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Michael Moore

Michael Moore and CNN's Sanjay Gupta on Larry King Live

Part 1

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Part 2

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civil debate. i liked it. they focused on the issues. i wish we would see more of that.

I... I actually learned something from CNN... -tear-

line? screw the line, how about having more doctors???

This is so lame. You reason why medical costs are so much less in other countries and yet the care is better has to do with the way the medical profession is administered. Yes the insurance companies have A LOT to do with the expense and inefficiency of care in this country, but there is another elephant in the room, the medical profession itself. To become a doctor you have to go to one of only 91 accredited medical schools in the country and pay over $150,000 for the privilege (assuming you are lucky enough to get into one of the schools). And keep in mind that this is after completing a bachelors degree, which means that the average med student already has about $20,000 debt just from undergrad before he/she even starts medical school.

the truth is that waiting times and expense is great because the medical profession is a monopoly, it regulates the supply of doctors to maintain high salaries, and anytime someone objects they scream that quality has to be maintained. but we have over 300 million people in this country. surely there are more than a couple million from those 300 million who could qualify as competent doctors if given the chance!

butt no, instead we have a regulated industry that maintains high prices through the regulation of supply, and we have a government that is unwilling to give financial aid to students who want to be doctors.

the same by the way is true of lawyers, how can a lawyer be expected to work for a nonprofit when s/he has a debt of 150K? The most a student can borrow from the government is $20,500 a year, but tuition alone is often $35,000 or more. And those are LOANS, at 6.8%, which means that even with government debt a student is going to be drowning in red ink for a decade or more. the exact same thing is true of the medical profession. Doctors who would want to charge less cant, they have to pay their loans.

Thank you Norm

I think that it is hilarious that CNN feels the need to preface an interview with Michael Moore with a rebuttal. Don’t those usually come after? They basically call Mr. Moore a liar when he has already given them the facts he uses in the film and their corroboration. None of the facts are fudged. Most of their criticism of what he states in Sicko doesn’t even make sense.

A survey of six industrialized nations found that only Canada was worse than the United States when it came to waiting for a doctor’s appointment

How is this an argument against what Moore is saying? This is followed by some talking head saying the following:

That’s the reality of those systems. There are quotas, there are planned wait times, the concept that care is free in France and Canada and Cuba…and it’s not (sic). Those citizens pay for health services out of taxes.

The reality is that out of six countries studied the US was second to last(in wait times, we're 37th overall). And of course no health system is free, you idiot. Americans don’t pay directly for our war machine and that sure as shit isn’t free. What most European systems have done is eliminate the middle man (private insurers) which leaves a lot more money for treatment.

Sanjay Gupta goes on to say:

You won’t find medical utopia elsewhere.

I don’t want utopia, I just don’t want to pay $100,000 for heart surgery. This is a thinly-veiled critique of any idea of socialism, as if anyone who wants to work collectively to solve societal problems is a dreamer.

Americans have been taught to fear socialized medicine. People need to get a passport, travel out of the country, and examine the health care systems in other countries. In many European countries, not only is health care free but also university education, two aspects in American life that are quickly becoming the private property of the wealthy.

this was irritating to watch! sadly, mr moore was not the best debater there ... too much dead air, long pauses, some waffling and useless, testy comments and no head-on tackling of some of dr. gupta's comments.

(to be clear, i am not pretending that i would or could perform any better, but i am accustomed to seeing debaters that do.)

the whole "is healthcare free in france?" issue was particularly painful. i kept wishing to hear mr. moore shoot down dr. gupta's arrogant appraisal of the "less sophisticated". i wish he had simply pointed out that healthcare in those countries is just as "free" as their fire departments, schools, police services, their roads and military... of course these are all paid for by taxes, and of course people realize this. dr. gupta's claim -that it is dishonest to call healthcare "free" is dishonest- is itself ludicrous! what high opinion he must have of himself and his efforts in studious insight into the details of the various healthcare systems: "i've studied this, as have you but you to just say to someone who doesn't have the sophisticated understanding of exactly how health care systems work, that it is free, is simply not true." this, in my view, is indefensible rubbish.

in moore's defense, maintained that healthcare is free and he finally did land a very solid point when he mentioned that the difference in those other countries people do not need to worry about the costs of their healthcare when they need it.

also, the movie and the movie's fact-check website really cements his case. but you can't rely on everyone running over to their web browsers.

sad truth about the American system is, for all its flaws, us Canadians ship the really difficult cases to the specialized hospitals in the states. You guys develop some great medical technology and the free market of your healthcare system has probably contributed to that. Essentially, we profit off of your loss.

Sanjay Gupta says we don't have a "sophisticated understanding" of the issue.

He provides us with the detailed analysis we can't perform ourselves by trying to scare us shitless with the ultimate conservative economic ammo - those socialists will RAISE YOUR TAXES!!! Aaahhhh.

Yes yes Michael, I Sanjay "sophisticated" Gupta, MD, understand that we pay more in deductables and copayee costs than other countries pay taxes for their health system, but didn't you hear me the first time ... the liberals want to RAISE YOUR TAXES!!!! Run!!! Run!!!

Medicare will be trillions in debt because we're cutting taxes, but didn't you hear me the first time ... the liberals want to RAISE YOUR TAXES!!!! Run!!! Run!!!

Larry King, another sophisticated understanderer, finds no link between cutting funds for Medicare and pumping funds into the war. Maybe my unsophisticated mind made that link in error!

And the sophisticated Vanderbilt professor (whose only affiliation can be with the university and nothing else) implies that because 15-20% of the people in other unspecified countries opt out of their system, we should never use the universal healthcare system at all! He doesn't explain why 80-85% of the people stay IN! Maybe because its affordable and it works?

I'll never know, because I don't have a sophisticated understanding. Because I get my news from CNN.

By the way, did I mention that ... the liberals want to RAISE YOUR TAXES!!!! Run!!! Run!!!


I don't see any evidence that the US' expertise in high tech treatments has to do with its private system. I suspect it has more to do with the higher per capita GDP and the superior research universities.

For one thing, very little of the higher per capita cost in the US is the result of research and development. These statistics are easily accessible. The cost of secretaries filing papers for insurance companies is higher. (Gupta was at least honest about this; polls find that over 60% of doctors in the US are upset about how much time they have to spend on paper work.)

For another, just look at the excellent research institutions run by state governments in the US, i.e., the state schools. UC Berkely, UCLA, Michigan, UNC, U Texas, and Virginia are among the leaders in research in the country.

Basically, my point is, research and high tech care done by a private sector responding to market incentices isn't responsible, or at least isn't primarily responsible, for the higher costs. In a cheaper (and more effective) public system, I'll bet you would have more than twice as much to invest in R&D.

For stats on amount spent on research and on bureaucratic hurdles, see here and here:

varun, just to clarify, that's not the proportion of people who 'opt out'; I thought it was the proportion who seek some treatment outside the system. That's totally different. I have relatives in Canada who have used the public system for all but one operation, which they flew to the US for. They remain covered by their national public health care and go back to it for everything else.

By the way, I also have a relative in New Jersey who's flying to Canada for a special operation that is done better there--BY THE PUBLIC SYSTEM!!!

What a delight that everyone is talking about health care now.

The quibbling about whether per capita health care costs in Cuba are $259 or $251, and whether per capita health care costs here are $6000 or $7000.. that was just ridiculous. Gupta was being really petty about that. The point is that our per capita health care costs are so damned high as compared to other countries and yet still millions of americans don't even have health care. And Cuba was 39th, was it? So we're just 2 above Cuba at 37? At least they're just paying $250 per capita for their crappy health care and everyone's covered!

Also, those against universal health care immediately point to Canada. They never dare compare us with some other countries such as France.

Also, the health care in Canada is not the same for all of the various provinces.

And finally, I have a friend who lives in Saskatchewan and she had severe back pain and she did have to wait a very long time before anything was done about it. But at least she has health care.

The biggest problem here in the U.S. is that so many of us don't have any access to health care at all.

And if you have a pre-existing condition, you're out of luck.

ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-can yo-yo-yo-yoyou pe-peo-pe-peo-people st-st-st-stop ta-ta-tataking -lil-ili-like yo-yo-you ha-ha-have a-a-a-a-a di-di-di-dildo in-in-in-your ass?


You see you can't rely on politicians to do the dirty work and effect change; you need a maverick filmmaker; and a Porn Hustler to get at the truth of things (Vitter). But look at the power that one individual in the right context can have. Go Michael!

Gupta accuses moore of "cherry picking" when he does so with all of his information. He knows where moore got his facts, which he ignored and went somewhere else to prove him wrong. How is what gupta did by picking stats from 2004 any different than moore picking projected spending in 2007? Why didn't gupta reference what moore was refering to in his "fact check" piece. He's no more a journalist than moore is.

Moore lost a lot of the first half, quabbling over facts that vary from source to source, but in the second half, when he says that the exact figures aren't as important as the fact that people are dying in this country because of this problem, gupta just had to shut up. Also, the point at the end of gupta only using one source that has worked for a pharm funded think tank was pretty devestating to all of guptas report.

They both bothered the hell out of me, and larry king should stfu.


I wouldn't mind paying significantly higher taxes in the US IF WE ACTUALLY RECEIVED SOMETHING FROM THEM. What do my taxes do but pay for expressways to support trucking that supports corporations, bullets to kill brown people to clear trading zones to support corporations, or to subsidize the tax breaks of those rich enough to contribute to corporations that.. support corporations... hmm... seems to be a trend here.

Anyway, at what point do I personally benefit from my taxes, besides in the abstract?

All the countries used as an example in Mr Moore's film have completely different attitudes towards society and its people than in America. He nailed it: we are a nation of "me" and not "we". Everything is structured for personal empowerment, as long as you can negotiate and manipulate the system to your advantage. Mr Gupta's notion of the 'less sophistated' failing to understand (MM's notion of a "free" medical system) underscores how the empowered look down their noses with contempt for those that haven't, or can't wield the system to their personal advantage. This mentality yields exactly what you would expect: invasion, confiscation, manipulation, economic segregation.

I'm, once again, disgusted and ashamed to call this My Country.

Thank you Susceptor for bringing up the very important, and often overlooked issue of how the medical establishment is regulated (monopolized). This should absolutely be included in any discussion about health care in this country.

In addition to that, after seeing the movie I never once had the impression that the health care Moore was discussing would be "free". And I am just a typical 28 year old (well, maybe not THAT typical, but I digress). I found it incredibly insulting that Dr Gupta kept saying Moore was misleading and people would leave not understanding that universal health care would require higher taxes. Moore never once implied that in his movie and was very forthcoming about how these other countries systems were paid for.

And while this may be off topic, how many people realize that our federal income taxes don't actually pay for ANY services? Fed income taxes go directly to pay the interest (and interest only) of the loans the government has taken from the Federal reserve. Which is f*ed up because the government actually has the power to print and distribute money and doens't have to borrow it (and therefore does not have to pay interest to private banks). But they gave the power to the fed reserve and now private banks make money off the citizenry of this country. So in addition to ending the war spending and the tax cuts for the ultra wealthy, how much better off would we be financially as a country if the fed reserve was abolished and the government used its power to print money again (and don't even get me started on the gold standard). We would have more than enough to provide our citizens with the best health care AND education in the world.

It's one thing for people to think this country is #1. It's quite another to actually take the steps necessary to make it #1.


The "not free" argument is just ridiculous. Everybody knows the service is paid for somehow. No one is misled into thinking it happens by magic. Jeez. It's paid by taxes, everybody knows it and Moore even says so in the movie. The fact that this is Gupta's main argument reveals his dishonesty.

Free is still the right word, since you pay your taxes regardless of whether you need health services. So when you get sick, you pay nothing extra, hence free service.

I just love Dr. Gupta's elitist argument that the general public is too stupid to understand what Moore means by "free" health care.

It firstly shows how far removed Dr. Gupta is from the general population, and secondly how little confidence he has in their common sense.

Moore points out Dr. Gupta's elitist sophistry quite easily in this mini debate. You get the impression the CNN wankers are not diagreeing with Moore personally, but the bosses upstairs definitely want to see Moore and his unpleasantly true film squashed, so twits like Blitzer, Gupta, Dobbs, et al. are just following orders in their defaming, debasing, and specious "fact-checking" of Moore.

It certainly didn't take Moore long to force Dr. Gupta to agree most doctors hate the current system, if only because insurance companies are the final arbiter of what kind of care patients recieve, not doctors.

Dr. Gupta seems like such a "nice" guy with great TVQ, but in this debate he came across as dishonest and unctuous, and once again Moore was dead-on correct in every argument he made.


Mat Scheck1,

I think your criticism of Michael Moore and CNN is placed in the wrong direction.

Sanjay understands that there are a good percentage of people that will be watching television/movies that will take things literally (look at the number of people that take the bible literally). So when Mr. Moore says that health care is free, I think many folks will take it literally.

It seems that Michael is so dense with his "facts" that he refuses to even listen to anyone else's reports or "facts." Instead of blowing up at people, he should ask them to cite their sources and try to discuss it. It's just like trying to argue with someone who is extremely religous. There is no rational conversation that can take place.

When Gupta asked "If you had a heart problem, where would you rather be?" (Canada or the U.S.) I was hoping Michael might respond with something like "Do I have health insurance or not?

The point isn't whether paying for our health care in Canada through taxes can be called "free". The fact is, that regardless of my financial situation I am guaranteed the same quality of health care as anyone else and that I will never be turned away.

Ask anyone who has had a bit of misfortune or is down on his luck and is barely able to keep a roof over his head whether health care in Canada is free and he'll tell you it is.

I think your criticism of Michael Moore and CNN is placed in the wrong direction.

Good for you. I don't.

Sanjay understands that there are a good percentage of people that will be watching television/movies that will take things literally (look at the number of people that take the bible literally).

I disagree. This "literalist" religious group wouldn't go near "Sicko" if they were forced to view it. The audience who WILL see "Sicko" has enough common sense to understand Moore's concept of "free" health care. Gupta is wrong. And elitist.

So when Mr. Moore says that health care is free, I think many folks will take it literally.

Apparently you are elitist too. Good to see you have such faith in "folks." Fundamentalist religious types aren't going to see "Sicko" in large numbers, but the majority of people who will see the film tend to be more educated and grounded in reality than the right-wing religious types.

It seems that Michael is so dense with his "facts" that he refuses to even listen to anyone else's reports or "facts."

No, he merely pointed out that these "facts" were wrong, and in any case the "facts" CNN "checked" were so miniscule in comparison to Moore's grand message that he was rightfully outraged that CNN would use such horseshitty, deliberately disingenuous, and nit-picky logic on minute differences in numbers to make people think Moore "fudges" all his facts, and therefore everything he says in his message is knee-jerk reactionary bullshit. Which it isn't. I put it to you: Is Moore wrong in his attack of the US health care system? Is he wrong to state France's system is fairer and more comprehensive and, most importantly, better? If you disagree, show me substantive evidence to the contrary. They are ranked #1 by the WHO. We’re 37th. The facts are right there in black and white.

Instead of blowing up at people, he should ask them to cite their sources and try to discuss it.

Uh, Mitch, did you WATCH Moore's debate with Gupta? It appeared to me he specifically pointed out the sources of Gupta's "facts" and how they were incorrect or were of questionable intent, or, in some cases, came directly from paid professional sophists working for the health care insurers. Not only that, he got Gupta to admit in several different places that Gupta agrees with Moore's main theme, that the US health care system is a mess and that 50 million Americans have no health coverage. Nor did Moore "blow up" at any time in this debate with Dr. Gupta. Sure, he showed disgust, but I felt the same disgust listening to Gupta's sophistry, disingenuous logic, and unctuous lying. You can smile, be calm, and still be full of shit. Like this unctuous tool Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

It's just like trying to argue with someone who is extremely religious. There is no rational conversation that can take place.

Moore's arguments and facts seem quite rational to me, so I have no idea what you are babbling about here. How else do you explain how he got Gupta to admit that our health care system sucks, and that doctors hate it as much as Moore? That seems like rational discourse to me. If it wasn't, why did Gupta agree with him that doctors hate having insurance companies dictate how they treat patients? Or that our system is unfair and that 18,000 Americans die a year because they have no heath coverage?

So all of your points are wrong as far as I can tell. You seem to have personal issues with Moore, not with his message or his very sound arguments.


If Canadians have insurance coverage which protects them should they be injured in the United States, can I by some? Really, I'd gladly be injured in the US and be treated in Canada, since I have no health insurance at all. Sound strange? If so, then why am I buying medications from Canada, channeled through a US pharmacy in Michigan (at great prices)?

Ah work is done. Time to join the debate. I loved the sophistry of Gupta's report. Especially that elliptical criticism of the wait times in Canada being the worst after only the U.S.. That means,of course, that they are among the shortest in the world. There are some particular exceptions for certain procedures we know but on the whole most Canadians are satisfied with levels of service and where they are not the matter can quite readily be cured at the ballot box. Another red herring is obviously the patient satisfaction statistics, which are distorted by the fact large numbers of Americans have no health care and are therefore ineligible for polling.

Moore's got responses on his site for Gupta's bullcrap.

Including this whopper from the Doctor:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "His only affiliation is with Vanderbilt University. We checked it, Michael."

What a lying sack of shit. The facts are right there, he's not with Vanderbilt anymore, he's with a right-wing think tank headed up by Bushie Tommy Thompson.

What the hell, Gupta?!?!? You just lie and say "we checked it, Michael"?

"Sanjay understands that there are a good percentage of people that will be watching television/movies that will take things literally (look at the number of people that take the bible literally). So when Mr. Moore says that health care is free, I think many folks will take it literally."

I can't help but find that terribly condescending, as well as without basis. Moore dedicates time to debunking the notion that France and Britain drown people with taxes -- that's more than enough to get across that things need to be paid for (and I'm sure he says it outright, I simply don't recall if he did or not specifically).

The idea that people who see the film will latch onto the word "free" but completely miss the entire roughly 3-5 minute segment dealing with the fact of taxes and the propaganda that they pay through the nose because of it, it's just sickening to hear.

stop jew bashing

Ugh, the media loves nothing more than to talka bout itself and I've just watched 3 people spend 23 minutes splitting hairs. What the hell.

Moore's overarching message (and the clarity of that message) is lost amongst this pointless debate.

Anyway, the primary source is in the financial reports of the health insurers themselves. Why doesn't he just cite these - they would be irrefutable.

It makes me laugh that Gupta actually used the term "free universal health care" in his report, and then tried to lecture Moore that it's not free.

It's not free in terms that it is funded through taxation, but it IS FREE at the point of use. That's the whole point, duh.

Sorry to say I just don't think American's are able to conceptualise this issue - the debate is not moving.



I live in Britain.

Firstly, we don't have FREE healthcare, we pay for it through high taxes. Moore needs to stop neglecting this fact and skirting around it (as he always does with all his work, when he cherry picks which information to use to support his own biased views).

Secondly, yes, we pay less than Americans do per person on average, but as they say: "you get what you pay for." We have ridiculously long waiting lists for even the simplest operations, and the statistic that Moore quotes "70% of people in Britain get to see THEIR GP that day" is simply not true. You get to see A GP the same day, and only if you beg and whine and exagerate your condition. At least when healthcare is privatised it has to deliver results or suffer financial loss.

Lastly, I do believe that a universal healthcare system is a good idea, just don't believe everything that Moore says about how good the rest of the world has it (around 30% of people here pay for private medical care as well becuase our system is not good enough); frankly he is as bad as any of the Bush administration when it comes to choosing what to believe based solely on very diluted information, and then passing it on as facts to people who are too stupid to question it.

Sarah13, who I will assume is a fellow Ron Paul supporter, raises an excellent point.

When Gupta talked about the "debt in france", I almost choked. When it comes to debt, America truly is #1 in the world.

Regarding Moore, I feel he is his own worst enemy. When he becomes flustered, or stuck, or uncertain, he falls back into the same old talking point about the war, the media and Bush.

Keep in mind: I agree with him about all three. However, this discussion is about healthcare, and the effect this debate will have on the 2008 election.

We need to look forward, not backwards. Yes, Bush fucked up. Yes, the war sucks. Yes, both the Dems and GOP have TOTALLY FAILED US.

Whether we pay $7,000 or $5,000 or $10,000 is irrelevant. We pay MORE. The majority of us GET LESS. Something needs to change.

Smyke also raises an excellent point: will the socialization of our medicine cause a stagnation in R&D?

These are the questions I have. Here are the issues keeping me from voting for Kucinich:

  1. Who gonna pay?
  2. What happens to R&D?
  3. Can a socialized healthcare system be made sustainable?

As far as I am concerned, Medicare and Medicaid are the two best arguments AGAINST socialized healthcare. I am still waiting on baited breath for a specific response to my questions.

I want change. I will vote for it. The "change/don't change" paradigm is a scam. The real issue is: which changes will make this country great again.

And, those of you who hate America and are ashamed to be here, you are the MOST IMPORTANT element in America right now. All I can say is this: please, please don't give up on the USA. Whether it realizes it or not, America NEEDS you, and your dissent.

I happen to love America, but I too get frustrated and ashamed. We are fellow patriots, fighting for a common cause. Please remember that always.

Your pal, Zap


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