Health Care Experts React to ‘Sicko’ Documentary
A number of health care experts say that Michael Moore "might be glorifying" other countries' health care systems in his new film "Sicko," but many "accept his argument that other nations are doing a better job than the United States in providing coverage for all residents and making sure people have access to primary care and preventive services," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Ken Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory University, said, "We, unlike any other country, have 46 million people who are uninsured, and that raises a whole host of health and financial issues." Thorpe added, "Ours is really is a sick-care system. We have tremendous technical capabilities to deal with people with serious illness."
Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said, "We tend to have more medical errors than other countries, in part because of this highly specialized, fragmented system," adding, "More things can go wrong and do go wrong."
However, Stephen Zuckerman, a health economist with the Urban Institute, said that Moore's credibility on comparing health care systems is damaged because he focuses only on positive aspects of government-run systems in Canada, the U.K., France and Cuba. Zuckerman said, "He's trying to be entertaining. But if the objective here is to kick off a serious study about the British and Cuba as an alternative to the U.S. system, you need a lot more than what was presented in 'Sicko'" (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/10).
NPR's "Fresh Air" on Monday included a discussion with Jonathon Oberlander, a health care politics and policy expert at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about "Sicko" and the accuracy of statements in the film (Gross, "Fresh Air," NPR, 7/9).
Full audio of the segment is available online.
In addition, KCET's "Life & Times" on Tuesday is scheduled to include a discussion with Robert Gumbiner, a physician and author of "Curing Our Sick Health Care System," about the film and single-payer health care ("Life & Times" Web site, 7/10).
A transcript and audio of the complete program will be available online later this week.