Declaring the “Michael Moores of the world are 180 degrees opposed to our solutions,” the outgoing president of the National Association of Health Underwriters used his farewell address to blast Moore’s new film attacking the health insurance industry and declared the industry was facing a battle for the minds of the American public.
David L. Fear said he had no intention of viewing Moore’s new film, “Sicko,” but warned members that millions of Americans were likely to view it and hear its message that government must intervene to assure health care insurance is available to all Americans.
“I reject that thinking and so should every one of you,” he declared to enthusiastic applause.
He noted, however, that “we live in a society that thrives on sound bites” and said the industry needed to be able to counter the arguments advocated in “Sicko.”
He pointed to NAHU’s Mission Statement, which declared the association’s devotion to giving the public access to private insurance and the services of insurance professionals.
For every problem the industry had, it had many more successes, including the fact that it covers 85% of Americans, Fear argued.
“It has its challenges, but so do health care systems in Canada, Japan and other countries,” he said. “We should be proud of the system we have and not be apologetic because it does work.”
In addition to a movie trailer of Moore’s new film, he showed a preview of another new film that takes an opposing point of view and which NAHU, in part, funded.
The film, “Sick and Sicker,” makes the point that the Canadian health care system suffers from shortages of hospital beds and doctors, among other problems.
Fear announced that NAHU’s Legislative Council was preparing a new program that would counter the criticisms heard of the industry, including those from politicians advocating universal health care coverage backed by the government.
“The challenge we have is to out-vocalize them,” he said of the industry’s critics. The aim of the council is to intensify lobbying work that needs to be done in Washington, state capitals and with state insurance regulators to assure the industry’s point of view is heard and understood, he insisted.
Fear said the recently proposed $50 increase in the association’s membership dues would largely be used toward that end. He had pushed for the increase because he believed it was vital.