Michael Moore‘s Sicko is “agitprop,” says Toronto Star national affairs columnist Thomas Walkom, but “it is fundamentally accurate. Moore is making a film for Americans, and what he is telling his compatriots is very simple and very true: that America’s refusal to embrace some kind of universal health care system makes absolutely no sense.
“Nor, outside of the U.S., is this a remotely controversial point. In Canada, no one except for a few diehards in the right-of-center Fraser Institute lionizes the U.S. system. Dr. Brian Day, the incoming head of the Canadian Medical Association, is a vigorous critic of Canadian medicare. But he touts French or German medicare, not the U.S. model. Ditto Preston Manning, the former Reform party head. He says he wants a two-tier system that would keep the existing universal system.
The reason is simple. Universal public medicare works – which is why every industrial country outside of the U.S. employs some form of it.
“For those who choose to read the scholarly literature, the evidence is overwhelming. Americans spend more per capita on health than any other nation in the world and get worse results. This is not just Michael Moore talking; it is the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. When Moore says Canadians live on average three years longer than Americans, he is correct. When he says infant mortality rates are lower in this country than the U.S., he is right there too.
“It’s not just Canada. United Nations figures show that a baby born in Havana has more chance of surviving than one born in New York City. The British live longer than Americans as do the French and Japanese. Is it simply coincidence that all of these countries, save the U.S., have some form of universal public care system?”