Capitol Rally, Film Screenings Champion Single-Payer Coverage
Filmmaker Michael Moore on Tuesday met with California lawmakers and held a rally in Sacramento to promote his new documentary "Sicko" about the U.S. health care system, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/13).
"Sicko" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France last month. In the film, Moore documents the stories of the uninsured, individuals who were denied care and people who were improperly discharged by hospitals (California Healthline, 6/11).
Health care advocates hope to use the film to build support for a single-payer health care system nationwide (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 6/13).
In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Moore said, "There's a reason a lot of things happen here first," adding that because California is "such a microcosm of the country, it seems to deal with issues first" (Caina Calvan et al., Sacramento Bee, 6/13).
Moore told Democratic lawmakers at a legislative briefing, "I'm sure between all of you, you're going to find the right solution for California and act as a beacon of hope for the rest of this country" (Los Angeles Times, 6/13).
The briefing was convened by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), who is carrying legislation to create a state-run, single-payer health care system.
The California Nurses Association arranged Moore's visit to Sacramento (Ventura County Star, 6/13). CNA held a rally at the Capitol after the briefing, in which Moore called for abolishing private health insurance coverage.
CNA also held a screening of the film, followed by the official premiere that evening, hosted by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) (Los Angeles Times, 6/13).
Moore is scheduled to meet today with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) to discuss the Healthy San Francisco program, which is intended to provide access to health care services for all uninsured residents in San Francisco (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/13).
Christopher Ohman, president of the California Association of Health Plans, said, "We know the system isn't perfect." However, he added that "bringing a huge new government bureaucracy is not the way to fix American's health care" (Los Angeles Times, 6/13).
Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, said, "Any effort to shine a spotlight" on problems with the U.S. health care system "is important." However, she added, "A utopian promise of a public takeover [of the health care system] is not what the country wants."
Ken Johnson, a senior vice president for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said, "Companies have to have an incentive. Otherwise, who's going to do it?" (Sacramento Bee, 6/13).
Video of Moore's press conference is available online.
In addition, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Wednesday reported on the rally. The segment includes comments from Moore and Núñez (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 6/13).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.