Other Voices: Moore misses the mark with SiCKO | TheUnion.com

Other Voices: Moore misses the mark with SiCKO

Having just seen the movie SiCKO, I was impressed with its emotional appeal, but saddened at the film’s completely erroneous logic. The people Michael Moore uses to illustrate the need for health care are charity cases that deserve our sympathy and help.

However, he illogically relates their need to a “universal” need for the rest of us. He completely misunderstands the function of non-government insurance companies and proposes that government charity is better than private charity, which I believe is not true for the reasons stated below.

In the past, before our government got involved, the private sector did an excellent job of providing health care for the majority of our citizens at low cost. Medical insurance was very affordable. It saddens me to realize that some younger people like Moore are not aware that we had affordable health care years ago before the government got involved.

They don’t realize that it is when the government began forcing taxpayers to fund health care for the retired and the poor through a system of bureaucratic rules that costs skyrocketed. It was then that the natural compassion of the highly regarded professional caregivers became overshadowed by political influence, corruption and greed. We can again have affordable health care for the majority if the voters learn to ask for less governmental involvement, not more.

With regard to insurance companies, Moore doesn’t understand that their very useful function is to provide for the unexpected, not charity for the expected. Their economic purpose is based on the probability that an event will not happen.

A rational person does not wait to buy fire insurance for his house after a fire has started. He doesn’t buy life insurance after he knows he only has a few more months to live. So don’t expect to buy health insurance when you start to have health problems. Private insurance companies provide a useful service for financial protection against the unexpected, not the expected.

People who try to get health insurance after they learn of a health problem are dishonest and need to look elsewhere for the help they will need.

So the only useful content of Moore’s movie, with its very emotional presentation, is not “universal” health care, but the need for charity for those who cannot afford health care insurance or those who failed to purchase it before the need arose.

Thus, the real question that he presents is: Which of the two is the best source of charity, the government or the private sector? It is here that he proposes what I believe to be a seriously mistaken concept: That politicians, who produce nothing useful on their own, can provide charity better by having the government force the taxpayers to pay for it rather than caring citizens and their private charitable organizations.

But my experience says the opposite is true. In my younger years, health care for those who couldn’t afford it was always available from caring doctors who would regularly donate part of their time to take care of the poor at no charge, and hospitals were operated by religious organizations that would accept all in need regardless of their ability to pay.

Compassion and charity are and always have been a part of human nature. It is government coercion that has brought corruption and greed, qualities that also are a part of human nature, into the process, with negative results.

Michael Moore’s emotional appeal for health care charity is well presented. But it is clear that his solution of putting all caregivers on the government’s payroll to take care of the few who need charity is simply bad logic. And his view that insurance companies are greedy because they don’t provide charity shows a complete lack of understanding of their useful economic purpose. Most importantly, he and other people of his age and younger who naively think that government can handle charity effectively don’t realize they are creating unsatisfactory results by replacing real compassion with coercion.


Bob Glassco lives in Grass Valley

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