Conversation with One of SiCKO’s WTC Rescue Workers

Today I noticed that Reggie Cervantes-Miller posted a comment to an oped I wrote for The New York Sun about Michael Moore’s film SiCKO. Cervantes was one of the three September 11 rescue workers that Moore took to Cuba for free health care.

In the oped, in which I spoke directly to Moore, I noted that every one of those rescue workers had health insurance on September 11, 2001, but lost their insurance when they lost their jobs.  I then wrote:

Why didn’t you tell your audience that the American government was largely responsible for that? After all, it is Congress that ties health insurance to employment by imposing a tax penalty on insurance that actually stays with you when you lose your job. If we got rid of those stupid tax penalties, people like Ms. Cervantes and Messrs. Graham and Maher could get coverage that sticks with them through the rough times.

Below is Cervantes’ comment in its entirety:

Why did you tell them, Michael Cannon that the reason I couldn’t afford the Cobra benefits was because the capitalist insurance company wanted 4 times what my employer paid for me to keep my insurance and I had to choose between rent and insurance while unemployed?

Of course our elected officials are still receiving money from lobby sources to promote their agenda.

Who have you written to Mr. Cannon, to request or demand that we be covered for necessary medical treatment to keep alive? Put your money where mouth is because Michael Moore did and you are only here to do us a disservice!

Reggie Cervantes

WTC Survivor Rescue Worker in Michael Moore’s Sicko

I submitted the following comment, which has yet to be posted by the Sun:

Reggie-

You’re right: COBRA can be of little comfort to people who actually need it. Right at the moment of greatest need – when you’ve lost your job and still need medical care – you learn just how much your employer’s health plan costs because they charge you the full premium. Actually, 102 percent. If you were charged more than that, someone was breaking the law (see here).

You’re also right that special interests have a tight grip on the politicians, which helps them block any real health care reform. But that is exactly why Mr. Moore’s prescription is so dangerous: the more control we give to the government, the more control we give to the special interests. The way I’m trying to help is by returning the vast sums of money controlled by the lobbyists and politicians to the people. That will impose much more discipline on the system, and far fewer people would end up in such dire straits.

If you’d like to talk about this more, you can find me at the Cato Institute’s web site.

To repeat what I told you, John, and Bill when we met in D.C… . well, I didn’t know how to begin to thank you then, and I still don’t.

Michael