NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 9, 2007

In many respects, Michael Moore's new movie, "Sicko," is a trial for those who oversee health care in the United States.  The industry is charged with greed and putting personal interests above patients.  But one aspect missing from the film is the defense, says the Associated Press.

Consider this discrepancy:

  • Moore tells viewers there are about 50 million people in the United States without health insurance.
  • In the last week of June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were about 43.6 million uninsured people in the country; in March, the Census Bureau put the number at 44.8 million.


  • Taking on the pharmaceutical industry, Moore says it spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress for a Medicare prescription drug benefit in a bid to get $800 billion of our tax dollars to the drug and health insurance industry.
  • Last year, however, Medicare officials said that the projected cost of the benefit through 2015 stood at about $729 billion, a substantial drop compared with original estimates.

Lastly, Moore takes on the notion that universal health coverage leads to longer waits in hospital emergency rooms and to see doctors.  But his analysis doesn't seem to match the statistics.  For example:

  • Some 24 percent of Canadians waited four hours or longer to be seen in the emergency room versus 12 percent in the United States.
  • The difference was more acute when it came time to see a specialist; 57 percent of Canadians waited four weeks or longer to see a specialist versus 23 percent in the United States.
  • In Britain, which has universal health care, the wait times for emergency-room care were comparable to those in the United States.
  • There was a big difference, however, when it came time to see a specialist -- 60 percent in Britain waited a month or more.

Source: Kevin Freking and Linda A. Johnson, "Moore gives the accused little say in 'Sicko,'" Miami Herald, July 8, 2007.

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