A European View of Michael Moore's 'Sicko'

Hollywood leftie Michael Moore’s new propaganda movie, ‘Sicko’, is being cheered by crowds of enthusiast anti-American Europeans and followers of evil Stalinist snake Fidel Castro, as it badmouths the American health system and praises socialized, state-controlled medicine. Calling it biased is to say little: rather, it’s definitely a big lie. I have no doubt that Moore and his group of patients have received excellent medical treatment free of charge, as featured in the movie. Too bad that such a world-class system is denied to eleven million of Cubans, while wealthy white foreigners like him are given absolute priority and the best attention ever. Mr. Moore shows his total ignorance of the Cuban system when he claims that "Cuba spends $251 per person on health care." I need to remind him a few essential things. First, that number is mostly spent to fund the regime’s self-proclaimed "internationalist humanitarian missions", aimed at winning political support from the countries receiving the ‘wonders’ of the island’s medicine. Second, part of it is designed for more health centers reserved for the elite and its foreign apologists.

We cannot expect a communist to learn the other side of story, but Sicko is not just telling lies, it is insulting common sense, too. Not everyong in Cuba gets the Potemkin village treatment 9/11 workers received. Maverick human rights activists living in the island put their life at risk for reporting on the hell the ordinary people go through on a daily basis across the country. Darsi Ferrer Ramirez, a doctor who’s also a peaceful dissident and founder of the Center for Health and Human Rights, an illegal and persecuted organization offering medical assistance to hundreds of citizens, has been working for years in one of the ill-equipped, run-down hospitals in Havana, but was fired recently for denouncing the injustice and disasters of communist care. Very popular among many patients, he emails tons of photos, mostly showing the real face of Castroite Cuba’s free healthcare. He’s not alone, as several other independent journalists all over the island keep reporting on how "Sicko" the state of the health system in the Caribbean nation is. If there’s one that works perfectly, that is medical apartheid.

I don’t believe Michael Moore is a mere liar. He’s quite well aware that Cubans aren’t as lucky as him to receive first-class treatment when they need it, but he doesn’t care at all, as his everyday sport is going after his native country and get the applause of silly Euro leftists. What "Sicko" purposely didn’t tell you about Cuba is that, other than being a Gulag police state, there are very few — if any — functioning health centers. The rest, as can be seen in these photographs taken and sent in by a non-governamental journalist, are collapsing structures that resemble recently-bombed buildings. This is just the exterior side. Entering a Cuban hospital may be an appalling experience. Hygiene is pratically non-existent, excrements and roaches can easily be found everywhere on the floors and medicines are rarely available for patients. I challenge Moore to support his claims about US healthcare with graphical evidence, but I doubt he’ll be able to find any picture comparable to plenty of others showing the third-world decay of Castroite health. To figure out which side of Cuba’s dual system Michael Moore experienced, you need to scroll down this page from "The Real Cuba."

Another detail "Sicko" failed to mention is the shortage of medicines and doctors. Blamed on US embargo, they’re fully available to foreigners, government officials and closest followers, something that has finally been noticed by many Cubans who now aren’t buying scapegoats anymore. Daily reports state that numerous hospitals are closed because there aren’t doctors. The latter are forcibly sent abroad to serve as slaves for Castro’s propaganda disguised as ‘humanitarian assistance to poor patients’. Many manage to elude security and escape to seek political refuge as soon as they have the chance to do so. The movie gets one thing right: infantile mortality rate in Cuba is low. However, that’s mostly due to the officially-sanctioned practice of forced abortions of fetuses diagnosed premature diseases. For any person to portray Cuban medical apartheid as the best system ever, it takes a significant dose of stupidity mixed with contempt for intellectual honesty. I advise the cynical filmmaker to tour the average hospitals to get a taste of the reality on the ground, the very same the independent journalists see with their own eyes every day.

In his unconditional praise of European and Canadian socialized medicine, he asserts that it provides free treatment for the poor. I’m sorry to contradict him, but the truth is much more complicated than he would have you to believe. Has he ever heard of the infamous waiting lists? Maybe he has, but neither he nor the 9/11 workers featured in his film live under a bankrupt system that, when one needs a surgery or a visit to a specialist, is told to wait up to eight months, during which one may fall ill or even die. I’m not sure if he weighs a documentary giving voice to the tens of thousands of people who, while on list, got cancer or some other disease that may have been diagnosed in time. Waiting lists are potential killers. If we are to tell it like it is, we can’t help mentioning that medical errors and negligence are widespread in publicly-funded hospitals. In Italy, a survey found that about 73% of people don’t trust their public health system. Since a couple of years ago, the number of patients that have died or fallen ill due to incompetence or fatal errors has dizzily increased. In the last three months alone, there have been fifteen deaths in hospitals from north to south Italy. Some were people rushed into emergency rooms to find that doctors were not available. Recently, a few others were diagnosed HIV and hepatitis following transfusion with infected blood. Now, many cross their fingers and pray for their survival whenever they enter a hospital room.

Governments are well aware of the state of public health care, including the large scale corruption that involves the very same management of such a sector. So, what do they do to fix these huge problems and inefficiencies? Instead of reforming their obsolete system, they impose a two-euro tax on many prescription drugs, in addition to those others that don’t need prescription and cost up to twenty euros. So much for ‘free health care’.

As an European fed up with socialized medicine, I would like to express my deepest admiration for American healthcare. Although not perfect and needing more effective free market reforms, the money factor — which "Sicko" lashes out at as source of all imaginary evils — is what keeps it innovative, competitive and efficient. We hear a lot about 45 million citizens who don’t have health insurance. But just who are they? The US Census Bureau couldn’t be clearer:

–38% of the uninsured (17 million) live in households earning over $ 50,000 in annual income

–20% (9 million) reside in households earning over 75,000 a year

–Over 18 million (40%), between the ages of 18 and 34, spend more on entertainment or dining out

–14 million ( 31%) are elegible for health government programs like Medicaid, but choose to opt-out.

So, how many are truly uninsured? Only 18% of Americans.

Michael Moore should explain why, if his country’s system is so bad, millions of Europeans and Canadians travel to America for surgeries. He should ask why so many European researchers, most of them Italians, prefer to move to the United States in order to better focus on their work than stay at home waiting for funds which never arrive. We rarely hear of patients going to Cuba or Europe to receive medical care. Except the opportunist wealthy white stupid men eager to make money on the skin of the victims of socialized medicine.

I have a message for the American people. Don’t be fooled by the Hollywood lefties.

Keep your current healthcare system. One day, you may miss it.