Moore tells insurance lobbyist profiting off health 'doesn't seem moral'
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Friday September 28, 2007

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When Oprah Winfrey welcomed Michael Moore and two health insurance experts to her program on Thursday to discuss the health care crisis in America, she set as the central question for debate, "Do you fundamentally believe that the child of a gas station attendance and the child of an investment banker deserve the same health care?"

Professor Uwe Reinhardt, a German-born expert on health care economics, said Americans needed to overcome their "hangups about government" and start expecting government to do more.

"We love our country and yet we hate our government," commented Moore. "I don't think it's so much the government as who's put in charge of the government. There's nothing wrong with FEMA. ... What's wrong is heckuva job Brownie."

"Until we all see ourselves in the same boat, that we sink or swim together, we won't respond, whether it's to Katrina or to this health insurance crisis," Moore continued. "Are we the people who want to believe that we are all in this together, or is it every man for himself?"

"This is what Jesus would do," Moore added. "He wouldn't have let the child of a gas station attendant go without."

"We have been propagandized into believing that socialized is such a negative term," agreed Winfrey.

Moore then directly addressed health insurance lobbyist Karen Ignanai, saying that "insurance is good for a lot of things," like cars and houses, but that he doesn't understand why profit should play a role in human health. "It doesn't seem moral," he stated.

Ignagni insisted that profit is necessary because if doctors or hospitals lose money, they can't deliver care -- apparently blurring the distinction between a business that is run in a manner to cover its costs and one that attempts to maximize profits to investors. She also insisted that with a utopian system of "unlimited care," people will be paying more in taxes than they do presently.

"We pay more, we just don't call it taxes," said Moore.

Ignagni suggested an alternative solution of government subsidies to help working families afford insurance, calling that idea "a uniquely American solution that balances public and private."

Moore's rejoinder was that he doesn't want any of his tax dollars going for subsidies that will simply swell the coffers of private insurance firms.

The following video is from Oprah, broadcast on September 27.