Friday, May 25, 2007


Film Offers New Talking Points in Health Care Debate -From The New York Times:
Few of them may become Michael Moore fans. But some insurance industry officials and health policy experts acknowledged yesterday that the film documentary “Sicko,” Mr. Moore’s indictment of health care in this country, taps into widespread public concern that the system does not work for millions of Americans.

The movie, which had its first showing at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday and received many favorable reviews, presents a series of heart-rending anecdotes meant to illustrate systemic failures and foul-ups under the nation’s insurance industry — even if many of the major pieces of evidence are ones that have been widely reported elsewhere and in some cases date back 20 years...

Uwe E. Reinhardt, a health economist at Princeton, said that based on reviews, the movie is “exaggerated, biting, unfair,” but he added that a number of recent books and reports by academic experts had been at least as critical...“My point is we are on the verge of a populist reaction to the health system,” Professor Reinhardt said. “The American people are on the point of being fed up.”...

“They hate the system — it’s too expensive — but we have been hearing about these things for 35 years,” Professor Altman said. “Unless we have a meltdown which affects the middle class — that is nowhere near happening — we will not be willing to fundamentally restructure the system.”...

The conversation turned to whether Mr. Moore planned to back any of the current proposals for health care reform, or whether he would come up with his own plan. Some suggested that he stick to his position that the insurance companies be done away with, replaced by national universal health care system.

“Let’s be honest, no one’s going to support dismantling the private health care system,” Mr. Moore replied. “I don’t think the insurance companies are just going to give up the profit motivation.”

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