Saturday, July 14, 2007

Healthcare Debate: Moore vs Gupta on Larry King

Here's a great debate on universal health care between Michael Moore and CNN medical correspondant Sanjay Gupta. It is well worth a watch, and it gets better as it goes.

Revere over at Effect Measure describes it as "Moore by knockout", but I think that overstates it a bit.

Moore by unanimous decision is my call. He was weak early. First, he made a bad strategic mistake getting caught up quibbling about figures in Cuba when that time could have been used to argue more substantive issues. Even using Gupta's figures Moore can make his case, because the difference between the US and Cuba was an order of magnitude regardless. Yet Moore also came across as using the highest figures he could find, which would be consistent with his history. It was not a good start.

He landed a great uppercut with the "'The French are drowning in taxes' is my line" quip. However, Gupta then landed some good body blows on the deceptive nature of saying that health care is "free" in socialized countries, since it is paid for by taxes. He staggerred Moore when Moore was unable to form a coherant response for a good 5-10 seconds after complaining about not being allowed to talk, and Gupta quipped "We've got Michael Moore speechless, that's pretty hard to do here." At this point Gupta was clearly ahead.

But Moore came on strong in the end, and had Gupta staggerred against the ropes for the rest of the fight. His description of the financial and insurance arrangements and greater costs here was impressive. His comebacks on waiting times was impressive, especially the "40 million people are out of the line" observation. And his defense of the "free" description as a more short term definition was a decent recovery, though I think Gupta's point here is the stronger.

But in the end Moore had Gupta agreeing with him on most items, and Gupta led with his chin getting Moore talking about the government's performance under various presidents, and talking about the government doing things right under better leaders.

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