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Thread: For French, US health debate hard to imagine

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default For French, US health debate hard to imagine

    For French, US health debate hard to imagine - The Boston Globe

    MARSEILLE, France - When Jean-Louis Aloy could no longer walk comfortably among his olive trees in the hills above Marseille, he knew the time had come. Bowing to doctor’s orders, he checked in to a hospital for a long-delayed back operation.
    Despite the prospect of an expensive two-week hospital stay, Aloy, 58, did not worry. France’s national health insurance, supplemented by a private policy for copayments, covered the entire bill - from doctor’s fees to medication to a private room with a view - and Aloy would not even know the total.
    “All I have to do is fill out some papers and send them off to the insurance company,’’ he said during a smoke break on a sunny terrace in front of the hospital two days after the surgery.
    France has long been proud of its national health insurance, part of a many-tentacled and costly social protection system designed to embrace almost everyone who is legally in the country. Most French people have grown up with the idea that the government is the ultimate guarantor of health care, even for people who cannot afford to pay. The concept has become so ingrained over the past half-century that it is an untouchable part of the political landscape, making the debate over President Obama’s proposals in Washington and the fading chances for a public option seem, in the words of the newspaper Le Monde, “altogether surreal.’’
    But the fast-rising cost of drugs and medical care, particularly for the elderly in their final days, has raised the question of how long France can afford the health care it has come to expect. Seeking to beat back rising deficits, the government has reduced the reimbursement rate for many medicines and routine medical services, opening a growing market for private insurance policies, called mutuals, to cover the steadily increasing copayments.
    Without abandoning the bedrock of health care for all, therefore, the French system has begun to evolve toward something resembling Medicare, the health insurance for older people in the United States, except that it covers people of all ages.
    The shift is regarded as inevitable, specialists said, but increasingly it is raising the delicate question of how much the government will be forced to resort to even higher copayments in the years ahead.
    Coverage policies have grown complicated as medical care and drugs become ever more sophisticated. In that atmosphere, fraud has grown. But despite the drawbacks, the outcome is relatively cost-effective in comparison with the situations in other industrialized nations, according to tracking by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
    France spent about $300 billion for the health needs of its 64 million people in 2007, the last year for which reliable statistics are available, the organization reported. That amounted to about 11 percent of gross domestic product for a system covering an estimated 99 percent of the population, well below what Americans pay for a system that leaves out tens of millions of people.
    On a per capita basis, France also ranked well below the United States in health expenditures. It was eighth on the organization’s list, while the United States ranked at the top.
    Despite the lower spending, French people have for years had a longer life expectancy than their counterparts in the United States, currently at 80.98 years compared with 78.11.
    In the 30 years that followed World War II, the French paid steadily higher taxes for health care. They did not complain because their salaries were rising just as fast, but over the past two decades, growth slowed and health costs skyrocketed.

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    WE here in Montreal, Quebec and perhaps most of Canada do not get it either.

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    Gold Member emkat's Avatar
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    Ok then WHY are Americans fed these horror stories of people waiting 7 months for a simple xray or a year for physical therapy or years for an "elective" surgery? Does that sort of thing happen or not?
    I saw DEATH, an anorexic penguin, an overcooked Gollum, Mr. Burns in need of a haircut and a methed-up Riff Raff.--Michael K. on Phil Spector

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    1) I have never heard of anybody waiting 7 months or even 7 days for an xray. Even 7 hours is pushing it. Hell, when I thought i had pneumonia i went to the ER at 3 am, and within 2 hours had 2 docs look at me, a set of xrays done, and a few other things.

    2) Elective surgery means you won't die if you don't get it RIGHT THIS FUCKING SECOND. It means that if there are people who need operations RIGHT NOW to live, they go first. It's triage. For example, hip surgery.. in Canada one of the longest you have to wait for, IF you have to wait for it. You won't die if you don't get it, so it's elective. So you might have to wait a bit while other people in more need have heart transplants or god knows what else.

    3) The horror stories you're fed are the extreme, insane examples that happen once every blue moon through either shortage of staff or just weird timing. It is not, i repeat NOT, a daily or even common occurence. You're fed these lies because the people telling you them are the ones that have the most to lose from universal healthcare... ie: people with investments in insurance companies or pharmaceutical industries.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emkat View Post
    Ok then WHY are Americans fed these horror stories of people waiting 7 months for a simple xray or a year for physical therapy or years for an "elective" surgery? Does that sort of thing happen or not?
    Many Americans hardly know what exists beyond the US borders, much less care about other countries. A lot of them seem to also think the US is the best place on earth, so how on earth could another country have a better health care system?? Health care in foreign countries must be worse because the US of A is the best country to ever grace the planet!
    "Oh! I've been looking for a red suede pump!"
    - Marie (Carrie Fisher), When Harry Met Sally

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    You are so right. They are so self-rightous here. They cannot imagine living in any other country. They are taught so little about other countries that they think every other place is a third world country.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emkat View Post
    Ok then WHY are Americans fed these horror stories of people waiting 7 months for a simple xray or a year for physical therapy or years for an "elective" surgery? Does that sort of thing happen or not?
    Nope. Not in Australia. Basically, it's the same here as everything Grimm just said.

    The last time I needed an X-ray I waited... 20 minutes?

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    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    I have never seen a doctor's bill in my life. Not even a hospital bill. Or dentist's. My insurance just takes care of it. Twice a year they want to know how I feel being their customer. What can I say, they spoil me rotten.

    ETA: When I lived in the states it was different. They wanted to see my credit card before they doc saw me.
    Hello mother fucker! when you ask a question read also the answer instead of asking another question on an answer who already contain the answer of your next question!
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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Most people here in the US want healthcare reform. However there isn't much trust in the government to do anything anymore. Sad but true.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    A lot of this may boil down to taxes. Odds of US allowing the high taxes some other countries have is low.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    47% is all I say. As in the government takes 47% of my salary every month. Poof, gone. Me and my employer share the cost of my health insurance. Both of us together pay almost 800 Euro for my health insurance. Every month. You can hardly say we get it for free.

    It's worth it, though.
    Hello mother fucker! when you ask a question read also the answer instead of asking another question on an answer who already contain the answer of your next question!
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilly Willy View Post
    47% is all I say. As in the government takes 47% of my salary every month. Poof, gone.
    This would cause great upset here. GREAT. So,you have to live on half your salary,basically??
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    Yep, we all do.

    It's a conscious decision. I don't want poor children to have a toothache and not be able to go to the dentist. I don't want a poor woman to have her baby at home, because she can't afford the hospital. I don't want a foreigner to die of pneumonia, because he doesn't have the money to pay for the antibiotics.

    Everyone gets everything for free. I live in a paradise that is so wonderful, it's worth giving away half of my salary. 800 bucks a month for the perfect utopia? That's a bargain in my eyes!

    The system is crumbling, though. The days when our health system was untouchable are over thanks to a crisis we didn't cause. But as long as it still lasts, I consciously enjoy it.

    I wholeheartedly believe in social democracy. It's the only way for humanity to cope with the financial crisis and the energy crisis. We are not going to make it, unless all other countries embrace social democracy as well.

    What we don't want is 17-year-old hedgefond owners in fur coats and Escalades, while the working class doesn't have teeth. That's the social inequality I witness in the US. It's inacceptable, even for a third world country.
    Hello mother fucker! when you ask a question read also the answer instead of asking another question on an answer who already contain the answer of your next question!
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    Gold Member Dorahacky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Authority View Post
    Most people here in the US want healthcare reform. However there isn't much trust in the government to do anything anymore. Sad but true.
    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    This would cause great upset here. GREAT. So,you have to live on half your salary,basically??
    I admit, being taxed 47% would greatly upset me. I resent the 20-25% that I'm currently taxed. However, that's because I look at the percentage that goes to the government as being complete waste. They're not competent to spend my money; I can waste my earnings with incredible efficiency all by myself.

    If I had the confidence in my government to spend my tax dollars well, then a 47% percent taxation might make complete sense. However, I don't lend untrustworthy people in my personal life money, so how is giving it to an untrustworthy government any different?

    The American government is broken on a level that far surpasses the heath insurance debate. The corrupt morons in government aren't only unable to fix it, I doubt they even want to, because they've already got everything they want and need. The current power structure is quite happy with the current state of financial disequilibrium, IMO.

    Not every American thinks that America is the best country evah. I can say for myself that these days, I find it largely an embarrassment.
    We all like to think we're so special. But in the end, we all do the same stupid shit. - Dennis Miller


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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Look at it this way: you get taxed on every paycheck, or you go totally bankrupt with a long term illness.

    Hell, even a short term illness will drain you of everything you have and force you to sell your house in the US.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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