Pharyngula

Moore v. Gupta: Truth v. False Doubt

As Revere points out, Michael Moore gave Sanjay Gupta a whomping. What I missed in the Moore-Gupta match, though, was the big picture. Basically, they argued over details: Gupta put together a “fact check” that claimed Moore fudged various numbers, while Moore showed that his numbers were legitimate. What appalled me, though, was the spin put on it, the spin that Gupta did not acknowledge.

Here’s the argument: Moore says the US spends something under $7000 per person per year on health care; Gupta says it’s ‘only’ something over $6000. Moore says Cuba spends $251 for the same thing; Gupta says it’s $229. Moore points out that we’re ranked 37th in the world for the quality of our health care system; Gupta claims Moore was hiding the fact that Cuba is 39th.

Look at the message CNN is sending. They are saying Moore is a sloppy researcher who is fudging his numbers, and giving ammunition to all the people who want to close their eyes and dismiss Moore’s movie and the problems in the American health care system. Moore is charging in and ably refuting the claims that his data isn’t backed up, but he’s fighting against CNN’s dishonest, sneaky, corrupt story.

Ignore the little variations in number: both cite different sources, accounting for the slight differences. Here’s the bottom line.

The US is spending several thousands of dollars where Cuba is spending a few hundreds of dollars to get roughly equivalent (that is, poor) healthcare.

Further, the media, including Sanjay Gupta, are mounting a spin campaign to cast doubt on the real problem and give cover to those who want to bury efforts to change the system.

Michael Moore sees that, although I don’t think he expressed it as well as he should. That’s where the outrage at CNN is coming from: this is a media outlet that sees their role as one of commissioning hatchet jobs on anyone who challenges the status quo, doing their best to hide an uncomfortable core of truth in a blizzard of irrelevant details. They will gladly paint Michael Moore as a truth-challenged liar on the basis of their selective reading of the facts, but give the Bush administration a complete pass on years of bloodshed and waste. They couldn’t even muster a single Gupta-style querulous whine against the lies behind the Iraq war.

Comments

  1. #1 philos
    July 14, 2007

    For all you bitching & complaining about the health system in America:

    Go ahead, with the next coronary you have, go to Cuba, Haiti or another country of your choosing.

    See how you like it.

    In the end, there is no ‘perfect system’, and American medicine is near the top.

    Sure, the U.S. government could set up some basic system, put the taxes through the roof – but it would still be mediocre since it’s not profit-driven.

    Do you really think Richard Dawkins uses his national health care system? I doubt it – I’d be willing to bet my life he pays for private medical care.

    Do you really think PZ Myers uses public aid? I doubt it.
    Why? Cause he knows it sucks and always will.

    When Michael Moore gets a heart attack with that fatty, male heart of his, he’ll use his insurance that he pays for by making ridiculous movies that liberals just eat up and actually pay for.

    And why do people have the audacity to EXPECT free health insurance???

    Pay for it yourself, like some people and you’ll have no problems.

    Can’t afford it? – not my problem.

    Granted, withstanding the handicapped and disabled, why should the government take care of other’s laziness and lack of drive/education?

    Complain all you want about that lost finger but you had the choice to not pay health insurance or take out a loan.

  2. #2 tacitus
    July 14, 2007

    philos, get a clue. US taxayers are already paying more per capita (out of their taxes) than some countries, like the UK, where there is universal healthcare coverage. The US healthcare system works for those who can afford it. For the rest, it ends up being an even greater burden on the public purse–including your own pocket book.

    And since when does having universal healthcare coverage require everybody to use it? People in the UK, including Richard Dawkins, are free to fund their own healthcare if they so choose. You may be surprised to hear this, but having a universal health care system doesn’t turn a country into a Stalinist state.

    The British people may never be entirely happy with the NHS, but not even Maggie Thatcher dared abolish it. We are very proud of the system, desipte its flaws, and both my parents owe their lives to the prompt, professional, and worry-free care that the NHS provided them–and all at a lower cost (including decades of paying taxes) than you have been paying for the past couple of decades.

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    Go ahead, with the next coronary you have, go to Cuba, Haiti or another country of your choosing.

    I’d like to try Australia or New Zealand myself.

    fork over the airfare and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    you’ll have to give me the cash BEFORE i have my “next coronary” though, as I’m not going to have the time to hunt you down at that point. Is your offer valid for other illnesses? what about if I break a leg or an arm?

    about $2000 should cover it. shouldn’t be a problem for you, right?

    would you like my snail mail addy to send the check to?

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    Life is full of choices.

    yup, and you should have chosen to go to a respectable college, because your education seems horribly lacking.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    It’s my guess that CNN’s Sanjay Gupta was fed the script for his attack on Moore and Sicko by those very same corporate masters.

    then, we should be extremely happy that the best they could do was quibble over minor details.

    Moore’s argument essentially remained untouched.

    Frankly, I’m very pissed at Clinton not jumping on this and making it her primary focus in her campaign (especially considering how gun-ho she was during the early Clinton white house years).

    even if she doesn’t get elected, it’s one of the major issues in the US right now, and she simply couldn’t do more benefit to all of us than by focusing HARD on this.

  6. #6 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2007

    Having universal health care is useless if the system is corrupt.

    or if it’s run by idiots who think there’s valid reasons to doubt that HIV attacks immune cells.

    You should ask Mr Mbeki in South Africa how well his HIV denial played out:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/aids/story/0,,1933873,00.html

    I wonder how many people might still be alive if that idiot had not been an HIV denier.

    good thing cranks like you won’t be running any kind of health-care program, anywhere.

  7. #7 archgoon
    July 15, 2007

    Ichthyic:

    good thing cranks like you won’t be running any kind of health-care program, anywhere.

    Why not? Bush got elected, twice. Wouldn’t he (or his successor) be the guy in charge of appointing the head of a national health care system?

  8. #8 David Marjanovi?
    July 15, 2007

    In these countries, it’s not the just hippies, progressives, and moderates that champion universal healthcare, it’s the opinion of the vast majority that accessible coverage for everyone is right.

    …and that it’s a right.

  9. #9 David Marjanovi?
    July 15, 2007

    In these countries, it’s not the just hippies, progressives, and moderates that champion universal healthcare, it’s the opinion of the vast majority that accessible coverage for everyone is right.

    …and that it’s a right.

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    July 15, 2007

    Wouldn’t he (or his successor) be the guy in charge of appointing the head of a national health care system?

    but he wouldn’t be RUNNING it, now, would he.

    even bush isn’t an HIV denier, for that matter, regardless of his vast amount of ignorance of just about everything.

  11. #11 Ichthyic
    July 15, 2007

    read and learn!

    if only you could practice what you preach (redundantly).

    another vote to send you off to the dungeon.

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