More French health care “horror” stories

Another American tells of her experience with the “socialist” health care system in France. She woke up sick on a Saturday morning, called a doctor’s office and begged to be seen on Monday. The doctor said, sorry, but I can see you today in an hour?

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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33 Responses to “More French health care “horror” stories”

  1. devlzadvocate says:

    Thanks. I appreciate your insightful comment backed up with data.

  2. proudliberal1947 says:

    One important point that this whole Health Care Bill does not mention or get talked about is the lose of control by the Insurance Companies.

    If the Health Care Bill passes this leaves them NO option to what to charge. I remember when your personal Income was a PRIVATE matter which since the 60’s has been thrown to the wauside.

    My grandfather had a saying keep your business in your back pocket and tell NO ONE.

    If yo think I am off base have you noticed how many businesses are now requireing you to pay up front for services with NO gaurantee on the quality of said service.

    This is about the companies NOT having the Carte Blanche inside info on your wallet, nor will they be allowed to preset most premiums with what THEY predict as wage invreases.

    There should be a way to block this data mining on income period and that will further push these companies into hissy fits of the unknown.

    They should be offering a service based on their projected costs NOT on what is in my wallet or yours.

  3. ezpz says:

    the devil we knew vs. the one we thought was anything BUT a devil.

  4. ezpz says:

    I found some details:

    “…One of the most alarming aspects of HR 3962, that passed 220-215 (219 Democrats and one Republican voted for it) are the purely evil sections 7203 and 7201. The less evil of these sections, 7203, calls for $25,000 in fines and up to a year imprisonment for “defying” the federal mandate for getting insurance. That’s the misdemeanor. The felony? A quarter of a million dollars in fines and up to five years in prison….”

  5. ezpz says:

    I like that option better.

  6. Alexmilstein says:

    Back in 1971, after travelling around Europe and North Africa, I was living in London and came down with what I thought was just a horrible head and chest cold. So I walked over to a local hospital where I was seen, diagnosed with a serious viral infection, given medication and put up for one night at the hospital for observation.

    And it all cost me – an American citizen on a three-month tourist visa – absolutely NOTHING.

    And, I just remembered, while travelling in Morocco – and staying in cheap hotels – I suffered an attack of bedbugs that left me terribly uncomfortable. I visited a local infirmary, where they scrubbed down all the bites on my back, applied ointment, and gave me more to use myself.

    Again, the cost was incredibly minimal for this guy travelling on less than five bucks a day.

  7. Griffon says:

    Or, dare I say, revolt.

  8. Griffon says:

    “But please comment on the shortage of physicians once the additional 36 million have health insurance. “

    In the United States, 77,859 general practitioners serve a population of nearly 308 million; they earn, on average, $160,000 per year.

    In France, 88,669 general practitioners serve a population of 64 million; they earn, on average, €66,800 per year.

    Ideas, anyone?

    The system in France appears to provide for this circumstance whereas the US system is abusively prohibitive for students entering the health profession:

    But the lower income of French physicians is allayed by two factors. Practice liability is greatly diminished by a tort-averse legal system, and medical schools, although extremely competitive to enter, are tuition-free. Thus, French physicians enter their careers with little if any debt and pay much lower malpractice insurance premiums.

    Nor do France’s doctors face the high nonmedical personnel payroll expenses that burden American physicians. Sécurité Sociale has created a standardized and speedy system for physician billing and patient reimbursement using electronic funds.

    It’s not uncommon to visit a French medical office and see no nonmedical personnel. What a concept. No back office army of billing specialists who do daily battle with insurers’ arcane and constantly changing rules of payment.

    Moreover, in contrast to Canada and Britain, there are no waiting lists for elective procedures and patients need not seek pre-authorizations.

    National health insurance in France stands upon two grand historical bargains — the first with doctors and a second with insurers.

    Doctors only agreed to participate in compulsory health insurance if the law protected a patient’s choice of practitioner and guaranteed physicians’ control over medical decision-making. Given their current frustrations, America’s doctors might finally be convinced to throw their support behind universal health insurance if it protected their professional judgment and created a sane system of billing and reimbursement.

    French legislators also overcame insurance industry resistance by permitting the nation’s already existing insurers to administer its new healthcare funds. Private health insurers are also central to the system as supplemental insurers who cover patient expenses that are not paid for by Sécurité Sociale. Indeed, nearly 90 percent of the French population possesses such coverage, making France home to a booming private health insurance market.

    The French system strongly discourages the kind of experience rating that occurs in the United States, making it more difficult for insurers to deny coverage for preexisting conditions or to those who are not in good health.

    There is more, but the problem is clear; the healthcare profession and associated (parasitic) industries strongly require overhaul. The current for-profit US system drains money and discourages more candidates from entering the field, putting profits squarely ahead of patients, the good of the public, or the potential physician him/herself.

    In Universal healthcare, the doctors are spending much more of their time practicing medicine and much less swimming through paperwork. The US insurance industry and medical profit motive are deadly deterrents to a healthy and viable medical system.

    It explains somewhat why France is #1 and the US limps in at #37.

  9. Anon says:

    Went into my primary care center in British Columbia today for a standard renewal of my prescription. The lobby was crowded so I expected I might have to wait a day or two. Not so. I waited 5 minutes; the crowd was waiting patiently for their free H1N1, seasonal flu, and pneumonia vaccine shots. The new three month prescription will cost me about $10 out of pocket. The doctor visit cost nothing at all. In and out altogether in 10 minutes even while there is a major health scare going on. Glad I live here on the good side of the 49th parallel. 10 miles south of here, the situation remains shall we say clouded as far as medical services are concerned. Civilization is delightful; I commend it’s virtues to you all.

  10. Chimpeach says:

    The republicans continue to criticize and lie about universal health care in other countries, like France, Canada. Never do they hold up Israel as an example of crappy health care. From Wikipedia “Health care in Israel is both universal and compulsory, and is administered by a small number of organizations with funding from the government. All Israeli citizens are entitled to the same Uniform Benefits Package, regardless of which organization they are a member of, and treatment under this package is funded for all citizens regardless of their financial means.”
    Sounds good to me.

  11. SCLiberal says:

    More and more I see Bush in blackface.

  12. ezpz says:

    I know.It never ceases to amaze how even the simplest of questions don’t qualify for a simple yes or no answer.

    P.S. LOL – your comment gave me a good chuckle.

  13. nicho says:

    You want Obama to say something unequivocal — that’s so charming, living in a fantasy world like that.

  14. devlzadvocate says:

    Inability to pay is inherent in “out-of-work” and “no insurance” and was kind of OT. But please comment on the shortage of physicians once the additional 36 million have health insurance. That’s when you really won’t be able to get an appointment EVEN if you do have insurance. There just are NOT enough doctors. Not to mention the hospitals that have been closed because there are too many beds. The reason for too many beds????? People have not sought treatment because – they haven’t had health insurance!!!!!

    So once these folks have insurance, probably NOT ENOUGH beds.

  15. ezpz says:

    I know. Pathetic.
    There is NO comparison.
    We can choose not to have a car, but the only way out of buying a so called insurance plan would be to die!

  16. Griffon says:

    Obama compares forced compliance to a knowingly corrupt and murderous monopoly to auto insurance?

    I’ll comply with the rule of law the moment Obama does.

    Not before.

  17. ezpz says:

    And I thought the GOP were exaggerating when they said non compliance with the mandate to purchase a lousy product from an unregulated industry would be punishable by imprisonment.Jake Tapper posed a very simple and direct question to the prez: “Do you think it’s appropriate to have a threat of jail time for those who refuse to buy insurance?”Sad AND scary actually that the president couldn’t give a one two letter word simple answer of ‘no’.Instead, he did his usual: “..aaahh…ehh…y’know..ah..ah..ah…y’know…” and then went on and on, but he did NOT answer with an unequivocal “NO!” starts at about -14:40

    E T A : He did not say no at all, in fact. He thinks penalties are appropriate, but in his usual vague way, did not say what those penalties might be.

  18. Zorba says:

    Yes, indeed. The horror! The horror! ;-)

  19. Griffon says:

    “Why are doctors [in France] so much more accessible, affordable, accommodating, and sans condescendance?”Yes, President Backroom-Pharma-Deal, why?

  20. mudsnark says:

    when i was a kid many yrs ago thier were many doctors who made house calls even on the weekends , few familys had health insurence in thoes days and many let you slide on payment with credit, i know it seems hard to believethese days , but one old doc well known in the area allso brought his own medicines with him in the car and gave you enough to get over your ailment , what did he charge? 5 dollars and that included the medicine, later when i was older and most doctors were out to get the guy because he made house calls i went to his office , no nurse no secretary just the old doc and his desk piled high with sample medicines from salesmen, anyway hed diagnose your problem reach into that pile of samples and without searching thru that mess give you exactly what you needed, the other doctors finally got the guys liscence taken away because they wanted home visits stopped , but the cost for the visit , yep 5 dollars and if you didnt have the money yep credit and he never went after thoes who never paid him! incredible eh?

  21. Griffon says:

    “With so many people out of work and losing their health insurance, there doesn’t seem to be a problem getting in to see a doctor these days in the US. You can get your pick of appointments.”

    Only, of course, few do as being out of work negates their ability to pay.

  22. devlzadvocate says:

    With so many people out of work and losing their health insurance, there doesn’t seem to be a problem getting in to see a doctor these days in the US. You can get your pick of appointments. The bigger problem will be if and when all the uninsured finally get insurance and the physician shortage in certain areas of the country becomes apparent.

    I’m not arguing against health care reform. I’m just saying for every solution, you reveal another problem.

  23. charlescovington says:

    We have many similar stories from our years here in Belgium with our son, visiting relatives and ourselves with doctors who make house calls and/or see you on weekends…at all hours. Please save us from the dangers of socialized medicine! No, correct that, please give us socialized medicine.

  24. vkobaya says:

    Ah, but the true evil of socialized medicine in France and Britain is that there are no death panels that murder 45,000 of their citizens each year to enhance the bottom line of insurance companies. Now I ask you if failing to enrich greedy, money-loving capitalists doesn’t prove unquestionably, beyond all doubt, that socialism is evil, heathen, and ungodly.

    Greed is good.
    Greed is God.

    A camel can’t go through the eye of a needle so rich men can go to a heaven with streets paved with gold. (Or something like that. You get the idea. )

  25. ComradeRutherford says:

    Yeah, thank god we don’t have unaccountable bureaucrats rationing health care here by getting in the way between you and your doctor! They have that in France, you know, Glenn Beck said so, it must be true!

  26. Indigo says:

    Zut alors!

  27. ComradeRutherford says:

    See this is exactly what is wrong with Socialized Medicine.

    – That woman wasn’t told to wait until unaccountable insurance bureaucrats came in to work on Monday to process her claims.

    – She wasn’t deathly ill and therefore put an undue burden on the system, whereas if she was in America she would have been discouraged for seeking health treatments for the sniffles (how dare those foreigners think they can waltz into a doctor’s office for any reason!)

    – She was afforded immediate treatment instead of being told to wait until her insurance company said she could get an appointment.

    – And worst of all, she won’t be socked with a $30,000 bill that her insurance company can then refuse to pay for no reason!

    This is the worst of the socialist medical system right here, folks. America has the best health care system in the whole world, Rush Limbaugh has decreed it to be so.

    That woman should be banned from leaving America, the greatest country in the world, until she shows some gratitude for her health insurance company.

    I think the health care law making it’s way through congress should add a clause that if you are overseas and receive treatment there for any reason that you should be forced to pay your insurance company the amount they would have charged you if you had received the treatment here.

    Someone inform Lieberman, he’ll sell out the Democrats!

  28. Jerry Stephens says:

    My wife and her mother were in Paris several years ago. My wife had serious backpains during the early afternoon. A French doctor came to the hotel room, examined Karen, and prescribed a drug. There was no charge for the doctor’s hotel visit and examination. The pharmacy next door to the hotel charged Karen the huge sum of $ .18 for the prescription. That’s right: a total of 18 cents for doctor and pharmacy. This to an American visitor, certainly no citizen. Our health insurance co-pay is a whole lot higher than that even if we don’t get a pharmacy prescription. Karen has tried to get the drug over here. It also costs a whole lot more than 18 cents. The French get the health care system they deserve. Alas, so do we.

  29. TheOriginalLiz says:

    So many Americans are selfish and meanspirited. “Health care for everyone means less for me, so scr*w you” seems to be the mindset that rules the country these days.

  30. postdamnit says:

    Damn Froggies are at it again with their socialist medicine. They think that they have it good but don’t know the real pleasure of having “the best medical care in the world” like we do.

  31. Asterix says:

    My wife needs to see a dermatologist about a mole that she’s worried about (changing appearance). The practice approved by her insurance carrier just phoned yesterday to say that one of their residents departed and she’d have to reschedule the appointment that she made two months ago (earliest possible slot). Would the end of February be okay?

    Yeah, great system we have here.

  32. Gorgonzola says:

    On the other hand. Last week, my wife and I were in the small village of Ash in the Southern U.K. when she developed flu like symptoms. We called the local NHS clinic and were told to come right over. She saw a doctor in a matter of minutes. She was examined in this busy, well-equipped clinic and we were on our way to the chemist where 2 scrips were filled at no charge. If this is socialized medicine, it seems to work pretty well. Also, there is the bonus of not having to deal with an ignorant insurance clerk who is trained to reject all cclaims.

  33. nicho says:

    See, she had to wait a whole hour. Damn those socialists and their death panels!

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