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(***CIGNA response added below on 12/23***)How unfortunate it is that it takes the death of such a young individual, Nataline Sarkisyan, to get people to pull their heads out of the sand and realize how unfair and unjust the health care system is in the United States. We get Los Angeles television stations in my area and it goes without saying that this local, heartbreaking story has been topping all our newscasts. As horrible as it sounds to say, I am glad to see that this case and its dire results due to CIGNA’s horrific money-grubbing choices, is also getting the national (and international) attention it needs in order to garner action by those fed up with the constant stream of people dying much sooner than they need to–all in the name of insurance companies making a profit.

I blogged about Nataline’s passing shortly after hearing the news (including informational links and a video by her brother), but so much more information and responses are coming out, so I thought I’d create this blog entry to list them. I’m including in the California Nurses Association section below, a video they put together focusing on the fight on Nataline’s behalf on the day she died. The first video posted here is a CNN report. I’ll add more links and videos as I run across them.

Too late for transplant“-CNN

California Nurses Association (CNA) web site:

Real People DENIED Real Healthcare: Nataline Sarkisyan

CIGNA 12/21/07 statement-Press-Telegram

“Our deepest sympathies are with Nataline’s family. Their loss is immeasurable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“We deeply hope that the outpouring of concern, care and love that are being expressed for Nataline’s family help them at this time.”

What you “deeply hope” CIGNA, is that your callous disregard for human life exhibited in this case, and most assuredly countless others, does not come back to bite you in the ass. I, on the other hand, hope it most certainly does! Please allow me to take the first bite, on behalf of Nataline and all the others you have sent to an early grave.

Michael Moore web site:

December 22nd, 2007 4:19 pm

“Today I call upon the Los Angeles district attorney to investigate and consider bringing criminal homicide charges against CIGNA Health Care for their role in the death of Nataline Sarkisyan. If their decision was one of incompetence, then manslaughter charges should be filed. If it was a premeditated decision — where CIGNA knew in advance that Nataline would most likely die — then their corporate officers should be arrested and the full extent of the law brought to bear upon them.

“This is one more example why we not only need universal health care for all our citizens, but also to eliminate the concept of private, profit-driven ‘health care.’ Nearly every candidate running for president has a plan that leaves companies like CIGNA in charge. This must not happen and I call upon the democratic frontrunners to show some spine and say so.”

UCLA health care web site (Nataline had been a patient at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA) :

Everyone at UCLA Medical Center — the administration, physicians and staff — are profoundly saddened by the death of Nataline Sarkisyan, as we are by the death of any child in our care. Our hearts go out to the Sarkisyan family and to everyone touched by her life.

“In a Dec. 11 letter to Cigna, four doctors had appealed to the insurer to reconsider. They said patients in similar situations who undergo transplants have a six-month survival rate of about 65 percent.

The letter sent by the UCLA doctors questioned the company’s explanation that it does not cover experimental or unproven treatments, saying Nataline’s case was neither.

One of Nataline’s doctors, Robert Venick, declined to comment on her case. UCLA Medical Center staff refused to make her other doctors available for comment.”

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***ADDED 12/24/07***

CIGNA defends actions over denial of transplant-CBS2.com

In a memo sent to Cigna employees today, Cigna President David Cordani and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kang said the company consulted its own experts who doubted the effectiveness of the procedure.

“In this case, rather than going through our standard method of appeal, we went directly to not one, but two independent experts in the field who agreed that the procedure in question, given the patient’s particular circumstances, would not have been an effective or appropriate treatment,” the pair wrote in the memo.

situation-room.jpgKudos to CNN for at least admitting some of their errors in the Dr. Gupta story which preceded Michael’s initial appearance on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

I think Michael’s most recent email is one of my favorite emails from him (click here for other Michael-related posts) since it points out the ability the man has to show the “bigger picture” and how one thing does lead to another. Prime example is how he shows the effects downsizing can have on an industry such as the news media, in this case CNN. I love that he stays true to his determination of showcasing the inequities in not only his most recent topic, the health care industry, but also in the work force. His discussion of the semantics of the word “free” is dead-on and points out how opponents to “anything Michael Moore”, choose to attack and dissect the tiniest of points while completely missing the bigger picture/message.

Look for Michael to return to The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18th, for what will hopefully be an actual intelligent, cat fight-free discussion of the important issue of health care reform. Btw, Michael said he’s not expecting roses or make-up sex from Wolf, but I’ll definitely be looking for a telltale twinkle in their eyes. 😉

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7/17/07 email from Michael Moore:

July 17th, 2007

Friends,

The mighty CNN, in a lengthy and sad online defense of their woe-begotten ‘Sicko’ story of last Monday, has admitted that they did indeed fudge at least two of the facts in their coverage of my film and have apologized for it:

1. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN: “To be clear, I got a number wrong in my original report, substituting the number 25, instead of 251.” — My Conversation with Michael Moore, July 11th, 2007; and

2. CNN: “Moore is correct. Paul Keckley left Vanderbilt in late 2006.” — CNN’s Response to Michael Moore, July 15th, 2007.

Furthermore, CNN confirmed that all of our statistics in “Sicko” are the correct numbers from the sources we cited. Although CNN still prefers to use older World Health Organization statistics, we will stick to using this year’s Bush administration stats and more recent U.N. data. (In “Sicko,” we consistently use only U.N. Human Development Statistics unless it’s for studies they don’t do or have recent numbers for.) CNN did apologize for these two factual errors, but no apology seems to be coming for the rest of their errors. These days, to get the mainstream media to admit they were wrong is rare; to get them to admit it twice, as they have with “Sicko,” I guess should be considered a whopping victory. Will they eventually apologize for the rest, or for their reporting on the war? Will the Cubs win the World Series this year?

So the truce has been signed, the peace pipe has been smoked. And the public is left with a much more cautious and wary eye when it comes to CNN. To be fair, this is what happens when you have to grind out “news” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a staff you have shrunk through layoffs over the years (like all the broadcast networks have done). You end up rushed and having interns do your research. You have robots replace live camera operators. And, if you’re CNN, you are constantly dodging the accusation that you are “too liberal.” So when you do a piece on someone like me, you have to make sure you add superfluous and standard ad hominems attacking me simply to prove that you are NOT too liberal. I get it.

Until the last month or so, I have not appeared on a single national TV show for nearly 2 and 1/2 years. After the attacks I had to endure three years ago, from a media intent on questioning my patriotism because I dared to speak out against the war when none in the media would, I decided I had had enough and would simply concentrate on making my next film. I had no desire to participate in networks that were complicit in the war because of their refusal the challenge the commander in chief.

I have to admit, though, I do feel kinda bad taking it all out on Wolf Blitzer. It’s not like he’s the official representative of the mainstream media. I mean, he’s from Buffalo, for crying out loud! He said to me at the end of the show last week to please come back on “anytime you want.” I will take him up on that offer and appear again with him tomorrow (Wednesday). I’m not expecting a dozen roses or make-up sex — I only want a promise that there will be no more distorted distractions so we can have a decent discussion about the REAL issues like why 18,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have a health insurance card. More than 300 of them died this week. As Ehrlichman said to Nixon in “Sicko”: “The less care they give ’em, the more money they (the insurance companies) make.”

THAT’S the only thing we should be talking about. How profit and greed are killing our fellow Americans. How profit and private insurance have to be removed from our health care system. CNN should join me in asking why our 9/11 rescue workers aren’t receiving medical care. Somebody should send a crew to Canada to find out why they live longer than we do, and why no Canadian has ever gone bankrupt because of medical bills. And all of the media should start saying how much it costs to go to a doctor in these other top industrialized countries: Nothing. Zip. It’s FREE. Don’t patronize Americans by saying, “Well, it’s not free — they pay for it with taxes!” Yes, we know that. Just like we know that we drive down a city street for FREE — even though we paid for that street with our taxes. The street is FREE, the book at the library is FREE, if your house catches on fire, the fire department will come and put it out for FREE, and if someone snatches your purse, the police officer will chase down the culprit and bring your purse back to you — AND HE WON’T CHARGE YOU A DIME FROM THAT PURSE!

These are all free services, collectively socialized and paid for with our tax dollars. To argue that health care — a life and death issue for many — should not be considered in the same league is ludicrous and archaic. And trust me, once you add up what you pay for out-of-pocket in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, overpriced medicines, and treatments that aren’t covered (not to mention all the other things we pay for like college education, day care and other services that many countries provide for at little or no cost), we, as Americans, are paying far more than the Canadians or Brits or French are paying in taxes. We just don’t call these things taxes, but that’s exactly what they are.

See you all when I’m back on CNN tomorrow — where the discussion will be not be about whose statistics are right, but rather about the guy without insurance who died while I was writing this letter.

Yours,
Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

P.S. Oh… I forgot to tell you about Paris Hilton. Apparently cooped up for too long at home since getting out of jail, she decided to head out for a night on the town. But where does she go? Clubbing? Cruising down the Strip? No! She and her sister decide to go see “Sicko.” Now THAT’S news! So, no more bad words about Paris Hilton!

(***ADDED 7/12/07: Looks like Michael may WILL be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight on MSNBC at 8PM EST, with a replay 4 hours later.***)

Have to say that anticipating a television show is not something I’ve done in a long time (okay, I was curious about The Sopranos finale ;)), but waiting for the promised “Unedited Part II” of Michael Moore and Wolf Blitzer’s firework-laced gabfest on The Situation Room definitely had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I’ll include both videos here (even though Part I was included in this blog posting) since seeing them one right after the other keeps the continuity of Michael’s outrage much more so than the 24 hour time lapse given to us courtesy of CNN.

A huge thank you to those who take the time to upload these videos to YouTube so the rest of us can view them! 🙂

Part I-CNN Gets Blitzed by Michael Moore

Part II-Michael Moore/Wolf Blitzer

And speaking of CNN, when are they going to catch a clue that Larry King’s time has come and gone–long ago? It was truly painful to watch him attempt to have anything to do with the serious debate that Dr. Gupta and Michael should have been having on their differences regarding where health care system facts came from. I felt Dr. Gupta was attempting to have some sort of dialogue with Michael, but Larry kept trying to play referee when one wasn’t really needed. It seemed that the majority of times when Michael was attempting to set the record straight and explain where/why/how SiCKO came up with facts for the film, his turn to talk was cut short. It would be nice to see CNN actually allow Dr. Gupta and Michael the opportunity Larry King “claims” they will to actually have a serious and much-needed hour of (hopefully non-Larry King interrupted!) discourse on this crucial topic.

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 1 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 2 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 3 of 3

 

Here is Keith Olbermann’s take on the Michael-vs-Wolf/CNN episode, with input from Rachel Maddow. I would include the video here, but the page is taking a long time to load due to all the other videos. And here is one I would NOT bother to include since Joe Scarborough is showing what a moron he can be (I’ve actually agreed with him on a few–very few-occasions) by attacking Michael’s weight issue instead of discussing the important arguments Michael brings up. Way to deal with the topic at hand, Joe.

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I haven’t touched base with the pet food recall story in a bit so thought I’d check into what the latest news has been. The head of China’s version of our FDA was executed yesterday for his part in the horrific “lethally tainted products” fiasco from which people and pets around the world have been suffering. An owner who truly believes her pet died from tainted food, albeit 10 months prior to the initial Menu Foods pet food recall, is denied her claim by Nutro Products, Inc. And while this Opinion posting on USA Today barely mentions the pet food recall, it does a good job of enlightening the reader on how it is that so many tainted products have come to the USA from China (such as the Thomas the Tank Engine toys), and that consumers MUST continue to put pressure on our own government in order to have them place equal pressure on China.

(***Added 7/11/07: Click here for videos of Michael on Larry King Live and The Situation Room on 7/10/07. Added 7/10/07: Scroll down past the video below to read an email notice sent out this morning about Michael being on CNN and other shows today/Tuesday!***)

Shout-out to Health Care For All for sending out a bulletin which alerted me to this GREAT video of Michael Moore unloading (as many of us would LOVE to!) about many things (not just the health care system in the U.S.) while on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Watch the fireworks between Michael and Wolf below, then click on this link to read more on Michael’s web site, especially this link which sets the record straight on some of the misinformation in the Gupta story shown prior to Michael’s interview.

As a side note and in regard to Lou Dobbs’ comment regarding Michael Moore in the last 5 seconds of the video, you can kiss my “left wing promoting” lily white fanny, Lou! Nice journalistic objectivity…not!

CNN gets blitzed by Michael Moore

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Added 7/10/07: Just got following email this morning from Michael’s webmaster. I also added the Michael Moore/Jon Stewart clip (mentioned in the email) to my VodPod on this blog.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Today, Michael Moore will be on CNN again for Part Two with Wolf Blitzer, (Did you see Part One? And our response?), a new appearance on Larry King Live with Dr. Sanjay Gupta (appearing, we assume, to apologize for his factual errors), and a rerun of Mike’s appearance on Jon Stewart from 13 days ago.

Those of us who maintain Michael’s website have started a truth squad. Watch for our daily reports on how the media lies, distorts and carries the water for Big Pharma and Big Insurance.

We’ll leave you with this analysis of how the mainstream media deals with Michael Moore.

Thanks!

Webmaster
MichaelMoore.com

 

(***Added 6/19/07: LOGO will air a True Colors special beginning this Thursday, June 21st.***)

Thanks to a VERY generous and spontaneous friend (Thanks, Jackson ;)), I’ll be hitting the True Colors Tour 2007 when it makes its final stop in Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre on June 30th. Totally something to look forward to, for so many reasons (especially after finding out just today that The Cliks are rearranging their own tour schedule in order to add the last three True Colors gigs–woo-hoo!), but especially since it will be a incredibly memorable time spent with fabulous friends. Btw, the LA stop is SOLD OUT (Not sure if more tickets have been released or what the deal is, but TicketMaster is no longer showing the LA show as sold out), so I would highly recommend jumping on tickets for the other remaining shows NOW!

I’ll let the following Cyndi Lauper interview on The View fill you in on what the True Colors Tour 2007 is all about, and I’ll include links to the MySpace pages of several of the scheduled performers. I do have to say, though, that I continue to shake my head in disgust, dismay, and ultimately sadness, over the fact that so many people continue to harbor such hatred toward others just due to one’s sexual orientation. Sigh. Life is far too short, folks. Appreciate the incredible diversity around you (who on earth wants to be just like everyone else?), embrace it, and for crying out loud just get out there and enjoy the heck out of life!

Cyndi Lauper on The View discussing True Colors Tour 2007

Cyndi performing an acoustic version of True Colors

MySpace Pages

True Colors lyrics

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then,
Don’t be unhappy, can’t remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Sniffin’ out the info

Photobucket

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