the other way while said corporations bend the system and make money hand over fist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:29 PM on July 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


* Drug companies therefore need to recoup their costs and make their profits in the U.S., which as one of the richest countries, is deemed able to afford to take the high costs without incurring a terrible economic or humanitarian disruption.

And yet, many of those drug companies are based in countries with lower drug prices. GlaxoSmithKline is a British company for example.
posted by delmoi at 11:36 PM on July 10, 2007


Yes, but the business has changed. Ticket prices simply don't cover the business costs of running of modern movie theater. Their profit comes from concessions and only concessions (well, also before-movie advertising).

I ushered in a Carmike theater back when, and we were told that the theater itself received none of the ticket revenues. When the film listing board outdoors fell down dramatically during a windstorm, it was never replaced, because there was no budget for that. Years later, its still an empty steel frame. Ticket revenue evidently paid for higher levels of chain administration, but not for theater staff.
posted by gsteff at 11:40 PM on July 10, 2007


I have just as much respect for anyone who makes an Oscar audience boo him for ranting about the evils of war as I do for someone who basically calls CNN on being the steaming pile of shit that it is.

People talk about how Moore lies about facts, etc. My god, how the hell would we know? Facts aren't exactly, y'know, facts anymore.

Fuck wit. Fuck class. Fuck presentation. Since when did we have to politely ask the people who destroy our society to knock it off? Jeez.
posted by Football Bat at 11:41 PM on July 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


Personally I'm much more concerned about corporate influence in politics than I am about the healthcare system per se; the state of our healthcare system is a symptom of an underlying disease, and that disease is non-voting corporate entities manipulating the political system for profit. If we could get a handle on that, I think a whole lot of things would improve.

For starters, I think Americans would stand up and demand the same sort of pricing on drugs that people in other parts of the world get. (Whether that would be good for people in other parts of the world I can't say...) This wouldn't be terribly hard to achieve, without resorting to socialized healthcare, if you could keep the pharmaceutical companies from gerrymandering things for about ten minutes.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:18 AM on July 11, 2007


Dobbs is married to a "dirty Mexican."

Holy crap, doesn't he know that they're all lepers?!
posted by homunculus at 12:18 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Finally got to Moore in the video... wow, he is flustered. And understandably so, they just spent a quarter of the show before he gets on saying how much his movie sucks!
posted by JHarris at 12:30 AM on July 11, 2007


* Drug companies charge their highest rates in the U.S. because they simply cannot charge high rates elsewhere -- other countries will either buy from other suppliers or simply disregard the patents and develop their own versions of the drugs for sale within their country's own border.

This isn't quite how it works. In first world countries the health system evaluates a new drug to see whether it is effective and whether it offers a cost benefit.
If it is viewed as valuable, it is put on the subsidised schedule. If it isn't, it is available at American prices. If the drug companies offer a lower rate to the government they make it more likely to hit the cost benefit criteria.
Occasionally, this causes upset when terminal cancer patients, for example, want to take a new drug that will extend their life for a few months in a percentage of cases. The government tends to say they are in the process of reviewing the new drug for inclusion, and will then make a big show of rushing through the approval to look good.

Typically, this approach saves money when new drugs are only mildly improved over the old, as the gov can easily argue they don't want to pay any more than previously, otherwise they will continue to use the old drug. In most countries too, there are restrictions on pharmaceutical advertising so we don't have patients saying I want Viagra NOT Ciallis. This also allows generics to be used after patents expire for further cost reductions. Indeed, when I get a penicillin prescription filled the pharmacist asks if I want to save a couple of bucks by getting the generic.
posted by bystander at 12:43 AM on July 11, 2007


I was glad to see Moore go after Blitzer/CNN for ignoring all he had said about the Iraq war in Farenheit 9/11, I was totally not surprised to see Blitzer not blink or acknowledge or -

And there it is, I thought, all of Moore's efforts outdone by some asshole just running out the clock.

Which makes me wonder, the revolution will not be telelvised? Fine, but will someone at least please tell me where is our Bastille?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:59 AM on July 11, 2007


JHarris writes "t really is amazing to see the Michael Moore bashers here."

He ...he ..he's michael "bin ladin" more , don't you know ? I mean he disses and pissed and shissed all over 9/11 and made points and whatnot, and now what ? He wants against to point fingers at the system ? What's with his pinko commie "socialization of healthcare " ? Medicaid already exists and people with insurance are the great majority ! The guy needing to choose which finger ? First he should have used more caution ! And the woman who didn't tell about yeast infection ? Why did she lie ??

Remember that you must first understand the mentality of the people who buy these ^^^^ weak arguments as if they were gold.
posted by elpapacito at 1:10 AM on July 11, 2007


I hate to admit it, but Wolf Blitzer didn’t come off too shabbily in that clip. Moore was his old ranting self again (sometimes I think he makes the fight too much about himself, than the actual fight), but he seems to be the only one out there doing anything about these issues.

Plus, Sanjay Gupta and Lou Dobbs are partners in ass-hattery.
posted by hadjiboy at 1:12 AM on July 11, 2007


Hmm. E-Mail Shows CNN, Gupta Given The Right Facts Before Getting Them Wrong via reddit via Huffington via Wednesday boredom.
posted by dreamsign at 1:27 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Profit-driven news reporting is sick, but profit-driven health care is fucking loathesome.
posted by tehloki at 1:56 AM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


From Bklyn writes "And there it is, I thought, all of Moore's efforts outdone by some asshole just running out the clock."

Eh you're giving Wolf too much credit ; first he doesn't work in a vacuum, neither does Michael..there's people behind them, in the sense of collaborators as per

dreamsign writes "Gupta Given The Right Facts Before Getting Them Wrong"

but of course all most of people see is the two of them. The disgrace isn't , imho, in Wolf playing the uppity sheep and Michael getting so very humanly upset by what he thinks is an outrageous misrepresentation.

The disgrace is the banalization of an enormous, extremely significant topic such as YOUR HEALTH and how you might not received what you are paying for and in a very critical , definition-of-being-in-need situation such as sickness. It can't be settled in a friggin talk show.

Not suprisingly many think that "it's not going to happen to them" but they don't have any significant statistic to quote or if they have it's produced by the usual suspects.
posted by elpapacito at 2:32 AM on July 11, 2007


Getting the following groups:

Insurance Companies
Doctors
Nurses
Lawyers
Unions
Pharmaceutical Companies
HMOs
Hospitals
Lobbyists
Local Politicians
State Politicians
Governors
The House
The Senate
The Supreme Court
The Executive Branch

...to work together in order to address the problems with American Health Care seems to be completely hopeless, especially since they're all so overpaid. No one seems to really want to 'fix' it, or it would've been fixed already. Everyone's 'happy' with the way it is, because it earns so much money for all involved. How all these people can turn their back on America's children and elderly is, to my way of thinking, some sort of collective insanity.

Everyone points the finger at the other people. The blame game takes so much time... and all the while people are suffering and dying whilst all of the above scream 'I'm not the greedy one, HE is!'

So, the rest of the world will watch SiCKO and shake their heads, but it's really Americans who need to watch it and take it on board as default reality. Americans like Blitzer and Gupta (and more notably, their producers) need to watch it the most.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:10 AM on July 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


chuckdarwin writes "they're all so overpaid."

Oh yeah they could lower prices a little, but do they cash directly and immediately or is some ltd/insurance giving the checks ? I mean , if i can screw the customer why can't I screw the doctor as well if I bring him the customers ? Doc better shut the fuck up or I'll send the clients to another one or cut him out from the nice-trips-to-hawaii.
posted by elpapacito at 3:27 AM on July 11, 2007


fleetmouse: "Yeah Moore has risen in my estimation too, snsranch. He's on point, he has his facts straight and he won't let himself be bulldozed. I wish he'd been that together when he spoke with O'Falafel a few years back.

Wolf Blitzer? Fuck that guy. A lightweight. I want to see Moore go mano a mano with one of the Dark Satanic Knights of "journalism".
"

He rised in your estimation, not because he changed, he didn't. It's only because once you believed his detractors back in time and now that you see that those detractors are a bunch of morons, Moore appeared in his real aspect, a real patriot.
posted by zouhair at 3:55 AM on July 11, 2007


rokusan: "BTW, Moore was nowhere near Stewart's level of class or wit. Moore's bad presentation is why it's so easy to spin with the word 'unhinged', which I imagine is all over the right side of the web today.

Stewart's polite but powerful appeal, complete with teh funny, is harder to marginalize.
"

Stewart is alive because he is backed up by his bosses, I doubt if he lose his job he can do what Moore has done and still doing despite being bashed by all the mainstream "media", this sayed I love Stewart :)
posted by zouhair at 4:02 AM on July 11, 2007


check out this article regarding moore
Moore means less: How radical documentary maker Michael Moore lost the plot
http://arts.independent.co.uk/film/features/article2737900.ece
posted by robbyrobs at 4:11 AM on July 11, 2007


@robbyrobs : wow you digged a fine piece of crap dude
posted by zouhair at 4:26 AM on July 11, 2007


Drug companies therefore need to recoup their costs and make their profits in the U.S....

And therein lies the elephant in the living room. Profits.
I would never begrudge a company profits. As long as we're a capitalist society, profits will always be the whole point of the matter.
However...
I think some questions need to be asked...What is a reasonable level of profit? Is it reasonable for corporations to build-in 20+% profit margins? Especially when it involves the health of citizens?

It seems to me that, as things stand today, the calculations have been made and corporations and government have determined that a certain level of citizen health will be sacrificed for maximum corporate profit.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:53 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


So, we pay $350 a month for Blue Cross/Blue Shield with a $190 deductible for each of us...

Good lord, that's an utterly fantastic deal! Would you and your wife consider adopting me and my family? We'll cover the additional expense!
Please?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:55 AM on July 11, 2007


Michael Moore's nothing but a communist. He doesn't think doctors should get paid and it's obvious from the link that he doesn't think journalists should get paid. (CNN has adverts - OMG - that's awful)

Not only that, but he's always banging on about what a mistake Iraq was without even trying to fix the problem. (And you'll notice he only brings up Iraq in this interview when he's on the back foot) It's just agenda driven drum banging nonsense and Moore won't be happy until there's a Hammer and Sickle flying over the white house.

How anyone can listen to this idiot without realising how little he cares about the subjects he publishes these tirades about is beyond me.
posted by seanyboy at 5:05 AM on July 11, 2007


seanyboy, I think I speak for the room when I say "What the fuck are you smoking and why aren't you sharing?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:08 AM on July 11, 2007


Thanks, I don't need any of whatever he's smoking. Clearly, it's only gonna make it worse.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:18 AM on July 11, 2007


Michael Moore's nothing but a communist...Moore won't be happy until there's a Hammer and Sickle flying over the white house.

You forgot the "Hanoi Jane" reference. You gotta have a "Hanoi Jane" reference in screeds like that. It's a rule.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:37 AM on July 11, 2007






seanyboy:

Set 'em up and knock 'em down. If you'd rather get ass-raped daily by good ol' American corporations that's your business. Better dead than Red.

If you think profits should trump honest reporting or accessible healthcare, then there's probably no hope for you.

AFWIW, doctors by and large, are as screwed by this system as we are. Supporters of change want doctors to be paid well. We could all have gold-plated health care tomorrow and doctors could be paid handsomely if we cut the fucking insurance industry out of the middle.

If you really hated socialism you wouldn't use the highways, or public schools, or police and fire services, or the public library, or ....

And you certainly won't take your Social Security, or use Medicare, huh?

I don't know what will work to fix these problems, but I do know that Red Scare mentality from the fifties certainly won't.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:49 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


wow you digged a fine piece of crap dude

If you can't respond to the points about Moore's methods the article raises, perhaps it'd be better not to comment at all instead of just posting an insult. And stop using that damn "@"; it's stupid and redundant internetspeak. Just the name and a colon works fine; go ahead and try it. You'll see.
posted by mediareport at 5:50 AM on July 11, 2007


Man, I wish I had the time to make movies about subjects I care little about.

Dobbs is married to a dirty Mexican.

Yeah, and Strom Thurmond had a black baby.
posted by fungible at 5:53 AM on July 11, 2007


You know, Michael Moore was sort of the last person on earth who I figured could give me an erection. But there you go.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:57 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]



What amazes me about Gupta's "debunking" was that he didn't note that Americans pay much, much more for health care *despite* the higher taxes paid in other countries to support universal care and *get less*. He has that expert going on about rationing-- without giving the context that we are already rationing via having so many uninsured and via widely-varying managed care, preexisting conditions, etc.

The problem with nonuniversal health care as we do it is that insurers only job is to get paid to cut costs-- they can't make money without adding bureaucracy and lowering access to care. It rations care irrationally and has an entire, unneccessary profit-making industry to do it.

Universal care is cheaper because you can pay doctors a salary (not by procedure-- thereby reducing profit motive in doing unneeded, extra procedures) and because you can ration rationally: we won't pay for it if the evidence doesn't support it, period.

And, if politicians supporting universal care were smart, they would sell it as "you get a free basic package, but the rich can buy all the extra private care they want, so no one loses." It's not "socialized medicine" if the rich have a choice to go private, too. It's just a far more rational, more cost-effective and ultimately far better for all patients system than the current bizarro "system" we have.

Gupta tried for "balance" when the data actually are on Moore's side-- even if Moore is also a polemicist.
posted by Maias at 6:00 AM on July 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


A playlist for seanyboy. I think you need more ammunition.
posted by gsb at 6:05 AM on July 11, 2007


How anyone can listen to this idiot without realising how little he cares about the subjects he publishes these tirades about is beyond me.

How anyone can make a comment like that without watching the movie is beyone me.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 6:07 AM on July 11, 2007


I've seen enough of his movies to know what he's about. I know his kind. Bowling for Columbine, Farenheit 911, Team America World Police. You only need to see a couple of these to realise what poisonous dogma he's spewing.

I'm not saying the health care service is perfect, but it's better than in Europe where MRSA stalks and kills many many "free" health care receivers.
posted by seanyboy at 6:25 AM on July 11, 2007


Bowling for Columbine, Farenheit 911, Team America World Police.

This is...humor, yes? Do I need more coffee to laugh along?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:28 AM on July 11, 2007


My apologies for the misleading FPP. Here's a correction, with link to a longer video.

Micheal Moore was immediately invited back to CNN
posted by bicyclefish at 6:32 AM on July 11, 2007


I've seen enough of his movies to know what he's about. I know his kind. Bowling for Columbine, Farenheit 911, Team America World Police. You only need to see a couple of these to realise what poisonous dogma he's spewing.

Wow. Just...

... I'd better go.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:32 AM on July 11, 2007


Do I need more coffee to laugh along?

That or a sense of humour. But I guess you're a democrat so you won't have a sense of humour. Coffee would be fine. Despite the "cash crop" status it enjoys and the countless world horrors that are caused by this simple brown bean, you liberals are more than happy to drink it. Because, well I suppose, one of your effete liberal poet kings was photographed drinking it in black and white.
posted by seanyboy at 6:33 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heheh, I get it. Seany's left himself logged in on a public machine!
posted by dash_slot- at 6:34 AM on July 11, 2007


Moore is right in that Medicare and Medicaid are part of socialised medicine

So is the health care for the military and Congress.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 AM on July 11, 2007


Heheh, I get it. Seany's left himself logged in on a public machine!

Guess again, seanyboy isn't even an American, he's pulling a Colbert on you.
posted by IronLizard at 6:52 AM on July 11, 2007


Seanyboy: I don't know if you know, but "Team America World Police" was made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park, self-proclaimed Republicans.

Hence the incredulity.
posted by adamrice at 6:53 AM on July 11, 2007


With due respect, adamrice, I think that trying to make a lucid point to seanyboy in this thread is tantamount to wearing an "I'm with Stupid" t-shirt.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:02 AM on July 11, 2007


But damn, I wish Moore would learn to get a haircut and maybe use a comb or something. He looks completely nuts, even though what he says makes perfect sense.

If he did that there would just be about 1000 news stories about how vain he is. There is this very small space that critics of the mainstream can occupy. It looks like this - . - only about 1000 times smaller. Your comment just shrank it a little bit more.
posted by srboisvert at 7:03 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it should be repeated
Can you please explain to Dr. Gupta that in the world that most Americans live in, we're not looking for "Health Care Utopia", and having to wait in a doctors office to be seen is something of a luxury many of us can no longer afford. His comment that in countries with free health care there is a long wait-time to see a doctor and it takes months to schedule elective surgery is laughable. That's like telling a starving person "don't bother with the free food, there's a line to get in and service is just awful." Are you joking?

I'm a self employed carpenter with no health insurance. None. I can't afford it. I go to work everyday knowing that one slip of the saw, and I could be choosing my fingers or sewing up my own leg. That's my reality. Everyday I go to work and listen to the cartilage in my knee CRUNCH when I climb a ladder, and the only thing I can do is pray it holds out for just a couple more years. Everyday, I am one misstep away from bankruptcy.

I've been living with a degenerating knee injury for YEARS because I can't afford to do a god damn thing about it, and you think having to wait in a Doctor's office for free treatment is something I care about? If I could schedule a simple arthroscopy, free of charge but it's going to have to be in September, do you honestly think I'm going to say "no, I'd rather wait until arthritis completely debilitates me and I can no longer work?"

Come live in our world for a while, Doctor, then talk to me about "wait-time".

Thanks Michael.
That's what this boils down too. You can talk about abstract statistics, but when you look at the individuals getting fucked it becomes a lot more difficult to argue the point.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 AM on July 11, 2007 [10 favorites]


ok folks, let's stop feeding the troll...
(the Team America comment was funny, tho)
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 7:07 AM on July 11, 2007


I watched it after reading the comments and, well, I don't see anything well wrong with his presentation. That's the only way to get a good percentage of people to perceive the urgency of the situation. If people hear "Well, I'm not entirely certain if these comments were a 100% spot-on, but I'm sure it's an honest mistake", that doesn't tell anything at all, because it's rare for any comments anywhere to be 100% right. If his basic premise about the healthcare system being corrupt is true, then this is the best way to present it, in order to preach outside the choir. Their comments before the interview were sort of right but worked subtly to dilute his message and turn it into an impotent "we could do better but everybody has problems and nobody is perfect and we live in an imperfect world and we should totally think about this though but everybody is imperfect and we don't live in perfect world and we'll 100% motivated now that you brought it up to at least consider it all and them maybe we'll come around to..." His 'proper' response would be to agree that it's mostly right but mention that a few things are sort of a bit off. Instead he says it's bullshit and that response is more to the point.

But I don't really know much about the USian medical system or other medical systems. I found his way of presentation is compelling, though, and this is the first time I see him. I should rent Fahrenheit.
posted by rainy at 7:26 AM on July 11, 2007


sigh - how come every time you say something remotely against common consensus you get called a troll.

So, in Bowling for Columbine, directly after the interview with Matt Stone there's a cartoon. A cartoon that looks exactly like South Park. And it's on Directly after the interview with Matt Stone. Who do you think made that cartoon?

Michael Moore and the South Park guys collaborated before, and it's pretty fair to say that Moore's appearance in TAWP was planned and known about and represented Moore's own opinions.
posted by seanyboy at 7:28 AM on July 11, 2007


Ya know, it's funny. Ask a military person what they think of free military healthcare, and they'll generally tell you it's great -- maybe not top-shelf or anything, but it fulfills the needs of them and their families. Republican civilians, who generally admire the military, will tell you the same thing. Any suggestion of removing free health care as a military perk will be met with howls of protest. These same folks are (again, generally) adamantly against universal health care for all Americans -- because "socialized medicine doesn't work".

Well, clearly it DOES work. The military health care system works, on some level, right here in the U.S.A.* Okay, so press that point, why can't we extend at least military health care to and the response becomes, "well they're not military, they haven't worked for it, so they don't deserve it."

THAT is the real objection to universal healthcare: It's not that it doesn't work; clearly it does. The problem is that the dirty unwashed masses don't *deserve* it, with a big side order of "I'll be damned if I'm gonna pay for it."

The other counter-arguments -- long waiting periods, lower quality, yer-a-goddamn-commie -- are just empty rationalizations.

They... don't... deserve it.


* Not that I'm suggesting that we actually model the universal system after the military system, in practice.
posted by LordSludge at 7:35 AM on July 11, 2007 [6 favorites]


how come every time you say something remotely against common consensus sense you get called a troll.

I CAN HAS EDIT RIGHTS?
posted by IronLizard at 7:40 AM on July 11, 2007


I love the argument "We need to keep drug prices high so they can pay for research!" But they aren't. They're paying for Super Bowl ads.

Drug companies spend more on marketing than they do on research. CBC story.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:47 AM on July 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


So, in Bowling for Columbine, directly after the interview with Matt Stone there's a cartoon. A cartoon that looks exactly like South Park. And it's on Directly after the interview with Matt Stone. Who do you think made that cartoon?

FlickerLab. Trey and Matt didn't like it.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:58 AM on July 11, 2007


I was expecting not to like Sicko, but it really seemed like Moore anticipated the arguments that would be thrown against the movie and addressed most of them.

Nearly everyone I know in their mid-twenties who has had a health problem has a health insurance horror story, whether it's not switching jobs because of the temporary loss of benefits or paying insane amounts out of pocket.
posted by drezdn at 8:02 AM on July 11, 2007


seanyboy, you're a little confused.

So, in Bowling for Columbine, directly after the interview with Matt Stone there's a cartoon. A cartoon that looks exactly like South Park. And it's on Directly after the interview with Matt Stone. Who do you think made that cartoon?

"Lately, my favorite mistake is the one many reviewers made crediting the cartoon in "Bowling for Columbine" as being the work of the "South Park" creators. It isn't. I wrote it and my buddy Harold Moss's animation studio drew it."

On Preview, what ALongDecember said.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:04 AM on July 11, 2007


While I don't totally agree with Moore's methodology, the fact that he embellishes his documentaries with dramatic elements does not bother me whatsoever. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems to prevent Moore from launching a full-scale attack on mass media is that he isn't fully likeable, in the sense that he speaks the truth as he sees it, and he doesn't back down from argument. And it that sense, he doesn't stand a chance against media darling Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay is the Connie Chung of medicine. And I find Blitzer's position, that simply because Gupta is highly qualified, he is therefore correct, reprehensible. The idea that Gupta is echoing some kind of majority opinion in the medical field is ridiculous, and he should be held accountable in terms of the pharma companies that help keep his shit broadcasts on the air.

There are no leaders - and no agendas - at CNN anymore outside of getting the best ratings. Think about it. The reason the so-called "liberal media" has played into the republican party's hands during the war is because they are incapable of proscribing a course of action to its viewers with the intent of either supporting or going against our leaders. Instead, a culture of ennui combined with fear is fostered - essentially, whatever it takes to keep your eyeballs glued to the screen for as long as possible.
posted by phaedon at 8:14 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


If you really hated socialism you wouldn't use the highways, or public schools, or police and fire services, or the public library, or ....

Thank you! I've been saying that for years. Of course I always put it a little rougher: "Get the fuck off my roads, then. And good luck if you get mugged. Maybe you can use your copy of The Fountainhead to soothe yourself in the hospital afterwards."
posted by grubi at 8:14 AM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


Here's Moore & Sanjay on Larry King.
pt2
pt3
posted by brevator at 8:21 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, in Bowling for Columbine, directly after the interview with Matt Stone there's a cartoon. A cartoon that looks exactly like South Park. And it's on Directly after the interview with Matt Stone. Who do you think made that cartoon?

I remain amazed at how few minutes on Google it actually would have taken you to not look so fucking stupid here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:27 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]




Wow, those larry king clips are actually painful to watch, especially the second part. Gupta is such a corporate tool.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:48 AM on July 11, 2007


I think seanyboy isn't just a troll, he's a very clever, entertaining troll. He makes mistakes on purpose to incite angry responses.

And besides, everyone knows that Harvey Weinstein is actually Rupert Murdoch's fuck buddy, and that Moore is just trying to get O'Reilly's spot. Oh, and 9/11 never really happened.
posted by fungible at 8:53 AM on July 11, 2007


Orange Pamplemousse writes "Gupta is such a corporate tool." There you go, fixed it for you.

Yet anyway lets not be concerned by Gupta, Gipta, Gapta, Sigma and whatever the person or name may be...he quote statistic so liberally (if u pardon the phun) and said "you used preventive numbers" or something to the effect of suggesting Moore cherrypicked numbers. Mr. Gupta is a neurosurgeon or maybe a spindoctor ? Given such remarks, I'll opt for spindoctor (as serious neurosurgeon do neurosugery, not spinning of bulls)
posted by elpapacito at 9:08 AM on July 11, 2007


Hrmph. seanyboy's worse than Snape.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:08 AM on July 11, 2007


I never said the Southpark people made that cartoon.

I'd also go as far as to say that it's amazing many of your default positions are that I'm too stupid to use Google. Underestimate people much?

Disagree != Stupid.

And yeah - I'm trolling. But it's not fun any more. So, whatever.
posted by seanyboy at 9:18 AM on July 11, 2007


When I first came to Michigan, MM had a paper called the Flint Voice and the distribution was so sparse that they asked for volunteers to take papers around the Michigan area. This was a couple of years before he bolted for the ill-fated Mother Jones job. I was a salesperson who traveled most of Michigan so I'd pick up a bundle or three and drop off the Voice at restaurants & bars in my travels.

So, I got to know Moore a little bit before his fame, though he wouldn't know me from Roger Smith. I am always amused at the tales of Moore being difficult. That CNN piece? That's him. He talks like that, whines like that, reasons like that. Sure he's got blindspots and has a propensity to spin things his way.

But his way is largely for a better way for all of us, not just those who kiss his ass or his ring. He is a far straighter-shooter than George Bush (either edition) and 98% of those in Congress.

The piece that Roger Rappaport wrote (linked sort of by RobbyRob) is hardly news. Moore has already publicly said that this will probably be his last documedy (if you're not laughing you have stock in HealthInsureCo) for the reasons alluded to--he's burned out, he's gone as far as he can with his form of documentary (and anyone who'd like to suggest that ANY documentary is made without a POV is full of BS) and that after tilting at windmills for the last 30 or so years, he'd like it if there were more young folks in the wings ready to fight against the corruption and lies and hypocrisy of the USian political-corporate-military complex.

He was far too kind to Rudy Giuliani, who should have had shit spewing out of his mouth than the lie he spun to the Republican debate audience. The free market system--which is heavily subsidized btw--has proven to NOT be the answer. I knew that thirty years ago when I had full corporate insurance coverage and had to fight for coverage on nearly every procedure my family encountered over 25 years, because the system as it is set up rewards the insurance co employees who can defer or deny coverage until the claimant gives up. This situation helps neither the patient or the provider.

I could rant for hours but won't. My bottom line: you don't have to like Moore to agree with his message and when you look at his message versus the mendacity of those he lampoons, I'll take Michael Moore any day of the week.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:20 AM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


And it's on Directly after the interview with Matt Stone. Who do you think made that cartoon? Michael Moore and the South Park guys collaborated before...

I never said the Southpark people made that cartoon.

Smarter trolls, please. Or at the very least ones whose pubes have come in.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:28 AM on July 11, 2007


Wait, you're expecting seanyboy to have known about the facts of that animated piece?! I mean, come on people.
posted by NationalKato at 9:29 AM on July 11, 2007


Damn that was good toob.
posted by Mister_A at 9:29 AM on July 11, 2007


Oh, and 9/11 never really happened.

According to Wikipedia it did, and I clearly remember... hey wait a minute!
posted by ALongDecember at 9:31 AM on July 11, 2007


You may not know this, but Micheal Moore and seanyboy are one and the same!

Michael Moore is just an American version of Mark Thomas, larger, louder, less sarcastic and more egotistical.

Made you look, made you stare, made you lose your underwear!
posted by asok at 9:34 AM on July 11, 2007


I watched Sicko yesterday, and I wondered why if we're so wedded to the insurance companies we don't just take them out of the business of deciding which claims they want to pay. It wouldn't fix the problem, but it would at least keep the insurance companies from speciously denying valid claims.

Of course, the rest of us who don't have insurance wouldn't be at all helped, but it's a start.

If only the Clintons had been successful in getting their plan through. I was reading about it the other day and came to find that every last smear against it was completely false. It's really amazing how those ideologically opposed to fixing our health care problems will not only distort the truth, but will make up outright lies and they become accepted as truth by many, if not most people as they were in the early 90s.
posted by wierdo at 10:11 AM on July 11, 2007


Ya know, it's funny. Ask a military person what they think of free military healthcare, and they'll generally tell you it's great -- maybe not top-shelf or anything, but it fulfills the needs of them and their families.

I can see the point you're getting at, but if you ask folks in the military, they will not tell you it's great. More often terms like "medical hobby shop" will appear in those conversations. Tricare is a total mess. Obstetrics is a closet full of horror stories.

Does that outweigh that it's free and universal? Depends on whom you ask. To the guy with the top flight doctor and gilded insurance plan, probably not in that it's a risk that his care would decline in quality and in the likelihood he's in the higher tax brackets, his taxes would increase. For the carpenter in the above example, it's much much better in that he as access to care to begin with.

That's where I'd like to see these measurements of care change. When they average things like "wait time" do they add in those millions of folks for whom the wait time is effectively infinity?
posted by Andrew Brinton at 10:12 AM on July 11, 2007


Heheh, I get it. Seany's left himself logged in on a public machine!

Guess again, seanyboy isn't even an American, he's pulling a Colbert on you.
posted by IronLizard at 1:52 PM on July 11 [+] [!]


Non-sequitor of the week!

I know he ain't a yank, I've had several pints with the ole northern git.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:12 AM on July 11, 2007


So, in Bowling for Columbine, directly after the interview with Matt Stone there's a cartoon. A cartoon that looks exactly like South Park. And it's on Directly after the interview with Matt Stone. Who do you think made that cartoon?

That's bullshit. I saw bowling for columbine and the "cartoon" looked nothing like Southpark. I didn't make the connection at all until Matt and Trey brought it up and anyway, what difference does it make who actually did the animation? The only ones for whom this is a concern are matt ant trey who are apparently so egotistical that they think any animation shown near them will be associated with them.

Drug companies spend more on marketing than they do on research. CBC story.

This is actually a really stupid argument to make. Drug companies trying save money by cutting out advertising would be like the government trying to cut costs by laying people off at the IRS (which the bush administration actually did) or like a newspaper trying to cut costs by buying less paper. Less marketing means less income overall. Now obviously there is a saturation point, but spending money on marketing is not a bad thing in terms of drug companies bottom line.

I remain amazed at how few minutes on Google it actually would have taken you to not look so fucking stupid here.

The point he's trying to make is that putting the cartoon next to the video of matt and trey was "confusing" because obviously if you show a cartoon on the same bit of video as Matt or Trey people will like it more, and like the movie more and that's totally a lie to pretend like the movie is more awesome then it really is...
posted by delmoi at 10:13 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


seanyboy writes "it's better than in Europe where MRSA stalks and kills many many 'free' health care receivers"

Yep, good thing capitalism has kept the US free of MRSA since 1961; oh wait.
posted by Mitheral at 10:13 AM on July 11, 2007


And yeah - I'm trolling. But it's not fun any more. So, whatever.
Nice.
posted by bonaldi at 10:23 AM on July 11, 2007


delmoi quotes someone who writes "Drug companies spend more on marketing than they do on research," and replies:

This is actually a really stupid argument to make. Drug companies trying save money by cutting out advertising would be like the government trying to cut costs by laying people off at the IRS

But the original poster never claimed that the drug companies aren't trying to maximize their "bottom line." The claim was that they are putting money into marketing to help their bottom-line rather that focusing on less profitable but more necessary basic research.
posted by washburn at 10:31 AM on July 11, 2007


But damn, I wish Moore would learn to get a haircut and maybe use a comb or something.

Yeah, and maybe he could spend $400 and there'd be 379,000 search results all about that instead of discussing his issues.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:03 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, I'm with a lot of you on the message, but the messenger? Moore is certainly in your face, but he preaches to the choir. What we need is someone that can reach out to the middle and convince those undecided on health care issues that something has to be done (and others are right in pointing out that the something is far less than clear).

Think of it this way - if Moore had made "An Inconvenient Truth" do you think that global warming would be getting the same serious attention it is getting now? I'd argue that Gore's movie presented a turning point in the global warming debate that may not have happened if presented by Moore in Moore's style.
posted by Muddler at 12:28 PM on July 11, 2007


Everyone from Hillary to Rudy agrees our health care system is broken. I don't think this is the time to get into ideological debates over Socialism vs Market Based health care. Let's just identify the major problems in our system and fix them. Yeah, there are great things about health care in places like France, Canada and Cuba, but also some really shitty things as well. It's a bad idea to say "let's be like Canada and trade all our problems for all theirs." This issue will likely be addressed in our lifetime and we have the chance to actually get it right.

IMO, the 200lb gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about is lawsuits. Malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of insurance, which drives down the supply of doctors and increases wait times and crappy experiences. Remember, even if you win your lawsuit you're out the cost of lawyer fees and lost work time and you insurance (and everyone else's still goes up). We really need to adopt some sort of loser pays system with regard to lawsuits in this country.

With regards to Rudy Giuliani saying a free market system works best, he does have a great point in many respects. For starters, our system is over-regulated. Example: I've had athsma my entire life and I need an albuterol inhaler. I know this. Why do I have to pay $100 to get re-diagnosed with athsma and then even more to get the prescription medicine? We need to deregulate many of these common medications that require prescriptions, including the cough medicines that were pulled from over-the-counter status in many states due to meth-heads. Ending the War on Drugs will help lower costs.

We could also increase the supply of care-providers for lowering the level of qualification of these care providers. For instance, when I have a cold and need some medicine I could go to this "Jr Doctor" who is only allowed to perform a limited amount of tasks. If something more serious is wrong, I'd go to the real doctor.

Anyways, there are many ways to lower costs and increase the level of care Americans receive without getting into an ideological stalemate.
posted by b_thinky at 12:34 PM on July 11, 2007


kirkaracha: Google results? As if that's a meaningful metric. If it means anything to you Moore is already more than halfway there and he's not even running for president.
posted by IronLizard at 12:41 PM on July 11, 2007


Why do I have to pay $100 to get re-diagnosed with athsma and then even more to get the prescription medicine?

You don't give any details and I don't know about much about athsma, but are they really re-diagnosing you or checking on how your athsma is doing i.e. has it gotten better, worse, is it effecting something else etc, etc...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on July 11, 2007


What we need is someone that can reach out to the middle and convince those undecided on health care issues that something has to be done...

Looks like the movie is doing just that.

Sicko Spurs Audiences Into Action
"...As everyone knows there’s no more conservative state in the Union than here [in Texas]. And I don’t just live in Texas; I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Dallas isn’t some pocket of hippy-dippy behavior. This isn’t Austin. Dallas is the sort of place where guys in cowboy hats still drive around in giant SUV’s with ‘W’ stickers on the back windshield, global warming and Iraq be damned. It’s probably the only spot left in America where you stand a good chance of getting the crap kicked out of you for badmouthing the president.

So when I went to see Sicko for a second time this afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the audience. I wasn’t watching it downtown, where the city’s few elitist liberals congregate and drink expensive lattes. I went to a random mall in the mid-cities, where folks were likely to be just folks….

When the credits rolled the audience filed out and into the bathrooms….Outside the restroom doors… the theater was in chaos. The entire Sicko audience had somehow formed an impromptu town hall meeting in front of the ladies room. I’ve never seen anything like it. This is Texas goddammit, not France or some liberal college campus. But here these people were, complete strangers from every walk of life talking excitedly about the movie. It was as if they simply couldn’t go home without doing something drastic about what they’d just seen.

….The talk gradually centered around a core of 10 or 12 strangers in a cluster while the rest of us stood around them listening intently to this thing that seemed to be happening out of nowhere. The black gentleman engaged by my redneck in the restroom shouted for everyone’s attention. The conversation stopped instantly as all eyes in this group of 30 or 40 people were now on him. ‘If we just see this and do nothing about it,’ he said, ‘then what’s the point? Something has to change.’ There was silence, then the redneck’s wife started calling for email addresses. Suddenly everyone was scribbling down everyone else’s email, promising to get together and do something… though no one seemed to know quite what. It was as if I’d just stepped into the world’s most bizarre protest rally, except instead of hippies the group was comprised of men and women of every age, skin color, income, and walk of life coming together on something that had shaken them deeply, and to the core.

In all my thirty years on this earth, I have never ever seen any movie have this kind of unifying effect on people. It was like I was standing there, at the birth of a new political movement. Even after 9/11, there was never a reaction like this, at least not in Texas. If Sicko truly has this sort of power, then Michael Moore has done something beyond amazing. If it can change people, affect people like this in the conservative hotbed of Texas, then Sicko isn’t just a great movie, seeing it may be one of the most important things you do all year."
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


Why do I have to pay $100 to get re-diagnosed with athsma and then even more to get the prescription medicine?

Oddly enough, albuterol inhalers will cost you only $.10 in Cuba (and you won't have to pay $100 for the doctor's visit either). Plus you can probably get the old-school CFC inhalers instead of the new less effective (imho) sulfate ones.
posted by drezdn at 12:51 PM on July 11, 2007


Broken! Broken! Our Health Care System Is Broken!
When was it working the way many here think it should work? 1932? 1975? The part of American health care that can be called a 'system' would be what? Medicare?

Hysterical cries that the 'System is Broken' crack me up. It's not a system people. Geez.
posted by rockhopper at 12:55 PM on July 11, 2007


That story is great ericb, I would love to have seen that.
posted by quin at 1:11 PM on July 11, 2007


b_thinky wrote: IMO, the 200lb gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about is lawsuits. Malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of insurance, which drives down the supply of doctors and increases wait times and crappy experiences. Remember, even if you win your lawsuit you're out the cost of lawyer fees and lost work time and you insurance (and everyone else's still goes up). We really need to adopt some sort of loser pays system with regard to lawsuits in this country.

I disagree. While malpractice suits do indeed drive up the cost of insurance beyond anything reasonable, the amount of money actually paid out is pretty small compared to the total health care spend. All loser pays would do is keep justified claims from being adjudicated merely because the claimant is poor and can't risk losing and having to pay for the other side's lawyers. As it is, many people with perfectly valid claims have no choice but to use lawyers willing to work on contingency for an enormous percentage of the eventual payout.

The biggest problem is the insurance companies themselves, IMO. In some fields they raise malpractice rates far beyond anything justifiable based purely on actuarial principles. They raise the rates that high because they don't want any of the business, yet doctors can't afford to take the risk of being without insurance, especially in obstetrics where the payouts are more often large, from what I've read.

They figure that it would look bad to drop the line entirely (although many insurers have!) and figure if someone is stupid enough to pay them that much money, they might as well take the business.

Where we really need to take action, financially speaking, is the absurdly high administrative overhead in claims processing.

Of course, to me, the biggest problem isn't the amount we spend on health care (aside from drugs, which are beyond outrageous in many cases, and contribute to excessive premiums, in addition to now bankrupting Medicare), it's the lack of coverage for half of the country!
posted by wierdo at 1:34 PM on July 11, 2007


b_thinky writes "For starters, our system is over-regulated. Example: I've had athsma my entire life and I need an albuterol inhaler. I know this. Why do I have to pay $100 to get re-diagnosed with athsma and then even more to get the prescription medicine? "

Well in the case of albuterol they'll be checking you for hypertension, a not uncommon side effect that can come on without warning and doesn't present symptoms.
posted by Mitheral at 2:32 PM on July 11, 2007


Michael Moore will be on CNN tonite debating Dr. Gupta on Larry King Live. It must have been the shortest exile in history.

He was supposed to be on Larry King Live a few weeks ago, but he was bumped because Paris Hilton was released from jail.

Healthcare or some dumb bitch. I guess we know where CNN's priorities lie.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 2:36 PM on July 11, 2007


"IMO, the 200lb gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about is lawsuits. Malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of insurance, which drives down the supply of doctors and increases wait times and crappy experiences."

Nope. Another medical hobby horse that's really more of a distraction. weirdo's post a couple up makes a good point, first of all: the total of med-mal payouts is a tiny sliver of overall medical expenses. First, you have to realize that the type of people who prevail on med-mal suits are typically very, very egregiously injured by excessively shoddy care - wrong leg amputated, surgical instrument left in abdomen, etc. It's exceedingly rare for a surgeon to simply use a risky technique and get (successfully) sued just because the outcome was less than optimal. I won't say it never happens, but it's such a small proportion.

Secondly, if doctors actually wanted to DO something about medical malpractice litigation, the ball is in their court; doctors practically never get "dis-boarded" (or whatever the term is) or even seriously reprimanded after an adverse medical malpractice judgment. Sometimes maybe they shouldn't; the justice system isn't perfect. But there's this unforgivable medical omerta going on where doctors would rather protect their own against the mean trial lawyers than kick out some people who really suck at their chosen profession. I don't have statistics offhand, but a very small minority of doctors are responsible for a large majority of malpractice claims. Why are they still doctors? Why is the AMA so eager to keep them in the practice rather than protecting the other 90% (or whatever) from higher premiums?

And third, if you think insurance rates are determined solely by actuarial events, you're being naive. Insurance is a capital industry - they take in all these premiums, and try not to pay claims, and all the while they have huge pools of money to keep track of. So they invest it, and in up markets, the capital investments can turn WAY more profits than the actuarial work. In down markets, these profits disappear overnight, but shareholders aren't happy to hear "well, we had a good run, eh?" - they want results, consistent results, or even increasing year-over-year. So premiums get jacked. And doctors scream. And insurance CEOs say "blah blah trial lawyers yadda yadda tort reform" and everyone eats it up. Until the next bull market.
posted by rkent at 3:39 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of insurance, which drives down the supply of doctors and increases wait times and crappy experiences.

Wow, wildly incorrect propaganda.

In reality, malpractice insurance firms raise their premiums because their investments either fail or aren't making the returns they are accustomed to.

It is very difficult for a plaintiff to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, let alone prevent damage awards from evaporating after repeated appeals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:18 PM on July 11, 2007



Yeah, malpractice isn't such a huge problem in systems like the UK's because you basically know that even if you are crippled by a medical accident, YOU HAVE FREE HEALTH CARE!!!!

Here, you kind of have to sue because you DON"T!!!

From what I recall, the NHS basically pays a set amount to victims of medical errors and in most cases, you can't sue. Maybe you can sue only for really egregious situations? Someone lives there can explain more precisely, I'm sure.

Whereas our malpractice system is basically a lottery: a few people hit the jackpot, but many, many people are severely injured and get nothing. And doctors have to practice defensive medicine, which drives up costs.
posted by Maias at 7:18 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


You knowwhat America needs now? a new war so people will unite in getting screwed again.

keep it down, and yeah socialism is evil


Oh yeah don't think free market exist, it doesn't
posted by zouhair at 7:18 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


You don't give any details and I don't know about much about athsma, but are they really re-diagnosing you or checking on how your athsma is doing i.e. has it gotten better, worse, is it effecting something else etc, etc...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on July 11 [+] [!]


I move a lot. Whenever I move to a new town and my inhaler runs out, I gotta find a new doc to prescribe it for me again.

Oddly enough, albuterol inhalers will cost you only $.10 in Cuba (and you won't have to pay $100 for the doctor's visit either). Plus you can probably get the old-school CFC inhalers instead of the new less effective (imho) sulfate ones.
posted by drezdn at 12:51 PM on July 11 [+] [!]


I think the inhaler cost is like $15. Doctor visit probably isn't $100, depends on what insurance I have, etc. But you get the point. I should be able to just go to Albertson's and buy it off the shelf.
posted by b_thinky at 9:33 PM on July 11, 2007


weirdo: While malpractice suits do indeed drive up the cost of insurance beyond anything reasonable, the amount of money actually paid out is pretty small compared to the total health care spend. All loser pays would do is keep justified claims from being adjudicated merely because the claimant is poor and can't risk losing and having to pay for the other side's lawyers.

Remember, whether or not a payout occurs is often irrelevant because court costs are so high. Insurance will pay lawyer's fees too. Lawyers have to be paid whether you win or lose.

I completely agree with the drawback to "loser pays" justice. It will prevent poor people from standing up for themselves. That's bad. There has to be a way to prevent or even punish frivilous lawsuits while allowing everyone equal access to the justice system.

rkent: Insurance is a capital industry - they take in all these premiums, and try not to pay claims

I've never had an insurance company refuse to pay a claim. There was once they probably should have left me with about $4000 in bills but they paid it anyways. Maybe there are some bad stories out there, but most insurance companies are honest. People just give them a bad rap because they are - gasp! - corporations.

Blazecock Pileon: It is very difficult for a plaintiff to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, let alone prevent damage awards from evaporating after repeated appeals.

Again, it's irrelevant because just the cost of defending one's self in court is outrageous. This raises insurance rates, which in turn raises medical costs.
posted by b_thinky at 9:47 PM on July 11, 2007


b_thinky: I've never had an insurance company refuse to pay a claim. [ ... ] Maybe there are some bad stories out there, but most insurance companies are honest.

And, since we've decided generalizing from a single data point is valid, I've had an insurance company deny a claim for frivolous reasons twice. Therefore all insurance companies are not honest and people are right to give them a bad rap. Probably because they are corporations.

See how that works?

While your anecdotal evidence runs counter to Moore's presentation, how is it that your single instance outweighs the sheer volume of claims that are denied because of some technicality. It's not like Moore is pulling this stuff out of his ass. It *is* out there and your single data point of overall good experience with insurance companies is so far under the distribution tail as to be insignificant.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:16 AM on July 12, 2007


Maias: ...[M]alpractice isn't such a huge problem in systems like the UK's because you basically know that even if you are crippled by a medical accident, YOU HAVE FREE HEALTH CARE!!!!

Here, you kind of have to sue because you DON"T!!!


And it's not just malpractice lawsuits -- that's true for all manner of injury lawsuits. I believe the lack of universal health care in the U.S. is a primary cause of the sue-happy culture we have now.

Say I slip & fall on your icey steps and break my leg; I have no insurance. I can either A. live with a broken leg, or B. get it fixed, so of course I get it fixed. Then the $3,000 doctor's bill comes. Dude. I have like $34 in the bank, because I was saving up for some new drum heads. But now I'm screwed. Hell, I can barely pay the rent as is, and I'm sure as hell not moving back in with mom. What's the solution? Sue. Everybody knows that.

Of course I can't pay the lawyer out of pocket, so he's working on contingency. As such, it'd be a waste of his time to go after anything less than five figures. Besides, this guy's pretty good, and those steps were pretty icey. So you get slapped with a $30k lawsuit. Damn liberals.* Now you might have to sell the beach house. But from my perspective, I did the right thing, got my leg fixed, and got my bills paid.

I fear it may be too late to put the genie back in the bottle. These cultural things have a momentum about them.

* "Damn liberals", hahaha, I crack me up! Europeans, generally far more liberal than Americans, like to point and laugh at our litigious nature. Injury and malpractice lawsuits are an American cultural phenomenon, largely brought about by the lack of lack universal healthcare.
posted by LordSludge at 6:39 AM on July 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


b_thinky: For the brief time I was insured, I never had an insurance company deny a claim, either, but I never had a large claim, so they didn't have much incentive to spend a lot of time on finding a way out.

Luckily, we have a way to punish frivolous claims, but the stick is rarely used by judges.

Besides, most cases never make it to court, precisely because they're expensive to defend against. Almost all cases are settled before they get that far.

Litigiousness like LordSludge describes is why they invented umbrella liability. For a hundred bucks a year one can get a million bucks worth of coverage. The only problem with it is that if the contingency lawyer knows you have it, he'll inflate the claim right up to the million bucks.
posted by wierdo at 7:47 AM on July 12, 2007


And, since we've decided generalizing from a single data point is valid, I've had an insurance company deny a claim for frivolous reasons twice. Therefore all insurance companies are not honest and people are right to give them a bad rap. Probably because they are corporations.


I worked at an insurance company. They will follow the letter of the law if you force them to. If you don't know what you are entitled to they won't give it to you (even though in Canada they are obligated to). If they can find a loophole they will. Don't trust people or businesses who have a financial interest in screwing you.

The best way to secure your full entitlements from any form of insurance is to hire a specialist lawyer to handle your claim. They know the law and the insurance claims people know they know.

Interestingly, this is one of the reasons why immigrants cost insurance companies more money - they know what they don't know so they find help. Born and bred folk think they know and are wrong and get taken advantage of.
posted by srboisvert at 8:36 AM on July 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Of course I can't pay the lawyer out of pocket, so he's working on contingency. As such, it'd be a waste of his time to go after anything less than five figures. Besides, this guy's pretty good, and those steps were pretty icey. So you get slapped with a $30k lawsuit. Damn liberals.*

I didn't say it has anything to do with conservative vs liberal, but the fact that one can sue for $30000 over a slip-n-fall is absurd. BTW, WTF were you doing on my steps anyways?

While your anecdotal evidence runs counter to Moore's presentation, how is it that your single instance outweighs the sheer volume of claims that are denied because of some technicality. It's not like Moore is pulling this stuff out of his ass. It *is* out there and your single data point of overall good experience with insurance companies is so far under the distribution tail as to be insignificant.

I agree there are many horror stories about insurance companies. But if they were really ripping folks off left and right, lots more people would be voluntarily uninsured because the cost of insurance would not be worth it.

And what kind of technicalities do they refuse to pay claims over? Like that the customer failed to pay their premium, or the customer had a pre-existing condition they denied on the application form, or is claiming a treatment that is specifically denied by the policy? Sounds crazy, but if you've ever worked in customer service you'd have experience with idiot customers like this, and know these idiot customers are the ones who will likely complain the loudest.

Again, not to say insurance companies are awesome, but they're not Satan either. Many people claim the problem is insurance companies refusing to pay claims. Others (like I've suggested earlier) think malpractice lawsuits have a lot to do with it. But the real problem is insurance premiums raise each year and the quality of care and service doesn't raise in kind.

This is a 100% practical real-world problem. People should be able to study it and figure out EXACTLY what's causing the problems and work no fixing it. Ideology doesn't need to get in the way here.
posted by b_thinky at 10:33 AM on July 12, 2007


srboisvert: The best way to secure your full entitlements from any form of insurance is to hire a specialist lawyer to handle your claim. They know the law and the insurance claims people know they know.

Find me a lawyer who is willing to take 33% of $900 (standard contingency fee) or explain how I'm going to come up with $1500 (10 hours at $150/hr on average) to retain counsel when I can't afford a $925 statement please. Further, if you do retain counsel on a contingency basis, you're still out the 33% of any award the attorney is able to achieve.

I understand the concept of holding insurance companies to the fire, but that costs money most people don't have, time most people cannot afford to give, and introduces yet another cash suck on the whole enterprise of providing health care. Sure, the high dollar cases interest attorneys, but the ignored middle pretty much have to suck it up and accept whatever they can wrangle from an insurance company between running a household, holding a full-time job, and, if they're lucky, pursuing outside interests like political activism.

The obvious question is, "who the fuck thinks a system where you have to hire someone to fight for what, ostensibly, are your rights under a contract or even, heavens forfend, a basic human right in this age of enlightened civilization is a system worth defending?"

All of which need not cost so much or involve so much hassle if the US would recognize that the rest of the free world just might have figured out a better system than the one we cling so tightly to even after all the heartbreak and pain.

Here's a silly but true story. My present S.O. is technically still married to an abusive, unfaithful man because she has some serious (read: presently stable thanks to treatment but ultimately terminal) health problems and his insurance, provided by our very own military, is about the only thing out there that is both affordable and would even take her on given her pre-existing condition. She cannot leave this relationship to start a new life because doing so means that she would have to start paying up to several thousands of dollars per month for medicine, doctors visits, and other medical supplies. She's not eligible for Medicare/aid because she's asset-rich in that she holds a living trust on her home but she's cash poor thanks to being 100% disabled. She lives on a $770/mo insurance payment + whatever she can beg from her in-the-legal-sense-only husband. I help out as I can but I'm not exactly well paid and have domestic problems of my own that are in the process of being cleaned up. From all of this she pays two mortgages and helps out with food and utilities. This bastard to whom she must remain legally married to is a thorn in her side nearly every day because he knows that he has this power over her.

We went to see SiCKO because, even though she's got years of anti-Moore programming working against it, I'm a woolly liberal and it's mandatory viewing. Once the interviews with people outside the US began she started crying inconsolably. What is the hugest weight pressing down on her day in and day out would disappear overnight if she could be assured of receiving some level of care without throwing away everything she owns by bankrupting herself or without being attached to the asshat.

We walked out of the theater so as to not disturb the other audience members. She's been depressed ever since. While the rest of us debate the pros and cons of the current system in the US at some level of abstraction, she lives with the very real and incalculable human costs that are a direct cause of the way we choose to distribute health care in this country. From her perspective it's so close, so simple, and yet it will never happen.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:06 AM on July 12, 2007 [12 favorites]


b_thinky: I agree there are many horror stories about insurance companies. But if they were really ripping folks off left and right, lots more people would be voluntarily uninsured because the cost of insurance would not be worth it.

To the tune of ~47 million in this country. That's what? like 1 in 7?

And what kind of technicalities do they refuse to pay claims over? [...] Sounds crazy, but if you've ever worked in customer service you'd have experience with idiot customers like this...

Thanks for the off-handed declaration of my idiocy, fuckwit. In the most current example, I was denied a claim of nearly $1500 for blood work because I once had pulmonary emboli as a direct result of a impacted femur fracture. That my doctor wanted to now research a possible genetic explanation for my current pulmonary embolism8212;one that lacked an obvious a physical explanation8212;is considered unnecessary because, well, there was the one from 17 years ago that I did declare thankyouverymuch. It's like denying you tests to discover oral cancer because you'd once had a tooth pulled.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is a 100% practical real-world problem. People should be able to study it and figure out EXACTLY what's causing the problems and work on fixing it.

That's pretty much Moore's position. He's said, time and again, that we should study what the rest of the Western world is doing right vs. wrong, and steal from that. Because what we've got is so clearly worse.
posted by fungible at 11:54 AM on July 12, 2007


This thread has suddenly gotten much more awesome thanks to (and for) Fezboy and srboisvert.
posted by JHarris at 12:07 PM on July 12, 2007


AND LordSludge, wow.
posted by JHarris at 12:08 PM on July 12, 2007


b_thinky: [T]he fact that one can sue for $30000 over a slip-n-fall is absurd.

Agreed. Myself, I would be cursing my own clumsiness. (Then again, I have insurance -- that is, I'm not one of the 47 million uninsured.) That's not the point. What if I didn't? And what if my finances couldn't cover the bill? Should the doctor be forced to treat me? Should I not seek medical care? Really, what's YOUR answer -- a plank and some bailing twine for a splint?? With universal health care, this whole scenario could never happen.

My point is that the lack of universal health care is a big reason WHY one can sue for $30k in the U.S.

(Admittedly, I pulled the number out of my ass -- might be high, might be low. I'm an engineer, not a lawyer, Jim.)

But, again, it might be too late for the U.S. to go back to a pre-litigious culture. An entire industry of personal injury lawyers has built up to fill the demand of uninsured people getting hurt from what can be argued to be somebody else's negligence. I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon.

BTW, WTF were you doing on my steps anyways?

I was spreading the word of Jesus Christ. Also, I'm fucking your daughter.
posted by LordSludge at 12:22 PM on July 12, 2007


I'll throw in my own couple anecdotes:

1. My insurance company of several years ago had a really shitty strategy of dodging claims: For, say, a $50 doctor's visit, they would break the claim into 12 little chunks of $4-10 each. Then they would send you a 3 page form to fill out and submit FOR EACH ONE OF THEM. After a while...., you just say fuck it, it's not worth your time.

So there's that profit motive, again: they didn't "refuse to pay", per se, but they threw up absurd, intentional barriers to avoid paying out claims. (And I'm one of the lucky ones!)

2. Last year, I dated lovely, sweet, simple 32 year old girl, worked food service her whole life. She was diagnosed with adenoid cystic cancer at the age of thirty -- a tumor in the roof of her mouth. Life ain't fair; shit happens. (But, dammit, so young???) FORTUNATELY for her, she worked at a very upscale restaurant, which provided full medical coverage -- pretty unusual in the industry. She got treatment, fought through it, survived, and was back to her own awesome self by the time we met. If she had not had insurance, however, she would be dead before I ever met her.

This shit is life and death* for a LOT of Americans. How people can get so riled up about 9-11 but remain blasé about this is utterly beyond me.

* Ya might wanna crank up yer pop-up blocker before clicking this -- mine appears to be doing a lot of work!
posted by LordSludge at 12:59 PM on July 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Moore will be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight (8:00 - 9:00 p.m. Eastern).
posted by ericb at 2:22 PM on July 12, 2007


Here's my two anecdotals on the Murrican health insurance system:

(side note: all of you fuckapples slipping and falling on each other's stairs are not suing HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS, dimwits! You are invoking home owner's casualty & liability insurance. Not that this is not its own huge sack of rotted worms, but it really does nothing to the cost of health insurance. Now, keep some salt handy for the ice & pick up the goddamn rakes off the sidewalk!)

First: The claims that I had been refused were for normal procedures that occured within the realm of pre-natal, peri-natal & post-natal care primarily, although the same pattern of refusal by a subsequent employer's provider occured when standard outpatient counseling services (covered in the contract) were invoked. In both cases, the medical provider (mp) took the insurance card in good faith in lieu of payment up front. In both cases, some portion was paid but the bulk was not. Long talks with the mp billing office left them & us confused as to why the clearly covered amounts were not paid. There were no technicalities, previous conditions, or emergency procedures without prior approval. We resubmitted three, four, five times, ultimately with the threat of attaching legal proceedings. The bulk of the claims were paid. Say, 70-75 cents on the dollar (after deductibles and copays).

As I got higher up in the company and privy to some of the cost structures, I found that many mid-size corporations (we were in the Fortune 500, but farther down the food chain) pay the Aetnas & Chickerings et al. to administer and provide spiffy coverage cards that make it look like the employee is backed by this great health insurer, but in reality, the first X thousand or million dollars of coverage comes out of pocket and the insurer covers catastrophic & unusual risks (and just like you & me, this is prorated on a deductible scale, so the employer spreads the payments out over the year), and the insurance provider lays some of that risk off on the reinsurance market. I spent time learning what some of our accountants did whose responsibility it was to work with the insurers. They in turn told me that part of how the insurer earns the business is by refusing claims for CLEARLY COVERED procedures, because they have data that shows that after three refusals, most people will pay out of pocket because they are getting dunned by the medical provider who can't collect from on the insurance and so go after the patient. Most people will save their credit record rather than fight the insurer. They paid normal office visits and pharma items without blinking, but if a mother requires a c-section, or if there's any sort of invasive surgery (even outpatient) they'd drag their feet.

Not all companies are like this and not all insurance policies are like this, by any stretch. But as long as a manufacturing or service company is trying to hold a lid on costs in order to remain competitive in their market place, they will shade the line on ethics, figuring that anything good is worth working a little harder for.

Second anecdote. A third company I worked for made big Huzzah Noise when they began to cover chiropractic. We had (and still have) a dear friend who is also a chiropractor. We were enthused to be able to go from the $25-$35 cash out of pocket we paid him per visit (maybe 6 times a year--3 for each of us on average) to get up to 20 visits allowable at $45 a visit. After three visits, he asked if we could go back to the cash arrangement--and this was not an under the table situation, he presented bills & receipts & we paid by check, not cash. The man is scrupulous to a fault. No, it was because for the few patients he had with coverage, he-or his wife--was spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with the insurance bureaucracy--being told they gave the wrong EIN number or the wrong procedure number, only to have the company apologize on the third try that they had the right information all along.

A financial wizard friend gave me another reason why the insurers will delay before paying. Every day, every hour, literally every minute they have money invested earning interest in liquid short term investments. They know they have to pay at some point, but they keep getting th ejuice on the float and it is so hard to give up. If they can find reasons to hold on to the money, you bet your sweet ass they will.

This, to me, a former corporate stooge, is another reason why the so-called free market is the wrong solution to the health care coverage dilemma.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:00 PM on July 12, 2007


beelzbubba: side note: all of you fuckapples slipping and falling on each other's stairs are not suing HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS, dimwits! You are invoking home owner's casualty & liability insurance. Not that this is not its own huge sack of rotted worms, but it really does nothing to the cost of health insurance.

Oh, of course not! And I don't think I implied that, although I guess it's a good clarification to make, given the context of the conversation. If you read back, I was simply drawing a causal link between lack of universal health care and the U.S. litigious culture. In addition to simply throwing the hypothesis out there for peer review, it's a tasty political snark: conservatives have, by killing universal health care, encouraged personal injury lawsuits -- one of their big bugaboos.

"fuckapples"?? heh

Most people will save their credit record rather than fight the insurer.

I had heard that it was illegal for a health care provider to report delinquent payment to a credit company. (Although I suppose they could threaten to do whatever they like...) Can anybody confirm/deny this? Or is it a state by state thing?

Good stories...
posted by LordSludge at 6:23 PM on July 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Under HIPPA, they can report, but only until you pay the debt, and they can't reveal specifics. That's what they say on creditboards anyway.
posted by wierdo at 6:45 PM on July 12, 2007


One issue SiCKO didn't seem to address, and little gets said about here is how drugs, glasses, and dental aren't covered in Ontario (when he told his Canada anecdotes) ---or not covered such that instead of $311USD/month/individual [average U.S. premium. 2006] and that to purchase coverage for these items it's a substantial $130CAD/month/individual [personal experience].
posted by acro at 9:18 PM on July 12, 2007




Moore talks to Olberman.
posted by progosk at 12:37 AM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Find me a lawyer who is willing to take 33% of $900 (standard contingency fee) or explain how I'm going to come up with $1500 (10 hours at $150/hr on average) to retain counsel when I can't afford a $925 statement please. Further, if you do retain counsel on a contingency basis, you're still out the 33% of any award the attorney is able to achieve.

It doesn't necessarily have to be a lawyer. There are plenty of cheaper insurance consultants who will assist with claims. Of course they still cost money so it is up to you to decide whether you want to spend the money for help or spend your time to do it yourself.

That's advice for dealing with the system as it is. Don't think of it as a defense. I'm Canadian living in the UK. Both systems are fantastic. I might someday be in the US and am not at all looking forward to dealing the mess there.
posted by srboisvert at 4:19 AM on July 13, 2007


srboisvert: That's advice for dealing with the system as it is.

I realize that now. I was seeing your comment through the same red mist that b_thinky's FUD raised.

I might someday be in the US and am not at all looking forward to dealing the mess there.

Honestly, [if/until] this situation is fixed there is nothing unique to this country that could be offered which counters the level of risk you'd be entertaining w/r/t your financial well-being as it relates to health care. Unless you are independently wealthy that is.

I also want to publicly apologize to my darling for writing that TMI piece up there yesterday. It really isn't fair to she who is so much tougher and full of life than anyone else I've ever met. She never complains and most people only know her as that saucy, fun lady with whom no topic is taboo and no one can hide from the conversation. I just get this feeling whenever I encounter someone who isn't on board with universal health care that they're deliberately ignoring the costs that cannot be measured economically and I get all emotional and full of rage. I'm also pretty raw right now because of the affect the movie has had on her.

But anyway, it's her story to tell and not mine. So I'm sorry.
posted by Fezboy! at 7:01 AM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, I wish these people would spend a fraction of the effort they did fact-checking Michael Moore's movie on fact-checking the statements of our own government.

Has CNN ever gone so far as to describe the Bush administration as "playing fast and loose with the facts?" Even when confronted with outright lies?
posted by grouse at 9:37 AM on July 13, 2007


IMO, the 200lb gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about is lawsuits. Malpractice lawsuits drive up the cost of insurance, which drives down the supply of doctors and increases wait times and crappy experiences.

More like the two pound gorilla. Malpractice lawsuits by only a small fraction. Of overall medical costs, and doctors do fuck up a lot, killing between 50,000 to 100,000 people a year by mistake. It's not surprise that they would want insurance.

and here is Moore on Olberman (on youtube).
posted by delmoi at 12:42 PM on July 13, 2007


CNN responds to Moore.
posted by psmealey at 7:50 AM on July 16, 2007


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