Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sicko - Michael Moore's Green Grass On The Other Side

Propaganda: noun: information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause

As I watched the documentary movie “Sicko” I could not purge my knowledge of “the other side of the story” to stop wondering why Michael Moore did not attempt to tell about what we know from recent news events that all is not rosy in the nations that he has visited during his medical tour. Clearly the North Africans who rioted for several night straight in France a few months ago didn't fully appreciate the benefit of free health care and a government agent who would come to their houses to assist with their babies. This ungrateful bunch they must be. Why didn't they see the France that these middle class, mostly White people who frolicked in the spirit of love in the parks and near water fountains that were shown in Michael Moore's movie. Of course the Cuban people who risk their lives to come to “screwed up America” do so because they know if they reach the point of near drowning or if they are stranded at sea for several days with exposure.....they can return to Cuba and receive free health care. With that risk removed their journey out of Cuba as one less worry standing in the way.

Michael Moore is guilt of propaganda. I say this not to say that there are not major problems with the American system that needs to be addressed – they do. I say this because Michael Moore's attempt was to promote the notion to people who either simply don't know or to people who are otherwise inclined to believe as he does that “there are somethings in life that are FREE”.

In my discussions I talk a lot about the attempts to ABSTRACT the COST of certain resources from the PRICE PAID for certain resources by the consumer. Michael Moore has violated this concept from start to finish in his movie. While the consumer of the inhaler is charged $0.05 per unit the cost of producing and shipping these items was not this paltry among.

Michael Moore's movie was equivalent to an aggrieved homeowner setting out a mouse trap. In doing so you go to the pantry and pick out the sweet smelling peanut butter or an aromatic piece of cheese with the goal of attracting your intended audience based on their senses but not the REASON. As I sat through the movie and listened to all of the “Free stuff” that was piled on to Moore's tale a cash register was going off in my head along with questions of “Who is paying for this stuff?”

Moore used the nation of France and their tendency to protest as a positive. I recall working as a consultant for a large global national corporation in my home city. They had an employee from France that had a long term assignment in their world-wide headquarters because of the project that I was assisting on. In his view as a Frenchmen getting anything accomplished in France was impossible due to the propensity of wildcat strikes which often shut down the country. Interestingly, however, Mr. Moore did not include the policies of the newly elected French president who's mission is to cut France's benefits so that she can be more competitive in an EU and world that is seeing jobs transfer out of France which is a high priced center for doing business over to former Eastern Bloc nations or elsewhere. I still could not get past the central question of the government nannies that Michael Moore posted in his movie. If these Northern African immigrants were brought to the streets in night after night of firery riots over their lack of jobs and their economic conditions, why didn't the government absorb them as “nannies” and other service agents for the Euro-socialist state? Might there be a racist undercurrent to the system in France?

In a timely NPR radio show on the drive home from seeing the movie an otherwise sympathetic health care analyst panned several element's of Michael Moore's depictions in the movie. He indicated that both England and Canada DO HAVE problems with long waits for medical services. France's system has avoided being plagued by these problems for a variety of reasons. (NPR's “Radio Times” in Real Audio- http://www.whyy.org/rameta/RT/2007/RT20070703_20.ram)
The bottom line of all of this is ECONOMICS. All health care systems in the world must juggle these three variables as they operate their systems

1) The cost of services provided to the consumer
2) The availability of medical procedures and drugs to the consumer (routine versus advanced)
3)The timeliness (ie: wait times) to of health care services provided to the consumer

Michael Moore panned the notion of a “for profit” corporation acting as the rationing agent for health care. These entities focus on cost containment rather than liberal provisions of services. The fact is that in a government system the rationing agent becomes the government. The same executive that makes the call in the corporate system becomes the government bureaucrat who is making the call in a government operated system. In the corporate model the executive might make a bonus for saving money. As England has shown over the decades of spending cuts and cost containment is the fact that the lack of funds in the system in aggregate provides the very same rationing that Mr. Moore has criticized. The economic theorem that there is no free lunch stands resolute.

United States
Marginal Tax Rate: 33%

France
Marginal Tax Rate: 53%

England
Marginal Tax Rate: 40%

Canada
Marginal Tax Rate: 47%

Cuba
Marginal Tax Rate: Unknown

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