Michael Moore thinks he has made an even-handed movie about health care that should appeal to the civic-mindedness and decency of all Americans.
And now he's bracing for the hate mail.
The gadfly director, who spoke to reporters at an unusual northern Michigan premiere for his documentary SiCKO, said he expected the U.S. pharmaceutical and insurance industries to go on the offensive against his call for a sweeping overhaul that would give the United States a national health care system.
I am anticipating the onslaught of attack, Moore said.
But he added: My hope in this film was to reach out across the great divide that exists in this country and say you know, those on the other side, who may disagree with me, can't we find some common ground on this issue? We're all Americans.
Moore won an Academy Award for 2002's anti-gun documentary Bowling for Columbine and made more enemies on the right with a critical look at President George W. Bush's war on terrorism in his 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
Sicko, which opens in theaters on June 29, details the painful stories of Americans who say they were denied life-saving treatment by insurers or forced to forego emergency treatment at hospitals because they could not afford to pay.
As counterpoints, Moore tours Canada, Britain and France and feigns amazement when confronted with evidence that those national health care systems provide better basic care.
Moore said he has been notified he could face federal prosecution for visiting Cuba to escort a group of Americans seeking medical care in violation of U.S. travel and trade restrictions.
I am worried about it. They have notified me that I am being investigated for civil and criminal penalties, he said.
Moore agreed to screen SiCKO first in a heavily Republican area in his home state as a fund-raiser for the Antrim County Democratic Party.
The local Democratic party counted an active membership of just 30 when President George W. Bush took office and has struggled to field candidates in local races.
With a red carpet improvised from door mats, the Main Street premiere brought in over 880 people at two screenings on Saturday, a party representative said.
Moore said he hoped the documentary would shape the debate ahead of the 2008 presidential election, saying he thought most Americans were ready to accept sacrifices now to provide coverage for the 47 million Americans without insurance.
If that means I have to wait four weeks for a knee replacement, I'll wait, he said. I believe that the majority of Americans would agree with that.
Separately, Moore said he would not prosecute those already circulating bootleg copies of the still-unreleased documentary on the Internet. I'm happy for people to see my movie. I'm not a big fan of the copyright laws in this country, he said.