Health Insurance Industry, Big Pharmaceuticals Launch Michael Moore Smear Campaign

In his new movie SiCKO, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore exposes the deplorable practices of the major health insurance and pharmaceutical companies in working to deny coverage to individuals who are insured. As Moore told ABC’s Nightline:

There’s no getting around the fact that people are dying in this country as a result of the decisions that get made by these health insurance companies. People are dying in this country because they can’t afford the pharmaceuticals because of the price gauging that takes place.

For his damaging expos© of the health care industry, Moore is now under attack from front groups supported and funded by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The New York Sun reports:

The pharmaceutical industry and think tanks it backs financially are readying a multifaceted counteroffensive against Michael Moore’s film about the health care industry. […]

The drug companies and their allies have been on their toes ever since the movie was being filmed, when they warned personnel to watch out for film crews from the “Fahrenheit 9/11” director. But in advance of the film’s release, they are upping the volume and the tempo of their activities.

Armed with the plenty of cash from the health care industry, these organizations are lobbing personal insults against Moore and propagating the message of those invested in maintaining the status quo. Some examples:

FreedomWorks: FreedomWorks has launched a new campaign claiming that policies favored by Moore, “healthy individuals” would “wind up subsidizing people like Moore, who are overweight and and/or live decidedly unhealthy lifestyles by frequenting fast-food restaurants, smoke, or use drugs.” FreedomWorks is run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, whose PAC has received significant contributions from the health care industry. Several industry members serve on its board of directors. Additionally, it has a deal with Medical Savings Insurance Co. allowing the company’s brokers “sell high-deductible insurance policies and tax-free savings plans at a group discount to buyers who join the conservative political organization.”

CATO Institute: CATO receives funding from multiple insurance and pharmaceutical companies, including Amerisure Insurance, Pfizer, and Merck. It has written numerous pieces attacking Moore’s film, arguing that he “ignores the positive side of American health care” and instead “focuses on life expectancy.” It held an event after the DC premiere of the film, screening conservative films that “highlight problems” with “government-run health care.”

Manhattan Institute: The Manhattan Institute receives funding from multiple pharmaceutical giants such as Bristol-Myers Squibb. One of its senior fellows started a site called Free Market Cure, which argues SiCKO is “set to inject a large dose of misinformation and propaganda into our national dialog about health care policy.” The group is advising reporters covering SiCKO that scholars “at the institute’s Center for Medical Progress…were available to comment on the health care industry.”

Other health-care industry front groups — such as the Galen Institute, Pacific Research Institute, and the Heritage Foundation — have recently launched their own attacks on Moore’s film.


For the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, Michael Moore’s film exposing their history and their misdeeds is a serious threat, and they have no shortage of funds to try to distort it.