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Propagandizing Health Care
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's always interesting to read what Michael Moore is saying when one of his movies come out. The most recent, "Sicko" is due for release on June 29th. Obviously I haven't seen it. But that doesn't mean I can't have an opinion on his words:
Do you think your movie has the potential to shake them out of that?

Possibly. I'll tell you one thing, from the test audiences that they've been showing it to around the country. People leave the theater in an agitated state. They want to go choke somebody. They want to do something, physically want to do something, about what they've just seen. That's a good thing. I mean, not the violence part, but wanting to do something.
While I have only a vague idea of what was portrayed, I certainly have an idea of how it was portrayed. As is Moore's want, it was portrayed in a one-sided manner which, if you took it at face value, would make you mad. But then, that's a device all propagandists use. And make no mistake, while Moore will call his movie a documentary, it is, in reality a classic propaganda movie.
 
Do any of the 2008 presidential candidates offer a solution that you think is workable?

No. Edwards is the only one who's come out with a really detailed plan, and his plan's no good because he wants to put taxpayers' money into the private health insurance system. We need to cut out the middleman. Healthcare should be between the doctor and the patient. And if the doctor says something needs to be done, the government should guarantee it gets paid for.
Read the underlined copy again, very carefully. If ever there was a recipe for disaster, you see it there in bold lettering. Open ended, limitless and unchecked spending based on whatever you and your doctor decide. And government? Just take the necessary money from the tax payer (I think Moore believes the stuff grows on trees) and hand it over.

It still amazes me that people take this guy and his work seriously. Note, as well, that he says the Edwards plan is no good "because he wants to put taxpayers' money into the private health insurance system." Can't have anything private involved, can we?
When you ask people what they want, they say they want to have universal healthcare, but they don't want a big government program. What will it take to get people to come around to your point of view?

They've been inundated with a lot of propaganda about the single-payer system. But government is supposed to be of, by, and for us. That means we're in charge of it. If we say the government sucks, we're kind of saying that we suck.
This is the irony quote, speaking of propaganda. But there's a very important point evident here. This quote highlights the difference between how two sides in this country define "liberal democracy". On the one side you have the civil libertarians who believe individual rights are fundamental and inviolate and that the function of government is to protect individual and minority rights from the tyranny of the majority. On the other hand, you have those like Moore who believe that government exists to serve the majority's demands and therefore the minority shouldn't stand in the way of what the majority demands. Those of Moore's ilk believe that the majority interest should trump any consideration of the individual's rights and coercion is a perfectly acceptable tool to be used by government to fulfill that demand. It is those two concepts of "liberty" and "freedom" that are at war in our political arena.
In the film you visit France, Britain, and Canada, all countries you describe as having an ethos that people have a responsibility to take care of each other. Why don't we have that here in the United States?

We're plagued with an every-man-for-himself attitude. That attitude may have been good in helping us build this country and helping us become the innovators that we are. But we won't make it through the 21st century intact as a great country if we don't adopt a different ethos that says we're all in the same boat. We sink or swim together. We have to help each other.
Many on the liberal side, and some who frequent this blog, say those systems aren't what they prefer (although some are enamored with the French system). And we're quite familiar with the horror stories about both Canada and Britain. But Moore apparently uses a particular hospital in the UK to illustrate his point (much like he uses only selected hospitals in Cuba to disingenuously claim they represent the system there).

In the film, Moore takes viewers to London's Hammersmith Hospital. Reason Magazine, in a review of the film, tells us the "rest of the story" about that particular institution:
One of the systems Sicko suggests as a template for a remodeled American health care is the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS). The "first way [the British] decided to pull together after the [Second World War]," Moore says, "was to provide free medical care for everyone."

Viewers are taken to London's Hammersmith Hospital, held up as a shining example of socialized care, where doctors are well-paid and patients well looked after. Moore ambles through the corridors interviewing patients that acclaim the NHS's ‘free care,' and express horror at the barbarism of the American system. Indeed, the facility's "cashier" exists to give money to patients—for travel reimbursements—rather than taking it from them. But as is often the case with Moore's films, the reality is more complex.

In 2005, London's Evening Standard reported that Hammersmith Hospital would slash hundreds of jobs; the hospital, the most debt-ridden in Britain, was hemorrhaging money and desperately needed to cut costs. And while the hospital was "downsizing", Hammersmith's CEO—yes, even the NHS has an executive class—collected a year-end bonus of close to $20,000. Small beer by American standards, but enough to provoke tabloid headlines in Britain.

Much like the American hospitals Moore excoriates, Hammersmith Hospital, the Evening Standard reported, faced pressure from administrators to limit the number of patients treated in order to cut spending. In a country where the government promises to winnow down queues to 18 weeks, this isn't an anomalous problem. A recent BBC documentary accused the NHS of using dangerously high doses of radiation on patients "to save time and money."

After the critical reaction to his previous films, Moore opts for elision over outright falsehood. So when he marvels that a doctor working in the NHS owns an Audi and "million dollar home," it is hardly in his interest to point out, as The Independent did in January, that "soaring salary levels of doctors are worsening the NHS cash crisis." And while bitterly lamenting the U.S. system of "wage slavery"—American students, Moore says, are saddled with debt and, thus, "won't cause [employers] any trouble"—he ignores a recent report from the British Medical Association suggesting that, by their fifth year of medical school, British students "have accumulated an average debt of" $39,000.

It is these sections, where Moore uncritically praises institutions with which many locals have ever-declining levels of faith (only 4% of Britons surveyed think the system "has enough money and the money is spent well"), that will likely alienate his non-ideological foreign fans. It is one thing to nod one's head in agreement with the Bush-bashing Fahrenheit 9/11—likely a mere reinforcement of previously held views for most Europeans—but it is quite another for a Briton to watch Moore tell viewers that English pharmacies don't sell milk and laundry detergent, when there is a Boots—the British version of CVS—just around the corner.
Andrew Sullivan nails Moore in two sentences:
Moore is both a practiced liar and not-too-smart. The implication that "free healthcare" run by the government is somehow immune to the laws of economics is classic Moore boilerplate.
And that point is reinforced by Moore's statement "and if the doctor says something needs to be done, the government should guarantee it gets paid for." Naive? Cynically manipulative? Certainly economically stupid, or at least uniformed.

Unfortunately thousands, if not millions of our fellow Americans will check their critical thinking at the door as they watch this propaganda and, as Moore notes, come out wanting to choke someone. If that's indeed the case, I certainly have a suggestion as to who that should be, metaphorically speaking, of course.
 
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Apparently people want to leave the theater and choke the taxpayers until they agree to pay for their health care. Moore doesn’t want viewers to personally do the choking; he wants Uncle Sam to do that. You know, just like Uncle Fidel does in Cuba.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Here’s a short rundown of the movie.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Just curious. Does the NHS have effective obesity programs? Obesity is certainly a gateway drug to a variety of health problems.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Moore and his ilk successfully turned Americans against the war and our soldiers.

He will do the same in turning Americans toward nationalized health care.

Time for Galt’s Gulch yet?
 
Written By: Todd
URL: http://
Just curious. Does the NHS have effective obesity programs? Obesity is certainly a gateway drug to a variety of health problems.
QFT i propose my first mission with our new socialist HC is to make sure im not paying for overweight, underweight, smokers, drinkers, speeders, pregnant people, or people who do anything that doesn’t directly need to be done to live that might affect their health. For gods sake im paying for it, he shouldn’t be able to smoke and put his health at risk. Or eat too much, ban McDonalds!
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Just wondering. Since we already are forcing people to live healthier (making smoking illegal, eating things that some chart says is bad etc....) should we not make engaging in a gay lifestyle illegal? Not being gay just doing those things that increase gays health risks.
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
Josh B, I hope you didn’t take my comment seriously. I was just suggesting that if those who, such ax Michael Moore, were so concerned with health care that they might take steps on their own, without coercive controls, to better their health.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
We’re plagued with an every-man-for-himself attitude. That attitude may have been good in helping us build this country and helping us become the innovators that we are. But we won’t make it through the 21st century intact as a great country if we don’t adopt a different ethos that says we’re all in the same boat. We sink or swim together. We have to help each other.
Hillary’s been saying the same thing lately. This is the new siren song of the Left.
 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
And make no mistake, while Moore will call his movie a documentary, it is, in reality a classic propaganda movie.
I have not seen the movie either, though I was invited to a an early showing in Denver. I won’t comment on the quality of the documentary yet, but I will say that I consider it disingenous to say that this is NOT a documentary but IS a propaganda piece.

All documentaries espouse the point of view the filmmaker chooses to espouse, but they use facts (often selectively) to advance that point of view. That is simply what a documentary is.

There are no completely objective documentaries, it’s simply not possible.

On healthcare, I don’t think there is much disagreement that our system is broken. Any documentary filmmaker tackling this subject would start at this point and then try and determine why they think it is broken and uncover facts to support their point of view. A liberal like Moore will undoubtedly find that the problem is private greed, while a libertarian would undoubtedly find that the problem was government. Both would be true, but in either case one side of that argument would be mostly ignored and in either case it would STILL be a documentary.

Name any documentary that you think is a good REAL documentary, and I will show you a film that espouses the filmakers point of view.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
There are no completely objective documentaries, it’s simply not possible.
You just shot your objection in the head.
On healthcare, I don’t think there is much disagreement that our system is broken.
I’ve had no problem getting health care. Have you?

"Broken" systems don’t deliver.

I don’t think many here would disagree that most of the problems today are exacerbated by government intrusion though.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You just shot your objection in the head.
You could say that, but you would also have to say that there is no such thing as a documentary film if having a point of view precludes a film from being a documentary, in which case pointing out that Moore’s film is not a documentary without noting there is no such thing is disingenous.
I’ve had no problem getting health care. Have you?
From my personal perspective, I have not had problems getting health care, but I did have to make a choice to sell my small business and go to work for a corporation in large part because the cost of health insurance made it impossible for me to make a living (in the manner in which I am accustomed) after paying for health insurance. Or put another way, I could not afford to risk being uninsured or afford to be insured as a proprietor of a small business, so in that respect, I had a significant healthcare access problem.

On the larger scale, I believe that a lack of affordable healthcare, whether that be insurance or the provision of health care itself, has become so expensive that it has become sugar in the gas tank of the engine of our economy, small businesses.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
"I believe that a lack of affordable healthcare...has become so expensive."

Define "affordable." Compared with what?

Define "expensive." Compared with what?

Then get back to us.
 
Written By: It goes on
URL: http://
You could say that, but you would also have to say that there is no such thing as a documentary film ...
There are plenty of documentary films that don’t have a political point of view (the mating habits of wombats or some such) so that’s not true either.

Certainly I’ve not seen any with a political theme ("Inconvenient Truth" anyone?) which isn’t propaganda.
From my personal perspective, I have not had problems getting health care, but I did have to make a choice to sell my small business and go to work for a corporation in large part because the cost of health insurance made it impossible for me to make a living (in the manner in which I am accustomed) after paying for health insurance.
And what mandates do your state have out there which preclude you from buying only the insurance you want and may be able to afford?
On the larger scale, I believe that a lack of affordable healthcare, whether that be insurance or the provision of health care itself, has become so expensive that it has become sugar in the gas tank of the engine of our economy, small businesses.
Even if true, why is the remedy based in government intrusion? Why is the left so adamantly against things like Medical Savings Accounts and taking apart the insurance mandates found at the state level?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
When I read this:
On healthcare, I don’t think there is much disagreement that our system is broken.
I said to mysself "from now on this guy is known as Captain Bombastic."
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
"I have not had problems getting electric guitars, but I did have to make a choice to do that and go flying in large part because the cost of electric guitars made it impossible for me to go flying (in the manner in which I am accustomed) while buying electric guitars."

The Jackass Premise, stated with different ethical variables.

Everybody get it?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Captain, its sounds like your small business wasn’t actually viable then. I have a small business too, and sometimes consider shutting it down as I could make more money in various fields without all the headaches. By the way, in Taiwan we have "free healthcare" and yet my small business has to pay for it for all of our employees.

I don’t see how any program in the US could have you as a business owner avoid paying the cost of healthcare for yourself....most of the plans I see out there still have employers paying the bill. The only program that would help you would some form of healthcare paid from general taxation that managed to tax people other than you to pay for your healthcare. Is that what you’re looking for?

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
On healthcare, I don’t think there is much disagreement that our system is broken.
There’s disagreement on what/where it is broken or how broken it is, nevermind how to fix it.



 
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
I’ve got a radical idea on health care. It’s called "freedom." That is, if you can’t pay for health care, you have no right to force other people to, but if other people want to help you voluntarily, that’s fine. If rich "liberals" such as Moore and the rest of the Hollywood Left—not to mention the Kennedys, Soros, etc.—tithed to a fund to help poor people pay their health expenses, there would probably be enough money to buy insurance for every poor person in the US. But that’s not where the State-fockers get their jollies. Coercion is their kink.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Is there a list of blacklisted terms? I can’t get a post accepted and there is nothing objectionable or spammy in it.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Check your email ... I sent you a list.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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