Cuba health care

From a PSL review of Sicko, on Michael Moore taking 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba after they were repeatedly denied treatment in the US.

Reggie Cervantes, who has suffered from a pulmonary condition since 9/11, purchases the same medicine for five cents that would cost $120 here.

The right wing has been quick to call the Cuba visit a cheap trick. They say the Cuban government just put on a show for Moore because a camera team from the United States was present. The rescue workers have asserted otherwise. Cervantes, who speaks Spanish, claims she snuck out of the hospital and readmitted herself to see if she would be treated differently as a Cuban off the street. She received the same treatment.


  1. Here’s the video clip of Moore explaining not only that incident to Jay Leno, but also another incident involving himself, Cuba, and the media – the “healthcare Olympics.”

  2. The medical malpractice committed by the Cuban doctors on Castro is ironic, notwithstanding the real advances in community medicine. Whether that’s an appropriate trade-off for political repression that George W. Bush would admire if only he could pull it off is another question.

  3. I’m not sure it was. The initial reports on Castro’s treatment being inadequate were later disproven.

  4. So what WAS it that Castro had? The Spanish specialist they brought in was very discreet, but I couldn’t figure out anything else other than malpractice from what he said (and, more importantly, didn’t say).

  5. katherine hirschfeld

    Sorry to break the news, people but there is NO way any American (Spanish-speaking or not) can “sneak into” a Cuban hospital. Your accent, clothing and a million other details will immediately identify you as a foreigner, and you will automatically get the preferred foreigner treatment. Plus you would have no Cuban identity card, which is required for hospital admission. In other words, there are a million little barriers that segregate foreigners and Cubans on the island, most of which are invisible to foreigners, who assume that they are experiencing the “real” Cuba. This isn’t to say that you can’t get good treatment at the Hermanos Ameijeras hospital. You can, no matter what your nationality. But this hospital is not typical. It also has within it marked stratification. There are floors just for foreigners, pharmacies just for foreigners and so on. Your average “Cuban” hospital may or may not have running water, electricity, soap, medicine or equipment. I am generally fan of Michael Moore, and support the idea of health care reform in the United States. So it’s a shame he wasn’t more careful in his research on Cuba.

  6. At what point in my life would i choose to hand the availability of healthcare of my family to that of a politician. There are no free rides. That is the beauty of America… we can choose. When the government gains access to creating a nationalized healthcare system; the tools, doctor’s pay, resource availability, and wait times are all in the hands of those whom delegate and subsidize the most important aspect of our lives. I would much rather seek a man who revisits efficiencies within his organization (to make money), than a politician (seeks votes) for my healthcare. The DMV is controlled by government. How painful is that experience? I don’t see placing the government in control as an efficient solution. We could all agree that partisan bickering is frustrating, but who would want these people to carry such heavy swords that our health be at risk to any of thier actions.

  7. “I would much rather seek a man who revisits efficiencies within his organization (to make money), than a politician (seeks votes) for my healthcare.”

    Unless you use a “cash-only” doctor, you’re not likely to find one. Even PPO doctors make money not by efficiently treating you, but by pandering to the insurance companies. Only in a cash-only system is the focus of the doctor truly on you. And that means no insurance at all.

    OTOH, I could envision a Kaiser-like system established regionally, set up as a quasi-governmental agency (like USPS or SBA), funded by the government but operated independently. Like Kaiser, its primary goal would be treating patients, and secondarily it would strive to come close to breaking even. Done right, this could provide a whole lot of health care very efficiently. (But you’re right: what are the odds our government would do it right?)

    Alternatively, expanding Medicare would be an improvement. Medicare isn’t perfect, but ironically enough, it is the most efficient insurance program in the country.

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