Movie Article

Don't Pack Up for France Just Yet

The Upside of Michael Moore's health-care gripe -- EW explores angles the director didn't

The foibles and failings of the U.S. health-care sector can be heartbreaking and frequently tragic. But there's a real upside to the system, which accounts for about 15 percent of the U.S. economy. Some footage Moore's movie really could have used:

SCENE I:
The Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland
Cameras follow a 68-year-old Medicare patient undergoing triple-bypass surgery. The once-risky procedure, now routine, averts heart attacks and extends life expectancy�all at taxpayers' expense. (Ironic panning shot of the McDonald's in the complex's food court.)

SCENE II:
CVS. Topeka, Kan.
Person-on-the-street interviews with middle Americans dashing in and out of neighborhood drugstore picking up generic and branded versions of U.S.-developed pharmaceuticals (Viagra, Prozac, Lipitor) that improve their sex lives, moods, and HDL counts.

SCENE III:
The human-resources department of Pitney Bowes. Stamford, Conn.
CNBC meets The Office. Handheld narrative on large company trying to cut medical costs through a program aimed at boosting health of employees. Tour of on-site health clinics, smoking-cessation programs, cafeterias with healthy fare.

SCENE IV:
Headquarters of MicroIslet. San Diego
Tiny biotechnology start-up (one of hundreds in the country), backed by venture capital and public investors, conducts research on transplantation therapy for diabetes patients. If it succeeds, the company could make millions, and free diabetics from the need to inject themselves daily.

SCENE V:
New Jersey Commission on Science & Technology. Trenton, N.J.
It's The Apprentice — minus the obnoxious Trumpian overlord and young M.B.A. hotties. Instead, serious research types vie for grants as part of the Garden State's $270 million stem-cell-research initiative. You're hired!

Scene VI:
Residency program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Boston
Big Brother meets E.R. Vérité treatment of the lives, loves, and careers of residents who come from all corners of the globe to work in the Harvard-affiliated hospital's Cancer Center, conducting research and seeing patients. A twofer: highlights the ways in which cancer is evolving from a death sentence into a chronic condition, and the way in which the U.S. health-care system attracts the best and brightest from all over the world to staff our hospitals.

Originally posted May 25, 2007 Published in issue #936 Jun 01, 2007 Order article reprints