Michael Moore attacks Sweden’s healthcare reforms

Filmmaker Michael Moore has attacked the Swedish government for opening up the health service to more private sector involvement.

Moore, known for his campaigning left-wing film projects such as Bowling for Columbine, made the comments to Swedish news agency TT Spektra from the Cannes Film Festival.

“I am very sorry to hear that they are selling out public healthcare. Everything that is good about public healthcare has its origins in Scandinavia,” he said, adding that he thought the Swedish public would vote the centre -right Alliance government out as a result.

“If you sell out the healthcare system in Sweden, you attack the core of everything that has to do with free healthcare,” he continued.

Moore is in Cannes to promote his new film ‘SiCKO’, which criticizes the American healthcare system, particularly focusing on the plight of people in the United States who do not have private healthcare insurance.

In the film, he praises the health systems in Cuba, Canada, France and Britain. This despite the fact that the Canadian and British systems both have large elements of private involvement while being mainly free for users – something he appeared to criticize the Swedish government for allowing.

Johan Pehrson, a Liberal Party member of the Swedish Parliament’s Social Affairs Committee, said Moore’s comments “show how little he knows about Swedish healthcare politics.”

“Michael Moore is wrong in this. We are not introducing an American system,” he said.

Moore’s comments refer to the Swedish government’s plans to scrap a law banning local authorities from outsourcing the running of major hospitals to the private sector. Sweden’s previous Social Democratic government had introduced the ban, also banning companies running smaller hospitals from making profits or treating private patients.

Pehrson told The Local that the latest reforms were likely to reduce the number of people in Sweden reliant on private insurance for healthcare by making the system more effective.

“The point is to ensure that we get value for our tax money. Hospitals are able, when they have treated all their regular patients, to sell any overcapacity to treat patients from abroad, for example,” he said.