Friday, July 11, 2008

France: Health Care for All

Health Care Lessons From France
by Joseph Shapiro

Listen to the story here.

"Day to Day, July 11, 2008 · In 2000, health care experts for the World Health Organization tried to do a statistical ranking of the world's health care systems. They studied 191 countries and ranked them on things like the number of years people lived in good health and whether everyone had access to good health care. France came in first. The United States ranked 37th.

Some researchers, however, said that study was flawed, arguing that there might be things other than a country's health care system that determined factors like longevity. So this year, two researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine measured something called the "amenable mortality." Basically, it's a measure of deaths that could have been prevented with good health care. The researchers looked at health care in 19 industrialized nations. Again, France came in first. The United States was last."

But wait! There's more!

"There are no uninsured in France," says Victor Rodwin, a professor of health policy at New York University, who is affiliated with the International Longevity Center. "That's completely unheard of. There is no case of anybody going broke over their health costs. In fact, the system is so designed that for the 3 or 4 or 5 percent of the patients who are the very sickest, those patients are exempt from their co-payments to begin with. There are no deductibles."

Treating The Sickest

In France, the sicker you are, the more coverage you get. For people with one of 30 long-term and expensive illnesses — such as diabetes, mental illness and cancer — the government picks up 100 percent of their health care costs, including surgeries, therapies and drugs."

CHRIST! How horrible! Everyone has insurance and the sicker you are the more care you get and the less you spend out of pocket!

How barbaric! Those fucking Frenchies!

Thank God I live in a country where only the wealthiest Alpha Males who have spent their entire lives ignoring their children and spouses while they worked 24/7, out-manuevering and betraying coworkers and business partners through arcane and Machievallan business contracts and accumulating as much wealth as possible on the backs of consumers and investors can afford the same level of health care granted to EVERY citizen in France, and everyone else can just go fuck themselves, get sick and to be poor.

God Bless America.


Nightmare said...

Ok so I'll give them one, but what about all of the other shit that the french suck for?

Like oh I don't know, shooting 16 people at an army ceremony because they can't tell live ammo from blanks? Or any war since the Three Musketeers, and that fucking accent. They need a beatin just for that.

Xavier Onassis said...

nightmare - "Like oh I don't know, shooting 16 people at an army ceremony because they can't tell live ammo from blanks?"

Somehow that seems more understandable than us bombing Afghan weddings because we thought they were Taliban.

Bull E. Vard said...

That "amenable mortality" study was BS and rife with statistical problems. My guy Warren (no homo), breaks down the reasons that study is bogus here.

I say all this as someone with French blood flowing through me and it is not to dispute your point that France has better health care than the poor in the US, only to point at that the study you pointed out is horseshit and the work of 3rd graders.

Xavier Onassis said...

bull e. vard - Your friend's ANALysis may or may not be valid.

But it is after midnight, there is a lot of data presented, and I'm tired so I will just make this one, final point before going to bed.

I hope this isn't too technical for you to follow. Just stick with me. Here goes.

Oh yeah? Well, fuck you, man!

We can discuss offline later if you need clarification on some of the more subtle points of my position.

SmedRock said...

What is the tax rate, and unemployment rate? That has to be paid for some how. Show me the money.

travel said...

I am for national health care, but I am afraid "choice" will be a thing of the past and I'm not talking about abortion. I'm talking about not being able to go to MD Anderson or Mayo if one needs a top specialist, stuff like that. You can bet your ass that we won't get the kind of treatment Kennedy is receiving for his tumor.

But, it is also absolutely unthinkable that in this country people can be denied health insurance if they have a pre-existing condition the insurance companies don't want to pay for or simply can't afford insurance. That has to change.

Haven't read the links yet .. will do so when I have a little more time.

emawkc said...

Oh PUHLEEEZ! The French economy is in worse shape than ours, and I think we all know how bad ours has gotten ever since the Democrats took over the congress.

The French are suffering from plunging industrial output, a widening trade deficit, sagging consumer confidence and a crippling national debt with no economic room for maneuvering.

Even the French know they're in trouble, and elected Sarkozy to try to fix it.

We definitely have room for improvement, but using the French as a model for anything other than fermenting grapes is a big mistake.

We could probably fix it pretty quickly if the gutless congressional Democrats would do something about the war in Iraq.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I posted this story at home a while back. People can slap the French if they like, but there's seventeen OTHER nations in the world who came in before us in this study.

People can get all McCarthyite over socialized medicine if they want to. I'm a nurse. I've taken care of people who have stroked out because they had to choose between medication and food. I have had to go without my own medication when I haven't had insurance because even if I eliminate the ones that aren't ABSOLUTELY life-and-death it totals over $400 a month. At one point I had to go even without that one because there just wasn't any money for it, and I suffered as a result. I refused to go see a doctor for THREE MONTHS after I broke my ankle because I knew it was broken and I was worried about it being classed as a 'pre-existing condition' when my insurance kicked in. The three-month wait, while I worked so I would qualify for coverage, did considerable damage and I ended up with a $12K surgery, three months out of work and threats of joint replacement and carbon-fibre grafting. It might have been more damaged but at least the surgery was covered.

Why do we have to make decisions like this? Why do we have to decide on whether to buy medication or groceries, or to limp and be in pain for months because we're afraid to see a doctor? Everybody and their brother cries about choosing a doctor. If you have no healthcare you'll be happy to see any doctor.

I had a doctor tell me once that if medicine was socialized doctors would have no motivation to work because they couldn't make money at it. That's the REAL story behind all the anti-socialized-medicine propaganda. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and the pharma giants won't make the profits they do now. Of course, more people will live healthy lives, but the motto is 'Profits BEFORE People', not the other way around.

We are the ONLY industrialized, first-world nation that I am aware of that does not have some sort of socialized medical system in place. If you think that 'choosing a doctor' is more important than 'being able to see a doctor at all', then I hope you have a good job with good benefits that you can keep until the day you die unless your retirement pension package (assuming you had a REALLY good job because most places don't do that anymore) includes health insurance through the rest of your natural lifespan.
Because when the day comes that you're sick and there's no money for your medicine or to see a doctor, you can just sit then and reflect on what a great and glorious healthcare system we have that lets you choose your own doctor, as long as they accept your insurance or you have the cash to pay for it.

Keith Sader said...

When, not if, the U.S. switches to a better health-care system, I can see it being more like Germany's or Japan's system. The French system is too heavily based on up-front taxes for American tastes.

Americans are more than willing to pay taxes(as long as you don't call them taxes), just look at the regional sales taxes and the huge national deficit spending, but they hate it when you ask them for money up front. Most working Americans are also paying a medical tax through premium deductions in their paycheck, we just don't call it a tax. After all, why have one efficient system of taxation when we can have multiple inefficient ones.

Yes, Americans would rather pay later than pay now, and that's a national character flaw IMO.