I want to tell the story of a young man who was attending a Southern University, a few years ago. During his freshman year he was sick with appendicitis, which he misdiagnosed as regular stomach ache for a day. As the agony grew unbearable, he was taken to the regional hospital in an ambulance. That night the doctors operated on his appendix. The young man was feeling better the next day. As he prepared to leave, the hospital's representative took care of the paperwork by the side of his bed. His Insurance Company took care of the medical bills in accordance with his Insurance contract. The next day the young man was back to school. The Insurance Company saved the student from potential bankruptcy who was living on limited means as a college student. The young man was none other than me. The year was 2002. To this day I praise my good fortune that I was insured. Had I not been insured, I would have gone broke and I would have never been able to make it through college. But, Michael Moore did not bother to find countless stories like mine to present a fair synopsis of the American health-care system.
Biased, unfair, hateful, venomous and anti-free-market is how I would describe Michael Moore's latest propaganda film Sicko. When I first heard about Michael Moore's intention to make a film on health-care in America, I was expecting a sequel for Supersize Me, considering his not so healthy lifestyle. Later on I found out that the film was about the state of health-care in America. Mr. Moore was upset at the way the Government has turned health-care into a fiasco, while turning a blind eye towards his socialist co-ideologues in Congress and State Legislatures who have turned the environment for the health-care providers of America into a hostile one by the means of populist legislation and frivolous lawsuits.
As a Libertarian leaning paleo-conservative, I have always known how the Government just destroys anything that it can get its hands on. If you let the Government dog-sit your cute little puppy, don’t be surprised if it sucks the puppy’s blood by the time you are back. That's what successive Government regimes have done to America. They sucked the blood out of this idea that was supposed to promote life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They started with the destruction of the constitution, followed by the destruction of the Republic. When there was nothing left to destroy at the Federal level, they stomped all over the States' rights by refusing the Southern States their right to secede. The only institution that was left untouched all along; the Supreme Court of the land, was destroyed by being stuffed with partisan judges who have repeatedly stressed on their loyalty for their party rather than showing any loyalty for the constitution that they swore to defend. Destruction is what the Government is good at. Whether it is the destruction of civilization during wartime or it is the destruction of civil-rights during peace time, destruction of health-care in America is just another accomplishment of our Government.
Michael Moore managed to find ten people across America who got "screwed" by their Insurance companies. Why should I be surprised considering the troll’s leftist leanings that he could not find even one individual in this country of 300 million who owes a lot to the health-care providers and Insurance companies which were by his or her side during their tragic moments. While the commies in the movie hall felt angry about the "greedy corporations," I thought it was really stupid of the man who had his fingers chopped off on an electric saw for not having an Insurance policy. You buy a house to shelter your family. You buy food to keep your body functioning. You buy other good things to improve your life. So, what kind of dunce would trust the Government with his or her health, which is the most important thing in our lives?
How about the chick who did not care about reading through the fine print of her Insurance policy, so that she knew that she may not have access to certain services through her insurer. So, why was she surprised when her Insurance company refused to reimburse her for the Ambulance ride to the hospital? When she signed on her Insurance contract that did not provide for an Ambulance service, the Insurance company was right to assume that their client was willing to take the responsibility of commuting to a hospital when in time of need. Otherwise, she was always free to choose an Insurance contract that did provide for Ambulance services.
There was another sob story of an elderly couple who were bankrupted by the rising cost of their prescription drugs. They should have explored their other option. How about purchasing the prescriptions online? Last year I was smitten by steroids. Now, I place my hands on this holy computer that connects me to the world, that I have never consumed any quantity of any substance that was never approved by the goons at FDA. But, just out of curiosity, I looked into the possibilities of sourcing those magic pills that could give me a dynamite physique which would make the ladies go jelly in their knees. There are virtually thousands of online pharmacies that fill your prescriptions for a fraction of what you would pay at your local store. However, I do agree that Pharmaceuticals are an entirely different problem in America.
A couple of years ago, I was listening to the Late Great Harry Browne's radio interview with Marry Ruwart (download the show by right-clicking here and here). Miss Ruwart who has been in the Pharmaceuticals industry for a long time mentioned some of the Government-inflicted problems that the industry faces. While Mr. Moore was quick to mention that 18,000 people die in America every year because of no or little health-care coverage, he failed to mention that an even greater number of people die in America every year because the FDA either refuses to approve or takes a decade to approve badly needed drugs. This is on the top of the billions of dollars that the industry spends to research and develop life-saving drugs. One must not forget that it takes entire careers that span over several decades to develop a drug that saves thousands of lives around the world.
While the Government literally throws our hard-earned tax money into the furnace by spending over a trillion dollars every year to develop weapon systems that cause mass-destruction and extinguish thousands of lives, we should have anything but disgust for the Pharmaceutical companies that spend billions of dollars every year to develop cures for illnesses that indiscriminately destroy human lives across the globe. They expend their own limited resources for their work in contradiction of our Government that extracts money from us at the point of a gun. If they fail, they don't impose any cost on the society. If they succeed, the consumers are free to buy or avoid their products. That's the beauty of free markets.
I am not surprised that drugs are so expensive in America. The retail price of the drugs takes into account the decades it takes to develop the product and another decade it takes to get an FDA approval. It takes into account the cost of developing other drugs that never saw the light of the day because FDA disapproved them; as if the Government really cares whether we live or die. The cost takes into account the efforts of the company to be the first to come up with the drug. The costs further include the fact that there are investors who risk losing their hard-earned money by investing in a risky venture that does not guarantee profits.
I wonder why the woman who went to Cuba with Michael Moore was so surprised when she found out that generic versions of American drugs cost a fraction of what they cost in America. The communist Government of Cuba does not have to worry about FDA regulation, billions of dollars in research and development costs and the risks that accompany investing the billions of dollars. The communist Government of Cuba also does not have to assume the liability of litigation that accompanies the risk of doing business in a free market.
In the movie, Michael Moore interviewed Che Guevara's daughter. That name sends a chill down my spine while I fall through a worm hole as I think of the thousands who were lined up against a wall and executed by the devil. The rape chambers and the gulags that were set up long before they inspired the tyrants in countries that had a desert or a patch of tropical forest, seem to be Michael Moore's secret prescription for those who vote Republican or dare to disagree with him otherwise.
One must wonder how Michael Moore managed to get hold of Che's daughter in Cuba. Of millions of people in Cuba, Michael Moore managed to find the link to the person who is the perfect antithesis of life and liberty. While in Cuba, Michael Moore must have devoted considerable efforts to locate and get access to the communist elite. And, when he finally managed to get the access he used the supposed "luminaries" to bash the American way of life. I wonder if Michael Moore paid homage to Comrade Fidel, during his vacation in Cuba. The question is, what kind of ideologue would care to see communist mass-murderers or their descendants, and even caste them in an anti-free-market propaganda. At least Michael Moore was honest about openly expressing his communist-leaning sympathies by making us believe those damn commies in the Caribbean do it better than Americans. A few years ago, when a communist Ph.D. student who lived next door from me defended Michael Moore, I wasn't a bit surprised.
Michael Moore went to Canada, England, France and Cuba to contrast the charitable Governments of these countries with the "evil American health-care providers and Insurance companies." He went gaga over how the Canadians get all the pills and shots in their bottoms and don't have to pay a penny for it. How about the wretched Americans living in Britain and France who get house visits by the doctor, the Government paid nannies and not to forget the paid maternity leaves? Only a person with an IQ equivalent to the room temperature could be scammed by Michael Moore into believing that there are these wonderful places on earth where people get all these nice things in a gift bag for free from the Government.
I will repeat an old adage: "there is no such thing as a free lunch." The costs of sub-standard health-care services in these countries are socialized by their Government by literally taxing their citizens to death. In Canada, the taxes may not be as bad as Europe but the Government makes private health-care next to impossible by highly subsidizing socialized health-care and thus creating an uneven playing field. In Britain, the National Health Services is just one of the programs along with other frivolous Government spending that the taxpayers fund by shelling out every penny they earn for the first six months of a year (the tax holiday in Britain falls around mid-year). In France, health-care is just another Government sham along with the guaranteed employment, 35-hour work-week and guards against laying-off unproductive employees which motivates employers to discriminate between the usually reliable natives and the usually unreliable stereotypically lazy immigrants from Africa and other countries. Finally, do I need to believe the Castro-approved shooting locations for Michael Moore to conclude that Cuba provides world-class health-care, or is it that all I need to realize how screwed up of a place Cuba is when I hear of all those hundreds of thousands of Cubans in South Florida who risked their lives by swimming 90 miles to make it to America. It seems to me that the promise of a future in a society that has some sort of free-market leaning way of life is more powerful than the so-called "free health-care" of communist Cuba.
The question that Michael Moore seeks to answer in his documentary is whether we should have a for-profit health-care system in America. The unequivocal answer is "yes." If we remove the incentive of profit from health-care in America, we will lose the edge that we hold over the rest of the world in terms of ground-breaking medical and pharmaceutical research and development. The lack of profit will lead the investors to move their investments elsewhere, where the Government does not poke its nose. In the absence of profits, and under the blessings of the Government, health-care which will get to be known as "public-health-care" will turn into just another bureaucratic hell hole like public education.
Speaking of public education, Michael Moore must be so out of touch with reality living in his upscale condo somewhere in New York to claim that the Government is doing an excellent job at indoctrinating, oops! I meant educating our children. I wonder if Michael and his wife sent his stepdaughter to a public school in Bronx. If so, I admire this committed socialist. The state of public education in America is no secret for the rest of the world. How can you trust a corrupt institution like Government that lacks morality and principles to teach your children to grow up to be principled moralists? Besides, all you need to do to realize that the Government has diminished the intelligence and imagination our children is to have a peep in the places of high-end scientific research and development. You will feel as if though you are in Beijing of Bangalore. I admire the few American kids who manage to survive years of Government induced academic torture and still manage to make it to places that make this country proud.
The point is that when we allow the Government to become the monopoly in areas such as education, police, fire department and road transport (to mention a few), we reject the prospects of a healthy competition which is required to provide the best services that money can buy. In the absence of competition, people get used to Government-provided sub-standard service. In a few years time we reach a stage that when a rational individual proposes the prospects of free and fair competition in areas where the Government holds a monopoly, the first thing to come out of people who seem to fill their Ritalin prescriptions on time is: "What about the roads, and who is going to provide the services of police and the fire department?" What are we going to do when armed gangs roam the streets like they did in New Orleans? We have reached a point in time, when it is a sin to even imagine what things would be like in the absence of Government monopolies and presence of a free-market-based competition.
America has moved from being a Jeffersonian Republic to being a Hamiltonian State (see DiLorenzo), where the Government is nothing short of being a monarchy that Americans sanction every few years via the Diebold machines. It is not just about health-care. It is a problem with a much broader context. Government oversight and regulation has virtually seeped through every aspect of our lives. We are just short of having Government’s cameras in our bedrooms. We are living in a state of emergency. While people like Michael Moore would like the Government to baby-sit us as long as it is not the Republicans, it is the duty of every concerned citizen to peacefully oppose the expansion of Government-led socialization.
While Michael Moore’s message may have been a compassionate one that urges us to take care of the weak and the vulnerable in our society, the repercussions of his suggestions of a socialized health-care sound ominous to just any rational individual. Instead of letting the Government assume any further control over our health-care system, we need to urge the Government to systematically de-socialize the way we take care of our health. We could start with the dismantling of the FDA so that pharmaceutical companies can speed up the provision of life-saving drugs. Next, we could dismantle the American Medical Association that regulates the number of doctors entering the industry every year. Then we may not need to import doctors from other countries that do not regulate their supply. Further we need to enforce the right of health-care institutions to hire non-union staff. If the hospital employees still volunteer to strike, the hospital's administrators should have the right to suspend or fire the striking staff without notice and compensation. Finally, we need to have dedicated attorneys who tear to shreds the frivolous lawsuits that are filed against health-care providers causing their Insurance premiums to go up, which in turn inflate our medical and insurance bills. After all these efforts we could achieve a health-care system that can take care of the weak and the vulnerable in our society. If Michael Moore’s intentions are genuine, then I am sure the consequences of a market-based health-care system will make him feel better. In the meantime he needs to lay-off that box of Twinkies.
While the concept of markets may not mean anything to Michael Moore, people have spoken by the means of markets and have delivered their verdict against him. The movie opened at ninth spot on the US box office, and has been struggling to cover its production budget of nine million dollars. This is in stark contrast to his Republican bash-fest Fahrenheit 9/11, which made over 100 million dollars. After this debacle, I hope no rational investor would risk their money with the Twinkie-monster. In the mean time, I hope Fidel Castro appoints Michael Moore the minister of propaganda in Cuba.
July 12, 2007