Health insurance and health care in France

Glenn Beck went off on some woman today on his radio show because she talked about how good health care was in France. And she’s right. Beck says that she got her example from Michael Moore. Well, I didn’t get my example from Michael Moore. I got it from my own visits to doctors and emergency rooms in Paris.

1. They don’t ask you for insurance, they just treat you, then sheepishly ask you afterwards how you’d like to pay.
2. The costs are absurdly low. Chest x-ray and consult last year when I had a bad flu that settled in my chest? 45 euros, or about 70 bucks. The doctor warned me it was going to be really expensive. 70 bucks. That’s “really expensive” medicine in France.
3. I had to wait a whopping 3 minutes before seeing the doctor. I phoned, said when can you see me, she said when you do want us to see you, I said how about in three hours, she said okay. I walk in the door, sit down, three minutes later they call me in – in and out in 20 minutes, and that included getting the x-ray and then having the doc explain my results.
4. Doctor visits cost a whopping 20 euros (25 bucks). I remember my friend John having what was likely kidney stones. We go to the doc, I do the translating, and when it’s all over she says to me, concerned, so he’s American, which means he doesn’t have French insurance, how is he ever going to pay? The bill was 25 bucks. I laughed and told John. He laughed, and paid in cash.

And mind you, these were the prices BEFORE insurance kicks in. If you’re French, you pay a lot less.

Conservatives need to get over their “we’re the best country in the world so don’t consider whether maybe, just maybe, some other countries do some things better than us” kick. We’re ranked pretty low in the world on the overall health care chart. France is number one. Yes, we could learn a few things from even the French. Especially the French. Or you can trust your life-saving health care to some flag-waver who thinks patriotism is the best medicine.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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