In the movie "Sicko," Michael Moore takes Americans who have had problems getting medical care down to Cuba. In Cuba's collectivized system, Moore finds medical care for the sick and a model, according to him, for our country to emulate.
The problem is that medical care for Cubans is unlike that afforded to medical tourists. Conditions are so deplorable that diseases including leprosy, typhoid fever and tuberculosis, almost eradicated elsewhere, are becoming common in Cuba.
The health care available for Moore's medical tourists is a different matter. Because they bring hard currency, foreigners are treated in clean, well-supplied modern facilities.
Unfortunately, Moore's babble is far from harmless. As Jay Nordlinger pointed out in National Review, "Some of the most courageous, most admirable and most persecuted people on the island are doctors, who have rebelled against health care injustices and injustices in general." By propping up the myth that their health care system has been a positive result of the Revolution, the Castro regime can continue to systematically engage in torture, murder and political repression since they have something to show for it.
The American health care system needs serious, systemic reforms. But believe me, you don't want to get your medical care in a socialized system like Cuba's. Unless you're just visiting.
Dr. Tom Patterson is chairman of the Goldwater Institute, a former state legislator and emergency room physician. A longer version of this column originally appeared in the East Valley Tribune.