The Washington Post

Could They Have Been Sick? Lobbyists Absent for ‘Sicko’

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As part of yesterday’s rollout for “Sicko,” Michael Moore — liberal firebrand, master of the promotiona­l stunt — invited 900 pharmaceut­ical and insurance lobbyists to a free screening of his attack on America’s health-care system. Guess how many showed up? Eleven. It was a win-win propositio­n for the director of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine”: Hundreds of lobbyists show up, jacking the film’s buzz; or no one comes, leaving him to claim moral victory. “I was really hoping they’d show their faces,” said Moore, who squeezed in the appearance at Union Station between a pep rally on Capitol Hill and last night’s red carpet premiere. “They’re probably busy doing what they do — making lives miserable for us.”

The handful of lobbyists who did show tried to bring a touch of reason to the debate. “Look, identifyin­g problems in our health-care system is like shooting fish in a barrel,” said consultant Claudia Schlosberg, who said the real issue is finding solutions. (Yeah, but who’d pay to see a movie about that?) Said John Greene of the National Associatio­n of Health Underwrite­rs: “I want to ask Mr. Moore, ‘Where’s the popcorn and soda?’ ” (Not covered under Moore’s lobbyist-care plan.)

Aside from the snack debacle, Moore — in blue plaid shirt, jacket and sneakers — was gracious and noncombati­ve to his guests. “It is my sincere hope that if I raise some issues you will consider them,” he said before the film started.

We would have stuck around to see what they thought of it, but the studio closed the screening to the press.

 ?? BY CHIP SOMODEVILL­A — GETTY IMAGES ?? Michael Moore with Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers on Capitol Hill, before the screening of clips from “Sicko” yesterday.
BY CHIP SOMODEVILL­A — GETTY IMAGES Michael Moore with Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers on Capitol Hill, before the screening of clips from “Sicko” yesterday.

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