I finally got around to watching Michael Moore’s “SiCKO” last week. I know I’m coming rather late to the movie review party, so I’ll keep my reactions brief. What irked me most about the movie was its blatant cherry-picking. When reporting on healthcare in the United States, Moore exclusively featured people who had had terrible experiences with the medical system. Not one American with a favorable experience appeared in the movie. On the other hand, when reporting on healthcare in other countries (the U.K., France, Canada, and Cuba), Moore exclusively featured people who had had good experiences with the medical system. Not a single person with a bad experience in one of these countries appeared in the film.
Whatever you think about the relative merits of different healthcare systems, it should be obvious that every system will have some unhappy outcomes. Healthcare is costly, and that means there will always be trade-offs. Some of those trade-offs will be painful, even cruel. To pick just one example, “SiCKO” features a couple with a deaf son; their insurance company said it would fund only one cochlear implant. Their coverage would only save the kid’s hearing in one ear. Okay, now that’s awful. But do things like this happen only in the United States? On the contrary, the U.K.’s National Health Service will only save your eyesight in one eye. These situations strike me as highly comparable. Michael Moore documented the former but not the latter. Gee, I wonder why.