Peter PittsPeter J. Pitts is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a former FDA associate commissioner. The views expressed are his own.

In SiCKO, Michael Moore portrayed the British National Health Service and the Canadian health system as particular exemplars of excellence. He backed it up with a lot of statistics, but statistics, as the saying goes, are like a bathing suit. What they show you is interesting, but what they conceal is essential.

And what SiCKO concealed was that systems such as those in the United Kingdom and Canada are cost-based rather than patient-centric models. Facts, no matter how inconvenient to one’s argument, must not be ignored.

Citizens of countries with government-run health care systems experience long wait times, a lack of access to certain treatments and, in many instances, substandard medical care. For example:

• The five-year survival rate for early diagnosed breast cancer patients in England is just 78 percent, compared to 98 percent in the U.S.