Insurance company memo lays out strategy to fight Michael Moore's 'Sicko'
Michael Roston
Published: Friday July 6, 2007
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Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has published a memo written by a health insurance company executive on how to respond to his new film, 'Sicko,' which criticizes shortcomings in America's current system of private medical insurance.

"[T]he impact on small business decision makers, our members, the community, and our employees could be significant," wrote Barclay Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Capital Blue Cross. "Ignoring its impact might be a successful strategy only if it flops, but that has not been the history of Moore's films ... If popular, the movie will have a negative impact on our image in this community."

RAW STORY was awaiting verification from Fitzpatrick that the memo was real and written by him.

Capital Blue Cross is based in Central Pennsylvania according to its website. Fitzpatrick went to see the film in order to learn its message and to get a sense of how moviegoers would react to the story Moore tells.

He admitted that the film is effective in getting its message across.

"You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore's movie, he is an effective storyteller," Fitzpatrick wrote in the memo.

But he also accused Moore of misleading viewers of the film.

"As a health care industry educated viewer it is easy to pick out where Moore is cultivating misperceptions to further a political agenda, but you will also recognize that 80%+ of the audience will have their perceptions substantially affected," he wrote.

Fitzpatrick ends his memo by including a set of talking points written by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association to rebut key claims in Sicko. He was particularly concerned with the lumping of the not-for-profit Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurers in with for profit providers like Kaiser Permanente and Humana.

In response, Moore wrote on his website that he sought to debate the health insurance executive at the company in question.

"No more secret memos and hand wringing about the millions seeing 'Sicko,'" he declared. "Just me and your CEO openly debating the merits of a system that kills thousands of innocent Americans every year."