Henry Gomez at Babalu Blog led an anti-socialist blogburst this week to counter Michael Moore’s anti-American, pro-Cuban health care crockumentary.
Claudia 4 Libertad strikes back:
Ask any Cuban who has recently left the island (because they can’t talk freely about this inside of Cuba) about their health care system and they will tell you that it is often a challenge just to get aspirin and they often have to get it on the black market. The run-down, dilapidated and unsanitary conditions in the facilities that the average Cuban must go to for care are a far cry from the hospitals and clinics reserved for high-ranking members of the communist party or the military. There are actually special facilities in Cuba that serve foreigners who can pay in foreign currency.
If the lauded Cuban healthcare system is so wonderful, perhaps someone can explain to me the following:
* Why some patients are taken to the hospital in wheelbarrows instead of ambulances?
* Why patients must bring their own linens for the hospital bed and often, a fan, to combat the stifling heat and lack of air-conditioning?
* Why cockroaches and other vermin are present in what is supposed to be “sanitary” health facilities? Why many common medicines are not available? If Cuba can export cutting-edge biotechnological products to other countries, surely the US embargo cannot be blamed for not allowing medicine to enter Cuba.
* Why, in a 185-bed cancer center in Santiago where some 6,000 people are treated MONTHLY, there is a shortage of basics such as codeine, anti-nausea drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, antacids, laxatives, high blood pressure medicine, antihistamines, anti-depressants, contraceptives, vitamins and minerals? This particular hospital, sadly, is the norm, not the exception
* Why 41% of patients in Cuban hospitals are undernourished, particularly after surgery. Malnutrition risks increase with extended stays in the hospital, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health.
Was any of this mentioned in “Sicko?” Of course not! The reason why is one to which I alluded earlier– Michael Moore is so anti-American, despite the fact that he makes millions off of the American people every time he makes a film, that he will do anything he can to exaggerate and distort the truth to make the Bush Administration look incompetent, evil and silly.
Well, Michael, I hate to tell you but the American people are on to you.
Val Prieto weighs in:
Is our system perfect? No, of course not. Are there serious problems? You betcha. But to throw the baby out with the bath water does not seem like a reasonable solution. Would the pharma company that funded the research study I participated in have funded it if there were no prospect of turning a profit in the end? Would any of us do the work we do if we weren’t going to be paid for it? Please!
I’m sure we all have stories about how we had to wait at the emergency room or how some doctor or other misdiagnosed us. But is socialized medicine going to solve those issues? Doubtful. More like exacerbate them. If we remove the profit motive from healthcare you might as well remove innovation. You really have to be a SiCKO to not see that.
Jim Hoft takes you on a pictorial tour of Cuba’s hospitals:
Someone should make a documentary…
Criticism of Moore from an unexpected corner: MTV! Yes, MTV’s Kurt Loder:
Fidel Castro’s island dictatorship, now in its 40th year of being listed as a human-rights violator by Amnesty International, is here depicted as a balmy paradise not unlike the Iraq of Saddam Hussein that Moore showed us in his earlier film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” He and his charges make their way — their pre-arranged way, if it need be said — to a state-of-the-art hospital where they receive a picturesquely warm welcome. In a voiceover, Moore, shown beaming at his little band of visitors, says he told the Cuban doctors to “give them the same care they’d give Cuban citizens.” Then he adds, dramatically: “And they did.”
If Moore really believes this, he may be a greater fool than even his most feverish detractors claim him to be. Nevertheless, medical care is provided to the visiting Americans, and it is indeed excellent. Cuba is in fact the site of some world-class medical facilities (surprising in a country that, as Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar noted in the Los Angeles Times last month, “imprisoned a doctor in the late 1990s for speaking out against government failure to respond to an epidemic of a mosquito-borne virus”). What Moore doesn’t mention is the flourishing Cuban industry of “health tourism” — a system in which foreigners (including self-admitted multimillionaire film directors and, of course, government bigwigs) who are willing to pay cash for anything from brain-surgery to dental work can purchase a level of treatment that’s unavailable to the majority of Cubans with no hard currency at their disposal. The Cuban American National Foundation (admittedly a group with no love for the Castro regime) calls this “medical apartheid.” And in a 2004 article in Canada’s National Post, writer Isabel Vincent quoted a dissident Cuban neurosurgeon, Doctor Hilda Molina, as saying, “Cubans should be treated the same as foreigners. Cubans have less rights in their own country than foreigners who visit here.”
As the Caribbean sun sank down on Moore’s breathtakingly meretricious movie, I couldn’t help recalling that when Fidel Castro became gravely ill last year, he didn’t put himself in the hands of a Cuban surgeon. No. Instead, he had a specialist flown in — from Spain.