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Commentary

Moore's Prescription Insures Socialized Medicine Misery; 'Sicko' ignores U.S. strengths and national care's faults
Michael Tanner, Detroit News, 6-14-07

Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Insitute, writes that Michael Moore's soon to be released indictment of American health care, Sicko, ignores the strengths of free–market medicine while understating the problems of single–payor health care.

Eighteen of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine are U.S. citizens or work here. With no price controls, free–market U.S. medicine provides the incentives that lead to innovative breakthroughs in drugs and other medical technologies. U.S. companies have developed half of all the major new medicines introduced worldwide during the past 20 years. In fact, Americans played a key role in 80 percent of the most important medical advances of the past 30 years.

Instead, Moore focuses on life expectancy, suggesting people in Canada, Britain, France and even Cuba live longer than Americans because of their health care systems. But most experts agree that life expectancies are a poor measure of health care because they are affected by too many factors—like violent crime, poverty, obesity, tobacco and drug use—unrelated to a nation's health system.

When you compare the outcome for specific diseases like cancer or heart disease, the United States clearly outperforms the rest of the world...

Moore downplays waiting lists in Canada, suggesting they are no more than inconveniences. He interviews apparently healthy Canadians who claim they have no problem getting care.

Somehow, he couldn't find any of the nearly 800,000 Canadians who are not so lucky. Nor apparently did he have time to interview Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin, who wrote in a 2005 decision striking down part of Canada's universal care law that many Canadians waiting for treatment suffer chronic pain and "patients die while on the waiting list."



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