The New York Times has a great story about the funny numbers Michael Moore has used in his upcoming documentary "Sicko." The choicest cut:
Universal health care has long given the Cuban regime bragging rights, though there is growing concern about the future. In the decades that Cuba drew financial and military support from the Soviet Union, Mr. Castro poured resources into medical education, creating the largest medical school in Latin America and turning out thousands of doctors to practice around the world.
But that changed after the collapse of the Soviets, according to Cuban defectors like Dr. Leonel Cordova. By the time Dr. Cordova started practicing in 1992, equipment and drugs were already becoming scarce. He said he was assigned to a four-block neighborhood in Havana Province where he was supposed to care for about 600 people.
“But even if I diagnosed something simple like bronchitis,” he said, “I couldn’t write a prescription for antibiotics, because there were none.”
He defected in 2000 while on a medical mission in Zimbabwe and made his way to the United States. He is now an urgent-care physician at Baptist Hospital in Miami.
Having practiced medicine in both Cuba and the United States, Dr. Cordova has an unusual perspective for comparison.
“Actually there are three systems,” Dr. Cordova said, because Cuba has two: one is for party officials and foreigners like those Mr. Moore brought to Havana. “It is as good as this one here, with all the resources, the best doctors, the best medicines, and nobody pays a cent,” he said.
But for the 11 million ordinary Cubans, hospitals are often ill equipped and patients “have to bring their own food, soap, sheets — they have to bring everything.” And up to 20,000 Cuban doctors may be working in Venezuela, creating a shortage in Cuba.
Pretty sick, indeed.