Michael Moore's Solution Would Increase Costs, Delays, Deaths In America
As the nation heads to movie theaters this weekend to see Sicko, Michael Moore's expose on U.S. healthcare.
The company operates an innovative healthcare program that has dramatically reduced cost by improving patient assistance says that government-run healthcare would increase, rather than solve, America's healthcare problems.
Randall E. Gebhardt, president of Quantum Health Inc., said that Michael Moore falsely implies that government-run healthcare works well in Canada and the U.K., and that an expansion in the government's already heavy-handed role in U.S. healthcare - Medicare already directly controls 40% of all healthcare dollars and indirectly controls another 50% - would result in more suffering, more deaths, and significantly higher costs over the next 20 years.
"Michael Moore reaches back and dredges up horror stories from the 1980s and 1990s, and there is a definite implication that healthcare would work better if run by the government," said Randall E. Gebhardt, president of Quantum Health.
"If you want to know how government-run healthcare would work, just think back to the last time you stood in line at the post office, or waited on hold for two hours with the IRS or Immigration service to check on the passport application you sent five months ago, or the news coverage you watched of relief efforts after Katrina. Just think, all your healthcare needs could be run this way.
"There are many ills with U.S. healthcare, and we agree with Michael Moore that the insurance carriers are a big part of the problem. But government already runs 40-50% of U.S. healthcare, and that is also a big part of the problem. If this role were expanded, we would see a national disaster that would make Katrina look like a little weekend annoyance," Gebhardt said.
Gebhardt said that, ironically, Moore's movie makes exactly the point it hopes to disprove - the free market system is functioning well in healthcare. HMOs, whose ethics and patient-insensitivity Moore bashes, had a 70% market share in 1995, but have fallen to less than 25% because patients and their employers have rejected them.
"Hey, Michael," Gebhardt said, "thanks for showing us that the free market system works. The horror stories you dredge up from the 1990s were corrected by the market, because employers and patients rejected the control-oriented HMOs that caused those problems.
"If the government had been running healthcare, the market couldn't have voted with their dollars, and bureaucrats in committee rooms would have retained the status quo - while passing more rules to control behavior - and we'd all be covered by HMOs with even more bureaucracy and an even more confusing maze of paperwork.
"Just look at Canada and the U.K. - that's what they have now. That's why millions of patients are currently waiting for treatment there, and thousands of Canadians cross the border to get the care they need, when they need it, in the U.S."
Gebhardt has been interviewed on camera for the upcoming movie Sick and Sicker, being made by filmmaker Logan Darrow Clements to counter the influence of Michael Moore's film (see http://www.freestarmedia.com).
But while Gebhardt said it would be a national disaster for government to expand its role in running healthcare, he said there is an important role government should play in driving the market to greater efficiency. He outlined several initiatives the government should take:
-- Make discounts on healthcare services illegal.