Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Dead Meat", a portrayal of the other side of socialized medicine "Sicko" glosses over.

Michael Moore was on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Mathews Monday and was his usual obnoxious (I ironically mean that in a good way with Mr. Moore) self, promoting his documentary, "Sicko" and the idea that Socialized medical care is a panacea.

At least he had the honesty to admit that a number of Americans will receive "worse" care (at least in terms of convenient access) then they currently enjoy. The philosophical arguments about healthcare and how much it's a right versus a commodity is an important one to have, and, "Sicko" has galvanized the debate. A perfect storm exists for progress on this issue in that big business, labor unions, and the zeitgeist of the country all support a universal system in the abstract sense. The devil's in the details and $$$$ involved.

While federal systems enjoy popular support in other countries, it's not all milk & honey. It's ironic that as many as 15-20% of citizens are estimated to seek care outside the government run systems in western Europe that are lionized by activists. The system Moore champions (like only Canada, Cuba, & North Korea's - an unlikely triad) would not tolerate any private sector competition for care delivery or services as it would undercut the federal system and prove more popular with many patients with financial wherewithal. Write this down, THIS WILL NEVER BE ACCEPTED IN THE UNITED STATES, so I don't think that system is worth discussing in depth.

There's a real alternate take on the Canadian system celebrated by Mr. Moore in "Sicko" by the underground film hit "Dead Meat" which features Canadians frustrations with the reality of long waits for imaging studies, orthopedic surgery, cancer treatments, and even cardiac surgery. It's ironic in Canada that you can actually buy health insurance for your pet, but not yourself or child.

Anecdotes are a poor way to determine public policy, but it goes to show that you just don't get something for nothing.

Click on the screen below to watch "Dead Meat"


Nicholas said...

"It's ironic in Canada that you can actually buy health insurance for your pet, but not yourself or child."

Nice bit of spin, but false, and beside the point even if it were true. In Canada you can buy supplemental health insurance which will cover various kinds of non-provincially covered health care (prescription drugs, physiotherapy, orthotics, dentistry, cosmetic surgery, etc.). I have this kind of coverage, and health insurance companies do quite well on it.

You can't, however, buy coverage for that which is already covered under the provincial health care plans. This includes all standard, non-elective health care. No one (OK, extremely few people) would buy it even if it was available, since the available free coverage is so good.

Are there problems with the Canadian system? Absolutely: some wait times are too long, etc. these are being worked on. But the overall perception of the Canadian public is that they have a good and fair system, and any objective evaluation of health outcomes shows that Canada is far better off than the US, for less than 2/3rds the cost.

Of course you can buy health insurance for pets; they are not otherwise covered.

Dr. Rob Oliver said...

Beside the point?

This documentary, which is no more pointed in it's editorial POV, then "Sicko", illustrates a poison pill for consideration of a Canadian system in the US. That's not a value judgement on socialized medicine, it's just a fact.

It certainly is a caricature of sorts, but those are in fact real Canadians describing real disatisfaction with the system. America will accept "federal medicare" for all at some point I believe, but there is going to be more convenient access for service for those with the means to pay for it.