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Google Protects Healthcare From Michael Moore 1153

An anonymous reader suggests we stop over to ZDNet for a case where Google may be stepping on the wrong side of that famous Don't Be Evil line. A Google staffer is offering to help the healthcare industry contain the damage that Michael Moore's film is about to do. (Here is the original Google Health Advertisement blog post by Lauren Turner; in case it disappears, it is reproduced in full in the ZDNet post.) Quoting from the Google post: "Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through 'Get the Facts' or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them? We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company's assets while helping users find the information they seek."
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Google Protects Healthcare From Michael Moore

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  • Not Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:25PM (#19703261) Homepage Journal
    This isn't anwhere near as evil as collecting user's browsing data or cooperating with Chinese censorship. They are offering companies a PR service. I hope you're not saying that it's wrong to counter propaganda? That's all Moore's 'documentaries' are really, even when he makes good points (which isn't all that often).
    • Re:Not Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:01AM (#19703521) Homepage
      Indeed. From the title, one could expect something like "Google is censoring search results about Sicko!". But really, Google is saying "hey, healthcare guys, you've got stuff on your website - here's how to get us to index it better and find it" (insert standard non-spammy search engine optimization strategies here) "and you can even advertise with us while you're at it!"

      Now, I guess if your friends in the Healthcare industry are pure evil, then Google is being evil, but I don't see how you can construe that as "protection". Apparently the submitter, however, would like to protect "Sicko" from the health care industry's web sites. Meh. Lame.

      • Pfft (Score:5, Funny)

        by asifyoucare ( 302582 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:29AM (#19703713)
        Not even the diet-coke of evil.
      • Re:Not Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 4e617474 ( 945414 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:10AM (#19703967)

        Now, I guess if your friends in the Healthcare industry are pure evil, then Google is being evil, but I don't see how you can construe that as "protection".

        There's a film out that, if you take the point of view that the vast majority of the people who see it do, talks about how people who are sick and dying are not being helped by people who amass large amounts of money (and prestige, public goodwill, etc.) for helping sick people. Google, in the role that I and a lot of people understood them to have for most of the last decade, could reasonably be expected to do nothing about it - only make sure that people found the information on the subject that they chose to try to find. In a more realistic worldview, they sell ads, they advertise that they sell ads, and if people on side of the debate or the other, or both, buy ads that's how it goes - the service is there for anyone who wants to buy. Instead, when:

        Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through "Get the Facts" or issue management campaigns.

        they don't say "Fuck off. We don't do propoganda." No, they get involved. If no one's come to them yet, they actively reach out. To one side. The one with the money. The one with the blood money. If you weren't there already, this is the last nail in the coffin of the notion of Google as anything more than any old corporation with its requisite ration of evil.

        • Re:Not Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

          by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:51AM (#19704171) Homepage

          If no one's come to them yet, they actively reach out. To one side. The one with the money. The one with the blood money. If you weren't there already, this is the last nail in the coffin of the notion of Google as anything more than any old corporation with its requisite ration of evil.
          Now, if you do believe that our friends in the health care industry are pure evil, and that they're spending blood money, then yes, Google is, indeed, being evil. And I suppose if you obediently believe every line that Moore has to tell you about the matter is the whole and honest extent of the truth, then there is no possibility that anything could counter it. As such, anything that the companies say to contradict that must, in fact, be evil propaganda utterly devoid of any informative content, with the ultimate design to boost their image (and their profits) - at the expense of all that is well and good in the world, if necessary.

          And if that's your world view, you're probably adequately opinionated that no one can hope to convince you that it is otherwise. I'd like to hope that most people can entertain the notion of a middle road which characterizes both Moore and the health care industry as neither impeccable nor pure evil, ascribing to both the property of providing some information which is both true and valid.

          • Re:Not Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jorghis ( 1000092 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @04:13AM (#19704901)
            Forget Moore's general idiocy for one moment and concentrate on the health insurance industry. Everything he is saying about the american health insurance industry is true. They do give bonuses to their employees for finding excuses to deny patients operations they desperately need. They do everything they can to weasel out of their obligations when other people's lives are on the line.

            The insurance companies deny payments for life saving operations to their clients because they know they can get away with it. This is evil. This is not closed source kind of evil. This is not copyrighting music kind of evil. This is killing honest hardworking americans who are paying them kind of evil. I think the term 'blood money' is totally appropriate.
            • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:30PM (#19707987) Journal

              This is the closed source kind of evil.

              I don't like Michael Moore's work, but somebody had to point at the elephant in the living room here.

              The AMA set itself up as a gatekeeper to the medical profession and medicine. A legal system embedded in our culture keeps the information and materials required to treat injuries and illness out of the hands of the public. This was purportedly (and logically) done to improve the quality of care in general, since a great deal of medical treatment was once done by unlicensed quacks who did more harm than good. The problem is that this occult (hidden) cabal has evolved into a self-serving priesthood of medicine that limits availability of care in order to drive its value up. A necessary part of this equation is that a large number of people have to suffer from the deprivation of care in order to maximize the value equation. Even the kindest, most generous doctors must participate in the system in order to get into the profession in the first place and to remain in it. If they want to donate their time and expertise to the poor they can only do it if they go abroad.

              Add that the medical profession has been victimized by another unaccountable secret cabal of insurance providers set up as gatekeepers to the doctors, and you get a system that's horribly broken. If a doctor wants to treat the indigent for free, for cash or for reduced rates, he can't because the insurance companies would terminate his ability to be compensated through insurance and he would go bankrupt in short order. The proponents of the status quo are horrifically wealthy and intend to stay in that condition. I heard somewhere that medicine accounts for a ridiculous percentage of our GNP, and it's growing at a terrifying rate.

              Throw in a third layer of gatekeepers, the lawyers that sue out of business every doctor that doesn't have absurd amounts of insurance coverage and you have a system that can't be fixed. I have often wondered if the lawyers were in collusion with the insurers to keep this broken system in place.

              This is not some academic theoretical discussion for me. For nearly 20 years I lived without coverage. Through great care, the avoidance of treatment I really needed and the good fortune to be close enough to cross the Mexican border one day I really needed care, the American healthcare system only bankrupted me once in that period. I can't imagine what poverty I would be living in if I were chronically ill, less fortunate or less careful.

              So don't be confused. This is very much the "closed source" kind of evil. If it were possible for a kind and generous soul to study medicine and get accepted by the medical community and devote their life to the general practice of medicine for the good of their community, there would be a clinics everywhere that took cash at reasonable rates because that quality of person is abundant still and they could make a decent living at it. I'm not saying it would be a route to country club membership, but not everyone who wants to be a healer cares about that.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                The AMA set itself up as a gatekeeper to the medical profession and medicine.

                The AMA, and doctors in general, are a real part of the problem. We would have more doctors if we didn't do so much hazing of medical students. We don't let anyone into medical school, and then we make them waste hellish years of their lives studying shit like anatomy that most doctors never use, or staying awake for 30 hour days during their residencies. By the time they emerge from the hazing process they are fatigued and bitter
                • In law it's called "passing the bar". The idea is to rate-limit admission of new practitioners of the arts through processes that are arbitrary and unknowable by the applicants. It's part of the veil of mystery that vests the practitioners with supposed special powers.

                  In short, I agree with you. What this system needs is some light.

          • Re:Not Evil (Score:5, Informative)

            by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:59AM (#19705293) Homepage

            And I suppose if you obediently believe every line that Moore has to tell you about the matter is the whole and honest extent of the truth, then there is no possibility that anything could counter it.

            The point is, it's hard to dispute Moore's facts. Of course he presents those facts in a biased way. But he's making an argument, you can't blame him for that. The core facts he uses to make his case are true ( heck/index.html?eref=rss_topstories []).

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by vertinox ( 846076 )
            And I suppose if you obediently believe every line that Moore has to tell you about the matter is the whole and honest extent of the truth, then there is no possibility that anything could counter it.

            That's the problem with these things. When the truth gets a bad spokesperson, people discount it.

            I for one would had to see Moore do a documentary on the Holocaust or the Sudanese Genocide. People would actually give the genocide deniers a legitimate platform in which to put forth a counter view just because Mo
          • by NIckGorton ( 974753 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @09:47AM (#19706485)
            Pharma and the insurance industry are evil. Moreover in the case of the health insurance industry they serve no purpose. Previously insurers would assume risk and in doing so merit some financial reward. With the advent of capitation and risk selection, they don't even do that anymore. They are leeches, that in the words of Sicko: Flat Suck.

            And I can also assure you that the denials of care that Moore described were not the exceptions, but the rule. I have a patient (whose details are a bit obscured in this story) who has a number of serious medical problems. He has a history of a bleeding ulcer and recently began to have symptoms that were the same as he'd had when he had the ulcer. So I prescribed a Proton Pump Inhibitor (the one that was the preferred drug on that insurer's formulary.) They denied it saying that he had reached the limit of the number of medicines he was allowed to have. In order to have the ulcer medicine he would have to go off of one of his diabetes, blood pressure, or asthma medicines or pay for one of them out of pocket.

            And sorry, but the cries of 'socialized medicine' being worse than what we have are for shit. If everyone has the same insurance, then every doctor and hospital would take it. I transfer patients every day from the ER to other hospitals when mine is perfectly able to provide them treatment and the patients want to stay at my facility. But their insurer says they won't pay for them to stay to have their appendix removed at the community hospital in their town, but demands they be transfered to a facility 40 miles away that is 'in network.' Of course they can choose to stay if they want (and we would treat them as required by the EMTALA law.) However their insurer gives them the ultimatum: be sent to another hospital they don't want or be faced with the $30,000 bill for their surgery and recovery in the hospital they do want. So the claims of not being able to 'choose your doctor or hospital' are not what you'd have in a single payer system, but are what you get every day if you are insured under an HMO, PPO, or other device used by the insurance industry to deny you care.

            And that is what its like for those with insurance. For those without it can mean death or permanent disability. I see people in the ER every day who have delayed or avoided care because of uninsurance who experience severe consequences because of it. Perforated appendicitis because of a delay due to worries about costs. A child admitted to the hospital with a kidney infection that could have been easily treated with oral antibiotics days before but wasn't because of lack of access. Renal failure in a person with diabetes left untreated. People with bent forearms because while they were appropriately treated and splinted in the ER, they were unable to see an orthopedist for subsequent definitive treatment because of lack of insurance. That is stuff you expect to see in the developing countries, not the richest country in the world. Of course it is easy to see the villain in that scenario as the evil orthopedist who would not see him for free. (And I will admit ortho is one of the worst offenders for unwillingness to provide uncompensated care.) However why should one group of professionals (health care providers) be expected to shoulder the cost of health care for 15-20% of the US population simply because the country refuses to? I don't mind paying taxes to support health care for all in the US, but I do take issue with the tax being exclusively applied to doctors and nurses and PTs and RTs etc, while an attorney or programmer or businessman who makes as much or more than I do pays nothing.

            The saddest part is that we already spend in GNP well more than enough to cover every man, woman, and child in the US with a health care system that the world would envy. We pay about 15% of our GNP for health care, while most developed nations spend around 7-8%. If we took all of the money that goes to 'profits an administration' (about 30%) in the for profit health insurance industry, as well as negotiating for drug prices that were on par with what the rest of the developed world we would have enough to pay for everyone.

            So I think Moore is right: Its sicko.

    • Re:Not Evil (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jorghis ( 1000092 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:35AM (#19703757)
      Dont get me wrong, I have a pretty low opinion of Michael Moore, but his criticisms of the health insurance industry are very accurate. They do routinely find ways to deny life saving operations to people who have been paying their premiums their entire lives. Let me repeat that, people who have been paying for the insurance their entire lives die because the insurance companies want to save a few bucks. This is very evil. Moore cant help but be accurate in his criticisms of the HMOs, its so easy to find outragous stories about what they have done to their clients. Socialism may be a bad idea, but something does need to be done about these insurance companies letting their clients die. Shame on google for trying to help them with their image. If they want to clean up their image they should stop trying to find ways to let their clients die.
      • Re:Not Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jessiej ( 1019654 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:15AM (#19703995)

        Socialism may be a bad idea, but..
        This is precisely one of the problems Moore touches on, universal health care != socialism
    • Re:Not Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:26AM (#19704043)
      It's wrong if a company wants to be taken as an honest presenter of information. Since when is it the job of a search engine to "educate" people on political issues anyway?

      The internet is democratic: all points of view are available. When people on blogs and websites choose to promote some political ideas over others, this simply reflects the state of the internet world as it really is. If people choose to spread the word about global warming, or about Moore's movie, etc, that's a true reflection of the web world and of what those people feel is important.

      And that's how it should be. Who is Google anyway to decide that some ideas on the internet are so repugnant that they should be balanced with privileged "education" messages in prominent positions? That's not the job of a search engine.

      If some people feel strongly about "educating" others on a subject, they can do like everybody else does: make a website, and convince people to spread the word.

      Google the company should stay out of "educating" if they value the trust people put in them. There are plenty of other search engines who can take their place if that trust is sufficiently eroded.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:41PM (#19703387)
    And with the right lawyers, you can get very creative with the defining.

    I enjoy the conservative reaction to Michael Moore. They hate him so much that they discount anything he says automatically. He could tell a conservative his hair is on fire and that conservative would use his final breath denying it as just another liberal plot.

    I like Michael Moore. Most of the time he's on my side of a given issue. The only problem I have is that he can sometimes get a little sloppy when he's being cute and this gives critics a means of attacking the messenger directly and the message by proxy. I thought there were some weaknesses like that in Bowling for Columbine that undercut a good message. I was very pleased with Fahrenheit because he took himself out of the picture for the most part, critics could no longer direct their ire at Michael Moore the director. There were so many clips where administration officials could only be taken at their own recorded word, there's just not any way to spin what was said. Critics were left with saying "Michael Moore is a fat fuck, therefore what he said is wrong."

    With SiCKO, it really doesn't matter if you are left or right, conservative or liberal, dem or rep. Health care is a problem for all of us. This system is fucking broken. To all the conservatives fuming at Michael Moore for saying nice things about France's health care system, shouldn't the US be able to outdo France? Shouldn't we be able to beat them at health care if we're the greatest nation in the universe?

    What it boils down to, there's enough money and wealth in this country to pay for everything, it's just concentrated in the wrong hands. How many fucking billionaires do we need? How many Enrons do we have to see before we start seriously taking the business-criminal class to task? I'm not just talking about a few show trials that accomplish nothing, I mean serious reform. Because the mess that is health care is just another symptom of the greed disease that is killing us.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by feyhunde ( 700477 )
      The only way you can really do this is crippling tax rates on the super rich, which only work for so long and has a side benefit of killing the industrial drive that creates them. Or you gut the military spending.

      I'm not just talking Iraq with the military spending either. No new jet planes, aircraft carriers etc. Some might argue for this, some might argue against it, some might try and find some other place to get the money. But in truth the US choose national security over national healthcare. I've go

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jollyreaper ( 513215 )

        The only way you can really do this is crippling tax rates on the super rich, which only work for so long and has a side benefit of killing the industrial drive that creates them. Or you gut the military spending.

        Yeah, military spending would be a nice place to start. We spend more on warfare than the rest of the world combined and we're still getting our asses handed to us by irregulars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We spend like crazy but we sure don't get much bang for the gigabuck. And according to that CNN poll, "The United States spends more than 15 percent of its GDP on health care -- no other nation even comes close to that number. France spends about 11 percent, and Canadians spend 10 percent." Those countries

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nido ( 102070 )

        The only way you can really do this is crippling tax rates on the super rich,

        One thing that gets glossed over in SiCKO is how much profiteering there is in the U.S. healthcare system. For example, when my Grandmother was in the final months of her conventional treatment for Multiple Myeloma (sp?), her doctor perscribed Thalidomide []. Cost for a one month supply (30 pills, iirc) was $2309.99. Cost in Brazil: $0.09/pill. Thalidomide's patent has long-since expired, but the U.S. distribution company has patented a method that's supposed to keep the pill away from pregnant women (Thali

  • Moore's propaganda (Score:3, Informative)

    by flar2 ( 938689 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:52PM (#19703465)
    Why are we so quick to label Michael Moore's films as propaganda? It seems like a quick and easy way to dismiss him without actually dealing with what he says. I've seen SiCKO and can't understand why any average American would want to dismiss Moore so quickly. ~~ooooh scary socialism~~
  • by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:55PM (#19703485)
    Pardon the slightly offtopic rant, but there is an article on the AP wire entitled "Moore's 'Sicko' gives accused little say" by Kevin Freking and Linda A. Johnson. (You can find it yourself if you want to, but I'm not about to send them traffic.)

    To boil it down to a soundbite (in appropriate MM style), is this quote: "The industry -- doctors, drug makers, hospitals, insurers -- is charged with greed and putting personal interests above patients'. ... But one aspect missing from the film is the defense. Do not expect to hear anyone speak well of the care they received in the U.S."

    It disgusts me that the mass media like to skirt around issues by claiming things aren't "fair and balanced". If I can't afford to feed my family, what good does it do me to know that my neighbour just had filet mignon for the fifth day in a row?

    The issue is not whether the US healthcare system is incapable of producing good results, nor whether the most vulnerable in the country are taken care of. The issue is that there are large parts of the US population that is unserved or underserved by the current health system. They are un(der)served because they are not so poor as to fall under medicare, but they are not so rich as to be able to afford proper health care themselves.

    It should not be beyond the capacity of a wealthy, civilized country to ensure that its entire populace--particularly its hard-working middle class--is kept healthy.

    (And no, I'm not arguing that Canada has a perfect system, either)

    - RG>
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canuck57 ( 662392 )

      (And no, I'm not arguing that Canada has a perfect system, either)

      Then we agree. Both systems are foobar just that there are not that many "objective" people that can admit it. I have lived 10 years in the US, and about near triple that in in Canadian system and can honestly say they BOTH have serious problems. I am going to get the revenge of the mod down but what the heck...

      Canada's claim to fame is that it is "perceived" to be universal. And it is sort of if you overlook the regional approvals tha

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mikers ( 137971 )
      Thats right!

      Sicko should have to be fair and balanced the way that "Fox News" is "Fair and Balanced" (apologies to all non-neo-cons, emphasis on double quotes)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I have not had healthcare for years for financial reasons and America still has the best health care system in the world.

      I admit I am becoming quite conservative over the last few years and would formally agreed with you.

      The problem I see is as of right now if the cost of health care keeps going up by the time 2020 comes along 100% of all taxes will just pay for medicare/medicaid!

      Universal health care will break our government and cause it to bankrupt. Also the public sector is quite bad and I have seen Can
  • by e-scetic ( 1003976 ) * on Saturday June 30, 2007 @11:59PM (#19703505)

    Isn't it propaganda to frame Michael Moore's documentaries as mere propaganda, and isn't doing so also an attempt to dismiss the films as irrelevant? Especially in the absence of any counter-arguments or proper criticisms of the films? Ok, Moore is propaganda, yup, I believe you, well just because you said so... Way to counter propaganda with ideology.

    A truly honest person would have to admit his films are not completely devoid of facts or statistics. And that sometimes the facts *are* one-sided, there isn't always balance in the world. And by the way, America isn't the perfect Disneyesque world, all rosy and wunnerful and perfect.

    As for Lauren Turner, she's doing what sales and marketing types do, targeting her message by identifying with the fears and needs of her specific audience. She's trying to sell ads. Ads are only a small part of a proper PR campaign and I doubt Google is getting into the PR business.

  • Critical thinking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:08AM (#19703565)
    It's disappointing that so many slashdotters - intelligent and educated people that they tend to be - are reactionary blowhards who obviously haven't even seen the film, and that these same people are so unable to stomach criticism.

    Newsflash folks: criticism is the basis of both science and democracy. The ability to be self-critical is what makes science and democracy different from religion and theocracy. You can't criticize Jesus. That means you can't learn, you can't grow, and you can't improve. Hurray!

    People who scream 'Michael Moore hates America' are pathologically incapable of thinking critically or handling criticism, even when it is constructive criticism that is desperately needed. Accept Sicko for what it is: a searing and accurate indictment of our disgraceful healthcare system. Unless you are wealthy, our healthcare system is a catastrophic failure. It is complete and utter crap compared to the systems in other developed countries, and it is an embarrassment to our country.

    If you care about our country and have a functioning brain, you'll get over the knee-jerk reactionary denial and accept this unpleasant truth, and then go out and help make a change.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Solandri ( 704621 )

      People who scream 'Michael Moore hates America' are pathologically incapable of thinking critically or handling criticism, even when it is constructive criticism that is desperately needed. Accept Sicko for what it is: a searing and accurate indictment of our disgraceful healthcare system. Unless you are wealthy, our healthcare system is a catastrophic failure. It is complete and utter crap compared to the systems in other developed countries, and it is an embarrassment to our country.

      This appears to be t

    • that only the top thread has a dozen or so messages about the actual issue in the story. The rest is warring among tribes of Pro-Moore vs Pro-HMO, Pro-U.S. vs Pro-EverybodyElse, Pro-Documetary vs Pro-OpinionPiece, etc.

      Google must be smiling.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:27AM (#19703701) Homepage
    Ray Bradbury said it best: the remedy to speech you don't like is more speech. (As opposed to censoring the speech you don't like.)

    A Google person is offering to help health care organizations tell their side of the story, and this is "evil"? If you think this is "evil" then I guess you think there is no room for debate here.

    Personally, I think health care issues are not so cut-and-dried as that. For a look at the other side of the story, consider this editorial from MTV:

    'Sicko': Heavily Doctored, By Kurt Loder []

  • by mattva01 ( 1122529 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:33AM (#19703735)
    To me it just seems like Google is reminding the HMO's of a way to use Google services for damage control. As long as they would grant the same right to Micheal Moore I'm fine with it. Now if they gave a discount to the companies, then that would be evil.
  • Sicko is BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forlornhope ( 688722 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:34AM (#19703745) Homepage
    I'd just like point out this link: ory.jhtml []

    From MTV no less. But its worth a read. In short, you can't mandate access to a scarce resource without rationing. The best course of action (IMHO) is to reduce the cost of healthcare. And no, I'm not talking about making health insurance charge less by some law, I'm talking about reducing the real costs. The cost of malpractice insurance is one area that creates a big impact on the final cost of health care. Also moving more of the development of new drugs into public institutions and making sure that the results aren't privatized. Even patent reform could help in this area.

    There are underlying realities in the health care industry that can not be changed. You can't increase the number of EFFECTIVE doctors and you can't make them work for peanuts. You can drive down the costs of education, equipment and drugs through the use of public funding though.
    • Re:Sicko is BS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @12:55AM (#19703867) Homepage
      In short, you can't mandate access to a scarce resource without rationing.

      Absolutely. And how does the US handle that rationing right now? Money. Call me a socialist, but I'd rather the rationing be based on, you know, who needs the resource more. Honestly, who gives a damn if someone is forced to wait 6 months for knee surgery, when the alternative is a blue collar worker being denied a heart transplant?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cdrguru ( 88047 )
      The principal problem in the US is the way that "health" in general is dealt with.

      Please do not take this as disagreement with the US attitude towards health. In general it is what I consider to be "right" and most other countries to be "wrong". Dead wrong, as you will see.

      In most other countries, from what I have read and seen in quite a bit of travel, it is assumed that you will at some point in your life get sick and die. This is viewed as a natural event that cannot be altered, stopped or even delaye
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:18AM (#19704011) Homepage
    ...that universal healthcare works so much better than individual insurance is that it's really hard to determine treatment quality for an individual - each case is unique with its own development, own medical history and quite often we just don't understand why some patients recover so well or poor, or in extreme cases live and die. Often there's some religious or emotional answer given instead. If you got stuck in an operation queue for a month, did it kill you or did it make no difference? It's quite impossible to say. That means that in the US model, an insurance company is out to give you as little and cheap treatment as they can get away with, without being provable malpractise.

    On an aggregate level though, it's easy to see what kind of healthcare we provide. We can make up statistics which show how we're doing for the people overall, and we can make socialeconomic considerations on whether to improve them. In short, we can say "If we could cut waiting lines by X%, recovery rates would improve by Y% and we'd recover Z% because people are shorter on sick leave. The US can make those statistics, but not govern by them. You instead go by rules like "If we replace this with inferior treatment, our costs will be cut by X% while our malpractise/wrongful death costs will increase by Y% (where X > Y). The best hospital case is the one you dropped like a hot potato, refused to insure and so left in a ditch. Here the best case is to pick them up, get them to change their lifestyle so they won't burden our system later. Basicly, the more likely you are to need help the less likely you'll get it.

    Some of the arguments I hear are quite ridiculous, like if healthcare was free then people would abuse it. Look, you don't go doing extreme sports and go through all the trauma, pain and lengthy recovery just because it's free. The average guy would rather not have to deal with doctors and nurses and hospitals any more than they need to. Nobody asks for a mentally or physically son or daughter so they can have their life upended, no matter if we donate money for equipment and accessibility tools like guide dogs, hearing aids, wheelchairs, ramps and whatnot. Some people just got a big "fuck you" in the lottery of life, which society should work to undo.

    Yes, some people are probably going to end up in healthcare because of their own lifestyle and/or stupidity. But it's not certain the guy who died of a stroke in his 50s is more of a burden than the 90yo slowly dying, in fact I've read some material to the contrary. Elderly people are notoriously expensive to treat, they're frail and often have complex health issues which makes them hard to treat with high risk of causing new issues and are slow to recover. Nursing homes for elderly which have trouble getting out of bed, clothing themselves, feeding themselves, going to the toilet, personal hygiene etc. quickly drain much more resources that younger people who usually either recover or die. In fact, that's likely to be the biggest problem with an aging population here in Europe, but it sure doesn't get easier the American way.
  • by salparadyse ( 723684 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @01:52AM (#19704173) the level of hard hearted, sneering ignorance in some of the posts on this subject. Let me make a guess here - a reasonable proportion/most of the responders are Americans who can afford Medical Insurance.
    Rarely have I heard such sneering disdain for the poor and for documentary makers. Michael Moore makes films that try to show you what has happened to your country and mostly all you can seem to do is sneer at him.
    The attitude of "pay or fuck off and die in the gutter" is not acceptable in a civilised human being. What, do you think it's cool to be mega-wealthy and then refuse help to someone who's in need? What has happened to your humanity?
    And some hopeless retard actually said "socialism is a bad idea". What, and the fucked up, society wrecking, planet consuming filth called capitalism is better?
    Socialism is your only hope, its just that those who make the most money from this retarded capitalism thing have a vested interest in promoting socialism as a stupid evil that would spoil everything because it would spoil everything - for them. And you've fallen for it. Well duh! is, I think, the correct response at this juncture.

    As for Google...
    After China are you really that surprised? It's surely more a case of, if they go mega evil slowly enough most of you will still be trumpeting the fact that "hey, but they use Linux" when the google-bot delivers the evidence against you in the google-court.
  • i am struck by the attacks on moore's neutrality

    (smacks forehead)

    that the idea that michael moore ever could be neutral in any way, or that such a yardstick should ever be used in criticizing him, is to me, naive beyond ridiculous. folks, if you have passion for any topic in this world, sticking to neutral facts won't get you one iota of interest. it will get you obscurity. in other words, NOBODY is neutral on ideological topics. the right, the left, the middle, any other ideological position you can think of: if you want to judge michael moore, judge him on his ability to elicit interest in a subject matter. his neutrality? HA! am i supposed to laugh that you honestly think this is a valid subject matter?

    everyone attacking moore is of course not neutral either. so why all the talk of neutrality? it's patently ridiculous. i was in fact just reading another story in the new york times, an interview with the great werner herzog [] on his filmmaking, and i think everyone here needs to consider these words when considering michael moore and "neutrality":

    Q. There have been some accusations that you've taken liberties with facts in some of your documentaries and in "Rescue Dawn," particularly from the family of Eugene DeBruin. What is your reaction to those accusations?

    A. If we are paying attention about facts, we end up as accountants. If you find out that yes, here or there, a fact has been modified or has been imagined, it will be a triumph of the accountants to tell me so. But we are into illumination for the sake of a deeper truth, for an ecstasy of truth, for something we can experience once in a while in great literature and great cinema. I'm imagining and staging and using my fantasies. Only that will illuminate us. Otherwise, if you're purely after facts, please buy yourself the phone directory of Manhattan. It has four million times correct facts. But it doesn't illuminate.

    folks: every single word you read, every conversation you hear, anywhere, is biased. everyone is trying to sell you a bill of goods, all the time. furthermore, you yourself are not neutral, and never were. no media ever will be neutral. no media ever was neutral. you go through life with a bullshit meter, or you don't go through life at all

    having realized that, we judge moore in a different light: his ability to engage and persuade. on this level, moore is unmitigated success, and an object of jealousy and hate for those on the right of issues. who cares? they have their own successes in the field of persuasion that liberals in turn hate and are jealous of

    facts are overrated folks. as werner herzog says, you can cling to them if you wish, but that only makes you an unimportant obscure accountant. persuasion is what matters. because human belief is not about cold hard static facts, it is about your passion for how things SHOULD BE, not how THEY ARE. there are no facts to be had about how things should be. in which case, clinging to the need for "facts" in subject matter like healthcare is at best missing the point, and at worse, naive and stupid

    everything you read and hear is full of smears, propaganda, lies, errors, partisanship, etc. a random cacophony of background noise. your average person's healthy critically minded bullshit meter can weed the useful from the unuseful. your bullshit meter should be on red alert all the time: those with an agenda aren't random riff raff, they are dug deep into every media outlet existing, that has ever existed, and will ever exist. some of you need to accept that

    some of you lament the increasing bias you see in the media landscape today. ha! you are honestly going to tell me there was some place and some time in the past when things weren't biased? are you trying to tell me you suffer from historical myopia, romantic nostalgia or something? NEVER EXISTED FRIEND. AND NEVER WILL

    do you want to blindly trust the m

  • by Newer Guy ( 520108 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @02:25AM (#19704371)
    I don't have health insurance. My COBRA ran out in January. I was paying amlost SEVENTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS A MONTH for Blus Cross that paid 80% of IN NETWORK stuff-and even THAT had a yearly deductible applied to it. My son caught Lyme Disease last summer, and the co pays and deductibles for that ONE incident cost me almost $6000.00! Doing consulting last year, I grossed about $52,000. Take away $1668.00 (monthly COBRA) * 12 months and then add $6000.00 to that. What do you get? TWENTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS! HALF of my pre-tax income went DIRECTLY to health insurance. Actually, it was closer to THIRTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS, because my wife has Asthma and takes medication for depression, and my 17 year old daughter fell on ice and fractured her tailbone. And some of you here have the NERVE to tell me this is okay??? I have an average sized family with four children on the health insurance. Health care costs were the SINGLE BIGGEST EXPENSE I paid last year! MORE then housing, MORE then food, MORE then ANYTHING...IN fact, MORE then EVERYTHING ELSE PUT TOGETHER!!!

    But this is okay for most of you, RIGHT? After all, YOU have company health insurance, and you're single..RIGHT? Well, so did I, until one day when I was LAID OFF!

    Don't you DARE say that the health care system in the USA is fair or equitable! It isn't...and I'm LIVING PROOF OF IT!!
  • by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @02:36AM (#19704429) Journal
    ... where Lauren Turner is working next month. My affinity towards things Google hinges on it.

    Google might want to consider changing their motto to "We pander to anyone that can pay". It's slightly less misleading.

    Anyone know if they have a defense industry advertising blog? I'd love to see that one.
  • by FrankN ( 856136 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @04:19AM (#19704919) Homepage

    ... has served me fairly well. My only problem, so far, was when coverage for a particular medication was denied by my insurance because their book said it wasn't indicated for my particular diagnosis. Never mind the fact that my rheumatologist could direct their attention to some studies that indicated it might help me. The book said no, and that was that. I could not afford the $500 a month bill, so we are trying another drug instead. I hope it will work.

    Which brings me to something that bothers me about the debate on heath care. Strangers wanting to 'give' me anything, in this case health care, raises a red flag. I'd love to ask the people advocating the idea this: why do you want to pay my medical bills? There's no such thing as a free lunch, someone, some where, will be pay the cost. What do I / We have to give up?

    If universal health care looks like it is going to happen in the United States, keep this in mind: The people that will be making the rules, congress, are the same people that change their minds more often than they change their underwear, and they do it by commitee. The past is littered with examples of this almost since the founding of our country.

    Are these the people we want in charge of our health? No matter what kind of a private / public system they create in the beginning, I guarantee you this: the congress, the president, the supreme court, and the federal bureaucracy, will eventually be completely in charge.

    The insurance companies already hinder decisions made by doctors because some book says so, what would make us think that the government will be different?

  • by blitz487 ( 606553 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:26AM (#19705425)
    ...for the illusion of 'free' health care.

    A lot of people believe that the US health care system is free market. It is not. 50% of all health care dollars are spent by the government. The government runs 5 socialized health care systems: medicare, medicaid, military hospitals, VA hospitals, and the indian hospitals. The rest is heavily regulated from top to bottom. It might be only 10% free market. Most of the problems with it are attributable to government interference.

    Remember our wounded soldiers the government abandoned at Walter Reed Hospital? Look forward to plenty of that with the government running your health care.
  • Come On.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wdr1 ( 31310 ) * < minus city> on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:33AM (#19705445) Homepage Journal
    Oh Lord... Listen people, free speech cuts both way. It not only allows you to say what /you/ believe, but it also allows others to say what /they/ believe.

    There's no love lost for insurance companies from me, but I'd much rather they too have free speech, even if it means "spinning" things their way, than to start censoring anyone who disagree with Michael Moore.

  • by nanosquid ( 1074949 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:51AM (#19705535)
    Google is offering to sell ads. That's their business. I don't see a problem with that. Of course, health care companies can use that to get their message out, just like right wing politicians, open source nerds, on-line pharmacies, and herbal viagra salesmen can use it to get their message out.

    Google were evil if they tried to pick and choose who can use them to advertise.

    Now, it was perhaps in bad taste for Google to advertise specifically to the health care industry, but that's still this side of evil, in particular since Sicko really is not completely accurate.
  • Competition, Market (Score:4, Informative)

    by curious.corn ( 167387 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @07:14AM (#19705623)
    Hi, I'm italian and i could bring examples of extremely poor public healthcare but I won't as I think it's mostly due to a cultural incapacity to get a good job correctly done without trying to cut corners and screw anyone whenever possible. We also have a kind of mixed system where doctors can, or used to until very recently, exercise their practice both in public and private structures so that, inevitably, the public service is treated as a hunting ground where to pick up patients for expensive private clinics. Also, slackers and nepotism plague the public institutions where barons, who often own the most prestigious clinics, sit on the top chairs with the sole purpose of driving and keeping everything firmly into the ground just for the sake of exercising their feudal power.

    But this is not the contribution I wanted to make. I have a question: is all out competition, wide open free market always the solution? Will the fight for corporate survival always bring the best product on the market and the leanest execution? Hmm, I guess no. I don't want to take on good 'ol Microsoft we all hate, just let me mention another industry: mobile telephony. Do you americans already have a pervasive, standardized cellular network or are you just starting to after years of quarreling standards and vendor lock-ins. We, the EU, have had this GSM given from the beginning of the digital cellular rollout and today enjoy continental roaming and dirt cheap terminals since a decade. Sure, some of you will argue that GSM is so much worse than some other patented, exclusively licensed protocol you can only use with one operator (and good luck if you travel to a city where the incumbent went with the competing protocol) but I'm happy to travel anywhere on the continent and be sure that either by voice or SMS, there an infrastructure that'll work for me.

    My point is sometimes fragmentation, darwinism, de- or lack of regulation, don't work at all and actually break the toy for everybody. Public safety, health care, unemployment subsidies are all systems that do work after all, will have their own set of gripes and pockets of inefficiency but still manage to make a better life for those that contribute and make use of it. Take me for example: I was hospitalized and had an appendix removed within 12 hr and all I had to pay for was a 15 EUR ticket (although I did risk getting mis-diagnosed... but that's more because of what I mentioned in the first paragraph...)
  • by crmartin ( 98227 ) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @10:16AM (#19706725)
    Idiot. What's "evil" about offering rebuttal google ads so heath care companies can answer Moore?

    You want evil, go look up what Castro does to dissidents.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.