Monday, February 11, 2008

French health care ranked world's best; American doctors have waiting lists

There's no reason why the good ol' U.S. and A. shouldn't have a health care system that at least attempts to be worthy of its name, but the hard-working American public is barraged almost daily with signs that the system continues to deteriorate even further. In the meantime, the World Health Organization ranks France as having the best health care in the world.

How accurate is this? Even CNN - not exactly a voice of progressive populism - suggests French health care beats American health care hands down. A blog report on CNN's website by Miriam Falco covers the pros and cons of French medicine, as the writer spent a few days in Paris to peep how it works.

In France, you have to have health insurance - but if you can't afford it, the government pays for it. In the United States, Hillary Clinton says insurance should be mandatory but that she'll garnish your wages to pay for it. That's considered "reform" in modern America, believe it or not - because what exists now is so bad. American insurance is expensive and doesn't cover everything - but you almost have to have it anyway to get any care at all.

French health care comes at a price. Taxes may seem relatively high there, but the income tax is steeply graduated, so most of the burden falls on higher income groups.

In return, France at least gets medical care that's vastly superior to what Americans suffer. The blog cites the example of France's free prenatal and newborn care. Yes, I said free. Only if there's a serious problem will there be any cost, and even that's small. If a baby is born with a serious illness, it may cost American parents close to $60,000 (when the average annual income in my burg is $18,000) - but in France it costs about $26.

I don't think too many folks in France would want to have to live under the American medical system, because the French system is a bargain in comparison. America spends a quarter of its GDP on health care but still has almost 50,000,000 people with no health care at all.

Just today, there was an article in the media in my own area about the waiting lists to see a doctor locally. Granted, my area did lag behind the rest of America 20 years ago, but the problems that exist now highlight a national trend. Some doctors now have a waiting list of up to 6 months, which is 3 times what it was only a few years ago. Physicians trace the crisis to insurance companies' greed.

What sort of bullshit excuses are the thought police going to conjure to say we can't do better? I've heard them all before, and I'll gladly debunk them again if I have to. I've known people in the U.S. who have actually had to travel to Canada because the American medical system can't or won't treat them. Under the American system, I had to wait 11 years to see a dentist.

We're long past the point where something has to be done. If a few privileged individuals who think everything is fine and dandy with the American health system don't want me debunking them...THAT'S TOO FUCKING BAD!!!



  1. Tim,

    Just a minor correction. Heath care costs were equal to 16% (not a quarter as you stated) of GDP in 2005, the most recent year figures are available for. That's projected to go up to 20% within 10 years.

    The People would like you to pledge right here on the Pail that if universal health care is enacted here in the United States, you will finish your education (or obtain equivalent job training) and become a contributing member of the work force so that you can help pay your fair share of the costs. Will you do that?

  2. If I'm making a total of several hundred dollars a month from this blog and book sales, what would be the point?

  3. Tim,

    The People want you to at least pay enough into the system so that you cover your fair share. It's very important that you do not become a drain on the system. If you are going to be an advocate for tax-supported universal health care you need to do your part and chip in what the average taxpayer does.

  4. He's gotcha, Scheff...

    Why should it matter HOW someone makes their money??

    If I'm not mistaken, Google reports all blogger ad revenues to the IRS, so what's the big diff??

  5. The big diff is Tim wants FREE health care, not universal health care. He seems to be perfectly OK with letting the rest of us pay for him.

  6. "Under the American system, I had to wait 11 years to see a dentist."

    First of all, that is very unlikely.

    Second of all, there are a lot of problems with putting even more burden on the rich. I live in New Jersey, so we already pay ridiculous taxes; I work in New York so state income tax is doubled. I pay ~40% to the federal government already, and I honestly think that buying healthcare for myself is enough. I'd really rather not pay for everyone else too.

    A major part of the economy is motivation and belief. Who wants to become rich if the government ends up taking ~70% (or more with electric bills, mortgage, water, heat, etc.) of their money, and they could make better at 250k a year than 1 million a year? Why would someone want to get up and go to work as a janitor if they would be better off sitting on their ass and doing absolutely nothing?

  7. This blog is the last place you'll find any sympathy for the rich being "burdened."

  8. Conrad indicated particular states have higher tax rates for their constituents. But the federal tax rates remain the same whether you live in NJ, NY or Oregon... If you want lower state taxes, vote for them, or move to a different state. We still have that choice available to us.

    "...tehy could make better at 250k a year than 1 million a year..." This is a misconception regarding the US progressive tax structure. Marginal tax rates will increase, but only due to higher tax rates assigned to tax brackets. For 2009, a 33% tax rate effects earned income over $164,550 but not over $357,700... it does not effect income generated up to $164,550. So, the tax rates are the same for the first 250k of earned income, whether they make 250k or 1 million. The next $750k is taxed, but not at 100%. Some one who makes 1 million will have more money at the end of the year than someone who makes $250k.

    As far as over-taxing the rich, they pay the same for a tube of tooth paste as the poor do. If they buy a Toyota 4Runner, it costs the same regardless of income. Income does not determine the price of goods purchased, it just allows greater purchasing power (having more money means you can buy more things). The rich have the same cost of living as everybody else. Taking into consideration the progressive tax system, the federal gift tax, and federal estate tax, it seems American society does not condone an aristocratic society of class generated by wealth. This is not to say we don't have one, just that we don't want to encourage it. The rich have more, and your representatives, congressmen and President have agreed to tax them more.

  9. There's a difference. The French have the world's best healthcare SYSTEM.

    But there is nowhere in the world with better doctors than the United States. The "best of the rest" as they say can't touch ours