Michael Moore was on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Mathews Monday and was his usual obnoxious (I ironically mean that in a good way with Mr. Moore) self, promoting his documentary, "Sicko" and the idea that Socialized medical care is a panacea.

At least he had the honesty to admit that a number of Americans will receive "worse" care (at least in terms of convenient access) then they currently enjoy. The philosophical arguments about healthcare and how much it's a right versus a commodity is an important one to have, and, "Sicko" has galvanized the debate. A perfect storm exists for progress on this issue in that big business, labor unions, and the zeitgeist of the country all support a universal system in the abstract sense. The devil's in the details and $$$$ involved.

While federal systems enjoy popular support in other countries, it's not all milk & honey. It's ironic that as many as 15-20% of citizens are estimated to seek care outside the government run systems in western Europe that are lionized by activists. The system Moore champions (like only Canada, Cuba, & North Korea's - an unlikely triad) would not tolerate any private sector competition for care delivery or services as it would undercut the federal system and prove more popular with many patients with financial wherewithal. Write this down, THIS WILL NEVER BE ACCEPTED IN THE UNITED STATES, so I don't think that system is worth discussing in depth.

There's a real alternate take on the Canadian system celebrated by Mr. Moore in "Sicko" by the underground film hit "Dead Meat" which features Canadians frustrations with the reality of long waits for imaging studies, orthopedic surgery, cancer treatments, and even cardiac surgery. It's ironic in Canada that you can actually buy health insurance for your pet, but not yourself or child.

Anecdotes are a poor way to determine public policy, but it goes to show that you just don't get something for nothing.

Click on the screen below to watch "Dead Meat"


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