Sicko. The movie

From a NYMag review of Michael Moore’s apparent new mega-blockbuster, Sicko.

Kaiser Permanente emerges as the supervillain, if only because of an astounding 1971 Oval Office recording. On the tape, John Ehrlichman convinces a dubious (or drunk) Richard Nixon to go along with Edgar Kaiser’s scheme to create a for-profit managed-care system on the grounds that hospitals would have incentives to give less care.

I’ve read multiple reviews of Sicko by people who say they can’t stand Michael Moore but the movie is brilliant, moving, and made them cry. We could be looking at a political earthquake caused by Sicko. Expect vicious retaliation by the Kaisers, insurance companies, and other assorted greedheads and slime, so let’s stand by Moore and defend him from the sickos.

Socialized medicine is coming to the US. Doctors, I’m told, in a major US hospital who were utterly opposed to socialized medicine just a few years ago now see it as inevitable.

Sicko may be the precipitating event that makes it happen.


  1. Here is a great opinion piece by Orange County Green, Vern Nelson,
    taking on State Sen. Tam Harman’s trashing of “Sicko”.

    ‘SiCKO’ commentary needs reality check

    According to Vern….

    In the print version they illustrated it with a cartoon — a
    little silly but it seems sympathetic. Entitled “two
    approaches to healthcare”, it features a picture of Michael
    Moore captioned “Moore” and a picture of a pinched-up, scroogy
    Harman captioned “Less”

  2. Eli, sorry you have been misinformed…

    Kaiser is three separate company’s

    Kaiser Hospitals ” Real estate” Non- Profit
    Kaiser Health Plan “insurance ” Non Profit
    Permanente Medical Groups “MD’s ” For Profit

  3. So, just to clarify, when I was insured by Kaiser Permanente and paid only $10 to see a doctor, was I seeing a for-profit doctor paid by my non-profit insurance?

    Which entity runs the pharmacies that gave me $5K+ in meds for $125? Doesn’t sound like a profitable venture! (Or is this again some combination for for-profit and non-profit?)

    My ex-wife just yesterday gave Kaiser another glowing recommendation: they diagnosed and operated on a cancer, the symptoms of which she’d been complaining about to her former (non-Kaiser) doctor for four years without having them addressed. She agrees with me that SOME people may have bad experiences with Kaiser, but that’s not the norm.

    OTOH, many people have bad experiences with for-profit health care, too. Show me an ER without a wait and I’ll show you a small, rural community.

  4. I don’t understand why Michael Moore thinks hearsay obtained via John Erlichmann (who worked for Nixon, for goodness sake?!) should be accorded evidentiary status. Edgar Kaiser’s advice regarding the HMO Act is in the Congressional Record, and it’s totally inconsistent with the Erlichmann characterization that Moore portrays in the movie. Moreover, by the time that Erlichmann and Nixon got with their “design” for HMO-based healthcare, Kaiser Permanente didn’t even qualify as an HMO! With respect to the information from KaiserWatch, that web site plays as fast and loose with the facts as Michael Moore. KP’s health plan (the non-profit) was purposely separated from the physician groups in order to make SURE that accountants don’t ever get to interfere with medical decisions (a serious problem with “regular” HMO’s). The Permanente physicians are not employed by the health plan, and that’s a GOOD thing! Lastly, with respect to labor policies and relations, KP has become a model – its decade-old Labor Management Partnership is a model for other healthcare organizations and industries. I’m not saying that KP doesn’t have its share of problems, or that US healthcare isn’t a mess (it is!). But Moore’s movie is really uninformed and unfair with respect to Kaiser Permanente. There are plenty of real bad actors in US healthcare (can you say HealthSouth?!) – Kaiser Permanente is not one of them!

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