The liar is rewarded, the truth-teller punished 0

Michael Moore was much praised and rewarded for his movie Sicko, praising medical services in Cuba, and comparing it to health care in the US  to the detriment of the latter.

A Cuban exile, George Utstet has this on his website The Real Cuba:

Those of you who saw Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko,” would remember the scene where Moore and his guests walked into a Cuban pharmacy and asked for an asthma medication, Salbutemol, and immediately the clerk opens a drawer and gives it to one of the guests, a woman from New York, who then begins to cry when she learns that in Cuba that medicine costs only a fraction of what it costs in New York. According to Moore, his guests received the “the same care” that any regular Cuban would receive, “no more, no less.”

But the scene at the Cuban pharmacy, as the whole portion of Sicko filmed in Cuba, was a fallacy conceived, scripted, staged and rehearsed by the Cuban regime with Moore’s acting the part of the useful idiot.

In an article titled “Catching a cold in Cuba,” Sally Melcher Jarvis, a correspondent for a Pennsylvanian newspaper who went to Cuba in November of 2007 accompanying a humanitarian mission organized by a local museum, found out about the apartheid that regular Cubans are suffering since Castro turned them into second class citizens in their own country.

Here is part of what she wrote: “It wasn’t much of a cold; just the kind that would get better by itself in a week. In the meantime it was a nuisance with a cough and stuffy nose. A little over-the-counter remedy would help…..There were no over-the-counter remedies to be had. I asked the guide what Cubans did if they had a cold. The guide said that a Cuban would go to the doctor — a visit free of charge — who would write a prescription for aspirin. However, there would be no way to fill the prescription. We visited a pharmacy later in the trip. Behind the counter five well-dressed Cuban women waited to serve, but the shelves were empty.

For more on the subject, the whole of this Townhall article by Humberto Fontova is worth reading. It convincingly dispels the myth that Cuba has a low infant mortality rate. There are links to informative video footage.

A taste of it:

The Castroite propaganda in Sicko so outraged people cursed by fate to live in Castro’s fiefdom that they risked their lives by using hidden cameras to film conditions in genuine Cuban hospitals, hoping they could alert the world to Moore’s swinishness as a propaganda operative for a Stalinist regime.

At enormous risk, two hours of shocking, often revolting, footage was obtained with tiny hidden cameras and smuggled out of Cuba to Cuban-exile George Utset, who runs the superb and revelatory website The Real Cuba. The man who assumed most of the risk during the filming and smuggling was Cuban dissident — a medical doctor himself – Dr. Darsi Ferrer, who was also willing to talk on camera, narrating much of the video’s revelations. Dr Ferrer worked in these genuinely Cuban hospitals daily, witnessing the truth. More importantly, he wasn’t cowed from revealing this truth to America and the world. (A recent samizdat reports that the black Dr. Ferrer is currently languishing in a Cuban prison cell –not far from Gitmo, by the way– undergoing frequent beatings.)

Totalitarianism extra deep 2

With the Senate health care legislation, America is going over that precipice Obama shouted about with such eager excitement.

From REDSTATE:

With the passage of ObamaCare, the United States may be passing the point of no return on its downward journey to becoming a middling country, shorn of the sheen and substance of Exceptionalism. It will become but another average player in a United Nations of the World where the rhetorical goal of government is to ensure that everyone has their equal share, where no one ever wants for anything, where everyone lives in perfect harmony. This is not just because the basic elements of the legislation are sufficiently onerous as to cause America to spiral into a third world country, which it is, but rather by unconstitutionally forcing citizens to purchase a “good” in order to retain their liberty, it explicitly elevates the whims of the federal government above the rights of the citizens. Now that police power of the state can be used to force citizens to pay for health care, how long will it be before those same powers are used to force citizens to pay for food that is provided at the direction of the government, to pay for clothing provided at the design of the government, to pay for transportation or leisure activities provided or approved by the government?

Madison and the Founding Fathers understood that man is prone to anger, passion, faction and hubris and that neither the Constitution nor any government could change that. What the Constitution and its resulting government could do however was provide a framework where free men could live together as equals as they pursued their individual notions of happiness and basked in the exercise of their liberties. … [Obama] believes that with ObamaCare America will parachute into a land of milk and honey. He’s wrong. There is no parachute, there is no milk and honey and there will be no soft landing. A mirage of rhetoric, fables and lies hide the gritty reality of the soon to be rusted hulk of American enterprise that for two centuries was an engine that drove the advancement of the human condition. That train spent 212 years charging over the horizon, into the great unknown, into a universe of possibilities on the rails of a U.S. Constitution that let free men create and innovate and build a better world. With ObamaCare we will see the removal of those rails and with them the essence of American Exceptionalism. As the engine that has provided so much to so many careens, buckles and lurches forward without the constraints of Madison’s Constitution, we can no doubt expect that the vices which it was constructed to contain will begin to rear their ugly heads. …

Yes, but the future of America looks even worse than that.

Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York state, lists 10 dreadful provisions in the bill. Read them all here. They take away your freedom of decision. Even if you want to and can pay for treatment the government denies you, you may not be allowed to do so. If you are old, you may not be admitted into a hospital. If you are hospitalized you will have little comfort, because the egalitarians whose ideology is now beginning to shape our lives believe that austerity is best for us (though not for themselves).

Hospital budget cuts will mean shortages of nurses, equipment and cleaning staff. The president’s chief health advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, argues that hospitals in the U.S. offer more privacy and comfort than hospitals in Europe, and this “abundance of amenities” drives up costs.

And then there is this:

Money is allocated for adult preparation activities, including lessons on positive self-esteem and relationship dynamics, friendships, dating (and) romantic involvement (Senate bill, p.612).

Let’s ponder that for a moment.

Your friendships, your love life, the way you think and feel about yourself, is the government’s business?

Nosy little bureaucrats are charged with poking into your emotions and your intimate relations?

This is super-totalitarianism. Not even Mao or Pol Pot thought of reaching that deeply into the entrails of the people they trod on to squeeze them into conformity.

When prevention is not better than cure 0

Charles Krauthammer writes:

Think of it this way. Assume that a screening test for disease X costs $500 and finding it early averts $10,000 of costly treatment at a later stage. Are you saving money? Well, if one in 10 of those who are screened tests positive, society is saving $5,000. But if only one in 100 would get that disease, society is shelling out $40,000 more than it would without the preventive care.

That’s a hypothetical case. What’s the real-life actuality in the United States today? A study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, “if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success,” the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country’s total medical bill by 162 percent. Elmendorf additionally cites a definitive assessment in the New England Journal of Medicine that reviewed hundreds of studies on preventive care and found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be preventing illness. Of course we should. But in medicine, as in life, there is no free lunch. The idea that prevention is somehow intrinsically economically different from treatment — that treatment increases costs and prevention lowers them — is simply nonsense.

Prevention is a wondrous good, but in the aggregate it costs society money. Nothing wrong with that. That’s the whole premise of medicine: Treating a heart attack or setting a broken leg also costs society. But we do it because it alleviates human suffering. Preventing a heart attack with statins or breast cancer with mammograms is costly. But we do it because it reduces human suffering.

However, prevention is not, as so widely advertised, healing on the cheap. It is not the magic bullet for health care costs.

You will hear some variation of that claim a hundred times in the coming health care debate. Whenever you do, remember: It’s nonsense — empirically demonstrable and CBO-certified.

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, Economics, Health, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 14, 2009

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