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Utah Officials Skip Free Showing of "Sicko"

Utah Officials Skip Free Showing of "Sicko"

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Harry Potter, maybe. But not "Sicko."

Dozens of state leaders declined a free showing of Michael Moore's cinematic slam against the country's lack of universal health insurance.

Rep. Brad Dee, R-Orem, said Moore was "cut from the same cloth" as Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

"The solution to our health-care system is not socialism, which has never been successful in the long run," he said in an e-mail to the host.

Clark Newhall, a doctor and lawyer, spent $1,500 for tickets and a reception Tuesday night. He invited more than 100 state leaders, including Gov. Jon Huntsman, lawmakers, health-care executives and the president of the Utah Medical Association.

Some told Newhall they had conflicts or had seen the movie or planned to. State insurance commissioner Kent Michie was among the handful who did attend. A message for Huntsman's spokeswoman was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Coincidentally, state Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, spent Tuesday raising money for his brother, Eric, who has cancer and no insurance. He wasn't interested in "Sicko" and said government has no role in fixing health care.

"Michael Moore's movies are full of lies and half-truths and I don't see how this will be any different," Wimmer said. "Until we have a firm grasp on the problem, I don't think anyone will be able to solve it."

The Utah Department of Health estimates 306,500 residents had no health insurance in 2006.

Newhall will try to round up officials again in September. "Too much of the time when I talk to legislators about health care, or when I hear legislators talk about health care, I hear slogans and very little in the way of facts," he said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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