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Phoenix
I've come here before FV to ask the forumites (especially the ones that live in France) how accurate the following statement about Nicolas Sarkozy is.

QUOTE
The current French President won in a landslide election. He ran on one subject and one subject only. The repeal of the french medical socialized medical system.

I'm sure most of you can figure out what kind of conversation I've found myself in and I was told this about the French from an American who I suspect watches too much Faux News and Glenn Beck. With that in mind, I'm inclined to not believe anything that comes out of his mouth unless my own fact checking can confirm it.
Phoenix
After some reading it appears that he ran unopposed which would explain his "landslide victory" and the thought of anyone running on only one position is of course hyperbole, but I'm still curious. Was repealing universal health care his main talking point? Is he even for repealing it?
Aggelos
eeeeeer… What landslide ?

Sure the opposition was dull, but he only won by a few points (53%), not a "landslide" by any mean.

And he sure never talked about revoking the universal healthcare system, otherwise he would not even have sufficient allies to run an election.

That's real bullshit for you
Tibro
Is there any popular sentiment towards repealing universal health care in France?
Phoenix
Well that'll teach me to do fact checking on my phone at work. The unopposed landslide I was looking at was for his being chosen by the UMP to be their candidate. I have no idea what this guy is going on about then. 53% of the presidential vote is not a landslide by any stretch of the imagination. So all my questions are answered, but I would echo Tibro's.

Is there any popular sentiment towards repealing universal health care in France?
Aggelos
towards absolutely not, that would be a wholy upset antagonist sentiment if it were ever proposed.

We are damn proud of our universal health care system.

Any reform diminishing our social priviledges is met with much anger, you only have to see how we reacted when the current government raised the age for retirement by mere 2 years while our European neighbours retire 5 years later…
pierreverte
As an American living in France for over 11 years, I can attest that the French healthcare system is a pretty nice set-up from a user standpoint and the last thing the French would ever do is elect someone who wanted to repeal it.

However it is breaking the government's bank, has created the largest popultion of hypochondriacs and some of the most pessimistic people in the world, who believe businesses are created in order to fulfill their human right to have a job (and provide a 'mutual' - insurance that covers the relatively small percentage of health costs that the government doesn't pay), no matter how poorly they perform their functions. There is no incentive for a business to directly hire anyone if they can help it, as it is extremely hard to fire someone and unemployment benefits and length are quite tempting - but, I digress from the subject.

The French Carte Vitale health card (like a credit card with a micro chip) has also been fairly easy to scam.
The doctors are poorly paid by US standards and in 2003, several thousand people died in the August heat because there was no ice or air conditioning in the hospitals.
That said, you can still get a doctor house call at almost any time for less than the cost of a doctor's office visit in the US, and it costs about $15 out of pocket to have a baby in the hospitial.

The US could never afford to adopt the system and neither can France, but, hey, I'm not complaining…well, not as much as the French…
sixela
QUOTE(Phoenix @ Feb 1 2011, 06:29 AM) *

Was repealing universal health care his main talking point? Is he even for repealing it?

No and no.
Artemis
QUOTE
That said, you can still get a doctor house call at almost any time


I recently read a book about an American idiot (arrogant liberal jackass - if you can believe him, he had some kind of aversion to actually learning any French) living in France. The level of service from his insurance company (for his house, not medical) was amazing to me - for sure no longer available in the U.S., if it ever was. I think I posted something here about the guy asking for a bay leaf at the market, and the market lady looking at him like he was crazy, not so much because she didn't understand him, but didn't understand why anyone would offer to pay for something growing on trees all around him. I had the book from the library, but I just found it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Never-French-mat.../ref=pd_sim_b_6
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(pierreverte @ Feb 1 2011, 06:13 PM) *

The doctors are poorly paid by US standards


The US shouldn't be a standard for physician pay. Physician pay in the US is high because the cost of medical education will put you in debt for a minimum of $200,000, more if your pre-med was at a private school, while MDs in France graduate with little if any debt, and so they can live comfortably on a salary which isn't consumed by >$1200 month student loan payments. MD pay in the US is also high because physicians are usually paid by procedure rather than paid a salary, so there of course is an excess of physicians who specialize in all sorts of expensive procedures and recommend that everyone have them, at enormous cost and questionable benefit. There is also a massive shortage in Primary Care MDs because the pay is often 30% or less of what specialists make, and so to make up for that difference, Primary Care docs end up doing fellowships in Gastroenterology, and then they make big bucks giving Endoscopies to anyone with acid reflux and yearly Colonoscopies to anyone over 40. One MD I spoke with referred to his Colonoscopy procedures as mining for gold. So these MDs then spend all their time doing procedures instead of seeing patients, which is left mostly to Physician Assistants, generating even more expense for the system. And of course we have several hundred insurers, which requires an army of office staff to keep the mess straight, generating even more expense on top of more expense.

How funny is it that the absurd inefficiencies of our privatized health care system have created a huge source of jobs? I can see why nobody wants to seriously reform the system, because if health care was nationalized thousands upon thousands of unnecessary middle-man jobs would be eliminated (yes, I realize the government would be one big middle man, but I'd rather have as few middle-men as possible, while ironically right-leaning people would prefer the >40% overhead and thousands of middle-men that is the result of free markets).

Ideologically I think the French health care system is fantastic, though financially it does appear to be unrealistic, and seems at times impervious to evidence based medicine. Can we find a middle ground? As long as idiots like Glenn Beck call any attempt to change health care "SOCIALISM" (cue scary music and images of Stalinist Russia) and idiots on the left pretend to reform things by handing private insurers millions of new customers in the form of individual purchase mandates, then there's no way in hell we can find a sane middle ground.
Artemis
Good points.
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