Healthy in Cuba, Sick in America?
Moore defends his film "Sicko" and the virtues of socialized medicine.
Sept. 7, 2007— -- "Which way to Guantanamo Bay?!"
Anyone who's seen Michael Moore's film "Sicko" will recall the scene in which he shouts with a bullhorn as his boat takes a group of people, including Sept. 11 workers, to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where he says prisoners get better health care than Americans.
After the manned gun towers blow horns at Moore's boat, he takes the group to Havana, where his movie says socialized medicine — government-run medicine — is great for everyone. When Moore's group arrives in Havana, they are taken to a special section of a large showcase hospital.
Moore says in the film, "I asked [the Havana hospital] to give us the same exact care they give their fellow Cuban citizens. No more, no less. And that's what they did."
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Moore sat down with "20/20's" John Stossel and talked about that claim. When asked whether it really was an average hospital, Moore said, "Yes."
"This isn't just me saying this, you know. All the world health organizations or whatever have confirmed that if there's one thing they do right in Cuba, it's health care," Moore said. "And there's very little debate about that."
In fact, there is plenty of debate. Miami-based Cuban Human Rights activist Jose Carro says Moore's movie paints an inaccurate picture.
"These films that try to portray the health care system as superior to that of the U.S. are lacking in truth," Carro said. He asserts that most hospitals for Cuban citizens are dilapidated, that conditions are filthy and that patients are so neglected that some are starving.
George Utset, who runs the anti-Castro Web site called therealcuba.com, says Moore's group didn't "go to the hospital for regular Cubans. They go to the hospital for the elite and it's [a] very different condition."
Darsi Ferrer, a human rights advocate in Cuba, issued an SOS via telephone, wanting the world to know that ordinary Cubans are "crazy with desperation" over the horrendous state of their health care.
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