Friday, June 15, 2007

Michael Moore's Medical Morass

I am no fan of the film maker Michael Moore. I thought his takes on Columbine and 9-11, although admittedly provocative, were unfair and misguided. But he can connect the dots any way he chooses as this is a free country. And when the other side can do no better than poke fun at his girth, you know they are losing the argument. Hey -- the guy likes to eat; what's wrong with that?

But yesterday on the Amy Goodman radio show, she played a tape of some of Moore's speech to the California Legislature about health care reform, and what he said made sense to me. Goodman's radio show plays in the afternoons in the Seattle area on KBCS 91.3 FM. Of course, Moore is also touting his new film about sick folk, but ---.

Moore was arguing for universal free health care and the jump off point for his argument is the undeniable fact that health insurers are legally bound by their fiduciary duties to the shareholders to make a profit. There are only two ways to make a profit as a health care insurer: 1) raise the price of insurance or 2) deny treatment. As a small business owner who provides health insurance for all our employees, I can tell you that raising the price of insurance leads to reductions in the benefit and that leads to denial of treatment. So ultimately the issue is this: is there anything wrong with denying medical treatment because it costs too much? And the answer to that question is without question, in Bond's opinion, "of course it is wrong".

Moore argues, correctly I believe, that making health care a for profit venture is a bad idea. Health care should be right up there with the other human rights, rights that all civilized people acknowledge as just and humane. Sick people should get medical care no matter what their financial circumstances might be. Medical care should be provided at no direct cost to the person seeking treatment just as we expect the police, firefighters and functioning courts to provide those services at no direct cost to the victims of crime or someone whose house is burning down or those who seek justice in our courts.

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