Guests: Michael Moore
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: (INAUDIBLE) play HARDBALL with the toughest kid on the block, Michael Moore. Let‘s play it!
MATTHEWS: Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. Welcome to HARDBALL. It‘s summer in the city tonight, and we‘re live from “HARDBALL Plaza” with a very hot guest.
But first today‘s headlines. Today Senator Russ Feingold said he‘s introducing two censure resolutions condemning the president, the vice president and other Bush administration officials over the war in Iraq. President Bush says he will veto any legislation, by the way, that will expand the government‘s role in children‘s health care.
A new “Washington Post”/ABC poll shows Senator Hillary Clinton is still the 2008 frontrunner. Clinton‘s Republican counterpart, Rudy Giuliani, will begin running his first radio ads tomorrow in Iowa and New Hampshire.
And now please welcome to “HARDBALL Plaza” Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore.
MICHAEL MOORE, WRITER & DIRECTOR, “SICKO”: How are you?
MATTHEWS: Michael Moore. Let‘s make some news!
MATTHEWS: Russ Feingold wants to censure the president, the vice president and other administration officials for the way in which they talked us into war in Iraq. What do you make of it? Where do you stand on that kind of thing?
MOORE: Good idea. I think it‘s something, though, that—actually, they should be lucky just to get censured. Personally, I‘d like to see a perp walk coming out of the West Wing of the White House.
MATTHEWS: Do you think they‘re guilty of war crimes?
MATTHEWS: Name them.
MOORE: Lying to go to war. Start with that one. Making up something, tricking up the evidence for war in order to take us into a war that‘s cost us over 3,600 soldiers‘ lives and countless Iraqi lives. History will not be kind to Mr. Bush for what he‘s done.
MATTHEWS: You‘ve made some big films, probably the most successful documentary films ever. “Roger and Me” started off. You went after big industry. Then you went after the war “9/11,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and now “Sicko.” Why do you, unlike some many people involved in public affairs and politics—and I mean unlike almost all of them—have caught onto this health care mess and really targeted it the way you did?
MOORE: Well, I think it‘s something that affects every American...
MATTHEWS: But why aren‘t the politicians over here...
MATTHEWS: We‘re a block from the Capitol.
MATTHEWS: I don‘t see anybody running on it.
MATTHEWS: Why not?
MOORE: I think because the—frankly, Chris, the political gene pool has been so depleted in recent years, I mean, over my lifetime, your lifetime. And we used to have great leaders, people of courage, people that stood up for what they believed in, people who had vision, people who led the nation. Where are those people today?
MATTHEWS: What I don‘t get is I work with people that don‘t have health care, that can‘t go to the doctor because they don‘t have health care, right?
MATTHEWS: I know they are. I know all about it.
MATTHEWS: I don‘t know enough about it, but I know something. Let me ask you this. How come those votes don‘t count? Why can‘t they scare these guys, if for no other reason scare them out of losing their seats because they don‘t have health care?
MOORE: Well, that‘s exactly what we need to do. But I think people -
I think people are at a place right now in this country where they‘re demoralized, they feel like what‘s the use. I mean, 70 percent of the country is against the war, and yet there‘s no real effort to end the war.
MATTHEWS: We got a commander-in-chief who supports the war. Let me ask you about health care. Hillary Clinton tried it in ‘94. She had a Democratic Congress, both Houses. She had John Dingell there, Pat Moynihan, the key committees. All the power levers were controlled by her party and the president‘s party, and nothing happened. It never came to a vote. And that wasn‘t socialized medicine.
MATTHEWS: It was some kind of a plan to get people to get it through work and other ways...
MATTHEWS: ... very modest plan. How come it didn‘t make it?
MOORE: It didn‘t make it in part because there was so much money thrown in the campaign against her by the health insurance lobby, the pharmaceutical lobby. They just pulled out all stops to try and...
MATTHEWS: Well, why didn‘t the Democrats do something about it?
MOORE: Well, because...
MATTHEWS: They represent the labor unions and the working people.
Why didn‘t they do it?
MOORE: Because—well, why don‘t the Democrats do anything? I mean, they were told last November to end this war, and we‘re still in the war. I mean, that is something the Democrats had better get through their heads, that the people aren‘t going to tolerate this. And they may not have any place else to go. They may just stay home. And that‘s not what the Democrats want to have happen in the next election, so they better find their spine and stand up and do the job the American people expects them to do.
MATTHEWS: OK. Suppose we went past the Congress, past the president, whoever it is, Hillary or Rudy or whoever it is, and you had a national election on whether we should have a national health care system? Would it pass? Just a vote up or down.
MOORE: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: National health care—would it pass?
MOORE: Absolutely. All the polls show that. The polls—the most recent polls show that the majority of Americans want not only a universal health care program, they want one that‘s funded and run by the government.
MOORE: That‘s how bad...
MATTHEWS: But suppose...
MATTHEWS: Suppose you put the usual...
MOORE: ... support that.
MATTHEWS: OK. But suppose you put the usual language on it.
MATTHEWS: Call it socialized medicine. Would they vote for it, or would that phrase still scare them away?
MOORE: That phrase would probably still scare people away.
MATTHEWS: Why? Why are they afraid of that word?
MOORE: Well, because we‘ve been raised in this culture to—to...
MATTHEWS: But they know what it means. They know “socialized” means the government pays for it.
MATTHEWS: Taxpayers pay for it. And they get it as a right.
MATTHEWS: Why is it so complicated? People really know what they need.
MATTHEWS: Why don‘t they vote for it?
MOORE: Well, I think we need to change the term. I‘ve been calling it...
MATTHEWS: Well, the enemies are never going to change the...
MOORE: No, I‘m going to—I‘m going to call it Christianized medicine because that‘s what Jesus would want us to do. In fact, he said that we can‘t get into heaven unless we take care of the sick. So that‘s what we need, is health care for all Americans, take care of each American when they‘re sick and call it Christianized medicine.
MATTHEWS: Are you getting...
MOORE: ... Jewish medicine or Muslim medicine because all the faiths
all the faiths—say that you have a responsibility to take care of the sick.
MATTHEWS: Are you going to vote on this issue yourself?
MOORE: Yes. You mean in terms of the candidates?
MATTHEWS: No, when you look at the candidates.
MATTHEWS: Do you think anyone‘s going to measure up to what you want done? Like Hillary. She once was a big advocate of health care. Is she going to do it again?
MATTHEWS: Or is she going to be careful this time?
MOORE: No, it‘s possible. I mean, she hasn‘t put forth her specific plan yet. So there‘s still time to have influence on her...
MOORE: ... for the people of this country to write to her and say, you know, When you put out your health care plan this time, please make sure it covers everyone, it‘s not going to cost anybody anything in terms of having to pay when you go to the doctor or hospital. We want the same system that the other 24 of the top 25 industrialized countries have. That‘s what we want in this country. And if she does that, I think that it‘ll go far for her.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it‘s better in Canada?
MATTHEWS: Do you think it‘s better in England?
MATTHEWS: Better in France?
MATTHEWS: Better in Cuba?
MOORE: I thought you were going to say Norway.
MATTHEWS: Because I saw that list. You had that list on your—I just watched the—“Sicko.” In the movie, there was a list of health care in the countries, and I...
MATTHEWS: ... even though you built up Cuba...
MATTHEWS: Two below us.
MATTHEWS: Why are they below us if they‘ve got socialized medicine.
MOORE: Yes, they‘re only two below us.
MATTHEWS: I know that‘s pretty scary.
MOORE: One of the poorest countries in the world!
MATTHEWS: I know. But why...
MOORE: Here are only two below us.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you a tougher question. Why do the big shots in the world, the dictators...
MATTHEWS: ... some of the real nasty people in the world—whatever their politics, when they have a real health scare...
MATTHEWS: ... like they‘re going to die...
MATTHEWS: ... they come here. Why? Why do they all come here to get fixed?
MOORE: You mean the rich come here.
MATTHEWS: The Shah or whoever it is. I don‘t care...
MOORE: Because they have money.
MATTHEWS: But why if we have the best health care?
MOORE: Because—well, we actually have very good health care, if you can afford it.
MATTHEWS: We have the best , apparently.
MOORE: We—no, we have all the gidgets and the gadgets and all the equipment. We‘re very good. We know what to do in a lot of these cases, and if you have money, you can have it.
MATTHEWS: Will we still have it if we socialize or we go to national health care?
MOORE: No, we‘ll still have it. But that‘s why a lot of people are afraid to do it because if you share the pie, it doesn‘t mean maybe—if you‘ve got a lot of money, your slice isn‘t going to be as big anymore. So some people...
MATTHEWS: Will it be as good a pie, though?
MOORE: ... who have more money—yes. It‘ll—yes. It‘ll be—yes. It may not have all the frills that you get when you have more money in this country...
MOORE: ... but everyone‘s covered.
MATTHEWS: But there‘s a tradeoff. Let me ask you about...
MATTHEWS: No, I agree. I want you to explain this...
MOORE: I‘d rather—listen, I would rather have the 47 million who are not covered right now be covered. And if that means that someone like me, who has money and has a good inch insurance plan because I‘m a member...
MATTHEWS: So do I.
MOORE: ... of the Directors guild—you‘re probably SAG or AFTRA...
MATTHEWS: No, GE.
MOORE: Oh. Well, excuse me.
MATTHEWS: Don‘t knock it if you haven‘t tried it!
MOORE: No, but we have good health plans.
MOORE: And so maybe, you know, if something happens to us, we can get a private room at the hospital or whatever. So would you mind sharing your room with somebody if it meant that 47 million Americans would be covered tonight? Would you share?
MATTHEWS: That‘s an interesting question.
MOORE: Would you?
MATTHEWS: I think I should. I‘ll put it that way.
MOORE: You know you should.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you...
MOORE: You were raised by the good nuns, weren‘t you? Come on!
MATTHEWS: Yes, 16 years.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this about—you know that there is an advantage to the capitalist system, and I just want to bring it out because you think it‘s a bad system. But you know, the medicines we have in this country are pretty—like Matt Foreman (ph) just got a great review for diabetes. I got diabetes. So I‘m very aware of these things.
MATTHEWS: Would we still have state-of-the-art medicine in this country if it was socialized?
MOORE: Oh, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: Would we still have the best?
MOORE: Well, they have that in these other countries, too.
MATTHEWS: But didn‘t we invent most of that stuff here?
MOORE: Invent which stuff?
MATTHEWS: The drugs, the state-of-the-art drugs.
MOORE: Yes. Our universities, are scientists...
MATTHEWS: Isn‘t that because of the capitalist system?
MOORE: No, it‘s not the capitalist...
MATTHEWS: Isn‘t it capitalism that does that?
MOORE: No. Profit—Jonas Salk didn‘t find the cure for polio because he believed in capitalism. He did it because he wanted to help the people on this planet and...
MATTHEWS: And he didn‘t get rich because of it.
MOORE: And he didn‘t get rich. In fact, they asked him, Aren‘t you going to patent this? And he said, No. Would I patent the sun? You can‘t patent something...
MOORE: ... that‘s for everyone.
MATTHEWS: I thought about this the other day. I was thinking about -
and I do agree with you about the Cuban doctors, although we can argue about it. I think it‘s—Cubans are very popular in the world, no matter what we think of them. When they go out—they‘re popular here, the ones who came here. But Cubans as individuals, they go out to Africa and Latin America, and they work for very little money, like missionaries, almost. And they are doctors. And people who never could get health care are getting it. Why don‘t we have in this country some other kind of doctors, that they‘re not all fancy, but doctors that can go out in rural areas and where people—and set up clinics. Why doesn‘t Hillary set up a clinic? Why don‘t they set up clinics at every high school, something basic like that, where everybody who needs health care, especially kids, can get it? Why don‘t we do that?
MATTHEWS: That would work.
MOORE: ... why don‘t we? And why does Canada—why do they have a better—their family—the family doctor in Canada is paid more, as a general practitioner, than in this country. Doctors there...
MATTHEWS: They are?
MATTHEWS: And that comes through taxes?
MOORE: Yes. Now, the specialists are paid more here, so we have more specialists.
MOORE: A family doctor in this country—doctors—if you talk to anybody you know who‘s a doctor, just a general practice...
MATTHEWS: It‘s very complicated.
MOORE: Oh, they‘re demoralized, these...
MOORE: They spend half the time fighting with the HMO, trying to get paid, trying to get a $15...
MATTHEWS: They got to turn their offices over to the bureaucrats.
MOORE: No, they would—you know, but that‘s thing. A family doctor would rather have a Medicare or a Medicaid patient...
MATTHEWS: OK, here...
MOORE: ... because they know they‘re...
MATTHEWS: How many here...
MOORE: ... going to get paid.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s try this, Michael. And I have no idea what the reaction is. We‘ve got a—how many Democrats here? Let‘s get a rough ideological check here.
MATTHEWS: Now, how many here consider yourself—and I mean it in the positive sense—liberals.
MATTHEWS: OK. How many here consider yourself conservative Republicans?
MATTHEWS: Seems the loudest. OK, let me ask you, how many here would like to have a system of government-financed health care, so that everybody from the time they‘re born gets health care?
MATTHEWS: How many would oppose that?
MATTHEWS: OK, come here. Come here. This is the voice of the Republican—this is Michael Moore...
MOORE: Hi. How are you?
MATTHEWS: ... filmmaker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
MATTHEWS: He comes from a different point of view. Give me a microphone because I want to hear this voice. And now we‘re bringing in you early. Here‘s your mike. There‘s your witness. What‘s your case? What‘s wrong with what Michael Moore is saying, we need national health care?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just really believe that the free enterprise system creates the most effective and the best coverage. And I know, obviously, something needs to be done so that we can insure people who aren‘t insured. A large portion of Americans aren‘t...
MATTHEWS: What should be done?
MOORE: Well, I think, for example, the case in Massachusetts. I think it really needs to work with the private companies, so that we‘re not just completely taking over from them. And they need to make a profit.
MATTHEWS: What do you think of making the companies—and like a lot of the young people here—would you all—let me ask you this, everybody here. Some young people in their early 20s who are very healthy and have been raised well, with great nutrition and great educations, they know what‘s smart for them—they don‘t want to pay for health insurance because they figure their odds are pretty good of making it into their 40s and 50s without getting sick, unless you‘re in a motorcycle accident or something. And basically, that‘s your attitude, right?
No? Are you willing to pay a certain amount a month so that that money can be distributed, either through taxes or through a system, where that money can go to people with need?
MATTHEWS: Are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think...
MATTHEWS: Are you going to kick in—when you buy auto insurance, you‘re counting on the car not cracking up, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
MATTHEWS: But you still have to kick in because there‘s a certain percentage of cars that crack up, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
MATTHEWS: Are you willing to kick into a selected or a shared risk program like national health? You apparently aren‘t.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think it would depend...
MOORE: To help the people that don‘t have it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would depend because the problem is, if you‘re doing it national, a lot of times, you know, that goes to everyone, and a lot of people don‘t need it. A lot of people already have good health insurance. And so when you‘re kicking it in like that, you said—you know, you‘re making the pie—I don‘t think the pie is as good, and I don‘t think that...
MATTHEWS: So you wouldn‘t like to kick into a shared national health program.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would depend on the specifics of it.
MATTHEWS: Well, the specific would be you have to kick in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK. Probably not.
MATTHEWS: Probably not...
MOORE: Can I ask her a question?
MATTHEWS: Sure. You‘re in charge.
MOORE: (INAUDIBLE) opposed to this term—the concept of socialized medicine, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MOORE: Now, we have socialized medicine in the U.S. Army. They don‘t pay for that. Do you think that we should private that health care system for the military?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don‘t really know enough about...
MATTHEWS: Well, you know what he just said.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... the military health care...
MATTHEWS: He said...
MOORE: We pay for it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. OK.
MOORE: Our tax dollars pay for our soldiers. Should we pay for that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think—I think so.
MOORE: It‘s government run, though, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know.
MATTHEWS: Should senators get...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately...
MATTHEWS: ... health insurance free?
MOORE: No profit in it plan that‘s government run?
MATTHEWS: Or should they have a health insurance plan that‘s government-run? Why should they?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t know if they should...
MATTHEWS: Well, they got one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... specifically. They do. I know.
MATTHEWS: Well, why should they have one?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I guess it‘s (INAUDIBLE) that we want our senators to be healthy if they‘re running the country. I mean, you know, we want them in office.
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s a start.
MOORE: How about our old people? Should we take away their Medicare?
That‘s a socialized system.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it needs to be reformed.
MOORE: We should pay for it, though, you and I?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think it‘s already in place enough that if you tried to take it away...
MATTHEWS: Should the president...
MATTHEWS: Should the president veto this bill to extend Medicare to kids whose parents make a little bit more than the poverty line? He‘s going to do it. He said so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think that, again, that‘s a good case, in fact, that you‘re getting maybe more of the middle class who aren‘t considered poor and who...
MATTHEWS: ... against the president on this one. You‘re breaking with him on this. You don‘t think he should veto that bill?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t know. I haven‘t, you know, read enough about it. I don‘t want to take a stab at (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: I love—I love confusing people.
We‘ll be right back with Michael Moore, the filmmaker of “Sicko.”
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE (voice-over): This is Rick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was gripping a piece of wood, and I grabbed it back here. And it hit a knot.
MOORE: He sawed off the tops of two of his fingers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it just zipped, and it was that quick.
MOORE: His first thought?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t have insurance. How much is it going to cost?
MOORE: The hospital gave him a choice: Reattach the middle finger for $60,000, or do the ring finger for $12,000. Being the hopeless romantic, Rick chose the ring finger for the bargain price of $12,000. The top of his middle finger now enjoys its new home in an Oregon landfill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was a scene from Michael Moore‘s summer shakeup, the rather heavy-handed “Sicko.” We‘re back on “HARDBALL Plaza” with the filmmaker himself. That was a metaphor, you know, heavy-handed...
MOORE: Yes. I got it.
MATTHEWS: ... he lost a finger.
MATTHEWS: Next question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name Karen McCullen (ph), and I‘m from Philadelphia. My question is, which presidential candidate do you think has the best health care plan so far?
MOORE: Well, I would say probably Dennis Kucinich has the best plan in terms of—because he supports HR 676, which is the John Conyers bill that‘s before Congress now to create a National Health Insurance Act. And so—the others so far haven‘t supported it, and it‘s one thing I think people can do is insist that the presidential candidates get behind HR 676, the U.S. National Health Insurance Act. And I think that would be a good indication of whether or not they truly support universal health care for everyone and remove profit from our health care system.
MATTHEWS: Michael, I don‘t want to build this movie up beyond what it
is, although it is probably the most successful doc ever done. But you
know, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom‘s Cabin,” and that inspired—
two million copies of that book went out, and it really got people feeling
abolitionist feelings. And of course, Rachel Carson did “Silent Spring”
and got people all excited about ecology and the pesticides and—is this
is this movie of yours going to take a second step, besides having people go see it, eat popcorn, drink a Coke, and after it‘s all over go home and talk about it? But what‘s the next step that you envision? What‘s going to happen here?
MOORE: Well, I have a lot of things on my Web site that people can do. The nurses unions around the country, you can go to their site, the California Nurses Association, a whole bunch of nurses groups.
There‘s a group called the Physicians for a National Health Plan. There‘s a whole bunch of different groups that are organizing around this issue, and that people can get involved in those groups.
The first thing they should do is demand that their member of Congress get behind this John Conyers bill, be a co-sponsor. It already has 73 co-sponsors. That‘s quite a few. And...
MATTHEWS: Those—how many people now don‘t have health insurance in this country?
MOORE: Depending on what statistics you choose, anywhere from 45 million to 47 million.
Is that 47 million voters?
MOORE: Absolutely. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Why don‘t they vote as a bloc for national health?
MOORE: Well, nine million of them are children.
MATTHEWS: I see.
Well, let‘s the—the 40 million that are left, these adults...
MATTHEWS: ... do they have 40 million votes?
MOORE: Of course. That would be—that‘s the great thing about this country, is that, no matter how much money the pharmaceutical industry has or the health insurance industry, their executives, they get the same number of votes as you or I, one. And there‘s more of us than there are of them.
And, as soon as we figure that out, we, the people of this country, we‘re going to be able to get the things that—the we demand and deserve and we should have as citizens in a—a free society.
MATTHEWS: Next question.
Thank you, Michael.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I‘m Veronica (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m from D.C., and originally Michigan.
MOORE: Well, that‘s a good name and a good state, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
We all know that doctors take the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. When you were talking to doctors for “Sicko,” did you find that many of them felt that they had done harm by being prevented from treating their patients?
MOORE: Yes. And, in fact, there‘s one doctor in the film who—she then went to work for an insurance, health insurance, company, and she‘s the one that decides whether or not the insurance company is going to approve an operation or not.
And she felt that she actually caused a man‘s death by denying care. And she couldn‘t take it anymore. And it—a lot of doctors are in this horrible position, where, let‘s say, you—you go into the doctor‘s office. You‘re in the exam room. The doctor decides you need this treatment. You maybe need a referral to a specialist.
He‘s got to leave the room, you know, when says, I will be right back? He leaves and he go down—he goes down and calls—he has to call the insurance company to get permission as to whether or not he can recommend this surgery, this treatment, this procedure. That‘s absolutely insane. Some guy sitting in a cubicle...
MATTHEWS: So, he‘s lying to you. In other words, when he comes back
you‘re saying, when he comes back to you, he‘s committing fraud, because he‘s telling you something he wouldn‘t tell you as your doctor.
MOORE: A doctor who takes that oath should be saying, this is what you need to do? But he doesn‘t do it, can‘t do it, because the insurance company says no. You have to come back and...
MATTHEWS: So, what does he say to you?
MOORE: So, he says any of a number of things. Here‘s a cheaper way to do this. Let me suggest this. Why don‘t we try a little bit of that?
MATTHEWS: What‘s this thing you talk, that they have this dodge...
MOORE: Eighteen thousand people a year die.
MATTHEWS: Yes, you said in the film that doctors will say things like, well, that‘s an experimental procedure...
MOORE: Right. Right.
MATTHEWS: ... to scare you away from it.
Or—or they will say, you know, the insurance is company is going to claim that you had this as a preexisting condition. And, therefore, they won‘t pay for it. And there‘s all this fine print in your—most people don‘t even read their health insurance plan.
If you read it, you would be surprised how many exceptions there are, so that the insurance company doesn‘t have to pay. That‘s—and that‘s the big—you saw the film, Chris. So, you know the—the big point in the film isn‘t so much the people that don‘t have insurance. It‘s the people with insurance can‘t get help that they need, even though they are covered by these insurance companies, because the insurance company can‘t make money if it‘s paying out claims.
MATTHEWS: Are we reaching a point—you mentioned before that doctors, the bureaucracy is killing them. Are we reaching the point where regular G.P.s, the kind of person...
MATTHEWS: ... the family doctor, is going to say, I thought I might get really rich being a doctor as a byproduct of my profession; now I‘m willing to make a good income; I would rather have national health than keep competing in this rat race?
You know what they do right now? They run you in and out of the office so fast, because they have got to have so much turnover, right?
MOORE: That‘s right. That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: It‘s killing these guys.
MOORE: It is killing them.
In fact—we didn‘t put this in the film, but we—at one hospital, one university hospital, they have a time limit on the amount of time a doctor can spend. And there was this one doctor who kept spending more than the 11 minutes that he was supposed to spend on a patient, and, eventually, his pay got docked by the university because he was—he had spent longer than 11 minutes...
MATTHEWS: Eleven minutes.
MOORE: ... too many times.
MATTHEWS: You‘re dying of heart disease.
I have only got a couple of seconds left here.
MATTHEWS: We will be right back with Michael Moore, HARDBALL Plaza—more of him coming back.
MATTHEWS: And tomorrow on HARDBALL Plaza: actor Sam Waterston of the group Unity08. He is pushing for a third option beyond the Democrats and Republicans next year.
Plus, Obama Girl tomorrow—a little fun here—faces off against rival Giuliani Girl and her new video. They are both coming to the plaza tomorrow. We‘re going to have them all here, along with Taryn Southern, the young woman who put out the Hott4Hill video—all three coming here, a little fun here on the plaza.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: We‘re back here with HARDBALL on the HARDBALL Plaza with our special guest for this hour, moviemaker Michael Moore, who brought you “Roger and Me,” of course, about the auto industry, “Fahrenheit 911” about the war in Iraq.
And I loved it when you were up here and interviewed these members of Congress a couple blocks from here, and tried to pass out brochures on how their kids could join the military. And it was like you‘re giving them radioactive materials.
MATTHEWS: These guys were pulling back.
You have a question.
MOORE: They don‘t want their own kids over there; that‘s for sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pleased to meet you Michael Moore.
My name is Tina (ph). I am a registered nurse. I have been a registered nurse for 21 years. I actually had to move into a larger area, Arlington, from Ohio, because managed care pretty much moved me out of being a—having a job, because hospitals are constrained to the conglomerates in the area, and they couldn‘t guarantee me hours.
I don‘t know if you‘re aware. There‘s an international nursing shortage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I‘m at the tail end of the baby boomers.
And what do you think that will affect health care in the future?
MOORE: Well, it‘s—it‘s a big problem.
But, as you say, managed care, HMOs, they don‘t—the more—the insurance companies—listen, let me say a word in their defense. They have a fiduciary responsibility by law to maximize profits for their shareholders.
They‘re required to make as much money as possible. So, that is antithetical to—when you‘re trying to make a decision on whether or not to help somebody who‘s sick. Well, if you give them help, that means they have got to spend money, which means their profits go down.
So, they‘re in the business of trying not to spend money, trying not to doctors or hospitals to help you, have nurses, have enough nurses in the hospital. And it‘s—it‘s—you know, this—I brought—I don‘t know if you have this clip I brought of Nixon, and how this whole thing started with HMOs and managed care.
But it‘s—it—it really comes down to something as basic as, they decided, back in the ‘70s, that they could make, the insurance companies, more money if they provided less care for the patients. Once that decision was made...
MATTHEWS: Let‘s take a look—let‘s take a look at Michael Moore‘s film “Sicko.” This is about what happened back in the early ‘70s.
MOORE: Secret Nixon tapes.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, “SICKO”)
MOORE: Where did the HMOs start? Thanks to the wonders of magnetic tape, we now.
RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have now nailed down the vice president‘s problems on this thing to one issue. And that is whether we should include these health maintenance organizations, like Edgar Kaiser‘s Permanente thing.
Now let me ask you, now you give me your judgment. You know I‘m not to keen on any of these damn medical programs.
JOHN EHRLICHMAN, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: This—this is a private enterprise one.
NIXON: Well, that appeals to me.
EHRLICHMAN: Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can—the reason he can do it -- I had Edgar Kaiser come in and talk to me about this, and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because...
EHRLICHMAN: ... the less care they give them, the (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s true, but Michael...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SICKO”)
NIXON: I‘m proposing today a new national health strategy. The purpose of this program is simply this. I want America to have the finest health care in the world. And I want every American to be able to have that care when he needs it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK. We‘re back with more questions for Michael Moore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m Nicholas Ballasey (ph), here with Bryant University and the Fund For American Studies.
I‘m just wondering the process that you go through to pick the subject for your films and then, eventually, do the fact-checking?
MOORE: Well, on this particular issue, I had a TV show on Bravo back in the late 1990s called “The Awful Truth.” And I ran into this man who had health insurance, needed a pancreas transplant. His HMO wouldn‘t cover it.
I then went down to the HMO headquarters with him. And he conducted -
he was going to die as a result of not getting transplant. So, we conducted his funeral on the lawn of the headquarters of the HMO with him present, of course, and a casket, and pallbearers.
The HMO was pretty appalled at this, and, within three days, decided to pay for his pancreas transplant. And I thought, geez, if we could do that in just 15, 20 minutes, what could we do if he did a whole movie? And, so...
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s a great old—it reminds me of a great old ‘60s term, mau-mauing.
How do you mau-mau people into doing that? How do you—you did it in the movie. You have a guy that got treatment for two ears for his kids, instead of one year...
MATTHEWS: ... this special technology.
MOORE: Well, that‘s because he used my name.
MATTHEWS: There‘s probably a half-million people watching right now at different times today. And I want you to give them advice.
MATTHEWS: If they‘re right now having a problem with their HMO, and they‘re not getting treatment for something they think is important, is it best to call their congressperson? What do they do to make sure the kind of thing that happened in your movie happens to them?
MOORE: Actually, what I tell people is, if—if you‘re having trouble right now with your insurance company, and they won‘t pay for something, go ahead and use my name, just say...
MATTHEWS: Say, Michael Moore has been talking to me?
MOORE: Say that I‘m coming, that you have talked to me personally.
You have my permission to do that.
In fact, at the end of this week, on my Web site, I‘m going have a little like “Sicko” insurance card you can download, print it out, laminate it, and take it in and say that you‘re now part of my team, and that we‘re going to put you on the DVD if you don‘t help my child.
And, so, I give blanket permission to anybody who wants to do that. Carry your “Sicko” card with you. And, actually, I got this idea because a number of people have already gone ahead and done it.
MATTHEWS: The guy did it in the movie.
MOORE: He did it in the movie.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Without your permission.
MOORE: And he just said, Michael Moore is coming.
I never met the guy.
MATTHEWS: Did you say it wasn‘t your permission to protect you liability or what, from what?
MOORE: No, he didn‘t—I never knew—the guy just went ahead and said, Michael Moore is doing this film. And—and—and, like a week later, the insurance company said, OK, we will pay for your daughter‘s ear operation.
MATTHEWS: God, there‘s nothing like a little blackmail.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Michael Moore.
We will be back with him on HARDBALL Plaza.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: And Wednesday on HARDBALL, Lance Armstrong is going to join us. We are going to have a big announcement with Lance Armstrong. That‘s all day tournament, only on MSNBC.
REBECCA JARVIS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Rebecca Jarvis with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”
Earnings and an oil merger gave stocks a boost today. The Dow closed up 92 points, the S&P up 7.5, and the Nasdaq up about three points.
It‘s an earnings palooza this week, with several of the biggies reporting second-quarter results.
Halliburton got the earnings ball rolling in a positive direction, reporting a 19 percent jump in second-quarter profit just before the opening bell. Halliburton shares are higher today.
Stocks also getting a boost on strong earnings in the pharmaceutical sector, shares of Merck up more than 7 percent on better-than-expected results—another drugmaker, Schering-Plough, also beating the Street on earnings.
Meantime, toymaker Hasbro saw a net earnings slide of 82 percent, but still managed to beat Wall Street predictions, thanks to the popular Transformer toys.
That‘s it from CNBC, America‘s business channel—now back to
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Right now, the Congress—in the Congress, the Democrats are pushing a bill to expand Medicare, including coverage for children. President Bush has said he will veto the bill. He says it‘s too much government control.
And, late today, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and about two dozen fellow anti-war activists were arrested for refusing to leave the office of Democratic Congressman John Conyers, after calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Michael Moore, where do you stand on these various degrees of punishment? Should the president be punished through a censure for his—for the—for the bad intel we got going into war?
MOORE: Yes. And he should be impeached.
MATTHEWS: How about put in prison for war crimes?
MOORE: Yes. Eventually, I would...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MOORE: I think we need a trial in this country, that—where Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush would be brought up on charges for causing the deaths of so many people.
This is absolutely something that, if this were any other country, if any other country did this, we would be going after them. And—and we have to...
MATTHEWS: Well, actually, one country did something much worse, of course. That was—but it‘s interesting, if you go back to the Nuremberg trials.
MOORE: Well, there‘s many countries that have done many things worse than us.
MATTHEWS: The Nuremberg trials weren‘t about the genocide. It was about waging an aggressive war. I love reading some of that language. It‘s interesting.
Let‘s go to the first question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Michael. I‘m Mark Kohler (ph) from Penn State University.
I have a quick question for you. What do you think it‘s going to take to remove the pharmaceutical industry‘s influence over the media and politicians in general?
MATTHEWS: What‘s the influence over the media, first off, buddy?
What‘s the influence over me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you watched the nightly news ever once? The
amount of advertisements for any kind of pharmaceutical drug is so
prevalent, especially during the dinner hour -
MATTHEWS: Do you have any evidence that the nightly news producers are affected by the advertising?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in my pocket.
MATTHEWS: You do have some evidence? What‘s the evidence. This guy mentioned to me --
MOORE: I want to help him out.
MATTHEWS: You go.
MOORE: It‘s not that there‘s some big conspiracy going on. But you know that if every other ad is from the pharmaceutical company on the nightly news—this is just a question to put out there. Ask yourself, have you ever seen a positive story done on the nightly news about how great the health care system is in Canada? Has anyone ever seen that story? I have never seen that story.
I have heard how bad it is, how they have to wait, how this and that is wrong with it, it‘s broken. But I haven‘t seen the positive story.
MATTHEWS: So you think—I want to explore this. I want to know what you think, really. Do you think there‘s a mindset in commercially paid for television that prevents any serious discussion of a positive attitude towards a socialist system just on the ideological point?
MOORE: About the Christian system?
MATTHEWS: If you want to call it that too?
MOORE: I think there‘s a tendency—I have had network shows, Time-Warner distributed my first movie. I wrote a book that was published by Warner books, so I‘m at the same trough that you‘re at too.
MATTHEWS: No, I‘m not defending the system. I‘m looking for evidence. Because I would like to find evidence of that. I would like to find—
MOORE: You‘re not going to find—that‘s what I‘m saying. You‘re not going to find the conspiracy. Here‘s the secret cabal meeting that took place. It‘s sort of a, sort of—well, you know, and you sort of start to repeat the same things; well, don‘t they have longer waits up there in Canada? And we all just start repeating.
Does anybody know? Has anybody been to Canada? Has anybody been to a hospital in Canada? You know, I take you there in my movie and I ask everyone there and the longest wait time I could find in that waiting room was 45 minutes. Maybe it would have been different in another hospital. But the facts are, their own facts show that it‘s not the way we say it is here.
We have been fed so much propaganda by our media. And to say that it
has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that every other ad is a drug ad
they don‘t allow these drugs ads in Europe. You can‘t see them on TV.
In fact, I was surprised that Mr. Bush‘s nominee last week for the surgeon general in Congress said that he would support the removal of these ads. I don‘t know if he cleared that with the White House first.
MATTHEWS: You have earned yourself an enemy. This is Huckabee, the former governor, Mike Huckabee. He‘s running for president.
MOORE: He‘s the guy that lost all that weight.
MATTHEWS: He‘s decided to come after you. OK, here‘ what he said:
“frankly,”—don‘t you love it when politicians say that? Like other times they‘re not being frank, right? “Frankly, Michael Moore is an example of why the health care system costs so much in this country. He clearly is one of the reasons that we have a very expensive system. I know that from my own personal experience.”
He‘s identifying with you.—said Huckabee, who lost more than 110 pounds and became an avid runner after he was diagnosed with diabetes. Your response sir?
MOORE: First of all, there‘s nothing worse than a reformed smoker or twinkie eater. They all become scolds don‘t they?
MATTHEWS: I agree with you that attitude. Don‘t preach, do. But he‘s knocking you. He‘s saying you‘re overweight.
MOORE: He said I was over weight?
MATTHEWS: I think that was the implication here. Isn‘t that—to be honest, you talk about France, and I was just over there a while ago. I was over in Italy for the pope‘s funeral. I have to tell you, one of the amazing things about continental Europe, the people all look great. Everybody is in good shape. Is it because they walk a lot? Is it because they don‘t eat the junk we eat.
MOORE: You were there. You notice they smoke more than we do. They drink a lot.
MATTHEWS: Why do they look so good? Why are they so thin? I thought it was walking.
MOORE: Partly yes, it is that. I was halfway through making this film and I said to myself, look, Mike, there‘s something hypocritical here about your making a health care and you‘re not taking care of your own health. So near the end of the film, I started going for a walk every day, started eating these things that are called fruits and vegetables.
In three months, I lost 30 pounds. I read this book - this Pritikin book that‘s a really good concept about how to eat food, and so now I‘m on the good path. You‘ve done—it looks like—the same thing.
MATTHEWS: I lost 30 something. Advice, when you go to Starbucks, don‘t look in that counter. Just don‘t even look. Can I have some black coffee, please? Don‘t look at those apple fritters, 850 calories. It‘s like sex for 10 minutes. It‘s unbelievable. You don‘t want to eat that stuff. You don‘t want to eat it.
MOORE: If you want to avoid this broken health care system, one of the ways to do that is to take better care of yourself.
MATTHEWS: We‘re hitting it all here. We‘re doing it all here, health, politics, corruption. We‘ll be right back with Michael Moore. And don‘t forget the HARDBALL Ad Challenge. Upload your home made political ad on our website, HARDBALL.MSNBC.com. This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL Plaza with “Sicko” filmmaker Michael Moore. I just saw the movie, amazing film making. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Michael, my name is Becka Baker. I‘m from Tulsa, Oklahoma. My question for you is with 71 percent of the American people dissatisfied with this country today, dissatisfied with the war, health care, education, that the sky is blue, you name it, they‘re dissatisfied. Do you think America is ripe for a revolt? Will a revolution put this nation back on track?
MOORE: We need a revolt at the ballot box is what we need. We need people to get out and vote, vote their interests. That‘s really the problem. We still have just a little over 50 percent that show up at most elections and we need everybody out there to vote. We need to make sure that all those votes are counted and counted properly.
And that‘s a big issue that I wish somebody would get into and talk about this because, you know, it‘s—what‘s the point if you can‘t be sure that your vote‘s going to be counted. And again, this is where Canada—for years, they had a system that was a paper ballot and it‘s a number two pencil. And you go in there and you mark it and then the precinct dumps them all out on the table when the polls close. And you have a poll watcher there from each of the five parties who stand there and watch the votes being counted.
They do that overnight and the next morning they know—in a country with the second largest land mass on Earth who the next prime minister is going to be. So I think we should be doing that to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I‘m Brian Smith from Alexandria, Virginia. I was just wondering what you thought about the possibility of illegal immigrants getting this government financed health care.
MOORE: Well, I think that any individual who‘s in this country should be able to see a doctor if you‘re sick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if they‘re not a citizen?
MOORE: Of course, they‘re a human being? What would Jesus do?
Right? Do you think Jesus would ask for your citizenship papers? I‘m here to heal the blind. Wait a minute, you‘re not a resident of Galilee. I‘m sorry. Lepers from Judea over her.
MATTHEWS: What‘s your point?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My point is what‘s to keep people from coming in and getting the benefits without putting in --
MOORE: The benefits? Health care is an interesting word. You know we‘re the only western country that uses the word benefits when it comes to health care? Every other country calls it a human right. We call it a benefit. That‘s a crazy term. And anybody who happens to be here should receive that kind of help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s life, liberty and happiness. It‘s not life, liberty and health. Right?
MOORE: Well, But if you don‘t have access to health care, you may not have life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But people would have access to health care. Just not government financed.
MOORE: Right? Right? You‘re not opposed to government financing health care for our soldiers. Right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all.
MOORE: How about our old people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you saw what happened at Walter Reed right?
That‘s what happens.
MOORE: That‘s what happens when you have people in charge. There‘s nothing wrong with Walter Reed, just as there‘s nothing wrong with FEMA. We need FEMA, right? It‘s about who you have in charge. When you elect the wrong people—If you have a commander-in-chief conducting a war and he‘s never been to war and knows nothing about what war really is, it‘s like having the guy from the tennis team be the quarterback on the football team.
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute, are you saying that Katrina was badly handled? We‘ll be right back with Michael Moore here on HARDBALL plaza.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back at HARDBALL plaza with the writer and director of “Sick,” Michael Moore. Michael, you‘ve got a challenge I hear. You told me during the break with these guys running for president.
MOORE: We‘re going to challenge each of the presidential candidates to take the Senator Sherrod Brown pledge. He‘s the senator form Ohio. And he‘s the only senator who has said that he will not take his government financed health care—he will not use it until every single American is covered with health insurance.
So I would like each of the presidential candidates to take that same pledge that Senator Sherrod Brown—
MATTHEWS: Where will you administer this oath? Where‘s this going to happen? They‘re not going to do it, of course.
MOORE: You don‘t think so?
MATTHEWS: No, because they expect to lose—most of them—and they expect to serve in the Congress for the rest of their lives, and they need the health insurance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron Paul already did it.
MATTHEWS: Ron Paul‘s leaving the Congress. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Mr. Moore. My name is Nicole Irwin. I‘m from Kentucky. Many people view you as an extremist. And because they are so focused on this radical perception, it seems like they focus more on you than the issue. Do you feel like this is a problem. And if so, how do you fix it?
MOORE: Yes, I‘ve always wondered why some people feel that way, because I have made there or four films. I made a film because I didn‘t like the fact that General Motors was laying off so many people in my home town. I made another film about school shootings because I didn‘t think school shootings were a good idea.
Then I made a film—and I said on the Oscar stage at the beginning of the war that we‘re being led to war for fictitious reasons. That upset a lot of people, but I told the truth. And now I‘m saying that I think all Americans should be able to see a doctor and not have to worry about paying for it.
What in any of those things sounds radical or extremist? It‘s an odd thing. I know a lot of Republicans and conservatives feel this way. But I really want to reach out to them. I do in this film, as you saw.
MATTHEWS: I think you‘re tougher on the Republicans than the Democrats. I think you give the Democrats a free ride in that movie.
MATTHEWS: Because a lot of guys, back when Hillary tried to pass that health care, it was a Democrat that got in the way of the whole thing.
MOORE: Look, the Republicans do take more money. They do—they are more in bed with corporate America. But actually this weekend, Chris, I‘m doing—
MATTHEWS: By the way, the Democrats gave president his majority on the war, you know. People like Hillary and Biden and Edwards, they all voted for the war authorization. They play ball.
MOORE: Everyone knows that. Democrats running for president who voted for the war are going to have a very difficult time getting through the primary.
MATTHEWS: Next question.
MOORE: I just wanted to say to her and any Republican, we‘re doing this thing this weekend at the theaters with “Sicko.” It‘s take a Republican to “Sicko” weekend. And you send in your ticket stub to me. We‘ll have a drawing. And the winning Republican, I‘m going to come and do their laundry for them at their home.
MATTHEWS: Next question, last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for coming. I would like to say that you are an extremist when you start talking about Christianization, and Christian medicine. What would Jesus do? I don‘t really care what Jesus would do. What about liberty? When you talk about, it is a fundamental human right to have health care, to be healthy. Who told you that you could tell us that?
I don‘t understand where—you talk about the Patriot Act.
MATTHEWS: You made your point. It was well said. That was the libertarian view. That was well said. Every person for themselves, basically.
MOORE: Yes, that‘s not just the Libertarian view. That is a very American, every man for himself, pull yourself up by your boot straps. That attitude might have served us well at one time. We‘re not going to make it through the 21st century if we don‘t start behaving as if we are all in the same boat and we sink or swim together as Americans..
MATTHEWS: Michael Moore, thank you very much. We‘ll be back right her tomorrow live from HARDBALL Plaza. See you then.
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