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PHARMA/HEALTH PLANS: Responding to propaganda with idiot propaganda

Michael_moore_2Michael Moore dissects U.S. health care. So the first excerpts of "Sicko" have been shown, and the spin from the industry is already quite remarkable.

We can’t control what a major Hollywood entertainer does," said Mohit Ghose, a spokesman for the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans. "Our focus remains on a positive agenda of high-quality health care for more Americans."<SNIP>

Ken Johnson, senior vice president of the trade group Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, said industry officials were "freaking out and pulling their hair out" when they first got word of Moore’s documentary. They have since calmed down, Johnson said. "Michael Moore is a political activist with a track record for sensationalism. He has no intention of being fair and balanced," Johnson said.

Because when you think of health insurers the very first thing that comes to mind is them creating a "positive agenda of high quality health care for ‘more’ Americans" and of course when you think of  big Pharma, "fair and balanced" is exactly what popped into your head.

My suggestion is that until they can put together a fact-based rebuttal–we know that Moore plays fast and loose with the facts–both those organizations should shut the hell up. Otherwise the focus may shift to their not-entirely-glorious track records of telling the truth in public.

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Matthew HoltjohnjdBarry CarolLynn Recent comment authors
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jd
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jd

Matt, my point wasn’t that they weren’t spinning, but that the spin merited the description “quite remarkable.”
Because they didn’t ratchet up the vitriol, and gave the same sort of positive spin they always give, I thought it was quite unremarkable.

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

Not spin?
Who honestly (even working for AHIP!) can say with a straight face that health plans’ “focus remains on a positive agenda of high-quality health care for more Americans.” C’mon kids

john
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john

“Am I the only one who thought the responses of AHIP and PHARMA were actually kind of tame, biolerplate material?”
No. Actually, you’re right. I’m not sure this quite qualifies as “remarkable spin” as Matthew puts it.
I’m guessing this is the equivalent of an official “Harumph, we’ll wait and See” from them …
I’m a bit more interested in the topics that Moore settles on. It’s kind of a big picture question: if I was making a documentary about this stuff, what would I focus on?
The FDA and Congress?
The medical device industry?
HealthSouth?
Tenet?
There are far too many good candidates!!!

jd
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jd

Am I the only one who thought the responses of AHIP and PHARMA were actually kind of tame, biolerplate material? Those responses are a long way from the kind of hatchet job I expect an industry group to produce when threatened. I’m sure there is worse to come. Incidentally, perhaps those spokespeople aren’t worrying as much as they used to because Moore said the following on his website recently: “But like my other movies, what we start with (General Motors, guns, 9/11) is not always what we end with. Along the way, we discover new roads to go down, roads… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

I was interested to read just today that United Healthcare will no longer pay for Nexium because other proton pump inhibitors are just as effective at far lower cost. Instead of just making it available for a slightly higher co-pay than a generic, they’re kicking it off the covered list. I think they’re onto something here. This move alone should cut their drug costs by $150 million per year which will be reflected in lower (than otherwise) premiums for their customers, Dr. Maguire’s ultra rich stock options notwithstanding.

Lynn
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Lynn

Matthew– I have read your various “adventures” in healthcare wonderland–purchasing insurance, being turned over to a collection agency, your knee surgery etc. I often don’t know whether to laugh, scream or cry.
I can’t imagine Michael Moore can exagerate or fabricate anything more absurd than our current healthcare mess. Our expensive fragmented healthcare mess kills and injures real people, it also does marvelous and wonderful miracles. We should all remember “first do no harm.”
Lynn Bailey
Healthcare Economist

Jack E. Lohman
Guest

I’m not a Moore fan, but Pharma deserves everything he can dish to them. There are solutions to this issue. What draws my ire is the industry is one of the most profitable in the world, even AFTER deducting for its high R&D, advertising, and remarkably high executive salaries. This, all while politicians extend their patents by 3 years (to 20) to lock our generics, and all while patents divert ridiculously high funds from families to the drug companies. The docs on this thread can probably add a lot more horror stories than I. In my mind, what we have… Read more »