From the Congressional Healthcare Caucus, House Visitor Center, Washington, DC
In 2007, itinerant crank and iconoclastic filmmaker Michael Moore presented America with his take on the health care system: “Sicko.” Traveling to Canada, France, England and even Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Mr. Moore proved his thesis that everyone BUT Americans get low-cost, high-quality health care.
Well, meet your nemesis, Mr. Moore. Rick Scott, the disgraced former chairman of what was once the nation’s biggest for-profit hospital chain is about to unleash a documentary film that he purports will show what’s good — and bad — about the Canadian and U.K. health systems.
As head of Columbia/HCA, Mr. Scott had a meteoric rise and equally rapid descent. He left in 1997, shortly after the company was forced to pay about $1.7 billion in fines to settle federal fraud charges. His recent reappearance in the Capital, as head of the Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, has been sounded like a clarion call by the Washington media — as if Satan himself was stalking the halls of Congress. Some conservatives have questioned the wisdom of trotting him out as as a voice for Republicans in the health reform debate.
But on Tuesday, a fine spring day in the nation’s capital, Mr. Scott stood to the left of Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.), a physician who leads the Congressional Healthcare Caucus. He defended the former boy-wonder as someone who had improved his life as an ob.gyn at a small hospital in Louisville. When Columbia/HCA took over, the company provided electronic medical records, said Rep. Burgess, who brushed off questions about Mr. Scott’s past.
The always cheerful — and still boyish — Mr. Scott said that his film does not yet have distribution (calling Harvey Weinstein!), but that he aims to have it finished by May. It will be hosted by a former CNN correspondent. It will let patients tell their stories. In their own words. No title as of yet.
Why Canada and the U.K.? Those systems are the ones lawmakers often hold up as examples, said Mr. Scott.
He put up his own money for the production, but said others had contributed as well. When asked to name names, Mr. Scott refused. Three times. We can bet that Michael Moore wasn’t one of them.
— Alicia Ault (on Twitter @aliciaault)