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Health care at the movies

Post by David Seago on June 27, 2007 at 10:02 am |
June 27, 2007 10:02 am

Now for a serious topic …

Documentary maker Michael Moore‘s (pictured) latest, "Sicko," is getting a huge amount of buzz for its look at American anxieties about health care. Even some conservative critics offered positive reviews. (It opens at Tacoma’s Grand Cinema on July 3.)

But a prominent British-American journalist, Clive Crook, writes that Moore’s depiction of European health care systems as superior alternatives is off the mark. There’s plenty of grumbling in European nations about their systems.

Some of the articles at Foreign Policy’s website are free, but Crook’s is one of the subscription-only articles. But here are the highlights of Crook’s assertions about Eurocare:


"True, the United States’ system is an outlier because of its reliance on private insurance. But Europe’s systems offer no single, plainly superior substitute," he says.


In reality, European countries offer a bewildering array of very different and frequently unpopular models, he says.


Crook notes that Britain’s National Health Service is increasingly being combined with an extensive private insurance system that sprang up because of discontent over standards in the state sector. And across the continent, competition, control, and cost-sharing vary widely.


By common consent, the French system is among the best and it garners special attention in Moore’s film. So what’s not to like?


"Well, ask a French doctor or two when they return from their protest march," Crook argues. "They’re paid roughly a third of what American doctors make."

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