Filmmaker Michael Moore Expected To Make Documentary on Business Practices of Health Care Industry
Filmmaker Michael Moore plans to make a new documentary focused on the business practices of the health care industry, which has prompted some companies to tell employees that "under no circumstances" should they speak with him, the Chicago Tribune reports. The film, tentatively titled "Sicko," will target pharmaceutical companies and health insurers, according to a Moore spokesperson.
Some pharmaceutical companies have told sales representatives to avoid camera cell phones in physician offices, and according to one unnamed company, Moore representatives have offered $50,000 to physician offices that allow hidden cameras and $5,000 to sales representatives who agree to appear in the film. A Moore spokesperson declined to comment on the allegations.
Health insurers said that although they are aware of the film, they are "not going to let it distract them from providing patient care," the Tribune reports. Moore representatives said that they have not decided when production on the film would begin. A spokesperson for Miramax said that an agreement with Moore to finance and distribute the film has "yet to be finalized."
Court Rosen, a spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said, "What our society needs is a serious debate about overall health care based on facts, not just another one-sided micro-mockumentary."
According to Mohit Ghose, a spokesperson for America's Health Insurance Plans, "Michael Moore is a major Hollywood entertainer and while we have heard through the Hollywood press that he has signed a deal for his next movie, our industry is much more focused on the needs of the American people advancing a positive policy agenda in Washington and across the country to make high-quality health care affordable for millions of Americans."
Moore spokesperson Mark Benoit said, "Everything he does is well-documented, so I can understand why" the health care industry "would be so worried."
Lynda De Laforgue, co-director of Citizen Action Illinois, said, "We would welcome any disclosure on how this multibillion-dollar industry works," adding, "They would certainly have reason to be concerned about any group looking into their business practices, looking into the amount of money that they use to influence the political and legislative process. These are obviously the typical things Mr. Moore delves into deeper" (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 9/30).