Filmmaker Michael Moore is not doing much to inspire confidence in Sicko, his upcoming film on the U.S. health care sector. According to Variety.com, Moore wrote the following in an email to supporters:
If people ask, we tell them Sicko is a comedy about the 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth.
One can only assume Moore is talking about "the" 45 million Americans who lack health insurance. Never mind that a lot of them will not be among those who lack health insurance tomorrow. Never mind either that government eggheads believe "that the estimate is inflated due to poor reporting of Medicaid coverage and perhaps other coverage types as well."
No, what's really interesting is that Moore says the uninsured receive no health care. He might be surprised to know that people have actually researched this topic. In 2003, the journal Health Affairs published an article titled, "How Much Medical Care Do The Uninsured Use, And Who Pays For It?" Turns out the uninsured received $99 billion of health care in 2001. The uninsured probably receive even more health care today.
Now, you might think $99 billion is not enough. You might even think $99 billion is too much. But if you think $99 billion equals $0, you might be Michael Moore.
I'm actually looking forward to agreeing with Sicko about how the U.S. health care sector is bloated and inefficient, and how health care providers routinely rip off taxpayers. But I can't help this feeling that Moore is going to recommend that we turn that mess over to a sector of the economy that is even larger, even less efficient, and an even bigger rip off.
I'm hoping for a surprise ending.