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It would appear that I’m a soulless minion of the “health care industrial complex.” That is, at any rate, the thrust of various comments I have received in response to my posts on Michael Moore and his new schlockumentary, SiCKO. The following question from “Jed” is typical:
Hey! I’m wondering, if I make a website like yours, how much can I make each month for being a health insurance lobbyist?
Jed’s highly entertaining query echoes a trope popular among “progressives” with no substantive defense against criticism of Moore and his film: all such criticism is bought and paid for by “Big Pharmadocinsurancehosp.”
The use of this trope isn’t limited to obscure denizens of the blogosphere. It is increasingly deployed by establishment media types. This piece at MSNBC, for example, avers that:
Those with vested interests in preserving the current status quo in health care have already activated their lobbyists, media flacks, think-tank mouthpieces and trade organizations to go after Moore and his movie.
And this article in Newsweek echoes the theme:
Why do we put up with a broken, bloated, bureaucratic and increasingly barbaric health system? Because your politicians are in the thrall of the people who profit from it … the drug companies, the hospital industry, the bought-and-paid-for politicians and the health-insurance companies.
Thus, serious criticism of Moore and his accomplices can be summarily dismissed without the necessity of showing that it is factually flawed. One can see why this is such a popular trope. Its use requires infinitely less intellectual exertion than the application of critical reasoning to the problems besetting American health care.
But a more pressing issue is this: If I’m a bought-and-paid-for stooge of the “health care industrial complex,” where’s my check?