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!!!