The new film from Michael Moore won't be here for another month and a half, but the controversies surrounding it are heating up quick. The documentary (say what you want, but it fits the definition of non-fiction film), which is titled Sicko, exposes the problems with the U.S. health care industry. And, of course, that industry is already beginning to slam the film. But so far the biggest attack on Moore, related to Sicko, is coming from the U.S. government. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's seen Fahrenheit 9/11, though the action has absolutely no connection with Moore's speaking out against the government. The Treasury Department is simply investigating a trip Moore took to Cuba back in March, because he allegedly disobeyed our trade embargo with the country (see the whole letter here).
If you remember, we told you about Moore's trip to Cuba last month. Apparently he brought a number of ailing Ground Zero workers there in order to show the advantages of the Cuban health care system as compared to the American health care industry. According to the Treasury Department, if those workers received health care from Cuba, then the treatment may be considered "travel-related transactions involving Cuba", which is against the law. It seems that Moore's okay to go to Cuba was on a journalistic basis, and certainly the trip was journalistic in nature, but he has to realize that if he purposefully broke the embargo while there, that he'll be penalized.
An anonymous source, who supposedly worked on Sicko, has confirmed that about 10 persons received treatment, but so far there hasn't been a statement directly from Moore. Reportedly, though, he has stored a copy of his new film in a safe place outside the U.S. in order to protect it from government interference. Sicko producer Meghan O'Hara has written a response to the investigation, which she accuses of being politically motivated and an abuse of the legal process. She also stated that the current administration will not keep the American public from seeing the film. Unfortunately such a response comes off as just another cheap attack on Bush rather than an intelligent defense or explanation. So much for Harvey Weinstein's hopes for Sicko to unite the Republicans and Democrats.